Just home from the Champagne region I am still bewildered by the entrepreneurship of Eugene Mercier, the founder of Champagne Mercier. A fascinating story and strongly recommend a visit to their Champagne House and do stay at their old mansion the Villa Eugene (see review).
Prior booking only for groups over 10 persons. We arrived early morning 9.30 when opening. Upon arrival you are met by a hugh oak barrel produced in 1870's and could hold some 200.000 bottles of still wine used for Champagne production. Oaks were cut down in Hungary and supervised by Eugene himself. For years the barrel was built. Travelled to Paris World Fair pulled by 24 oxen and at steep hills with an additional 16 horses!!! An instant success at Paris World Fair next after Eiffel Tower. He aslo arranged Champagne tastings in hot air balloons over Paris – AND there are plenty more stories of this genius!
Most of the visit is based on an audio guided tour – so do try to listen carefully, because it really is informative , good and fascinating story you are up for (available in some 6 languages).
First the guests gather in the movie theatre for a 5 minute video presentation, which was a bit confusing, as too many pictures & images are presented on 3 screens. Then the guests take a glass elevator ride 30m below ground. Here you board the laser guided train through the cellars. Bring along warm clothing, because in the vaults it’s alway appr. 11C cool. Train ride is a nice way visiting the cellars especially if you’ve been walking all day – not so good for picture taking, because the train is moving at all time. Nice presentation in endless cellars (18kms) all built in one level ending actually by the river at Mercier’s own railway station! And we are talking of business ideas of the 1880’s.
Guided tour ends by tasting – we opted for the 3 Champagne tasting with white, rosé and vintage.
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