Widowed at just 27 years old, a tenacious Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin could never have dreamed that her audacious spirit would see her transform Veuve Clicquot into an esteemed Champagne maison that surpasses centuries – or perhaps that’s exactly what she set out to achieve.
Celebrating its 250th year, Veuve Clicquot has survived some of history’s biggest moments including the French Revolution, WWI and WWII, the rise and fall of Catherine the Great, the COVID-19 pandemic and the invention of electricity.
Often lauded as the world’s first business woman, Madame Clicquot inherited her late husband’s business in 1805. Despite living at a time when women were excluded from the business world, she boldly overcame various challenges as the head of the company, ultimately spearheading the its international growth and longevity.
From fresh innovations including the riddling table – a Madame Clicquot invention still used to this day – to her passion for public relations where she penned more than 100,000 letters throughout her career, it is this unique business approach that has set Veuve Clicquot on its prosperous path for centuries.
Now entering its 250th year, the French founded Champagne business has reached a milestone very few companies achieve, but one many dare to dream about.
And for such a formidable anniversary, it’s only fitting to celebrate like royalty aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express on A Solaire Journey by Veuve Clicquot.
Just as the first bottles of bubbles were shipped from Reims, France, to Venice, Italy, an exclusive number of guests will follow the symbolic footsteps of the first Veuve Clicquot export from 250 years ago.
Combining the golden age of travel and the romance of the rails, guests will be privately transferred from Paris to embark on a two-night legendary journey (an additional three-night experience is also on offer) beginning at Reims – the homeland of the yellow label.
Guests will begin with an immersive tour through the historic cellars, exploring the labyrinthine limestone tunnels tucked 20 metres below ground. Soon after, guests will experience champagne tastings with the maison’s cellar master, Didier Mariotti, all before setting foot on the luxurious Belmond train.
Onboard the opulent Orient Express, live musicians will create a bespoke atmosphere accompanied by none other than exceptional flutes of cuvées. Indulge with a magnum of La Grande Dame, discover the pop-up Veuve Clicquot champagne bar and bask in the opulence of 24-hour butler service, marble ensuites and plush lounging areas.
And it’s not a 250th celebration without a grand ball hosted along the charming canals of Venice at the iconic Hotel Cipriani. A private water taxi will whisk guests from the Orient Express to Giudecca Island. An early evening cocktail overlooking the famed St Mark’s Square will set the tone for the gala dinner and sunset ball.
The once in a lifetime sojourn from France to Italy (which will be held in June 2022) showcases the champagne house’s Solaire Culture – a fitting celebration for the sunshine-hued brand that continues to embody Madame Clicquot’s optimism, which has shone throughout history.
Guests have been warned to “expect the unexpected as you make memories to last a lifetime”.