Come Fly With Me!

© AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (3 of 60)© AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (1 of 60)

Leaving Paris at 4am to drive out to the French countryside seemed a little out of the ordinary (maybe even a little crazy). Some folk were just heading home from a Friday night on the town and we were heading out to start our Saturday morning. Two hours later, as the sun began to rise, we arrived at the aerodrome just outside Épernay. The early morning temperatures were cool and six of us huddled into a Landrover and took off down country lanes, heading out into the countryside.

© AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (5 of 60) © AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (4 of 60)

Dawn was breaking around us, and as we arrived at our destination a beautiful morning mist was burning off. The fresh country air felt so dewy, not a breeze and the early morning light was spectacular.

© AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (6 of 60)

The sun cast a warm glow across this field of gold, but my blood was cold. Soon ‘we will be floating over these trees’ our pilot explained…

© AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (9 of 60)

Was this really happening?  It was hard to conceive that in minutes this dormant balloon would be carrying us over the fields of Champagne. The reality of what was about to unfold, slowly began to engulf me.

© AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (14 of 60) © AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (15 of 60) © AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (16 of 60) © AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (17 of 60)© AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (7 of 60)© AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (10 of 60)

Warm coffee and croissants were a welcome distraction to settle the nerves while we watched the balloon take shape.  (I wished I had packed something stronger), “where’s that hip flask now?” I thought!

© AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (19 of 60)

As soon as the balloon was set, we quickly had to take our places ducked down in the wicker basket until we were safely over the trees. We took off quite quickly…

© AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (20 of 60)

“Hold on tight”, I hear and then…up, up and away we go!

© AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (21 of 60)

And there in a little Champagne bubble we began gliding over the valleys…

© AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (23 of 60)

The air felt so silky, the view was breathtaking. As we floated over the Champagne valleys, my fears dissolved away… floating, up, and up, I just wanted to stay high.

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But we flew so low, so low, we could almost touch the grass, catching the wind billowing over the corn-fields like small waves…

© AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (33 of 60) © AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (34 of 60)  © AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (36 of 60) © AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (37 of 60) © AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (38 of 60) © AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (41 of 60) © AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (42 of 60) © AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (43 of 60) © AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (44 of 60) © AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (45 of 60)

Our balloon shadow kept us company the whole journey…

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Back on solid ground, we celebrated in local tradition. “We never pop a champagne bottle in Champagne, we gently remove the cork, letting the bubbles fly effortlessly through the air”, our pilot explains…

© AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (55 of 60) © AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (56 of 60) © AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (57 of 60) © AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (58 of 60) © AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (59 of 60)

We were safely back on ground, but I was still floating on air.

© AislingGreally 2014 - TrésorParisien (60 of 60)

I’ve never experienced a sensation quite like it, it was so effortless, so magical!

Les Montgolfières Champenoises

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