Saturday, March 31, 2018

I can’t believe that it’s been already two weeks since we spent a short weekend in the Champagne region drinking champagne with friends in the snow.

Oui! It does snow in France, besides the mountains, just a 45-minute train ride from Paris to Reims. In fact, when we returned to Paris on Sunday afternoon, it was snowing in the City of Lights as well! I wish we had more time to spend in Paris so I could take photos, but we took the early Eurostar back to London on Monday because of work.

This was our first trip to Reims, but we were meeting up with other expat friends who have visited several times before. Luckily, one of our German friends, originally from Burkina Faso, Africa, speaks fluent French, which was quite handy to talk with the friendly French champagne house owners.
This UNESCO World Heritage city is perhaps best known for its champagne since the region surrounding Reims is ideal for growing chardonnay grapes, which are used to make champagne. The major champagne houses, such as Tattinger, Moet & Chandon, G.H. Mumm and Veuve Clicquot, are headquartered here. One of the days, we visited Vranken Pommery, a historic champagne house which achieved fame in the late 1800s under Madame Pommery, which was magically covered in snow. We had a snowy, nearly 2-kilometre walk from our hotel, but I enjoyed taking lots of photos of snow-covered spring blossoms.
Reims, with a population of 186,000, is still small enough to be quite walkable to everything. The first documentation of Reims dates to 57 BC when it was under Rome’s protection, and later became an important religious and political city. You’ll find several Roman ruins in the city center.
Another UNESCO site that must be seen is the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Reims, a gorgeous Gothic church dating to the 5th century originally, but was rebuilt in the 13th century and then restored again following World War I. I visited the cathedral before it was even open, not a soul was around, and I took photos of it covered in snow on Sunday morning.
The Reims Cathedral played an important role for the French Kingdom as it became the site for coronations of French kings until the revolution. In total, 37 kings were crowned in Reims. In addition, in 1429, Joan of Arc knelt down in front of Charles VII when he was crowed King of France at the cathedral.  

Although Reims is an easy city to reach from Paris, I really wish we had one more day to see more in the Champagne region. Or maybe, I’m just looking for another excuse to drink champagne!

My Traveling Joys

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1 comments:

Alan said...

what a gorgeous post Joy - enjoyed it very much.

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