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The Tour de Reims

Hello my friends! I’m topping up my tan while watching the Tour de France on the Cloud. I like watching other people sweat – especially highly trained athletes!

The route of the Tour de France this year travels through the historic Champagne region and this reminded me of two of my favourite hobbies: touring historic places and drinking ‘giggle juice’! Reims, the beautiful centre of the region, is one of my favourite places in all of France.

Reims is an ancient city that was formed more than two thousand years ago. It has deep roots in the past, yet it is a remarkably vibrant city that is friendly to all visitors. Reims is fantastic for walking since there is something to see around every corner and nearly always a café, ice cream parlour or friendly coffee shop nearby. Not to mention the frequent establishments where the produce of the local vintners can be sampled!

My favourite sight in Reims is the beautiful Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral. This imposing gothic edifice has been damaged many times by war and yet has always bounced back after repair to display its innovative design and delicate architecture. About one kilometre away is the Saint Remi Basilica, an equally picturesque and grand church which is the burial place of kings. The two main squares; the Place Royale with its statue of Louis XV and the Place Cardinal-Luzon with its statue of Joan of Arc, are vibrant meeting places where visitors and locals mix, laugh and relax.

Reims - Cathedral

It is easiest to reach Reims by flying into Paris and then taking a train. The city-link train from Paris reaches Gare de Reims in less than two hours while the TGV into Gare de Champagne-Ardenne cuts that time to less than ninety minutes. It is also an easy drive from Paris on the A4.

There are a myriad of options for staying in Reims to fit all budgets. Reims is not an expensive location and this is refreshing after the high prices of Paris. I like the Hotel de la Paix with its convenient location close to city centre, but not too close. Other notable properties include the Continental Hotel and Reims l’Univers but, increasingly, my friends are choosing to stay in apartments rented through property websites. The apartments are clean, compact and the right price for a short stay.

Reims is a foodie paradise. The productive surrounding farmlands ensure the freshest supply of meats and vegetables and the hearty country cuisine of the area is delightful for all tastes. I recommend any of the local brasseries which serve fantastic seasonal specialities washed down with copious amounts of the area’s most famous export.

Speaking of which, no visit to Reims would be complete without a tour of one of the Champagne wineries who have their headquarters in the region. The Romans mined chalk from below Reims and left a maze of tunnels that were tailor-made for the Champagne producers who call the region home. The Champagne vintners simply levelled the floors and moved their bottle racks right in! The constant temperatures in the Champagne caves are ideal for the fermentation of the world’s best sparkling wines.

One of the most picturesque of the wineries with a great tour is the Caves de Pommery. The tour through their caves is exciting and informative. Pommery has sited beautiful works of art throughout its caves nestled between kilometre after kilometre of aging bottles of its finest production. The tour ends in a tasting of different selections. I always stop by the shop on the way out to stock up on my favourite varieties.

Here’s a fun fact: unlike most other wines, it’s not necessary to taste a bottle of champagne when it is first opened. Each bottle is opened and tested as residue from its fermenting is removed, so you can be assured that the bottle is good as long as it has been stored correctly.

If, like me, you are enjoying the Tour De France, raise a glass of Champagne to toast the winners and have another glass or two to commiserate with the losers!

 

Love,

 

Isabella

Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral, Saint Remi Basilica, Place Royale (https://www.reims-tourism.com/)

Where to stay: Hotel de la Paix, Continental Hotel, Reims l’Univers (https://www.bestwestern-lapaix-reims.com/en/, https://www.continental-hotel.fr/en/, https://www.goldentulip.com/en-us)

Where to party: Pommery, Le Dropkick Bar (https://www.champagnepommery.com/home, https://le-dropkick-bar-reims.eatbu.com/?lang=en)

Where to party: Pommery, Le Dropkick Bar (https://www.champagnepommery.com/home, https://le-dropkick-bar-reims.eatbu.com/?lang=en)

What to buy: Stock up on your favourite varieties of Champaign

You’ll always remember your time in Reims!
Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral, Saint Remi Basilica, Place Royale (https://www.reims-tourism.com/)

Where to stay: Hotel de la Paix, Continental Hotel, Reims l’Univers (https://www.bestwestern-lapaix-reims.com/en/, https://www.continental-hotel.fr/en/, https://www.goldentulip.com/en-us)

Where to party: Pommery, Le Dropkick Bar (https://www.champagnepommery.com/home, https://le-dropkick-bar-reims.eatbu.com/?lang=en)

Where to party: Pommery, Le Dropkick Bar (https://www.champagnepommery.com/home, https://le-dropkick-bar-reims.eatbu.com/?lang=en)

What to buy: Stock up on your favourite varieties of Champaign

You’ll always remember your time in Reims!

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