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Indytravel's Alsatian Adventure in France - March 2005

Indytravel's Alsatian Adventure in France - March 2005

Apr 2nd, 2005, 05:44 AM
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Indytravel's Alsatian Adventure in France - March 2005


Getting to France

Having booked my cheapest airfare ever to France from the Midwest back in November I headed to the Cincinnati airport in Kentucky on March 10th. Though not my favorite direct flight to CDG it was worth the low airfare. It was a code share with segments on Delta and Air France.

Due to Air Traffic Control in Frankfurt, I missed my connecting AF flight to Paris. I wasn't alone at least another 20 people on my flight missed it too.

I went to the Delta counter along with lots of other people. I just missed the last seat on the 13:00 Lufthansa to Paris. I had to settle for the 15:40. I was beginning to rue not paying extra for the direct flight.

Landing at CDG T1 at 17:00 I quickly cleared passport control and customs while getting dizzy. Round and round one goes in that terminal. Outside customs I was solicited twice by men offering a taxi ride. I never mess with independent cabbies especially when I'm taking the RER.

I caught the shuttle bus to the T1 RER station. I found a huge line of people waiting to buy a ticket into Paris. Seeing a blue automatic ticket machine I was denied use with my chip-less US credit card.

Having exercised my usual change accumulating habit in Frankfurt I counted my coins to determine I had 7.70, 15 centimes short. Looking around for a trash can to get an empty cup for panhandling I saw a Brioche Doree. I decided I would get my change must faster and get to enjoy a delicious croissant if I bought one. So I did.

I purchased my ticket, went through the turnstile and boarded an RER for Paris. It was almost empty. I stood with my suitcase since I was tired of all the sitting while flying. As this was a local and it was around 17:30 on a Friday the train got crowded around Parc Exposition until the Gare du Nord stop. From there I walked to Gare de l'Est.

I purchased a one-way ticket to Reims. I was quite taken aback. The ticket agent complimented my French. That is the first time in Paris that has ever happened. I decided to take it at face value rather then think that he'd dealt with so many non-French speaking tourists that I was a refreshing change no matter how poor my skills.

A 19:19 departure with a 21:00 arrival time was my ticket. Enough time to sip a celebratory kir or two and watch the people in the train station. I watched a gentleman order a draft beer and soda water mixed 50/50. I thought a rather unusual combination.

By the way the "composter" ticket machines have changed since December. They're now curvy, taller and a bright yellow instead of the old boxy orange ones. Think "La Poste" yellow. At Gare de l'Est they were placed as a spaced phalanx so much easier to notice. It always seemed to me the orange composters were off to the sides making it easier to forget to use them.

You have to put the ticket in with the magnetic strip down. There's a loud dot matrix printer sound then you pull it out. I found the stamp to be much more legible. I could read the location, date and time. When I had a round trip I purposefully tried to re-compost the same end. It wouldn't take it. I had to insert the other end in for a fresh compost mark. The new composters are being phased in. Paris, Nancy, Reims and Metz had them. Little Pont-a-Mousson still had the old orange ones.

It was an uneventful train ride to Reims for me. Two people around me had trauma. A man ended up buying an on-the-spot ticket after arguing with the conductor for several minutes. A woman only had enough train ticket for part of the trip she was taking. She had to buy the rest right there too.

On the walk to the Hotel Azur I stopped at Le Foch restaurant to get a reservation. Recommend here and reading their online menu it looked lovely. I was disappointed. They had no table available for Saturday dinner or Sunday lunch, the only two meals they were open when I was in Reims. C'est dommage. Next time I'll reserve a week in advance online which is what I should have done.

Jet-lagged at the end of a very long travel adventure I plopped down into the Maitre Kanter for something familiar. That's when I discovered foie gras was not on their menu! A first time for that, next time I'll make sure I check the menu before I sit down rather than assume. I consoled myself with the thought I was really too tired to appreciate foie gras.

I ordered the terrine de la maison pate. It was a pate filled with capers and peppers. The flamenkuchen with cheese, lardons and onions was as excellent as always with its crispy blackened edges. I had a 50cl pichet of Cote du Rhone. My total was 18.80euro.

Weather

I was very lucky. The first Saturday morning it rained and was close to freezing. It cleared off that afternoon. Each day it became progressively warmer and less cloudy until it peaked on Wednesday in Nancy with clear skies and 75F/23C. It cooled off a bit with more clouds Thursday & Friday. Saturday morning had dense fog that cleared by the time I reached Paris. Overall ideal spring weather especially since people kept telling me the few weeks prior had been cold, dreary and wet.

** all prices listed in euros.

Reims

Oddly enough pronounced like the US version of the word "France" without the "F".

Hotel Azur.

I wasn't surprised to see my room decorated in shades of blue. The end of the room had a partition that went most of the way to the ceiling. This created the bathroom. It had a full tub with shower that was enclosed with glass and a shower curtain, a sink and a toilet. It had the tiniest trash can I've ever seen. It was the only one in the room too. Where do they find these miniscule trash cans, the Barbie Dreamhouse Accessory store?

The bathroom floor had a tatami-like woven carpet that I didn't care for. Bathrooms shouldn't have permanent carpeting. I lifted the lid of the toilet to see a huge warning sticker in 4 languages, English being the most prominent.

"Toilet contains electric shredder. Do not put hard objects, plastic, wool or cotton into toilet bowl."

"Electric shredder??" I thought I was on vacation. Little did I know once a day I would have my own episode of "Fear Factor" as I dangled over an "electric shredder" praying nothing would go awry.

I decided it was the "Hotel of Rules." No eating in the room, needed to be out of the room from 10:00 to 12:00 for cleaning, no hard objects in the toilet, needed to leave your room key but remember to take the front door key with you...

It was a decent enough little two star without an elevator. My room in the back was quiet from outside noise but the walls were a little thin. I'd shop around for a different 2 star next time, but wouldn't mind if the Azur was the only hotel that worked out.

Saturday

After a night interrupted by 3 hours of jetlagged wakefulness in the wee hours I was startled awake at 6:00 by the sound of rain driven into the window by wind gusts. Ugh. I really had to give myself a pep talk. I was tired. The weather was ugly. I could have stayed in bed all morning. What a waste that would be.

I risked the electric shredder. Cleaned up I headed to the covered market at 7:00am. The old covered market looks like a condemned half of a concrete 55 gallon drum. Next to it is the new market that is a metal and cloth circus tent affair. I watched merchants set up their displays. I saw beautiful flowers, incredibly ugly fish, fresh produce, warm breads, stinky cheeses and all the things that make a market wonderful.

Next I walked to the cathedral knowing it would be open early. Though some pretty stained glass especially the Chagall's it's not a particularly interesting cathedral for its features. It's the idea that hundreds of years' worth of French kings were crowned there that is a special feeling.

I went to the Galleries Lafayette which opened at 9:00 for some cheap bottles of water and my pain au chocolate for breakfast.

By now it was nearing 10:00 so I went to the Tourist Office. I bought the visitors pass for 12.00. It included a champagne house tour, an all day bus pass, entrance to the four city musuems: Remi, Reddition, Jesuit's College and Vergeur, entrance to the planetarium, entrance to the Foujita Chapel and a coupon for a bag of Mrs. Fossier's Pink Champagne Biscuits.

Even with the former Jesuit's College closed for renovation and the Foujita Chapel closed for the season it was still a deal. Heck most of the champagne tours start at 10 euro. The bus pass worked well for a Saturday when the Citadine Lines 1 & 2 run. They circle almost all the tourist sites, one clockwise the other counterclockwise. They don't run on Sunday.

I walked to the nearest Citadine bus stop, validated my day pass and rode to the Martel Champagne house. I used my tourist office coupon to tour their cellar. It was in French only so I didn't get a lot out of it. Not surprisingly they used lots of technical champagne terms that I really wouldn't know the English word for either. I saw a lot of their old equipment in their cellar. Looking at racks of bottles I was surprised to see them all capped with flimsy metal bottle caps. It made it look like cheap racks of screw top wine. I'd expected rows and rows of pretty champagne corks. I guess that doesn't happen until the end. Another ideal blasted out of existence by reality.

Back up to ground level for a tasting of 3 champagnes. I had their normal, a vintage and a grand cru. Their tasting room was beautiful even the tassels decorating the ties holding back the curtains were in the shape of grape bunches. Ready for lunch I bussed back towards my hotel. While waiting for the bus a few icy chips fell from the sky.

The Bistro Boulingrin is where I had lunch. I was even able to sit in a non-smoking section. There were art nouveau touches with a zinc bar, some brass and neon were scattered about. Finally I had my first foie gras of the trip. For the touch of sweetness that foie balances so lovely with, there were pineapple slices and an apple & hazelnut compote. The crunch of the hazelnut blended wonderfully in my mouth with the buttery smoothness of the foie gras. My mutton chop was more towards medium then rare but no doubt fine. It came with a grilled tomato half and hot, hot frites the kind that come out of the deep fat fryer just for you. All of this was with a pool of brown mutton gravy better then ketchup with fries any day.

By now it had stopped raining and dropping ice chips. The sun was out and the sky was blue though it was still near freezing with the temperature. Being close to my hotel I purchased a paper and spent a few minutes stuffing my shoes to dry them out. Fresh dry socks and I was ready to take on Reims again.

I took the bus back out to the St Remi Basilica. First I visited the St Remi museum. Lots of stone carvings, some paintings, photos before & after WWII of the damage, and a set of 10 beautiful tapestries of St Remi's life were in the collection. I thought it funny the code for the bathroom across the courtyard was 1492.

I was starting to drag so I stopped for a cafe at a cafe. Being champagne country a man walked in and had a glass of champagne as many would have a glass of wine at 16:30. It sounds nice but I'm not sure I would like my local grape juice to be champagne. It would take away the special feeling of it for me if I sipped champagne regularly.

I skipped the St Remi Basilica for the moment to tour Piper-Heidseick as it was closing soon. I felt like I was on a Disney ride as my electric powered car with canned English commentary glided me through their cellars. P-H had marketed heavily to the Hollywood crowd so there were photos of celebrities and even a mock-up of the bar from the movie "Casablanca."

I'd purchased a tasting of 3 champagnes in their very retro & red tasting room. I did not care for the blood red, glass chandeliers. It smacked too much of a bordello for me. For 13.50 for my tour I received a glass of brut, a rose sauvage and their '96 vintage. I liked the '96 best. The brut was too try and the sauvage too citrus-y. This was my second tour and I still didn't get a one of Mrs. Fossier's dang Pink Champagne Biscuits.

I walked back to the St Remi Basilica. The sun was setting and the western rose window shone with all its glory.

By now it was getting on towards 18:00. Being very tired I stopped by the Monoprix. I picked up some fresh bread baked with Swiss cheese, a slab of chicken liver pate, a slice of hard Italian parmesan cheese and a Sprite to mix with my VO. I finally was able to try a Mrs. Fossier's Pink Champagne Biscuit as I'd picked them up with my coupon earlier. Pink, sweet, crunchy with a white meringue coating on top I like them. They do explode with crumbs though. Cheap meal at 6.87 with VO brought from home.
indytravel is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2005, 05:59 AM
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Excellent report, indy. Outrageously funny comment about the toilet! Keep it coming!
kopp is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2005, 06:06 AM
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Hi David-
Welcome back!
It sounds like you really lucked out on the weather.

Any trip including foie gras and champagne sounds wonderful- -Mmmm.
I think I could get used to sipping champagne on a regular basis.

As usual, your report makes me long for my next trip to France- which luckily is three weeks from today- hooray!

More, more!!

marcy_ is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2005, 06:33 AM
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Welcome home David !
I am loving this, more please!

Scarlett
Scarlett is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2005, 07:15 AM
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David, why am I always hungry and thirsty when I read your trip reports?
cigalechanta is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2005, 07:33 AM
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Thank you for another superb report. Now I know how to pronounce Reims properly. I will be heading that way, but further, to a small city, Charleville-Mezieres for a weekend at the end of April. I am looking forward for more trip report from you.
georgiegirl is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2005, 07:34 AM
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Electric shredder!? Glad you survived intact. Waiting for the rest of the report so we can calculate the foie gras/alcohol cost as a percentage of total expenditures. You have set the bar high.

Nikki is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2005, 08:41 AM
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Such fun reading your report - as always! I love your sense of humour. Looking forward to the rest.
Sue4 is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2005, 08:44 AM
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The electrical toilets are used when the pipes are smaller than standard to avoid plumbing problems. They are common in garrets that have been converted into pieds-à-terre which did not have waste lines originally.
Michael is online now  
Apr 2nd, 2005, 08:58 AM
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Great report, Indy. Your travelling style is very similar to ours. I love your descriptions...bring on the rest!!!
wren is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2005, 12:54 PM
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Super report, Indy. So sorry that you couldn't get a reservation at Le Foch - hopefully next time.
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Apr 3rd, 2005, 07:11 AM
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Hi Marcy,

I hope you have a ball. I love France that time of year with the chestnuts, lilac and wisteria in bloom. Will you be caught in the first of May French holiday whirlwind?

Hey Nikki,

I was so embarrassed after last trip's foie gras & alcohol cost ratio I've been too afraid to calculate this one. Maybe this time ignorance truly is bliss.

Thanks MaisonMetz!

I used a couple of your restaurant suggestions through out my trip and enjoyed the food in a major way.

Michael thanks for the explanation. Only once before have I had a shredder toilet in Tours. There the plumbing was more exposed and I thought the pipes looked small.

wren, Sue4, georgiegirl, kopp, Scarlett and cigalechanta thanks for the encouragement.

I'm working on my next installment now. I need to get some pictures scanned in too.
indytravel is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2005, 07:20 AM
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David,
Your latest trip report is as fun as always.
However, your pas de deux with the shredding toilet has me laughing... the mind reels!
Did you happen to take a picture of the beast ? ( The toilet.. I AM talking about the toilet ;-) )
Judy
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Apr 3rd, 2005, 08:02 AM
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David,
Yes, we'll be in Paris on May 1- any helpful hints or suggestions?

We were in Madrid last year on May 1, and it was a pain in the neck- most things were closed, and it was cold and rainy, so all my ideas of spending our time strolling through the parks didn't work out.
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Apr 3rd, 2005, 08:59 AM
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Indy, great report. So sorry about the disappointing trash can. You know, ever since I learned of your trash can rating system, I can't resist checking the number and size of trash cans in every hotel I stay at and thinking of you. (Therefore, you should know that both Le Merdidien and the Sofitel in Vienna supply two trash cans of decent size in their rooms.)
Looking forward to the next chapter!
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Apr 3rd, 2005, 09:30 AM
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Am enjoying this report immensely--entertaining and informative.
elle is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2005, 09:37 AM
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No Judy, I didn't take a picture. I meant too but it didn't happen. It did run rather scary though. I'd always close the lid before I pushed the button. I'd hear water run for a minute then it sounded just like a garbage disposal running for another minute.

Marcy I've only been in Paris on the May 8th holiday. Last year for May 1 I was in Lyon and the entire transportation system shutdown, buses, trams and subways. I hope Paris at least runs a holiday schedule.

For nice weather which I hope you have it's pretty easy, parks, cemeteries maybe a Paris Walks as they run a few on May 1.

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homep...ing/future.htm

For bad weather I'd think some of the churches would be open, maybe the Basilica at St Denis to see the tombs of French royalty.

I've always wanted to see a movie in a huge French cinema with a balcony. I still haven't done that.

The Grand Rex in the 2nd looks like it has tours starting at 10:00am on May 1st. The English is pretty limited on the website but it's a good chance to practice.

www.legrandrex.com

Another big theater is the Max Linder which seats 700 in the 9th.

www.maxlinder.com/cine.asp
indytravel is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2005, 12:23 PM
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Indy - Funny that you wrote about Le Grand Rex and its tours. We took the guided visit in French this morning. It lasts a bit longer than an hour, and was well worth it for film buffs or anyone who likes historic buildings and Art Deco architecture.

You also get the "Les Etoiles" tour - somewhat akin to a Universal City tour (though it's been a long, long time since we've done that so things may have well changed.) The "Les Etoiles" tour is available in difference languages and would be great for children of all ages - including us <g>.
MaisonMetz is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2005, 12:36 PM
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MM that is a coincidence! I've never asked about the Grand Rex tour here so really didn't know much about it. Nice to know it has a good endorsement. I'll have to try harder the next time I'm in Paris.

That's too funny BTilke. I don't know why I fixated on trash cans several years ago but those Barbie doll sized ones bug the heck out of me. Is a teensy trash can really that much cheaper then a decently sized one? Do they think the tiny trash can will make the bathroom look bigger?

Thanks elle. I appreciate your compliment.
indytravel is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2005, 02:53 PM
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Sunday

I awoke fairly early. I decided to hit the Mumm Champagne House as it opened at 9:30 one of the earliest of Reims' sites open on a Sunday morning. To while away a few minutes I walked through the North Cemetery. I saw several famous names on tombs: Heidsieck, Martel, Pommeray and even Fossier of champagne biscuit fame.

When I arrived at Mumm the next English tour was at 10:00, cash only 18euros. With a few minutes to kill I sat in the courtyard and watched 20 various antique cars arrive: a Rolls, a 65 Mustang, an old Porsche among them. One couple was British. They were on a road rally and had driven from England to Reims the day before. Today they'd tour the champagne house and drive back.

This was the swankiest of the 3 tours I took. Everything was color coordinated with the famous Mumm cordon rouge.

Want to be a Mumm champagne tour dude? It's easy. Be tall, thin and good looking. Speak at least 3 languages. When you get up on Monday to go to work wear the black suit, black shoes, white shirt and pick the red tie. On Tuesday wear the black suit, black shoes, palest blue shirt and pick the red tie. On Wednesday wear the black suit, black shoes, white shirt and pick the, you guessed it, red tie.

Want to be a Mumm champagne tour babe? It's easy too. Be tall, thin and beautiful. Speak at least 3 languages. On Monday wear the black skirt, black boots, black blouse and red scarf. On Tuesday wear the black slacks, black pointy shoes, black turtleneck and red earrings. On Wednesday wear the black slacks, black sandals, black blouse and red pendant necklace. As always the babes get way more clothing choices then the dudes.

Luckily for me my tour guide was Julia, a Mumm babe. She was German and spoke French and English working on her Spanish. Her husband was a pilot for the Mumm corporate jet fleet. I guess Mumm was a family thing with them.

There were only two others on my tour a couple from New England. The tour was very color coordinated too. You followed a red stripe painted on the floor. The cordon rouge slash of red was everywhere. Heck even their cellar master, the youngest of the major champagne houses, has red hair.

It was interesting to look down their longest cellar row of 400 meters. They had some very old bottles too. One rack was a 1920's vintage that she said was dead. She kept describing the "riddling process" of turning the champagne bottles. She would refer to someone doing it as "the riddler." Thank goodness I hadn't had my champagne yet or I'd have giggled out loud. Every time she said "riddler" I kept expecting Frank Gorman to step from behind a stack of champagne bottles wearing his dark green tights covered with question marks.

By 11:00 I was sitting with the other couple in the very red accented & chic tasting room sipping my champagne samples. Julia apologized to us as she had a large group coming so we were given a brief explanation. As she apologized she completely topped off my 3 glasses instead of pouring a taste. 15 minutes and 3 full glasses of champagne later I was glad I hadn't driven.

Chatting with the other couple they were in Reims for 8 weeks on business. They'd said the weather had been bad for their first two weeks and hadn't seen much. They didn't even have a weekend trip planned. I made some recommendations. I gently admonished them saying that it's easy to think you have all the time in the world with 8 weeks but you can look up and it'll be gone.

At 18 euros cash I originally thought it expensive. But I did get to try some very nice champagne for 6 euro a glass average. Champagne I wouldn't be able to buy by the glass almost anywhere and certainly not for 6euro. Like their Grand Cru made only from the best vineyards. I was able to taste their delicate Mumm de Cramant made from 100% chardonnay grapes. I liked the Grand Cru best. It had a broader, fuller taste. I thought the Cramant was too light and fruity. The popular cordon rouge was too dry for me.

I knew that brut champagne is dry and that sect is sweet. This is odd because in French "sect" means "dry." I did not know that "demi-sect" is sweeter then "sect." It was my "learning something new every day" tidbit from the tour. By now it was 11:30 so I'd shot seeing a museum in the morning as they all closed at noon for lunch.

I walked to the Brasserie Flo for lunch. It's part of the Flo Group of which Bofinger in Paris is a member. The amusée bouche was toast crisps served with cervelle de canut or "brains of the weaver." At least it tasted like the onion and chive potato chip dip-like cervelle I've had in Lyon. It doesn't look or taste like brains. I think it was named that because the weavers in Lyon ate it so much every day that their brains turned into the stuff. I had a kir with my amusée.

At this time an older French couple sat at the table next to me. They had a tiny Yorkie in the tiniest leather bomber jacket with a designer label. There I sat in mere Eddie Bauer. Once again out fashioned by a lap dog, sigh. At some point during the meal Casey (his name was embroidered on his bomber jacket) must have become warm as it was removed. Momentarily unleashed he stealthily worked his way over to hook up with a new-found furry friend who wasn't as outgoing. A little startled barking ensued. A waitress quickly shooed each contestant back to his corner and peace was restored.

Flo's slice of foie gras came with a fig & onion compote and fig jam. I had the rumsteck main with potatoes dauphin and a grilled tomato garnish. The Roquefort sauce with the steak was everything it needed to be: smooth and creamy with a touch of the bleu cheese tang. The potatoes were finely shredded like hash-browns, mixed with cheese and worked wonderfully with the sauce. The 1/2 bottle of Côte Provence rosé was pleasurably drinkable with my two courses.

The menu was 22.40 for a starter, main and 1/2 bottle of wine. It seemed like an odd amount until I looked at my café which was 2.60. That rounded it out to an even 25. 5 more for my kir made a total of 30euros for lunch.

I walked to the Hotel de Vergeur museum. I was the only one on the tour. The lady spoke excellent English so I used the opportunity to ask several off beat questions. Like the French name of the crocus flowers blooming in the garden. It's "crocus" only pronounced differently. We discussed the low beech tree. It was one of the dwarf mutations that only exist in that part of France. There was an explanation of it in my guidebook so I let her have that page as she'd never seen an English explanation of it.

This ended up being my favorite museum that I saw in Reims. Incredibly eclectic with pottery, a few paintings including a huge portrait of M. Fossier, globes, architectural facades in the garden, stained glass, a 1920's kitchen, Louis 14th furniture, ivory carvings etc. There were over 40 Albrecht Durer original prints from his wood carvings including his series of the Revelation to St. Peter.

I walked the short distance to the Palais du Tau. Now a museum it used to be where the king-to-be feasted before his coronation in the attached cathedral. It contained lots of architectural elements from the cathedral from the WWII damage and photos of the damage too. It's funny to see how huge the carvings of people are up close. They look so small high on the cathedral but standing next to one they're at least 2 times life-size. It had a blue & ermine cape from Charles X's coronation that would make Liberace swoon. Gold treasures and empty reliquaries were in cases. I managed to ask and be understood in French if it were possible to climb the cathedral tower. Unfortunately I was a week too early.

Fresh off my success of being understood in French I stopped at a café and ordered a kir. Lipton hot tea showed up. Dang. Back to the drawing board for me.

Reims is not a Sunday shopping town. Many cafés, eateries, boulangeries, tourist shops and the like were closed. I imagine more is open if you're there during high season rather than the middle of March.

Next was the Fine Arts Museum. With a courtyard filled with large wooden balls and timbers charred black it did not bode well. Thankfully the inside improved immensely. Lots of 14th & 15 century tapestries, interesting sheets of cloth that had been painted to simulate a tapestry, older secular paintings, more than 20 paintings by Corot, a Delacroix, a couple of Monets, a gorgeous Pisarro, a Gaughin and a couple of Ziem's.

The ground floor had some modern art. A nice Matisse scattered among some really ugly paintings. There was a painting by Foujita who'd done the art inside the Foujita Chapel that wasn't open yet for the season.

By now it was 17:00. I decided if I hustled I could make it to see the Museum of Surrender (Reddition.) I'm glad I did. There was an informative 15 minute video presentation in English to start. Upstairs was a collection of war relics and photos. Then you went into the untouched war room where the surrender was signed. The maps on the walls, the names of the people on the chairs, the list of casualties, the table where it happened, it was just as it was over 50 years ago.

Around 19:30 I stopped for a quick pizza for dinner after my huge lunch. It was a little place on the pedestrian Place Erlon. They were very interested in practicing their English with me so I gave in. I spoke with at least 4 different servers.

They had probably 50 pizzas including an asparagus pizza and one with chicken gizzards & cottage cheese. Cottage cheese? I eventually looked at their French menu. Ricotta had been translated as cottage cheese. Quite a difference actually and drove home the fact that my restaurant French is good enough I really prefer the French menu.

Dinner was a pizza reine with ham and mushroom. A hand-tossed crust that was beautifully baked to perfection with a couple of charred spots for the great taste it provides. A pizza and 50cl pichet of red wine was 13.35

I'm glad I had 2 full days in Reims. I could have used a 3rd. I missed at least 2 or 3 churches. I didn't see the automobile museum either. I'll have to return at a time when the Foujita Chapel is open, I can climb the cathedral and the Jesuit College is done being refurbished. Though the champagne tours all gave pretty much the same info I liked being able to try their better vintages by the glass. I could tour a couple of more. I'd especially like to tour a very small champagne house to taste their product perhaps one that needs reservations.
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