A Beginner’s Guide to Reims


It’s 3 am in Reims and all I can think about is eating the remainder of the baguette we bought yesterday. My girlfriend is asleep, so, out of courtesy, I would mange in the bathroom or hall. There is no quiet way to eat a baguette. A little of the noise is the crunch of the crust, the rest would be my guttural noises whilst chewing.

Traveling can be incredibly frustrating. Far beyond flight delays and navigating our way in a new city, traveling as a writer or photographer is daunting. There are more beautiful things to attempt to capture than there are minutes to attempt to describe. My recent trips follow a pattern of trying to write some notes on what I saw or did in the first days. Then the desired elements to share stack up beyond what I can write or post in a day. And that’s the taunting of travel. I used to travel vicariously through my friends and am now fortunate to be going on my own adventures around the world.

  A Beginner's Guide to Reims
Being in France after President Hollande declared a state of emergency has confirmed one thing. Nothing can detract from the eternal beauty of France. It is a country that has known wars and has survived them all. Last night we stopped in the notre dame cathedral and a few of the pillars still show damage from previous wars. But the church stands tall.

Reims has proven to be an enchanting city. We are here for a short time, but there is far more than champagne to experience. We are hoping to sip some bubbly later today. Immediately after departing the train with our pastries (priorities), we spotted an enormous Christmas tree, ice rink and rows of little wooden sheds selling everything from waffles to carved wooden boxes.

It became very easy to get swept up in Joueux noël!

We made a cacophony of clacking as we wheeled our luggage on the cobblestone streets and sidewalks as we meandered to our hotel. After resting and a quick shower, we headed out to explore.

The small city is beautiful and well worth a visit. We visited the musée de la reddition which is where the nazis surrendered WWII and victory was declared in Europe. It’s a truly moving museum and a must see. I’m generally opposed to things connected to war, but it was remarkable to stand in the very map room where General Eisenhower was headquartered. 

 When we exited, it was evening in Reims and all the lumières de noël were on. Good luck avoiding getting swept up in European streets aglow in Christmas lights.

There was a really cool light show ON the cathedral with music. Animations played on the facade of Notre Dame de Reims. Tremendously cool to see. 

Our evening meandered around Reims before settling on a brasserie pour dîner. Leann spotted two entrees (soup and a ham dish cooked in champagne or white wine) she wanted to try and I opted for the plat du jour, not really knowing what it was. It ended up being a delicious veal stew. Sorry, baby cow, but you were delicious. The côté de Rhône wasn’t bad either.  

 With no room for dessert or energy to do much else, we declared la fin de la premier jour en France.

Uh oh. I think Leann heard me eating the baguette…

  • You can never go wrong with the plat du jour in France. There is no bad food in France. On an unrelated note, I’m glad you let that little gingerbread man visit a church before you (presumably) ate him. It’s Christmas, after all.