Wednesday, July 12, 2006

France Reims Day 4

At the first time on the trip, we had a wake-up call. We had to pack up our bags and catch a noon train to Reims. After cleaning up the room, we wandered down to Rue Cler. This street is lined with shops, including places that sell just fish, cheese, meat or flowers. We explored the shop and then found a place to have an American breakfast. While we were eating, a truck stopped to make deliveries to the butcher shop next store. As they were unloading the truck, the butcher waved a baby pig in the face of someone who was trying to take a picture. Jack got a kick out of the pig!

Back to the hotel, we got a cab to one of the train stations. We had a very comfortable trip from Paris to Reims. The first class coach that we were in had only a couple of other people. The seats were much more comfortable than the plane ride from SFO to Paris. Although I originally intended to finish my book, I spent a lot more time watching the countryside go by. Typically, I try to compare the countryside of a new place to other places I have been, but I was not really able to make that kind of comparison as we rolled from France to Reims. The countryside is a mix of different features. There was a large amount of wheat as we left Paris. As we got closer to Reims, there were more and more vineyards.

Near the train station, we picked up a Hertz rental car for the first time: a diesel Peugeot with a GPS. We made our way to hotel and checked in. We are staying at the Hotel Les Crayeres. This is one of the nicest accommodations that we will have on the trip. It has a nice big room. It is apparent that we are the only people staying there with a child.

After lounging in the room, we headed back into town to visit the Notre-Dame de Reims. This gothic cathedral is the place that all of the Kings of France have been crowned for more than a thousand years. It was also empty compared to Notre-Dame in Paris. As result, it felt much more peaceful than the very crowded cathedral in Paris. There are some very cool stained glass windows by Marc Chagall in the back of the church.

Around the corner from the church was a tourist office. We spent some time talking to someone about our plans for Thursday. We are going to spend the day champagne tasting.

In a Wine magazine and one of the guide books, Sharon had found a restaurant in Reims. We had dinner at Brassierie Bu Boulingrin. It was the best meal that we have had so far on the trip.

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel. We walked around the grounds of the Château; my guess is that the grounds cover more than 50 acres. We stopped on the back terrace and finished the evening having dessert and watching the sunset at 10:00 p.m. at night. By the time we got back to the room and got Jack to bed, it was after 11:00 p.m.

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