|Subject: Travelogue Champagne|
This is the last in a series of small travelogues I have put together to share with you of my study/vacation adventure that I took in the spring. I hope you have enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed writing them and if anyone has any questions about the cities I visited I would be happy to answer them in greater detail.
Reims-Champagne June 1
I arrived from Paris's Gare de l'est after 1.5-hour train ride to Reims. The first place I visited in Reims was the Cathedral Notre Dame as it was where 34 Monarchs had their Coronations. The Cathedral has outstanding carvings at the main entrance and an amazing rose window. Sadly it was heavily bombed in WWII and has since been rebuilt by very generous donations from J.D. Rockefeller.
The Palais of Tau, which is right beside the Cathedral, was once the residences of the Archbishops. I spent about an hour viewing excellent statues and ritual objects but found the tapestries to be most impressive.
I had an excellent four course lunch at Hotel Alace (6 rue du General Sarrail) including wine for about 80 frs. It was one of my best meals in France as the food was excellent and I had a wonderful visit with the owner.
After lunch I went on a tour of the MUMM champagne cellars. It is one of the oldest and largest Champagne houses in France. Apparently Napoleon III tried some of their champagne and was so impressed he took off his war metal and put it around the bottle (and that is how they distinguish their premium vintages). The tour started with a very long descent in an elevator down to the cellars. There are apparently miles of tunnels that were used as bomb shelters in WWII. They took us through a museum of how the Champagne was made in the past and showed us how they added the gas at the end. I enjoyed a sample of the Champagne, an excellent way to end the tour.
As I strolled back to the train station along the boulevard I couldn't help but recall an anonymous poem I once heard about wine.
God made Man Frail as a bubble God made love Love made Trouble God made the vine and is it a sin that Man made wine To drown trouble in!
Tom Cobban, London, Canada