That first day always hits you the hardest.
We arrived in Paris around 10:30 this morning. The wedding isn’t until Saturday. So we thought this would be a good opportunity to explore a new part of France. Since we’ve already been to Paris.
Eliza selected this city for us months ago. I didn’t do much research about it until a couple days before we left.
Reims is about 45 minutes by train outside of Paris. We actually considered going to the UK or Belgium for these couple days before the wedding, but ultimately decided the closer to Paris the better.
The train from the airport got us to Reims pretty quickly. On the way we crossed paths with a gentleman from Texas who was trying to ascertain that he was on the correct train. “This train going to Reims?”, he asked. His cowboy boots and thick accent gave his state of origin away. We struck up a conversation. He explained he was 2 days behind his travel companions. His passport was set to expire in 90 days, so he was prohibited from traveling here with the rest of his group. He told us his wife went on ahead with his brother and sister in law. But he got all the passport drama squared away within a day. A few hours and $175 later, he had a new passport and a new flight. Never got his name, but he was kind and thankful that we helped guide him.
We arrived at our hotel Novotel Suites Reims Centre Hôtel around 1:30. It’s about a 7 minute walk from the city center. Which is exactly where we headed after checking in. Like most European cities, lunch service stops at 2pm. So our lunch options were pretty limited. We decided on 3 Brasseurs. It’s a pub type restaurant. So the menu wasn’t anything extravagant. Neither of us really enjoyed the food. But the menu consisted of salads, burgers, flatbreads/pizza, and other French pub type dishes. I can’t remember how to spell what I ordered. But it was almost like a pot roast with gravy and a side of fries. I almost wished we tried one of the other restaurants.
Thankfully this place was right in the city center. Which meant we were just steps away from some of the key landmarks in Reims. We immediately went to Place Drouet d’Erlon. Which was gorgeous. I love a nice fountain/monument.
By this time it was about 4:30/5pm. There are a few places we wanted to see. But had to prioritize since most of the tourist spots close between 6-7. We both enjoy a good museum. But I like to take my time with the artwork. So we had to scratch Musée des Beaux-Arts off the list. But I did snap this photo of the sculpture in the courtyard.
When I finally researched Reims, the main thing I HAD to visit was the church. The big old churches in Europe are what made me fall in love with traveling here. The architecture, designs, and elegance of these establishments are the epitome of beauty to me. Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims did not disappoint. I don’t even have the words to describe it. I’m just so thankful I got to experience its beauty.
I almost didn’t want to leave.
For those who are unfamiliar with Reims, its claim to fame is champagne. There are many champagne houses (producers) located in the city. This area is known to produce some of the best champagne in the world. Eliza knew this. Which is one of the reasons why she selected this city. I’m not a drinker. But I can respect the tradition, labor, science, and intense process behind producing the champagne. Our next stop was Vranken Pommery. We got there 30 minutes before they closed. Therefore we were unable to take a tour. But we were able to chill and walk around the area open to the public.
By this time the jet lag was hitting us pretty hard. We decided to head back to the hotel for a nap before dinner. What was only supposed to be 90 minutes of rest, turned into 3 hours. We didn’t think to set alarms. So by the time we woke up at 10:30pm, we were hard pressed to find a restaurant still serving dinner. We had to resort to some fast food in the city center. KFC. We ordered a bucket and fries. And it hit the spot.
So that was it. We took some night photos at Place Drouet d’Erlon. And walked past some thriving night clubs back to our hotel.
Long day ahead of us tomorrow. We have a full day tour planned and then we’ll be taking the train back into Paris.