Together with our friend Jim, we had a great long weekend in Reims earlier this month - it was a place that none of us had been before and it was GREAT! It is about a 500km drive from home and we broke the trip over with lunch on the way in Strasbourg, in a restaurant opened in the 1400's at the edge of the cathedral - glorious.
Reims itself is absolutely gorgeous, and so neat and clean. Considering the town was essentially levelled during over 1,000 days of continuous German bombing in WW1, the rebuilding program and restoration of the astonishingly beautiful Unesco listed Cathedral Notre-Dame de Reims has been incredibly effective.
We didn't know much about Reims, excepting that it's considered the centre of the Champagne region of France, before we went, but we quickly realised that it's a seat of such history and importance. Reims was founded in 80BC and pretty much anyone of ancient importance has trundled through the place over the years. Attila the Hun sacked the town, Clovis the King of the Salian Franks was baptised in the cathedral, and Pope Stephen II, Pope Leo III and Charlemagne conducted meetings here.
The most important thing in recent history was that Eisenhower made his WW2 headquarters in a school near the railway station, and in that school at 2.41am on the 7th May 1945 the unconditional surrender of the German forces was signed by General Alfred Jodl, German Chief of Staff, almost two full days before it was repeated in Berlin.
|Reims in 1916|
We really enjoyed our few days in Reims, doing lots of eating, drinking and exploring. We stayed at the Best Western Hotel de la Paix, visited the champagne houses of Champagne Geoffroy & Nicholas Maillart, did a seriously great tour with Chris from La Vigne du Roy, and even sipped some bubbles at the worlds only tree top champagne bar, Perching Bar. I'll be doing separate blogs on most of these things, but you can click on them above and get more details that way too.
|The Perching Bar, high in the treetops|