Day 7

We had arrived in Reims late in the day, so we didn’t have much time for visiting. We continued our visit the next morning, a calm and quiet Sunday.

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Sadly, scenes like this are a sign of the times in France these days.

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Several times a day during our time in Paris, and continuing thereafter (although less often), we would encounter squads of heavily armed soldiers on patrol. They were usually in groups of four, one of whom would have an automatic weapon. I found it interesting that in nearly all the squads one or more of the soldiers were women–often the one with the machine gun. There was a bomb scare near the Notre Dame during our visit, but no attacks or violence. Still, the roaming squads of soldiers made the continuing threat very clear.

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Nevertheless, the famous smiling angel looked cheerfully down from her perch on the cathedral. She’s seen violence that makes today’s challenges seem minor by comparison.

After spending some time admiring the cathedral, we visited the adjacent Palace of Tau. It made me smile when I noticed that the young man who took our tickets was reading Kafka.

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It doesn’t seem that they entrusted this to someone fluent in English

On the night before their coronation in the cathedral, the soon-to-be kings of France stayed here and a banquet was held in their honor. We had the place largely to ourselves.

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The future king and his guests dined here

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The chalice of the coronation

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A detail from the Reliquary of the Holy Ampulla, which contains the anointing oil said to have descended from heaven for the coronation of Clovis. This 19th century reliquary was made to hold the oil which survived destruction of the the original vessel during the French Revolution

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The Crowning of the Virgin. This was originally over the central portal of the cathedral. It was damaged during the German shelling of Reims during WWI.

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Cherie with a (perhaps) life size statue of Joan of Arc

Of course these days Reims is probably most famous for its champagne. After leaving the museum we walked to the Taittinger visitor’s center, for a tour of their cellars.

Champagne grapes are grown  throughout the region. The chalk soil is ideal for growing the grapes, and the chalk cellars (caves) are ideal for storing and aging the wine.

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One of the stairways originally used by the monks

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When in Champagne…

We left Reims in the late afternoon, and drove to Epernay, a pretty town surrounded by vineyards and probably now most famous as the home of Moet and Chandon.

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We found a nice place to stay and settled in for the evening. We got out our map and thought about where to go next…

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11 comments on “Day 7

  1. Loved taking this tour with you Bill.. I know my hubby a visit to a winery would have also been on the cards.. 🙂 Cheers to you and your lovely wife.. So loved your photos, and yes it is a sad sign of the times so much security is needed in France.. So pleased you enjoyed your time in Paris.. Regards to you and yours my friend
    Sue

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    • Bill says:

      Thanks Sue. This was our only visit to a winery during our vacation. There are people who spend a week or more in Champagne doing nothing other than visiting the vineyards and cellars. We enjoyed this visit, but it was enough for us. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. avwalters says:

    I guess (shuddering) we’ll have to get used to the military occupation of public spaces. I fear it’ll be here, soon. At least in France it’s a response to a demonstrated threat.

    I love your tourist photos.

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    • Bill says:

      It seems to me that it doesn’t bother the French people as much as it would bother us. I remember being taken aback at the soldiers in the airport carrying Uzis when we first visited in 2000. But the squads of soldiers patrolling the streets is new since then, and a little unsettling until you get used to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What wonderful places. Love that angel on the cathedral!

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  4. Oh the things they’ve seen, the historical pieces you’ve just shown us… And I can’t help but think, as you pointed out, that – although things are indeed getting bad – they have been worse and will also get better…

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    • Bill says:

      That’s my hope and belief as well Deb.

      I find it fascinating to be in the presence of things that have been witnesses to such amazing history. I like to try to imagine the events as they happened.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. shoreacres says:

    I’ve dallied in responding to this, because I had to do a little research first. Your mention of the chalk soil in the champagne region intrigued me. During my own travels, I visited Monument Rocks in western Kansas. They’re also chalk: remnants of the seabed that was laid down during the Cretaceous period. I was fascinated to discover that the famous white cliffs of Dover are made of the same chalk, and after doing some reading, it seems that your chalky soil substrate is a remainder from that same period.

    It really is fascinating to see evidence of a time pattern in earth’s life scattered around the globe. I haven’t had the time to research the Cretaceous more thoroughly, or see where other chalk beds may lie, but it’s on the list!

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    • Bill says:

      I like the way you think. 🙂
      Is intellectual curiosity a blessing or a curse? Either way, my mind works that way too.
      You’ve caused me to realize how woefully ignorant I am of natural history. And you’ve inspired me to try to do something about that!

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