Monday, January 28, 2013

To Reims, Ste Menehould and Nancy

A beautiful drive from Paris to Reims across the countryside. This is the Cathedral de Notre Dame at Reims, rebuilt after a fire in 1211 destroyed an older church.  From the fire arose this incredible Phoenix.  Part of the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the church is a light show that begins about eleven o'clock every evening in the summertime.  We waited, along with a hundreds of others, in the plaza at the main door.  And waited.  Until a voice came over a speaker system announcing that there was a malfunction, and the show would not go on, not, at least, that night....

Our own photos would hardly have done it justice, but here are a couple of links to the show.  There is a short version.  Bear with it, the first part is black and white, and it gets a lot more dramatic.  Then it gets dramatic.  And there is a 360 degree version.  By far the coolest version of this light presentation gives the complete show, more than twenty minutes.  It's amazing.  All was not lost --- a few days later, we spent a night in Nancy.  Jody and Kevin saw a similar light show at the Cathedral there, which was pretty fantastic.  But we are getting ahead of ourselves.  We loved Reims, and stayed at a little hotel just off the main square.  Here is the view from our window.

There was also a movie theatre, and one evening while Jody and Kevin explored, Carol and John went to see the new Woody Allen movie. To Rome With Love.  The show was in English with subtitles--- however, much of the dialogue was in Italian and the French sub-titles didn't help us!  Probably if we'd seen it in Portland there would have been English subtitles.  As it was, we had to guess a lot, so a pretty funny experience.

We loved the streets, because they were always filled with people.  The center of the city is for people, not cars.  People strolling, meeting over coffee or beer or a sandwich, people driving, playing, or just sitting and watching.

Like everywhere we'd been, we could have stayed longer.  But we had a plan... on we drove to Obernai, a UNESCO World Heritage site, in Alsace Lorraine.  On the way, we stopped in the town of Sainte Menehould and had lunch near the City Hall, with the most amazing pastries ever....

Nearby we saw a statue in a little park by the river which turned out to be of Dom Perignon, the monk who invented champagne!

We ate our sandwiches in the shade of the good friar --- without champagne, and in fact without wine-- but with a great deal of gratitude for being where we were, where we had been, and where we were going.  Not surprisingly, having chosen back roads rather than the freeways, we got lost a few times, which was wonderful since we saw surprising amazing sights!  It did mean that we didn't get to Obernai as soon as we'd planned so spent an evening in the city of Nancy, which has an impressive square, where the nightowls Kevin and Jody saw the light show at the Cathedral, similar to the one we had not been able to see in Reims.  

 Here is a picture of the most elegant gated Plaza as we say goodbye to Nancy and on to Obernai...

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