On Thursday, the long hot summer of 2016 was predicted to never arrive once more so I hopped a train to Reims or Rrrrrance as the French like to pronounce it. Reims is only a 45 minute train ride 85km to the North-East of Paris and is an ancient town famous for two things. Firstly, Reims is the unofficial capital city of the Champagne region. Secondly it has a cathedral, Notre-Dame de Reims, which was the place of coronation of the kings of France. This is a truly magnificent building which was completed in 1275. The building suffered extensive damage during WWI but has since been reconstructed. This reconstruction has enhanced the building in some ways, for example, the stained glass windows are a mixture of ancient and modern. A particularly beautiful section of the windows was designed by the artist Marc Chagall and was only installed in 1974. One of the things I found a little surreal was the collection of gargoyles. Many had lost their heads through time or war and they have been replaced by new ones which appear to be constructed from lead or copper and aren't really in keeping with the rest of the building. I'm sure there must be a reason for it but I can't figure it out.
As with many of France's ancient buildings the cathedral was undergoing yet more refurbishment and the exterior facade was covered in scaffolding, as was the fountain in the town square. Another photo opportunity lost.
After visiting the cathedral I wandered the town, which is very quaint and relaxed. During lunch the weather turned foul so I sat there for a couple of hours sampling the wine and watching the world go by. Once the rain stopped I headed off and found a champagne tasting establishment where I found some new friends from Germany and enjoyed a couple of fine glasses before heading back to Paris.
Not a bad day.