We arrive in Reims, 90 miles east of Paris, a town initially more important than Paris.
It was France's coronation city. During World War 1, 85% of Reims' houses were destroyed or damaged. We visited the Basilica St. Remi which was rebuilt in the 11th century in Romanesque style on the spot where a chappel dating from 533 housed the remains of St. Remi.
It is a Benedictine Abbey. The exterior and interior of the choir are a primitive Gothic.
We moved on to Reims Cathedral, which is noted for the unity and harmony of its arts and the ealth of its sculptural decoration It was built on the site of the 5th century church in which Clvois was baptized in 496.
The date is around 1211, ultimate finishing touches completed in 14th century.
Next door was the Palais du Tau, which was a small palace and was the seat of the archbishop ofReims. Today it is a museum that houses coronation regalia, tapestries and sculpture associated with the cathedral.
We head to the village of Hautvillers, the town where Dom Perignon, cellermaster of the Abbey, invented the modern champagne process. Before that, the Champagne region was noted for its non sparkling green wine. We went into the abbey church where someone got married and saw the grave of Dom Perignon.
We had a guided tour of the privately owned Abbey grounds.
Next we headed to Epernay for a visit of the Moet et Chandon cellars and had an explanation of how champagne is made. Chandon was the son in law of the grandson of Moet.
We had a visit of the extensive wine cellars, courtesy of Monseiur le comte Jean Remi Chandon-Moet, a former student of Pierre Azard, the French co-founder of the program we were tagging along with (another law school). We had a tasting of a glass of champagne in the tasting room. It was a 2000 vintage Moet Chandon. Supposedly the white grapes were especially good that year, and vintage denotes a limited edition champagne. The cellars were really really cold and damp. The whole process takes years and years. It's amazing how swanky the champagne is, when the cellars are almost disgusting looking.
We had a further explanation of how to make MC champagne.
Then we headed back to Paris.
Jen and I spent the whole day at the Louvre. We started at the underground floor and worked our way up to the first floor (so three floors in total). We saw all the famous works like the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and this painting that my mom has a print of, only in puzzle form. It's kind of difficult to explain what the Louvre is like...one should really go there to see!
I haven't written about what I did over the weekend. On Saturday I went on a trip to Reims and the province of Champagne. I'm a bit lazy to write about the experience since I have reading to do, and this is essentially a procrastination piece, so I'll copy what the itinerary said.