Works of Art & Glasses of Champagne

Trip Start Jun 23, 2012
Trip End Aug 02, 2012

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Sunday, July 29, 2012

No great plans today as we have to ticked off our must do this time list in Paris! Caught the metro (this time with my trusty guide Kevin who fortunately has a great sense of direction), to Monte Marte and the Sacre Coure Basilica. We had been before last visit but thought it might be nice to wander the area and look at the art work this area is well known for. This part of Paris is very grotty and dirty which is a shame. We did find a bistro/restaurant recommend to us but decided not to eat there and choose something else instead. While we were enjoying a drink we were both really taken with some art work nearby and decided to bring an original Parisian canvas home, just a small one but we love it.
Easy day, had a small siesta and later I went on my own to Notre Dame cathedral which is only a three minute walk from our hotel so even I could not get lost this time. Only had a five minute wait as it was late in the day, that's even better. Called into St Severin church on the way back to hotel, at all the churches that day services were happening and incense everywhere. Wonderful music though and interesting to observe.
Dinner was in Latin quarter again at one of the numerous brassieres where you can get simple three course French cuisine for 12 - 15 euros.
The next day was our mini bus tour to the champagne region and we had a 7.30 pickup. Only 3 other people so again a small group. Our driver was Vietnam born but now French citizen Tong, ok at the start but by the end of the day we were fed up with him and his pretentious manner. He repeatedly claimed that we did not "know anything" because "you don't live here", well der what a surprise! By the time we got to the cathedral in Reims I had had enough and just walked away and left him with the rest of the group to put up with. The cathedral was very impressive but badly in need of restoration, guess it all costs money and lots of it.
We went first to a smaller winery where we could see the grapes and the chalk in the soil that retains the moisture in the soil so well. Stood among the  Bollenger vines and watched the machinery spraying and trimming. The small winery had great champagne and very cheap, only 16 euros for a bottle, only purchased one as luggage space is now at a premium. We tasted five different champagnes here and the wine maker was interesting to listen to. We also had a tour of the cellars etc. This winery was in the small village of Verzany.
Next we had a mediocre lunch in Reims at a local restaurant....I thought I was getting minced meat as it said on the menu, but instead I got sliced raw beef...indelible for someone who likes their cow dead!
After lunch we were taken to Pomery winery, very impressive with 18 Kms of underground chalk cellars/tunnels and many bottles of champagne. The tour was interesting and we had a tasting afterward. Got back to Paris by 5.30, the traffic in paris is horrendous, I would hate to have to tackle that everyday.
More dining in local brassiere and then a last long walk along the Seine to watch some buskers on roller skates and just people watch and enjoy the evening. We have had great weather here, not too hot and very pleasant.
Big packing effort to fit everything in.
We got 8.30 taxi to the airport where stupid me had not packed a salad fork I bought in Italy into my luggage so had it confiscated! I was devo but not much I could do about it. I guess now I have the matching spoon to always remind me.....maybe have to go back and get another one one day!

This is my last blog for this trip.....thanks to all who have stopped by to read and also make comments. I hope you have enjoyed it as we have enjoyed our trip. We have had an incredible time and seen so much and done so much. Made some great new friends, had a lot of laughs and had many pinch yourself am I really here moments! It will be hard to adjust to real life for a while. Look forward to seeing many of our blog followers soon!  So Bon voyage, au Revoir, Arriverderci, Auf Wedersehen,  Doe-Doei, to Europe, we are on our way back to Aussie.
Beth & Kevin
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