Rheims

Less than two hours from Amiens using the auto routes A26 A29, or three hours if you take the scenic route, Rheims aka Reims, north east of Paris claims 2,000 years of history and three Unesco World Heritage sites, Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Former Abbey of Saint-Rémi and Palace of Tau.Most people associate Rheims with the coronation of French kings and of course Joan d’Arc. The history of Joan, la Pucelle d’Orléans, and the Lancastrian 100 years war has a lot English involvement -perhaps a bit of an understatement – and you can read everything about that, if you want on Wikipedia.

But it’s not all history and World Heritage Sites. There’s spectacular too; the art deco in the photo is la Bibliothèque Carnegie à Reims. ( Moya 2012 licensed for non commercial use)

Food and drink are important here too. A trip to the Lothaire chocolate shop at 40-42 place Drouet d’Erlon can combine both beautiful chocolates with a glass of champagne.

Reims has its own special biscuit; the story is that, in 1690, a baker wanted to make the most of the heat in the bread oven between the two batches, so he had the idea of creating a special dough; cooking it twice, which is where the name “biscuit” or “bis-cuit” meaning “cooked twice” in French. The biscuit mixture was white and flavoured with a pod of vanilla. However, The vanilla pod left brown traces on the biscuit. In order to hide them, the baker decided to add a natural color based on cochineal, a scarlet dye, to disguise his mistake. Et voila, le Biscuit Rose de Reims.

It is commonly dipped in champagne to bring out the full flavour. Well I think the French are happy that anything alcoholic will do.

So, if you’ve been there, do share your memories with us on the Calais to Carcassonne page.

Author: Jo