Monday September 25

We planned an easy day in this beautiful city. A well earned rest from our busy week of driving.

View of the beginning of the esplanade just a few steps from our hotel.

After a very good breakfast at the hotel we headed out to find the famous Reims Cathedral. It celebrated its 800th birthday in 2011 and is to France what Westminster Abbey is to England with 26 French kings being coronated here. The front of the cathedral resembles Notre Dame de Paris. It was severely damaged during WW I and was rebuilt in the 1920s. Luckily the church was spared throughout WW II.

Some of the stained glass windows destroyed in WW I were replaced through funding provided by local champagne producers.

There are also modern stained glass windows including a set designed by Marc Chagall in 1974.

We enjoyed walking around the city and had a picnic lunch in a park close to our hotel.

Reims was pretty much leveled during WW I and was rebuilt with a mixture of classic and art deco style architecture.  I really like the galleria off the esplanade.

A typical business/hotel facade on the esplanade.

After lunch we visited the Musee de la Reddition (Museum of the Surrender) – the actual building where the allied forces planned their operations and where the official documents ending WW II in Europe were signed between the Allies and Germany.

The museum artifacts and short documentary film were very moving – well worth the visit. The war operations room in the museum is unchanged from when it was in use during the war. The major part of the entire building remains in use as a public school – again the same as it was during the war.

Photo of the exterior of the building copied from the internet.

Photo of the war operations and document signing room copied from the internet.

After a full day we decided to splash out on a nice dinner on the esplanade. Cath had mussels which she shared with me.

I had a Hawaiian poke bowl which is very popular in France – but not as impressive as this pot of mussels!

After dinner we walked around the esplanade enjoying the night life and checked out the other dining options available. It was surprising to see the number of American fast food outlets mixed in with the more traditional French restaurants, cafes and bistros. The question “why” comes to mind.

Dining at the Ernest Hemingway Cafe?

Or is KFC more to your liking? Hard to believe these restaurants exist across the street from each other.

Sube fountain at Place d’Erlon – the far end of the esplanade.

Another fountain at Place d’Erlon.

Busy night life of the esplanade – but that’s enough for us today – time for bed!