"I just want to get out of Paris!"
After spending 2 peaceful weeks in Iceland and Greenland I kinda had a 'shock' when I landed in Paris, the so called 'most romantic city in the world'. Yes, Paris is beautiful but it's just way too crowded and complicated for a small town girl like me. It did not impress me on my first visit 14 years ago and I thought I'd give Paris a second chance. But within a few hours wandering around the city, I felt suffocated and miserable that even those delicious French patisserie could not lift my mood. I decided to hire a chauffeur and car on the next day to take me away from Paris.
* I didn't mean to travel like a royal family but I was travelling with my Dad who's still recovering from a stroke and my Mom who can't walk too far due to spinal surgery couple years back. I love taking public transportation but it's not an option when I travel with my parents.
|Notre-Dame de Reims|
"Where would you like to go? Gallery Lafayette or Champs Elysees? Indonesian people love to shop there for branded stuff", asked the chauffeur enthusiastically when he picked me up at the hotel the next morning.
"Not all Indonesian would fly thousands miles away just to shop. Obviously not me." I rolled my eyes. "Also I've already been to Gallery Lafayette yesterday."
"See! You went shopping. Did you buy anything nice from that luxury department store?"
"Yes. I bought a box of expensive fried rice from Chinese restaurant on top floor. Now please just take me to some leisurely beautiful places."
|some renovations in Reims Cathedrale|
The chauffeur drove the car towards the highway and took me to Reims, a charming city 2 hours away from Paris. My first stop was the Cathedral of Reims which was built in 1211 to replace an older church destroyed by fire. The process continued through three centuries but rest incomplete. Spires that were initially planned for the tops of the towers were never built. The Gothic art masterpiece was one of the first monuments registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
|can you spot the difference between old and new parts?|
The 800 years old Cathedral is an important site in the history of France where at least 24 of its kings were crowned. Unfortunately some important parts of the building were destroyed and severely damaged during the World War I. It was not until 1919 when the restoration work began and was fully reopened in 1938. What amazed me most was the stunning details of the limestone statues and Gothic stained glass windows. Such a mind-blowing artworks!
|interior of Reims cathedral|
|stained glass windows designed by Marc Chagall|
|beautiful vaulted ceilings|
I really could spend hours just sitting in silence inside the church, admiring the beauty around every corner. Beside the cathedral I also visited Abbey of Saint-Remi and had a cellar tour at Pommery Champagne house. I'll write about it on separate blog posts. Though I had no expectation at all, visiting Reims was one of my best day trips. Well, thanks to my chauffeur! It's true that sometimes the best advice comes from local people. Don't you think? :)