Since our first post, we’ve left Paris for a few days in beautiful Reims – a small city about 130kms north east of Paris, right in the heart of the Champagne-Ardenne region. It’s a pretty town, even though the trees are bare and there’s still a chill in the air with spring just around the corner.
Our final days in Paris
We spent our last few days visiting some of Paris’s more iconic attractions – namely Centre Georges Pompidou, Sacré Cœur and Palace of Versailles…
From outside, the Pompidou is quite a sight – you either love its unapologetic high-tech exterior, or you hate it with a passion. We were both a little taken aback, but the space inside is definitely airy with plenty of room for its impressive collection of contemporary art and visiting exhibitions. During our visit we were lucky enough to see an exhibition on acclaimed Leica photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, which was well worth the 30-minute wait.
The highlight of our first visit to Paris was the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur – high on the hill at Montmartre. Compared to the imposing and brooding Cathédrale Notre Dame, Sacré Cœur is more understated with an incredible mosaic apse that seems to capture every skerrick of afternoon sunlight beaming through. Unfortunately, photos are prohibited inside, but Siobhan captured a cracking sunset from outside…
As well as visiting the Flea Market of Saint-Ouen, we ended our stay with a visit to the Palace of Versailles. This behemoth of a structure is a reflection of the overstated grandeur from the 1600–1800s. Maybe it was the biting wind or the thousands of tourists jostling for prime selfie positions inside the palace, but we were glad to tick this one off our list quickly. A special thanks to Marie and Rob for their unused tickets from last year!
Off to Reims we go!
Our first car-pool went off without a hitch, with our reliable driver Marcel, getting us to Reims in just over an hour. After spending our first two nights at the aptly named ‘Best Hotel’ on Reims’ industrial outskirts, we then couch-surfed for the remaining few days with a couple and their daughter, as well as a young lady named Christie closer to the city centre. So far so good!!
We also spent a leisurely afternoon in Epernay – the capital of Champagne…
But it hasn’t all been about the wine… Reims is the city in which Germany signed its official surrender to the Allies during World War II. We stood right in Eisenhower’s headquarters and saw the actual room where the signing took place – which is still intact! I’m no military history buff but this was well worth a visit And… it only costs four euros!
So where to now?
Right now we’re in Crozon-sur-Vauvre, near Chateauroux, about to start our first workaway. For the next week or two we’ll be helping Tim and Juliet turn their old barn into a new guesthouse, as well as dabbling in a bit of gardening and chopping firewood. For exclusive pictures of Siobhan and I getting our hands dirty – make sure you follow our blog (over in the bottom right-hand corner of the window).