For my non-French speaking readers, the title here means “champagne country” — of course, “champagne” is a pretty obvious direct translation, but “campagne,” which means “country” or “countryside,” is less so. They rhyme, which is fun — making them a good combination for a fun blog title.
Once again, I have a blog that features a short day trip that I took over the weekend to get away from Paris. I promise, I’ll get back to Paris soon — though it may take several more posts. Up next is my week-long “ski holiday” from school, and I’ve got seven countries worth of photos to talk about before I work my way back around to home base.
This time, the second weekend after classes began, my friends and I visited Reims, a small town a short bus ride outside of Paris in the middle of Champagne country. I actually didn’t really want to go at first — I was feeling really under the weather, and I knew everyone would wan to go on a champagne tour, and I had pretty much completely lost my sense of taste and smell from congestion.
Or at least, I thought it was just the congestion at the time — but looking back at February 2020 from my perspective writing now in December 2020, I’m not convinced I didn’t actually have COVID. Back then, COVID was just a distant news story from China. It had barely touched Europe, or at least it wouldn’t in any kind of substantial capacity for at least another few weeks, and I’m not even sure we’d recorded our first case yet in the US. I had a stuffy nose and a cough and a headache, but at the time, there was no reason for me to believe it was anything outside of a regular cold that came from traveling to a new country and being exposed to new germs. Simpler times, I suppose.
Whether it was COVID or not, I guess I’ll never know. I did decide to travel to Reims anyway, despite feeling a little ill (not something I would ever do now!) because I didn’t want to miss out on a group bonding trip. I’d enjoyed our trip to Bordeaux quite a bit, though I thought the group was slightly too big. The cohort for Reims was a little smaller and more intimate — perfect for traveling. There were enough of us that you always had someone to talk to, but small enough that it wasn’t like pulling teeth to make a decision or dragging our feet hauling a massive crowd around.
We’d had the pleasure in Bordeaux of being able to take a guided walking tour in the morning before our wine tour, but there was no such thing in Reims. Instead, one of our friends, Liam, who’d done an exchange in Reims when he was in high school, took us around to the major sights. We saw a church (also called Notre Dame, interestingly), a castle museum, and stopped in a bakery for croissants — typical European city tourist things.
In the afternoon, we went on a champagne tour, the main attraction of Reims. Unfortunately, I still didn’t have my full sense of taste and smell, so I wasn’t able to enjoy the actual tasting quite as much as I would have liked. I’m no connoisseur of drinks though, so I’m not sure how much of a difference it would have made. All champagne kind of tastes the same to me.
Don’t tell the people of Reims I said that, though. Their city really was lovely — It wasn’t crawling with tourists, unlike Paris or even, to a lesser extent, Bordeaux. Reims reminded me in many ways of Vichy, another small-ish town that I’d visited back at the start of 2019. That feels so long ago now.
That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life during my semester abroad in the Paris, France. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Bloglovin, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Sweater: Thrifted (Free’p’star Paris)
Jacket: Thrifted (Free’p’star Paris)