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France  October 2023













                                                                                                                                                     The first stop of our trip was Reims, the center of the champagne district in France, about sixty miles from Paris. At my suggestion we didn’t make train reservations to Reims since I was concerned that the flight would be late and we would have lost one of our prepaid legs on our rail pass.  Besides you never find a train with all the seats taken, well this time we did, so instead of a direct train to Remis from DeGaulle we had to go to Paris and change trains.  No big deal. right.  Well not only did we have to change trains but we had to change stations. The Southern station was only a ten-minute walk, if you knew the way. Oh yea we had to drag out luggage up and down a great many steps without a banister to hold on to.












After about 36 hours of travel, we arrived at our apartment in Reims and couldn’t open the door. We were tried, frustrated and a bit angry.  Finally, the owner arrived and easily opened the door by swiping the fob in front of the lock (we had been trying to insert the key on the fob).  It was a great one bedroom apt in a great location next to the Cathedral Noter-Dame de Reims. Tired and hungry, we walked to the nearest restaurant and ordered a bottle of Champagne before turning in.








Reims is not only the champagne center of France it is also where all the kings of France were coronated hence the large cathedral, basilica and numerous buildings required for visitors to these events. Napoleon crowned himself as emperor of France in Paris but he is the guy that established the wine appellation districts creating and protecting this area for the production of Champagne.


Tourism is still at an all-time high and we missed a tour to Epernay because they were full.  So, we did the next best thing and bought a bottle performing our very own tasting. We were able to attend a tasting at Taittinger’s and expanded our knowledge and made us want more (champagne and education).  The town is walkable and we even tried the rail system to take a look at the suburbs. Oh yea, you can also find the Carnegy Library.
















We enjoyed Reims and would return but would make reservations to travel to the vineyards for more tastings.




To view our FLICKR album of Reims click HERE




Nice, France   the 5th largest city in France




Okay back to Paris to change trains for the long ride to Nice.  We found interesting seat mates on our trip to Nice.  An elderly British couple who had moved permanently to France as a young couple and two women who owned and operated a Gallery specializing in African art located in the Latin quarter in Paris. Although they had all the information, they had most of the questions, like what the hell is going on in the US.


The history of Nice is mostly about European royalty building summer palaces to enjoy the Mediterranean. The city was busy but not crowded.  There is a plethora of outdoor art, museums and palaces.  We did take a ”hop on hop off“ tour of the city which took us to the smaller surrounding villages and  marinas.  One thing you should know about Nice is that the beaches are stone.




































To view our FLICKR album for Nice click HERE


















When we found our first-class car on the train to Bordeaux the car was closed off and we were left to scramble for a seat. The entry way to the car was filed with people sitting on the floor and the conductor shrugged his shoulders and quickly left never to be seen again. So every stop you found that you were siting in someone’s reserved seat and had to wander up and down the cars until you found an empty one.









In Bordeaux we stayed at the Marty Hotel (highly recommended for the level of service) and dined at good restaurants nearby.






We were able to book a group tour of Saint-Emilion, a charming medieval village located in the heart of the Bordeaux wine country. We had couples from Australia, New Zealand and London. The guide asked if we could understand her English since it was her second language and we all nodded.  The question was could we understand each other.  The tour was great and by the time we finished we were chatting and laughing after a full tasting of some great Bordeaux from the region.


































Bordeaux is not only a wine capital but the city is vibrant with art, shopping, and coffee shops!






One of our favorite stops throughout France was Paul's pastry shop.








To view our FLICKR photo album click HERE














What can you say about Paris? We visited many of the sights and I won't go into how impressed we were with the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa or the Arc de Triomphe and other sites but let us add that we were treated very well, every place we visited was clean and orderly, people were well dressed and the subway made it very easy to get around.  Yea it was a bit crowded but we never waited in a long line. The best meal we had was a cheeseburger on our last night.










To view our FLICKR album click HERE