Saturday, December 5, 2009

In Lieu of Dickens

For those of you reading who are not familiar with our hometown of Wellsboro, Dickens of a Christmas is the once-a-year festival where the main street of our little old Victorian town is filled with vendors, performers, and tourists. I enjoyed the festivities much more as a child but I'll admit that in the past 5 years or so, my aversion to crowds of people has taken the fun out of it. But since we are in France this year, we concluded that we will have to take part in the French traditions which includes a Christmas Market or Marché de Nöel in practically every town.

Our first trip was to Reims in the heart of the Champagne regon. Reims is a similar size to Metz and while we spent some time walking around the vendors' booths, the majority of the trip was spent exploring the rest of this historical city. And since historical trips to cities in Europe is becoming a redundant topic in this blog, and since you can view the full photo album from this trip HERE, I won't bore you with too many details.

Here is some incredible history for you: Mars Gate, which the only remaining monumental gate of the Roman city of Durocortorum. It was built in the 3rd century.

The Foujita Chapel, built in 1966 on land donated by the Mumm Champagne house. If you want more history on this beautiful chapel, click HERE.

I don't have much of a caption for this picture; essentially, I have a thing for creepy old cemeteries (a passion that Michael does not share) and boy did we find a doozey in Reims. The cemetery was inaugurated in 1787 and has certainly seen better days. While there are new sections of the cemetery, the old sections are nearly falling apart. I'm not sure if the dilapidation is caused by time, vandalism and general wear alone or if WWII had anything to do with the destruction but everywhere you look, the granite slabs covering underground tombs have been shifted partway off and tombstones are smashed.

We spent a good part of our first afternoon attempting to duplicate an etching that we have back home of the Reims Cathedral. This is the closest we managed to get to the original picture although unfortunately, when the etching was made, the trees and streetlamps didn't exist. There also wasn't any scaffolding on the original picture which means we will (boo hoo) have to go back before our time in France is up so that we can get a better picture.

Here are some of the actual booths at the Christmas market. You can find gingerbread, hot spiced wine, cheap knockoffs of expensive knives, Christmas ornaments, delicious meat pies (which were made up the majority of our diet those two days), and much, much more.

 After more wandering around Reims the next morning we found our way to Saint Remi Basilica on which construction was started in the 11th century. The building was badly damaged during WWI but has since been restored.

As a final salute to Reims and our favorite meal while there, we enjoyed this delicious lunch in the park. 

Michael just got back from a final review for this Nuclear class and will need his computer to study, so unfortunately I will have to finish off this post at a later time. Enjoy Dickens Wellsborians!

1 comment:

  1. England does the Christmas markets too. That was probably my favorite part of Bath in December. It's where I did almost all of my Christmas shopping that year. :)