voulez vous du champagne?

Reims, oh Reims, why are you so amazing? I had a weekend full of food, fun, and champagne! What a life I have.

It started off with a bang, when once again, SNCF decided to throw us a curve ball by canceling our connecting train. What to do when you are stuck in a random small impoverished city in rural France with no hope of escape? Why, go into the nearest café and find someone sober to drive you Reims! Luckily a gentleman was kind enough to take us the rest of the way for only the price of gas. We made it to Reims and quickly devoured kebabs to pacify our sorrows.

Soon enough, we were safely in the hands of our Couchsurfing hosts. GG hosted Christine and I, and Thomas hosted L and R. We headed to a bar close by to taste the local beer! Many of the others in the couchsurfing circle in Reims joined us, which was lots of fun. We got along swimmingly with our hosts – it was so refreshing to meet such a friendly group of young French people.

The next day we took advantage of all Reims had to offer; we had a lazy lunch at a café in the sunshine, basking in the glory that is horrible customer service and sitting for hours around the table. After walking all around the center of town, we went inside the stunning cathedral. We all agreed that it was more beautiful than Notre Dame in Paris – there is even a vivid Chagall vitrine at the nave of the church. As the sun set over Reims, we sat on a bench and watched the sky turn shades of magnificent blues, oranges, pinks, and golds. GG came to meet us and take us to Happy Hour, where we discussed plans for an evening celebrating Halloween – in France!

After we made dinner for GG, the couchsurfers took us out dancing! We went to a bar ambiance – which was totally decked out for the Halloween. The V-crew (Verdun crew) got a little crazy; the overwhelming furor came over us when we saw crowds of people our age and heard good dance music. Classics such as MJ were played, French pop Discobitch, and the night ended with Frank Sinatra New York, New York, a personal favorite.

The next day we crawled out of bed, running around Reims with our rolling suitcases trailing behind us, rushing to get to the Mumm champagne house tour. The fact that it was daylight savings time got us all in a little tizzy, but we made it just the same. The maison was exquisite, and the champagne was delicious! We felt like stars as we sipped and laughed about our amazing and fabulous destin.

After a sad parting with our hosts, we (eventually) got home and went right to sleep – there is only so much fun a girl can handle after spending a month in Verdun.

Merci à GG et les autres pour un très beau séjour à Reims!

*Pictures copyright C and L*

inner zen

After spending a week in the Vosges, I feel so incredibly refreshed and happy! I had an amazing, amazing, time there – it was difficult to leave. The family I stayed with was absolutely incredible, I will give many more details later…

In other news, I got my bike set up today! Not only does this mean shorter trips to the grocery store, but also something to do on my weekends in Verdun! Riding through the countryside! (Dad can you send me some of your spandex bodysuits??) Today I just rode my blue racing bike everywhere to show it off. Please leave comments with ideas for a fabulous French name. My friend’s bike is already called Bertrand, so you have to really get creative.

Tonight, I am headed off (midnight express thanks to the greve) to Reims, the capital of Champagne. Did you know that Reims is pronounced RANCE? With a powerful breathy French R? As in, rhyming with FRANCE! Oh silly French people J

I am actually braving another new method of unconventional travel; couch surfing. You know, when you sleep on a stranger’s couch, and in exchange you offer cultural exchanges through intellectual conversation, food, and fun!  Armed with Halloween goodies – maybe we’ll do a little champagne/candy pairing? I’m also hoping to sell my soul for a job as a tour guide in a champagne house this summer. A girls gotta have dreams!

I leave you with some tree-hugging-yoga-loving-green-crunchy-granola zen inspiration for your weekend, reflections of my trip. Don’t worry – my emo side only comes out to play when the sass is napping.

Peace, love, and bubbly!

Brenna