Once a year, Youssef and I like to cross over to Europe by car for a couple of nights and discover a new town within a reasonable distance from Calais (our arrival port in France).
In 2013, we went to Bruges for a night, which I will talk about in a separate posts. In 2014, we decided to book 2 nights and since we were staying a bit longer, we could explore areas that were further away. Bruges is only an hour away from Calais which is perfect for a one night stay. Since we love wine so much, we chose to discover the region of Champagne-Ardennes and more specifically, the capital of Champagne: Reims. We invited our dear friends, Veronica and John, to tag along since we had space in the car. It was one of the best weekend breaks we had in Europe so far. We really made the most of our time there and tasted some really nice Champagne all weekend.
We booked a flat for our first night in Reims. It was very well located and the host was very welcoming and helpful. Her name is Marine (booked through airbnb) and we asked her to recommend some local and small Champagne houses which she happily did. We wanted to see everything. Reims is a small town and we visited the cathedral and town in less than a day.
Most restaurants close between 2pm and 7pm, which didn’t work in our favour since we wanted to eat. We still came across a nice boulangerie which served hot sausage rolls and a delicious bagel place (http://www.bagelstein.com/)
After that quick snack, we stopped for a cold glass of champagne in the afternoon and it was my first time having Deutz, which was really refreshing and tasty. We chose that bottle because it was the house brand and we were curious about it.
We stayed there till dinner time since it was right next door to the restaurant we wanted to eat in: Brasserie Les Halles. It was definitely a great choice. It was recommended by a couple of locals we asked during the day. Our food. It was delicious, fresh and simply French. The boys had steak which was cooked perfectly, I had fish and Veronica had the lamb. We also shared a bottle of red wine which was perfect. As we were in France, we had to have our fromage before our dessert. We were already quite full but felt like trying their selection. We shared a few types and I must admit that I am no cheese connaisseur so I do not remember what we ordered but here’s a picture. As much as we were stuffed at this point, the dessert menu sounded too good not to order from it so we ordered 3 desserts to share between the 4 of us: crème brûlée, Paris-Brest and a chocolate mousse/cake . The winner in all our eyes (and bellies) was the crème brûlée. It had a hint of pistachio with some raspberries, and that broke some of its sweetness. It was the perfect ending to our first proper meal in Reims.
On our way back to the flat, Veronica noticed earlier in the day that there was a Sound and Light show at the cathedral that same night so we passed by it to have a look. It was my first ever Sound and Light show so I didn’t know what to expect. It started at 10pm because they needed absolute darkness and even though the front of the cathedral was under refurbishment, they did an amazing job with the show. It was very designed, thought of but more importantly amazingly well executed. I was very impressed with the quality and standard delivered. It was the perfect ending to our first day in Reims.