Blackout. How I might describe stressful times. I don't have much time to think and reflect, which might be for the best, considering I tend to overthink. I have an exposé tomorrow concerning the French constitution, and I need to dedicate more time to it, but it's been consuming my emotions for the past week plus that I'm trying to numb the nerves by procrastinating (such as by blogging, hehe). I'm having trouble balancing school and life. On the one hand, I am not doing much school work because everything is so busy and sometimes my day-to-day feels like it's entirely in transit. But on the other hand, I am not investing enough in any hobbies or exploring, because every moment is either in class or preparing for the huge this/that of this other class. I would not say that it's more schoolwork than in Boston, but it's just... different.
But anyway, why does this apply to Reims, France, capital of the Champagne region? I decided that it would be good for me to take a pause and do a day trip. But we scheduled the buses in such a way that we'd only have about 3.5 hours walking around, one of which was taken up by lunch.
After looking at their absolute exquisite Notre Dame Cathedral, we walked about 30 minutes toward Parc de Champagne, apparently a vineyard on the outskirts of town. It was gated but still beautiful to look at. I miss...nature. Can I call this vineyard nature? No other word comes to mind than refreshing, to describe this day. The city is quite old, and has a mix of modest architecture, both new and old. It is not, obviously, as urban as Paris, but the center of town is still quite charming and bustling. The neighborhoods were especially cool to walk through, and it felt like the type of city that I'd like to live in. Anyway, back to the outskirts and the vineyard. We walked alongside these old castle-esque gates, through trees and a path of crispy red leaves, until the crossroad where we stumbled upon this large gated establishment. Lo and behold, it's Veuve Clicquot. We all kind of just stood there, shocked. Maybe it was just me that was shocked, actually. I didn't totally know that Veuve Clicquot was here, let alone that I would accidentally run into it! It was at this moment that I decided to schedule the later bus ride back to Paris. Because, when in Reims?! Study abroad is meant for things like this, right?
It was quite spectacular tasting champagne at Maison VC. One expensive drink but so worth it. We tested out our wine-tasting skills from the lesson earlier this week... ya know, the whole, swirl and sniff thing?
We toured the basilica next, and it was fairly quiet as they prepared for the service ordaining a deacon. We got to watch the choir perform and so we just sat for a long time, on the chairs, to take it all in. It was so calming and another highlight of the day for me.
I have attached the pictures below, as well as photos from other Parisian experiences recently... Like finally lunching in the Petit Palais (a kind of bizarre museum, surprisingly), a gastronomy tour in the African quartier, biking on a Sunday morning through the 17th, and various other things.