Archive for December 31st, 2020

December 31, 2020

Tours, the essence of the Centre-Val-de-Loire!!

This was sort of an introduction to Tours as have many other more recent posts and pictures of sights there. However, would like to update revise this one with updated links and text as it is essencial Tours! Hope you enjoy it as I do.

We finally reach our final destination Tours. As usual, we have been in town briefly, or in route, but never really saw much or if did it was a loong time ago with no pictures. Therefore, we finally reach Tours and it was nice to merit a return trip asap! And we did , see posts.

Tours, a city on the banks of the Loire and Cher rivers in the department 37 of Indre-et-Loire,as seat of the area and of the metropolitan region of  Tours Métropole Val de Loire. It is in the administrative region of Centre-Val-de-Loire.

We came by car as always , and we found it not bad even with only one way streets! Easy parking at Indigo Nationale rue Emile Zola off the rue Nationale. Safe and clean parking walking to everything. It is cover by the A10 for most of its territory beltway and it has a circle from which five highways come out; some of these are, A10 north towards Paris, and south towards Poitiers/Bordeaux, A28 towards Le Mans/Rouen, A85 west towards Angers, and A85 east towards Vierzon and junction with the valley of the Rhône. Many other secondary roads such as the N76, N138 allowing you to connect to the city and regional capitals such Limoges on the N147. And the ones we took the D37 and D751 along the Loire river.

A bit of history I like

It is the old Caesarodunum founded by Cesar Auguste, capital of the 3rd Legion with one of the biggest amphitheaters of the Roman empire. Sanctuary of Saint Martin, Gregory of Tours, and Alcuin under the Merovingian and Carolingians with adoption by the Capétiens of the Tournais pound, the money that will become the money of the Kingdom of France. Capital of the County of Tours that will become Touraine the garden of France, royal capital under the Valois with its Castles of the Loire, capital of the kingdom for kings Henri III and Henri IV during the war of Religions and city of retreat in 1940 that had it in part destroyed in WWII. Good to mention the old bridge or Pont de Pierre over the Loire was renamed in July 1918 with the name of Woodrow Wilson ,president of USA from 1912-1920 for the help during WWI . Since then, culinary city as gastronomy enclave with specialties such as the rillettes ,and rillons, the wines touraine of the Val de Loire and it’s cheeses such as the AOC Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine (my favorite !) and the nougats of Tours.

There is lots to see here and one day is not enough , however, we have come for short periods before many years back, and it was time to revisit the city, now we should be back to see more, and as said we did! So much to see in my belle France, the Valley of the Loire alone will take a lifetime!!

The city of Tours is a city of Art and History designation ,been a historic city name to the Unesco world heritage sites. As an anecdote ,Tours sometimes is call the Little Paris by visitors because maybe for its history, the architectural arrangement of its boulevards in the center town and buildings in white stone ,nice and clean silhouettes.

We went out of our hotel into glorious Tours. At the square François Sicard  with it’s nice garden park you are facing the museum of fine arts or musée des Beaux-arts , right in the center of the garden a cedar of Lebanon tree that goes back to 1804! There is an elephant Fritz that was belong to the Barnum and Bailey circus (Fl USA) and donated to the city of Tours it is stuff there in a glass enclosure  the elephant died in 1904! This will help you go further to see the most important French collection of Italian primitive arts after the Louvre…This all behind the white facade of the old 18C Episcopal palace or Palais des Archevêques, and paintings such as Mantegna, Boucher, Debré, and Zao Wouki, etc,  sculptures, ceramic, furniture and others objects of art awaits you! Right next to it is the gracious silhouette  of Saint Gatien Cathedral or Cathédrale Saint-Gatien ,name after the first bishop of Tours; majestic towers, splendid stained glass, big wonderful organ and the tombs of the children of  Charles VII and Anne de Bretagne (Anne of Brittany).

We continue our walks into the old street of Grand-Rue du Moyen Age, now call  rue Colbert. Here all is picturesque with old cafes and shops and authentic houses of the 15-16C.  We took a detour into the rue de la Scellerie with ambiance the district of the antiques shops, book shops, and china porcelain , to the right you see the flamboyant façade of the Grand Théatre, dating from 1875.

Following our thirst for sights we took on one old reliable the rue Nationale  ,this is the old rue royale that link Paris with Spain of old, now with a perspective north south of 7 km long!!  There is a Galeries Lafayette ,and the wonderful Galerie Nationale shopping mall.  And the great boutiques in city center at rue Nationale , especially come in for the Le Comptoir de Mathilde ,72 rue Nationale (branches all over France) , great chocos cookies etc to bring home! webpage: https://www.lecomptoirdemathilde.com/fr/

Stop by the truly remarkable tour Charlemagne,  in the district of Châteauneuf  and reaching the square of the same name you come to the wonderful Saint Martin Basilica or Basilique Saint-Martin  in rue des Halles. It was built in the néo byzantine style by local architect  Victor Laloux , the interior is awesome beautiful, glass, stone of gray marble, the tomb of Saint Martin in the crypt with beautiful harmony and spaces. Pope John Paul II visited here and offered a Mass to the poor in 1996.

The lively  rue des Halles  makes us come to the 21C ,and by the balcon of the Hotel de Ville and nice fountains. You come to the train station or Gare de Tours ,one of the most beautiful in France off blvd Heurteloup. Wait we did shopped here at rue des Halles!!

We went by the Chateau de Tours in the oldest district of Tours next to the Loire river. built back to the 11C  by the 15C it is designated a royal domain. It was practically destroyed in the 18C and only two towers remained  used by the army from the French revolution, later serving as a barrack and left abandon until finally restored in the 20C ; today it houses cultural and heritage activities of the city of Tours.

We went to Le Damier Vert and got chocolates, nougats, marshmallow candy, and chocolate telephone tablets all home made; wonderful place at rue des Halles. webpage: https://www.ledamiervert.fr/

And we had our late night dinner in the best international style at Amadeus Bagel with Pastramis bagel , burgers bagel, tex mex bagel , desserts such as abricot pies ,and sodas for under 16€ per person. Which sadly has closed. One good reason to do updates on older posts: keep it here for the memories we love it!

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Oh yes I almost forgot we got our hotel , the Hôtel Moderne at 1-3 rue Victor Laloux off the blvd Heurteloup and very nice friendly service , centrally located on foot to all. It has acceptable rooms and good bathrooms, with reading room and wifi, only drawbacks no parking and expensive 9€ breakfast so we ate out. The parking was done at Indigo Nationale at rue Emile Zola nice easy 2 min walk to hotel but we pay extra 17€. The rooms were at 50€ ok. webpage: http://moderne.tourshotelsweb.com/en/

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The city of Tours on its heritage in French: https://www.tours.fr/5-decouvrir-tours.htm

The Tours tourist office in English: https://www.tours-tourism.co.uk/

And this was Tours in a nutshell , of course lots more to see and enjoy this wonderful city of the Touraine. There are those that said the purest French is spoken here… All to come in as we did and did come back again… Enjoy Tours!!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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December 31, 2020

Some news from France, CCCXXII

And here is my tidbits news of my belle France, and last of the year 2020. It has not been a good year but we go in the life cycle with ups and downs with nothing left but to continue in life, the best we can. With this I will say to all my readers, Happy New Year, Bonne Année, Féliz Año Nuevo, Feliz Ano Novo!

The curfew due to the virus remains in effect this Thursday from 20h to 6h. To prevent crowds, around forty metro stations will be closed and several lines interrupted in the evening.

Last Tuesday, December 29, at the end of a Defense Council, the government rejected the idea of confinement, but establish a curfew from 18h  from January 2 , 2021 in the territories where the Covid-19 circulates the most.  The cities of Nancy (Meurthe-et-Moselle), Mulhouse (Haut-Rhin) and Reims (Marne) would be particularly affected by the measure. The curfew would begin there at 18h

The 20 departments that will be affected from January 2nd 2021 will be, region and then department with number:

Grand Est :
08 Ardennes
10 Aube
51 Marne
52 Haute-Marne
54 Meurthe-et-Moselle
55 Meuse
57 Moselle
68 Haut-Rhin
88 Vosges 

Bourgogne-Franche-Comté :
25 Doubs
39 Jura
58 Nièvre
70 Haute-Saône
71 Saône-et-Loire
89 Yonne
90 Territoire de Belfort 

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes :
03 Allier
07 Ardèche 

Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur :
05 Hautes-Alpes
06 Alpes-Maritimes.

Luckily we have been spare of the more strict rules. Bretagne.

Snow forecast for Paris by the end of the year. Also planned for Bretagne with some frost and snow in the upper region !! temps of –4C (about 25F) expected in the morning and 1 (about 34F) in the afternoon!! Yikes!! and the electricity cost will go up 2% or about 30 euros in average per home!! And due to the virus as well we are staying home; plenty of TV programs lol!!

The demographic decline, which began a few years ago, is being confirmed. According to the latest figures from INSEE, Paris now has 2,175,601 inhabitants, or 54,000 fewer then five years ago. I have mentioned in my previous posts the problems of Paris due to a lack of quality of life for laws that prevent free movement.  The 9éme arrondissement or district  is one of the three Parisian arrondissements to see its population increase slightly over five years. The department 93 of Seine-Saint-Denis, the engine of demographic growth in the region of Île-de-France, now has more inhabitants than dept 92 Hauts-de-Seine, in the Yvelines dept 78 , the population continues to grow, at a regular pace, according to the latest figures from INSEE.

A sad news in Poissy, the Monoprix in the city center will lower the curtain. Present since 1962, the brand will definitively close its doors on December 31.

Ikea ends 70 years of its iconic catalog. The Swedish furniture brand first published its showcase on paper in 1951. This catalog, translated into 32 languages, has established itself as an icon of modern design. Its online version is also being discontinued. Another goner!

The Île de la Cité flower market has lost a little of its splendor over time. An architectural competition has been launched by the City of Paris to give a second life to this Parisian institution. The flower market on Île de la Cité will be completely restored between 2023 and 2025. It’s about time and this time a good initiative.

For New Year’s Eve, the city of Paris presents Thursday evening “Welcome to the other side”, a concert that the musician will give in a Notre-Dame Cathedral reconstituted in virtual reality. A show broadcast live on social networks in particular. to follow Thursday live on BFMTV, France Inter, YouTube and Facebook from  23h25  to 24h15 ( 11:25pm to 12:15 am). Yes will be awesome, seen the clips on tv, a must to watch on any medium!

The lightning rod specialist Franklin, based in Ozoir-la-Ferrière (Seine et Marne 77), equipped the replica of the La Fayette frigate in Rochefort (Charente-Maritime dept 17). Used to prestigious shipyards, this is the first time that Franklin France has worked on a historic ship. very special lightning protection was installed on the Hermione, a replica of the ship that La Fayette borrowed in 1780 to reach America;later helped in the American independence thanks to king Louis XVI.

And a question and answer on one of my hobbies. Why doesn’t my wine smell the same as my neighbor’s even though it comes from the same bottle? The answers lie in culture, emotional state, genetics, label, color of the glass ,etc… There are at least three good reasons for this. The emotional state is very important. Culture and experience are another important factor. They shape your olfactory library. A Japanese, a Mexican and a French will not have the same reading of strawberries, pineapples or Durian fruit. Finally, your perception depends on your genetic makeup. It is estimated that between two people, a third of their 400 scent receptors will function with different sensitivities. There you go not easy to describe a wine or even to feel its own taste once frontiers have crossed. Maybe one exception is French wine who has crossed the globe and still No 1…

Which are the 4 French cities most exploited in cinema? Without much surprise, Paris arrives at the top of the top. And if you want to take a tour of the places with cult names, you can count on the Pont des Arts where Big declared his love for Carrie in Sex and the City or even Montmartre, which is now difficult to separate from the Fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain. Or fabulous destiny of Amélie Poulain.

While one of La Casa de Papel’s new robbers has been dubbed “Marseille”, the link between Marseille and fiction is very relevant. Thus, the popular city of the South, a land of success like Taxi, comes very naturally in second position. Of course, the Vieux Port or old port remains a flagship spot in the city, where the filming of the rom-com classic Love Actually had occasionally put down its suitcases.

The Côte d’Azur entered the rankings through Nice. In addition to attracting American productions such as Woody Allen’s Magic in the Moonlight, the sun-drenched city has also been the setting for the not to be missed comedy Brice de Nice. Among the emblematic places, one must of course stop on the beaches of the coast. A setting in which Marion Cotillard blends in in De Rouille et d´Os or rust and bone.

And Cannes, the cradle of the biggest film festival does not detonate in this top linked to the 7th art. The charm of the Cote d´Azur is definitely pleasing and presents itself as the perfect set for popular romances like L’Arnacœur. The other genres are not left out, since we can cite shoots such as that of the comedy The City of Fear or the action with The Transporter.

On a sad news, Pierre Cardin died Tuesday, December 29 at the American hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine. The designer, renovator of post-war French haute couture, made a series of futuristic inventions, launched the first line of men’s clothing, and put his name on numerous products. He died Tuesday, December 29 at the age of 98.

He will build an empire: 500 factories in 110 countries, 800 licenses and some 200,000 employees around the world. An empire, on which the sun never sets and of which he had remained the owner while most of the luxury brands were bought by financial groups. My first contact with French fashion many moons ago and still followed, even been on his events in Paris and participated for many years on his boat Maxim’s for gastronomy and wine tastings by the Tour Eiffel Seine river! RIP

And there you go for this last Some news from France post of 2020. Oh yes there are always those that do it early like New Zealand and those that do it later like the USA! We will be saying bonne année in France in all of January lol!! Enjoy your day and be safe

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

December 31, 2020

The little Epernay, Grand de Champagne!

I like to update this post if for any reason my sentimental value. When in Champagne, my dear late wife Martine family went there when young to work and earned a bit of money smashing grapes and cleaning around; my first instroduction to them , the grandmother took me to Epernay and the great Champagne houses. It has been an ever lasting relationship with the Champagne region and the bubbly. I like to tell you about the little town of Epernay, Grand de Champagne!!

Let me tell you about this small town known the world over as the home of Champagne, actually it is a sentimental favorite of ours. On that first trip we visited the houses of  Mercier and Moêt & Chandon ! Therefore, enjoy  Épernay in the dept 51 Marne, now region of Grand Est in my belle France.

The town is right in the middle of a huge viniculture region essential to its economy and link to Champagne from the 18C. The town originally grew on the left bank of the Marne river but it has grown into the right bank as well . The Marne river is navigable from Epernay with a pleasure marina and into the Canal Latéral à la Marne serving as border with Ay to the north of town.  It is located about 25 km from Reims and about 140 km from Paris.

Épernay can be reach on the road by the Autoroute A4 sortie/exit 21 Dormans and sortie/exit 23 Champfleury,  The autoroute of the English or A26 sortie 17 Fagniéres, the D951 (old N51) and the D3 (old N3).  The town is on the traject of the way of liberty or  Voie de la Liberté, and the route of Champagne.  The train is on the line LGV Gare de l’Est Paris-Strasbourg. In addition to links with Bar-le-Duc,  and  Saint-Dizier as well as Reims, Châlons-en-Champagne, Vitry-le-François, Nancy, Metz, Charleville-Mézières, Sedan , and the Gare de Champagne-Ardenne TGV. The local bus network isMouvéo with 6 regular lines  on the town and nearby towns, it is open Mondays to Saturdasy from 6h to 20h. I have to admit have only come here by car!

A bit of history I like on Epernay ,and I believe gives you something to think and see while in town.

The old documents tell us that the town was founded in the area of Celtic Gaul on the left bank of the Marne river and written evidence from the 5C generally given as  418AD. After several invasions by Germanic people it passes under the domain of the Franks under Euloge an officer under king Clovis that takes it and becomes the first Lord of Epernay. Legend tell us that  Euloge is found guilty of a crime by Clovis and condemn to death ; Euloge ask Saint Remi to intervene and he convince the king to spare Euloge in exchange  gives the town to Saint Remi who don’t  take it but buys it  instead wishing only the castle of Epernay  ; Saint Remi confirmed in his will the taking of Epernay for the Church of Reims. In 1024,the town entered into the domain of the Counts of Champagne with the treaty between the bishop of Reims named  Eble de Roucy  and Eudes II,Count of Champagne . Under the under age of future king Louis XIV, in 1646  Épernay  is exchange with the Duke de Bouillon to appeased the markets to the north and stayed in the dukes’ hands until  1789, the French revolution.

In WWI Epernay is a rear guard town and the point of passage of troops and provisions as well as large numbers of soldiers station there ,as well as a hospital . However, been closed to the front it caused several bombings after 1917, and bring fears to the town of falling  by May 1918.  The attacks to the city destroyed a big portion of the  rue du Commerce (today,  avenue de Champagne) ; the Champagne houses of Chanoine Frères, Mercier, Moët & Chandon  and Raoul Chandon were greatly damage as well as the Notre Dame Church and by the rue du Paulmier.  The courage by the town gave it the Cross medal of the war of  1914-1918  on February 8 , 1920 by President of the French Republic Raymond Poincaré, to again honor the resistance and suffering of the people during the war as well as opening ceremonies for the city hall of Epernay at the  hôtel Auban-Moët.

During the WWII, Épernay  is evacuated on June 12 1940  with railroad cars.  Once the arrival of the Nazis on June 14 the city was dead with nobody in it. Therefore, the taking was of minor destruction with only the bridge over the Marne river that was quickly replaced by a wooden bridge. The town is liberated on August 28 1944 by the 7th Armored Division, under General  Silvester, and the  3e army of General Patton USA.  The town after its resistance and killing was decorated as well with the Cross of War medal 1939/45.

As said, this town is directly link to Champagne more than any other, including Reims. This is the country of the grapes of Champagne , the best in the world ever. A bit into this unique history with the help of faily stories and my books. In  1730, the Chanoine Fréres (brothers) founded the first house of Champagne here, one year after Ruinart at Reims.  By  1778, in the merchant general almanach  of shoppers, negotiators and builders of France and Europe ; the Parisian editor Grangé , you can already find  the main wine merchants here such as  « Marc, Germon (widow), De Parté (oldest son), Gillet, Dautez, Lochet du Chênet, Lochet de Vaudidon, Moette the oldest,  and Villème », that makes it 7 houses of Champagne already.

Other than Champagne houses, the things to see here in my opinion are the Notre-Dame Church b. 1898-1915 and later rebuilt 1922-25 with stained glass windows from the 16C and a wonderful organ at place Mendès-France, and the Saint-Pierre-Saint-Paul Church at square Raoul-Chandon. Interesting there is a synagogue here from 1880. Other than that not much, not that it tries, after been pillage and burned over 25 times in its history.  My favorites are the gate or portal Saint-Martin, built in 1540, renaissance style  and only part of the Notre Dame Church destroyed in 1909. The  Château-Perrier, built  1854 in the Louis XIII style,  and later HQ of the British army in 1940 and Nazis 1942-1944, and American army in 1945.  The city/town hall or hôtel de ville,built in 1858 by same architect that did the  gare Montparnasse in Paris with a very nice garden.  The theater of Epernay Gabrielle-Dorziat, built and opened in 1902, one of the rare Italian theaters where the machinery is intact ; and has a ceiling dome done by  Georges Jules-Victor Clairin. The tower or  tour de Castellane, built between 1903 and 1905,one of the highest French buildings and the house of Champagne for workers quarters since 1990. Built from a water tower to give the most visibility to the fields by the  maison de champagne De Castellane that is right on the Avenue de Champagne.

Ah yes the Avenue de Champagne is sublime just to walk it! and to taste is heavens!! Épernay is the seat of several Champagne houses such as the Moët & Chandon  and its orangerie ,  Maison Mercier and the barrel biggest in the world (now part of M&C),  maison De Castellane and its tower, etc.  These mansions have furniture and buildings from the 19C renaissance or classic style. The avenue is also known as the crazy street or faubourg de la Folie, later rue du Commerce,and now Avenue de Champagne.  From 1894 most of the Champagne houses had their place on this avenue ; and most are available for visits and tastings. They have about 110 km of underground cellars dig into the chalk at a depth of 20 meters with some even to 40 meters. They allowed to stock large quantities of Champagne that makes the avenue one of the riches in the world. They ,also, serve to guard the population in times of war or needs. The costumes of light or Habits de Lumiére is an event held on the avenue de Champagne every second weekend of December. Unfortunately due to the virus going around this year 2020 has been cancelled, wait for it in 2021. Webpage: https://habitsdelumiere.epernay.fr/en

Other interesting places to see and visit are the museums or as the musée du vin de Champagne,a working museum on the work of the vine and wine. The prehistory and archeology museum or musée de Préhistoire et d’Archéologie housing objects from pre history, protohistory, gallo roman periods as well as merovinians are in the Château Perrier ; the museum of champagne traditions or musée de la tradition champenoise in the Champagne de Castellane housing the museum of trades and printing or  musée des métiers du champagne and  musée champenois de l’imprimerie ; as well as the pressing museum or musée des pressoirs in the Champagne Mercier, that have several grape pressing machines from all origins but only open on exceptional days so check before you go for this one. The theater or théâtre Gabrielle-Dorziat  at 8, rue de Reims with  850 seats.

The City of Epernay on its heritage: https://www.epernay.fr/decouvertes-patrimoine/tourisme

The Epernay tourist officehttp://en.ot-epernay.com/

The Champagne-Ardennes region tourist board on Champagne: https://www.champagne-ardenne-tourism.co.uk/discover/tasting-champagne/cellars-vineyards

And of course, if you want to know ,learn more about the bubbly, then go in English to the official page of the assoc that protects the gold liquid rights : https://www.champagne.fr/en/homepage

Enjoy the wonderful town of Epernay by the Marne river, and the bubbly symbol of France to the world! Hope you have enjoy the black and white post as pictures are elsewhere in my Champagne trail.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

December 31, 2020

L’Epine and its basilica!!!

Let me update this one a novelty of my road warrior trips in my belle France. I have heard of this basilica but always a bit off the way to other places and never passed by it. Finally, there was the opportunity and as everything else in my belle France, it is magical. Let me tell you a bit more on the Basilica Notre Dame at L’Epine!

The small town of L’Épine, in the Marne dept 51 , region of Grand Est, near Châlons-en-Champagne, towards Verdun. We drive all over our beloved France and into Europe, we come across some interesting towns, we stop see, sometimes eat and then move on. The trip in the Marne department 51 are always welcome, this is the heart of Champagne. My wife’s side and she came here early to work in the vineyards and earned their first money.

We drove going elsewhere actually coming from Châlons-en-Champagne on the N44 to catch up with the faster autoroute A4 and moving on to Verdun and back.  It was a pleasant stop and a nice historical and religious center of France. I am talking about L’Epine but more importantly about the Basilica there.

Do not know hardly anything on public transport here and only know by reading that there is a bus connection with the regular line 110 Sainte-Menehould / Châlons. The schedule below from the city of L’épine in pdf file: http://www.mairie-lepine51.fr/media/ligne_110__081462400_1538_01102020.pdf 

The town of L’Epine or Thorn belongs to the metro or agglo area of Châlons-en-Champagne The next biggest town is you guessed it  Châlons-en-Champagne and is located 8 km west. The train station closest is located in Châlons-en-Champagne at 9km. the city hall or mairie is at 33 avenue du Luxembourg 51460 L’Epine. 

The main thing or only thing to come here is to see the wonderful Basilica of Notre-Dame de l’Epine, whose construction began in 1405 and finished by 1527 , and where we can see a Santiago de Compostela statue in wood from the 16C

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The statue of the Virgin holding the Child Jesus was discovered in the Middle Ages according to legend in a bush of thorns on fire and from this comes the name of the town and devotion to the Virgin. The Church received Basilica status in 1914. The Basilica has dimensions like a Cathedral and done in the Gothic style. The façade inspired by that of Toul Cathedral has three portals on two arrows, the one on the right has 55 meters high and on the left demolished in 1798 to put a telegraph was rebuilt in 1868. There are gargantuas figures outside like at Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris.

Inside there is,also, a robe in stone with 3 arcades from the 15C where the Virgin is held. You can admire a rood screen from the end of the 15C, the right arch of which houses the statue of the Virgin at the origin of the fame of the basilica. Several statues such as the Venerated Virgin (circa 1300); Seated Virgin (15C), Saint Jacques in wood (16C); Remarkable Entombment of the Trojan school, early 16C; Altars dated 1542; 16C beam of glory; Tribune and organ case (16C); the gallery adorned with eight apostles and seven pagan gods ; Choir organ from the Merklin house installed in 1889; Stained glass windows from the 19-20C.

Many travellers were amazed by the beauty of this Basilica such as Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Paul Claudel and Paul Fort. The two important dates here are the pilgrimage of the Diocese in May and the Assomption Day as it is the Patron Saint day.

Is really worth the detour for the magnificent of the Basilica, between Reims and Verdun on the A4 and off the N44 towards Châlons-en-Champagne, you will be gladly surprise.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The city of L’Epine on the basilica in French: http://www.mairie-lepine51.fr/basilique/histoire/

The Châlons-en-Champagne tourist office on the basilica: https://www.chalons-tourisme.com/visiter_bouger/basilique-notre-dame-de-l-epine-pcu0000000001115/

The metro or agglo area of Châlons shows more in French of this magnificent Unesco World Heritage site Basilica and al.: http://www.chalons-agglo.fr/decouvrir/patrimoine-inscrit-par-l-unesco-424.html

Hope you enjoy the post as I do and come visit the Basilica Notre Dame when possible. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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