For Reims, I would recommend the Grand Hôtel des Templiers or for a lower budget Best Western Hôtel de la Paix or Hôtel Porte Mars. While there, don't miss tours of the champagne houses.
Rouen is one of my favorite cities in France. I would suggest the Western Hôtel du Vieux Marché, which is in the heart of the old town and near the spot where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. (Now a Viking shaped church is near the spot, surrounded by flower gardens.) Don't miss the 1345 house that has one of my favorite restaurants La Couronne:
Also, if you get a little farther afield, visit Le Mont St-Michel. It is best to visit offseason since it is very crowded at other times. If you do go, stay at La Mère Poulard.
Have a great time!
Thanks once again for your helpful information! I will look into these hotels.
Have to laugh... we must have similiar tastes! La Couronne is already on my list for dinner in Rouen and the champagne houses are my reason for an overnight in Reims.
Thanks very much for your help!
Definitely! My favorite at La Couronne (I've dined there every time I am in Rouen) is their beef filet.
You might want to take a brief side trip as you leave Reims for Epernay, which houses Perrier Joüet. There's not much else in Epernay, so Reims should definitely be your base. The cathedral in Reims is magnificent, along with the great clock tower. You probably won't have a chance in a short trip but their art museum is top notch.
Since you are a wine lover, have you spent time in Burgundy? The college where I teach has an 'apartment' (actually a rented mansion) in Dijon, where I get to stay when the French Dept isn't occupying it. Some of the best wine tastings imaginable can be had in nearby Beaune. For a small fee you get a tastevin then in many of the major houses you go down into the caves unaccompanied to test as many as 20+ wines. However, if you do so, make sure to have a big breakfast or lunch and/or bring bread. Since the tasting is unlimited, there is also the unfortunate tendency to imbibe too much early (the best wines are at the end). Anyway, if you get there some time don't miss the spectacular Hôtel Dieu (actually it's impossible to miss, but don't judge it by the exterior -- which was meant not to attract attention). The Confrérie des Chevaliers des Tastevins meets there. Both Dijon and Beaune are only about 1-1/2 hours from Paris on the TGV.
In any case, I will be interested in hearing about your experiences in northern France and Bruges/Ghent.
Wow, can I get a 'I know a teacher at your college" discount on the "apartment"??? LOL! I am a fellow wine lover... sounds like a terrific plan for yet another trip to France!
And, as it turns out, on one of my first trips to France (many years ago), I brought home a case of Perrier Jouet (loved those hand-painted bottles, in addition to the taste)! And, U.S. customs didn't make me pay extra duty for the additional bottles! Yea, how lucky was I!!!
This trip will find me tasting wine, beer and champagne! My plan, thus far, is to fly into CDG and immediately pick up a rental car (no stay in Paris this time).
I want to drive directly to Vernon/Giverny to see Monet's house and gardens (planning on spending my first night in the area).
Then, onto these locations with some stops on the way:
Rouen (2 nights)
Honfluer (2 nights)
Brugge (3 nights)
Ghent (2 nights)
Antwerp (2 nights)
Brussels (2 nights)
Reims (1 night) then drive back to CDG for flight home. I have been reading about Epernay so maybe a stop is possible on the way to CDG (hoping to take a Saturday night flight home which will allow some time on Saturday morning and afternoon).
Then, sadly, drop car and come home.
There just doesn't ever seem to be enough time to see all that I'd like in a trip!
Thanks again for all of your wonderful information!
My kind regards.
Great plan of action! I may be a little jaded because I've spent so much time in Paris doing research and lived there two years in the 80s, but it has never been my favorite part of France. I have been most places in the country and find them all so unique and delightful. My favorites are Burgundy; Brittany; Normandy; Loire Valley; Champagne; and the SW near the Pyrenees.
US customs didn't make you pay extra on a case of Perrier-Joüet??? Did they think it was André sparkling wine? LOL
Have you driven from CDG in a rental car before? It can be a huge challenge. I have done so twice with return trips, to and from Dijon. In all but one case I ended up travelling around the Boulévard Périphérique for hours, once ending up inadvertently inside Paris. Get really clear directions and a car with GPS. Some of the exits on the BP come up on you really quickly (and too late). In one of the worst examples, I had to stop at four gas stations to refill the tank. Sometimes, depending on whether you can drive a stick shift, it's better to rent a car from your first destination (in advance). I did that with success at Angers and Nancy and didn't have to deal with CDG or the BP. But most cities outside of the airport don't have automatics.
Unless I'm in France for a long time, I usually take the very reliable trains. But if you plan well it should work.
Do tell us all about when you get back!
You should do just fine with the GPS, just be aware that the exits come up quickly on the Boulévard Périphérique (driving around the Champs Elysées is easier). Have the rental car company provide a map that tells you exactly where to get off the BP as backup for GPS. Fortunately, if things go wrong, there are many, many gas stations on the boulevard ;), as I found out.
Have you been to the rest. outside of Reims, that was recently voted the finest dining place in EUROPE! I think it is called Les Troyes, and I would really enjoy your opinion or anything you have heard about the place.
I love the drive from Paris to Reims and really get a thrill of seeing the Cathedral on the autobahn. Likewise, Epernay, is a very enjoyable and historic town. There is a neat monument to Gen. Patton in the town square that is so memorable.
Thanks for continuing to share your experiences.
Alas, I have not. But it's very hard to go wrong with any restaurant in Champagne or Burgundy, though some are obviously better than others. I've eaten at Le Continental in Reims but didn't have a car at the time. It's very good, but very expensive. One thing to make sure of in some cities (especially the city [not restaurant] of Troyes) in France is that they accept American credit cards before you order. I ate once in Troyes because there were credit card insignias on the door (and I was hungry!). When I went to pay, they said in French (and I am fluent), that they did not accept American credit cards. For once I replied in equally strong French :) -- that they should have said so earlier.
It is not anti-Americanism -- though it may feel that way -- but rather the extra charges rewards cards in particular charge to merchants. Still, I admit I was a bit huffy upon leaving... You won't find this problem in larger cities (Paris, Dijon, Lyon, Avignon), but might in smaller cities.
It is one thing I find very pleasant in Italy -- they accept American credit cards of any sort almost everywhere (the Under the Tuscan Sun effect).
If you visit Dijon or Beaune in Burgundy again, ask me and I will provide some good suggestions!
I admit to rarely having the problem with credit cards but it has been happening more and more to me in France --especially with the Marriott Rewards card I always use. It's been more than a year since I've been in France, but it's always a good ideas once you're outside Paris to ask.
In Italy, by contrast, I have found that everyone even in the smallest town takes credit cards -- again what I call the 'Under the Tuscan Sun' effect.
ENjoy! And let me know about the restaurant outside of Reims -- I do go there often and could always take a cab or train if I don't have a rental car.
Hope all is well!
Just wanted to share with you a very special place in Reims that I have not been to, but plan to next month.
The Chateau les Crayeres has been rated the best rest. in Europe by some people. Noted for its regional dishes and wines and I can imagine great "Bubbly" in this area.
Keep us informed!
You will be in for a great time!
It's always a pleasure to see Notre Dame at Reims from the Marne Valley.
If you get to the Colmer area it is very interesting. Especially, if you go to Basel, CH, there is a new CY there.
Good travels and please stay in touch. I am in Indiana now and am looking forward to France next month.
Will let you know how it goes!
As a former officer in The Chaine des Rotisseurs, the largest food society in the world, I really enjoy great times. That is why I travel each week, to work and enjoy Marriott properties, (As much as I can).
Going to Chicago this week-end to enjoy a first time meal at Les Nomades and one of my favorites, the Signature Room at the top of the John Hancock. Recently had dinner in Chicago at Spaggias (Did not like it), but on this next trip to Paris I am going to do two things I have always wanted to do, Dine at La Tour Argent, and the next night a Seine River Cruise with an extensive wine a dining course. Staying at the Marriott CE, with a paid upgrade on the CE.
Professor, keep you Roman stories and pictures coming. I really enjoy hearing from New Hilton, TJC, Stepping, and our Cornhusker friend, Oh I almost forgot the Ol' Judge!
What gorgeous photos! I want to hear all about the dining cruise and the wine courses when you're in France. One of the side benefits of getting to spend so much time in Europe is trying the difference cuisines. I find especially in France and Italy, it is so wonderfully different from region to region.
Keep us posted!
Thanks for the note!
Will share with you photo's and an update on the upcoming Paris experience.
You may enjoy a couple of these photo's! One of which are the columns use in the movie "Charade", where Walter M. tries to shoot Cary Grant. The columns are a block from the Louvre.
Keep us informed on your trip!
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