Sunday, August 16, 2015

Reims Cathedral et Champagne Mumm

It's Friday so this must be Reims, Champagne capitol of the world.
I thought I might escape a tasting but once you're there it seems the right thing to do and Champagne MUMM is my alma mater so to speak. I did art work for MUMM 20 years ago.
Just because it looks like a hop and a skip away on the map DO NOT WALK to the Champagne houses. And call the day/week ahead. You will need a reservation. Lining up at the train station tourist office is not fun. Nor is it fun when they don't pick up either. PLAN AHEAD.
Even though I worked in Champagne biz 2-3 years and stayed at Mumm's mansion it was still interesting to take the cellar tour. Tasting their CORDON ROUGE BRUT was an utter delight end-of-tour.
The long, long dark underground cellar storing 25 million bottles (!) is the perfect counterpart
To Reims Cathedral, above-ground wondrously high passage ways. You feel like an ant.
An overcast day turned absolutely beautiful.
Reims (rhymes with "chance" if you hit the "n" lightly) is a mere 45 minutes away from Paris on the new special TGV.
Skip the self-tour audio guide. Unfortunately there is no riveting Malcolm Miller to decipher this Gothic temple. But instead there are well-written explanation posts at each point of reference.
Upon entering the cathedral I could hear the faintest hint of choral singing.
In the Chagall chapel all the way back on the left, a lovely compilation of choral singing is playing. I hope it's played everyday. There is no CD available upfront in the shop sadly. The perfect companion for exploring Reims Cathedral or any cathedral I suspect.
My watercolor stains using reds and blues over a pale, pale yellow wash.
I've used the WATERCOLOR POCKET PALETTE for years for layering colors.
More stained glass of an edible sort rom Waida Patisserie
Back in the cathedral the very fine 'Rose' window is not to be missed.
A 'rose' window of another sort made up of chocolate bouchon filled with champagne.
Don't miss visiting MAISON FOSSIERHome of the famous pink biscuits (le biscuits rose) you can dip into your Champagne and they won't crumble.
The word biscuit comes from bi-cuit (baked twice) and originally colored with carmine to hide the black specks of vanilla bean in the biscuits.
Along with all these other 'must-dos' do read Ina Cara's PARIS TO THE PAST. Thank you Jean for insisting. I even got the audio version. It's perfect for visits to France's Gothic cathedrals, fill of intriguing historic anecdotes and an aesthetic point of view as well.
I love how Caro reminds you to notice the half-Rose window at Gare de l'Est before you set off for Reims. Her book, full of details like that is my new BBF.


  1. You have held many interesting positions:)

    I have that book because of you..should look into it again..Pretty pretty outing..I remember when I was thrileed to have found the famous pink Fossier cookies here..
    Bon Dimanche Carol!

    1. Ahh... The pink Fossier cookies..addictive!

  2. I want (need) those champagne filled chocolate cookies. Can you only get them there?

    1. Suki: Ooops. They are actually filled with a kind of licquer made from the grape skins called Marc, so not filled with champagne.
      I posted on it here:

  3. Jerie Artz12:49 AM

    Love those "juicy" colors! Merci pour le petit voyage a Reims!

  4. Ruth S12:50 AM

    I have been wanting to go there for years. I'm only going to be in Paris for 2 weeks because I'm going then on a barge trip in Burgundy for a week.
    But Reims is at the top of my list!

    Hope your summer has not been too hot. Your posts are a joy as usual!

    1. You will be very busy by the time I'm done with these churches Ruth.
      I may have to convert too Haha

  5. magnifique!

  6. Your recent Paris breakfasts took me down memory lane. For 20 years I was part-time on the staff of the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, giving tours of that splendid church. My speciality was tours of the gorgeous stained glass windows. I studied stained glass in the cathedrals in England and, of course in France. I visited and stayed in Chartres three times over the years, had one Malcolm Miller cathedral tour, climbed the north tower and soaked up the windows in different light from daylight to dusk, rain and shine. A fine busman's holiday each time

  7. Eugenia12:59 AM

    I envy and enjoy your talent for translating what you see and experience in watercolor I'd renew again just to get your stained glass painting! Your understanding of the old glass and how light brings it alive is a great pleasure.
    Stained glass is there to be enjoyed on so many levels. I 'll look for your reference to it from time to time as you discover and paint more of its glories.

  8. Anabelle1:18 AM

    Your gorgeous transparent stripes look like extensions of the railroad tracks!
    So appropriate!

  9. I love your available light shots in the champagne cellars. Then, your "ballooning" perspective shots of the photos of the Cathedral columns.
    Your washes look great, to!

    1. OMG It was soooo blooming dark in those cellers I got maybe 3 shots out of 30.
      The iPad is not meant to visit Champagne cellars.
      'Ballooning' perspective? I don't think I know that one...I better bone up. you are the man in the know when it comes to photography.
      Tanks for your insight as always Paul!

    2. Hmmm...I'm getting a lot of hot air balloon photography ;((
      Is it those weird ceiling shots inside cathedral yr referring too Paul?

    3. Nikon4:00 AM

      No, the giant columns in the church; that as you lean backward (from the column base) & follow the column towards the top, they appear to expand. It's all just tilted perspective.

  10. Yep. Mumm's the word. Been there but certainly not worked there like you, lucky Ducky. Was at Gare de l'est the other day and didn't even pay attention to that window. You keep teaching me with that wonderful eye of yours, Carol!

    1. Not me at all Jill
      It's PARIS TO THE PAST...Ina Caro points it out in her very informative book. I wish I had gotten it sooner!

  11. Anonymous11:09 PM

    Oh, I just relived a wonderful day trip to Reims. Except I somehow had time for THREE champagne house tasting sessions. Ahem....

    1. In the past I have visited many houses(maison).
      it is a bit of work tramping around in chilly cellars I gotta say, though the end glass of bubbly is always worth it.
      Champagne is a magical drink and the creation process is pretty amazing!
      Just dress warmly!!

  12. I once got those pink biscuit cookies at Dean and Deluca for my Valentine's month kitchen display because I thought the were so pretty, but tasted blah and therefore I would not be tempted to eat them!
    Reims and champagne - the perfect day out!

    1. did you dip them in your Champagne J?


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