Reims Day

November 26th, 2015 § 0 comments

Spent the morning at the majestic Notre-Dame de Reims, the Reims cathedral. This superb work of French Gothic art and architecture is celebrating its 804th anniversary. It is built on the site of a former church. Clovis, the first king of France, was baptized in that church in 496 A.D. The dimensions of Notre-Dame de Reims are vast. The interior is 455 feet long and 125 feet high at its loftiest point. The three great doorways of the cathedral are adorned with hundreds of statues and statuettes. Many outstanding figures of Catholic iconography. For HG, the most memorable aspect of the cathedral is its stained glass windows. Yes, there are many beautiful old windows, but it is the Church’s modern windows that impressed HG. There are abstract art windows in blue-grey-green tones by Brigitte Simon-Marq inspired by the light on a river. Imi Knoebel, the German artist, designed another series of abstract windows, employing brilliant colors. Marc Chagall, the French-Russian painter, bridged the ancient with the modern by using traditional colors in depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments. HG/BSK and granddaughter Arianna R. left the cathedral to walk to the lively center of Reims, avenues filled with high fashion as well as casual eateries. Clusters of alert and armed security personnel walked along the street, testament to France’s current security concerns. When HG/BSK and Arianna visited the Galeries Lafayette department store they found only one entrance open. It was guarded by a sturdy young man who peered into the handbags of the women and made HG unzip his jacket for a body search before allowing entry to the store. It gave shopping a grim overtone. Traditional French exuberance was on display at Brasserie Gauloise where the two women ate some vast salads and HG dove into the bargain (8 euro) plat du jour, a copious pot de feu. Tender boiled beef, a big marrow bone, carrots, cabbage, onions, etc, swimming in a flavorful broth. Coarse salt, sharp mustard, and sour gherkins on the side. A carafe of rough red wine. Down home cuisine. The cooking was more refined at dinner at Brasserie Flo. Lovely interior with art deco touches. Round table for seven: HG/BSK; daughter Lesley R. and son-in-law Massimo R.; granddaughters Arianna R and Sofia R. plus Sofia’s friend and fellow student, Will, a personable young man. Oysters, roast duck, casserole of kidneys and mushrooms, rare rump steak were some of the dishes consumed. HG had a dessert of baba au rhum drenched in very good rum and accompanied by whipped crew. Others were made joyous by thin apple tarts and ice cream and chocolate souffl├ęs. Champagne and Sancerre red wine. Hunger was appeased in stylish fashion.

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