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Visiting the Champagne Country + Moulin Rouge!

Monday, Sept 12, 2016 – Paris, Day 2

<– Previously, an action-packed day in Paris seeing Notre Dame, the D’Orsay Museum, and the Eiffel Tower at night

An Early Start

So we weren’t able to sleep in too much as I had booked us on a champagne day trip in Reims, which is located smack dab in the middle of Champagne Country.  But first we had to get to Reims on our own as the tour wasn’t a Paris-based one.  Hence we were going to get our first experience with the SNCF trains, but even before that we had to get to Gare de L’est by taking the subway.  After we got to the train station, we had enough time to grab a quick croissant at a vendor as we knew there was going to be lots of champagne ahead of us that day and it’s wise to not drink on an empty stomach.   Larry even did the ordering and used the advice of adding ‘si vous plais’ when doing so, as it drastically helps in getting the French to be nice.  The train ride there was very comfortable, as I had booked us in first class, and very smooth and VERY fast. Reims is quite a ways from Paris but via that train, it’s only 45 minutes. I love European trains.

Getting to Reims

paris-to-reimsI wanted to use this map to help give you a sense of how far away we were from Paris.  By car, it takes nearly 1 3/4 hours, but our high speed train made quick work of that in 45 minutes.  Nice!

Visiting our first champagne facility: G.H. Mumms

mumms-in-reimsIn Reims, we found our meeting point  at the tourism office and after waiting in the line there briefly, I looked back to see that our minivan group was waiting and we didn’t need to wait in the line. Our seats were up in the front as we were the last to arrive and it was a crazy wide Mercedes minivan.  Our host was a cute French/Brazilian guy who was not only our driver but also the tour guide for the day.  We got a quick drive-through tour of the city of Reims first, before heading to the Mumms factory in the city.   While waiting outside the facility for our tour to begin, we all got to meet each other.  There were 3 couples in addition to us, making a total of 8 people.

Once inside Mumms, we first watched a movie of their history, but after that, we then started walking throughout the vast complex that exists underground.  We learned about the various grapes used, the various bottle sizes, and just quite a bit of how champagne is made.   Some of the things I remember, others not, but that link is helpful.  Deeper underground, we got quite a cool tour of the workings, including walking around the huge underground city that is filled with endless rows of bottles and bottles.  We got to really see in practice the part of the process in which bottles of champagne are kept stored at various inverted angles. Continue reading Visiting the Champagne Country + Moulin Rouge!

DAY 2 – AKA One of the Longest Days in a Long Time (MM)

Wow, I’m watching tonight’s episode of Big Brother – Brendon & Rachel are so ridiculous.  I have to admit I don’t want them gone from the house, but they are super silly and I wouldn’t ever want to be locked up in that house with them.  I’ve said it before, but I could never voluntarily do Big Brother or Survivor. Anyway, Rachel is now sobbing about the fact that the Veto competition is bowling.  And she’s sobbing.  She’s sobbing because it’s bowling, and there’s nothing left for her to give. O….M….G.   She feels like roadkill.  Is this for real?  Is someone feeding her lines???  I haven’t been recapping BB like I have in seasons past, but don’t ever doubt that I’m not watching it.

Today was a long day.  This morning at 9am I volunteered some time to Operation BackPack, which is an effort to collect backpacks and school supplies in order to get them to underprivileged kids.  It felt good to do some stuff for others.  My group has been doing this kind of stuff as a way to do some good as well as some bonding.  We also head out to breakfast every few weeks at some Manhattan famous breakfast place.  Our group rocks  The volunteering effort was fun, but physical, with lots of boxes that needed to be schlepped around and opened and such.  So at 1pm, we headed back to work, and there’s all SORTS of drama happening there.  I just don’t care anymore.  I’m ready for it to be over, however it ends.

Anyway, I just got back from New Jersey as Larry & I went to celebrate his grandmother’s 90th birthday.  We had dinner at the River Palm, an AMAZING place to get some prime rib.  YUM.  And I intend to be on track to at least post twice in a row…so on to Day Two’s item:

Day 01 | Your favorite song

Day 02 | Your favorite movie

Kinda like my favorite song, I don’t watch it all that often anymore, but it has been my favorite movie for quite a while now.  Certainly Superman, Empire Strikes Back, and Beetlejuice are really high up there, the #1 in my mind is Moulin Rouge!.  Oh Moulin Rouge!, you were never a popular favorite with the masses, but with me, I was instantly in blissful love.  I first saw an HBO First Look special on it before I ever saw the movie in the theater.  After hearing about the performances of existing songs (<cough>, <cough> GLEE <cough>) and the fantastical staging and direction, I was definitely intrigued. When it finally came out in the summer of 2001, I bought my ticket opening weekend.  Then the strains of the Can Can played, along with some familiar refrains from the Sound of Music, and I was hooked.  Over the next two hours, I was treated to exciting, colorfully audacious numbers as well as an incredible love story.  Believe you me, I still end up sobbing at the end of the movie.  It’s heartbreaking.  I think my most favorite scene is the Can Can number set to a hyperkinetic version of Lady Marmalade when the Moulin Rouge club is introduced.  Orgasmic.  Such amazing choreography!  I’m so excited about the fact that Moulin Rouge is headed to a Blu-Ray version by the end of this year.  SWEET.

And oh yeah, Rachel on BB12 is INSANE.   Insane!!!