By Adèle Grillet and Amanda Van Dyck
It’s Saturday, the weather is nice, you’ve just finished a mountain of readings (or decided to put them off for a few more days) and you are ready to discover Reims in all its glory. If you are spending the weekend with visitors or simply want to prove to yourself that Reims is an amazing city: this guide is for you!
It’s morning in Reims and thankfully you are not sitting on a grueling fourteen hour bus ride to Belgium. It is time to figure out your breakfast plans: are you going to sleepily make yourself an omelet sprinkled with some special spices from the Carrefour spice rack? Or perhaps your parents are in town and they willing to take you out for a instagram-able brunch? To elevate your morning routine, consider adding rosemary, thyme, or even a little oregano to your morning meal. But if you are considering going out, consider Maison & Tartine for a cheap and cheerful breakfast, or L’Opéra if you feel ready to splurge. For cat fanatics, you can even go to Ronron café and enjoy your brunch while cuddling an adorable kitten.
As every elected representative insisted during the welcome ceremony at the beginning of the school year: Reims is a historical town. From lavish royal coronations to devastating wars you cannot say that you have truly seen Reims if you haven’t checked off the basics.
The Cathedral comes at the top of the list, and the Basilique St Remi a close second. If you still have an ounce of energy after all our Sciences Po readings, you can also check out the expositions in the Palais du Tau. They even have some games for children if your younger siblings are visiting, or if you remain a child at heart!
If you are perpetually ensconced in your academics and want to see firsthand what happened after the Long European Nineteenth Century — that is to say the first World War — the battle grounds of Verdun are all around you! And although it may not technically be in Reims, you can make a modest field trip to go check them out.
If you are more interested in the Second World War, the Musée de la Reddition (Museum of Surrender) will deepen your knowledge and turn you into a serious history buff.
Now your day is off to a good start— not only have you enjoyed some delicious food (assuming you went out or are a passable chef), but you also engaged in some top-notch cultural fulfillment all before lunch! Now, what’s next?
Definitely find something to eat— no matter what you plan on doing for the rest of the day, you are going to need sustenance. We would recommend Chez Jérôme, but if, like us, you are on a budget, make yourself a picnic to take to a park. If you’re looking for something a little fancier, try Au Cul de Poule.
Maybe you just need to treat yourself— go shopping on Place d’Erlon or to the Galeries Lafayette — maybe get yourself some a fancy set of tea at the Palais des Thés, or take yourself out to a spa (the Spa Institute by Michelle Defrance is highly recommended online). But there are also some less conventional options: try some axe throwing at À L’Art Hache, or even go rock climbing at Block’Out.
If you are exploring with someone special, try a bike ride through the vineyards or a trip to a Champagne house. Rilly la Montagne, for example, is a 15 minute TER train ride out of the city. You can bring your bikes on the train for free and from the train station there are dozens of country roads weaving through the vineyards, perfect for a romantic bike ride.
If you are ready to treat yourself (or dating a rich heir), why not end the day with a cozy dinner at Anna S la table amoureuse. You could even put on your fanciest dress or suit and go to the Opera, sometimes they sell cheap last-minute tickets.
No matter what you spend your day doing, the most important thing is that you enjoy yourself and relaxed – with all the essays, late nights, and early mornings, it is important that you take some time off now and again. Whether you spend your staycation in bed with Netflix or try some axe throwing, the most important thing is that you relax. Then the weekend will be a sure success.
Adèle Grillet is a first-year Euram student writing in the Travel section of the Sundial. She is coming from Poitiers in France but decided to move a bit, so she chose a Sciences Po campus in another town. She doesn’t look that good on her picture, but you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
Born and raised in the armpit of America, Amanda Van Dyck is thrilled to be continuing her journalistic pursuits at Sciences Po. An editor of her high school newspaper, Amanda enjoys popcorn and politics. You can usually find her attempting to rollerblade, practicing her A1 French with strangers, or falling off of bicycles.