Are you looking for creative inspiration? Perhaps you are stumped in your arts workshop or blocked when you sit down to write? Then embrace the great outdoors to find the spark you need! The SciencesPo workload might make a week-long camping adventure out of the question, but try waking up early one weekend morning to take a long walk.
I recommend the trek to Sacy, a village on the outskirts of Reims. About an hour’s walk along a winding road, Sacy’s quaint vibe makes it worth the walk. Follow these directions to get there mindfully.
But first, a serious warning: a majority of the walk has no sidewalks, so you walk on the side of the road or on the grass. Be aware of your surroundings so you are not hit by oncoming traffic. Look both ways if you cross a street, and walk during daylight hours.
On my first Sacy ramble I set out, tired and cold, with a friend around nine in the morning on a Saturday. Heed my advice – wear a hat, especially in winter, and get some sleep the night before. We took the B tram to Champagne-Ardenne TGV station, from the Opera. The tram takes approximately 20 minutes or you can walk to the train station in about an hour if you are looking to make your trip longer.
When you arrive at the Champagne-Ardenne TGV station, don’t follow all of the train-bound people up the hill. Instead, turn left and walk around the parking lot and onto the street crossing the highway. I know it looks like a tempting shortcut, but don’t attempt to cross the parking lot! There is a fence, and you will be forced to turn around and go back the way you came (like I was). Here is a picture of the fence so you know what to avoid.
Leaving the sidewalk for the road was definitely one of the scarier parts of the journey. It felt ridiculously symbolic – a confirmation of leaving the familiar Reims/Sciences Po bubble for the unknown. This is because the first stretch of road crosses over the highway. As you look down onto the highway it is clear you are leaving the stress of everyday life behind. There’s a little mini-sidewalk/ledge. Walk on it so as not to be directly in the street, and most cars will be courteous and move over if there are no other cars on the road. Luckily at nine thirty on a Saturday morning, there are not many cars on the road.
After crossing the highway, follow the same road you’re on until you get to Sacy. It’s that easy. You can also detour along the way to get a better look at the scenery.
Take, for instance, this beer can. Who threw it there? What does it say about society? As Bruno Cousin aptly taught us, sociology looks into the mundane. Stop and observe. Be aware of all your surroundings, even the things you might normally look past. If you want to help the environment, pick up the litter! Or if you are interested in art, maybe you could take the can home to make art of your own.
Look out for the more obvious art to be seen on this walk, such as the graffiti painted onto farming equipment. Colorful and inspirational (a true feat!), consider leaving the side of the road to better investigate what exactly this work says to you. Or look at the situation sociologically. Why is there a painting on farming equipment? Why does it say “Dream?” Does it inspire you? Reflecting on your surroundings will help you focus on the now and relieve some of the everyday stress.
When you stop for a moment to appreciate the walk, you may be taken in by the natural beauty of the country roads. Perhaps the unfamiliar outdoors is working its magic. You are seeing the world differently, hopefully feeling more mindful and creative, as you break from routine. Isn’t this the reason you decided to give up that cozy, weekend lie-in?
After passing these landmarks, you’re much closer to the seemingly far-away village than you thought. Walk past the champagne houses and see if you recognize any of the brands. Eventually, you will come across the sign heralding your official entry into Sacy, a premier cru.
Your destination beckons. Notice the town’s Champagne heritage – immediately evident not only by the decorative barrels and murals along the road, but also by the sheer amount of champagne houses on the streets. There are perhaps nineteen in the town. If time permits and you want to soak up a little more of Sacy, take a tour of one of the houses. Or, you could find the box-like fish pond and ponder the life of a fish, take a dip in the fountain (if it’s warm), walk up to the church, head for a cup of tea at the chateau, or indulge in a croissant from the boulangerie.
Depending on how deeply you delve into the village, your overall adventure may take longer than the promised two hours. But when you return to Reims, I hope that you will have found some creative inspiration and feel it was time well spent.