After arriving in Reims yesterday we decided that it would be great to take an extra day to relax and explore this simply stunning city. John, wheeling out his ever-improving French called up some of the Chambres d'hotes near the city centre, and, after about 7 calls found a super apartment that was 5 mins away from the cathedral and 3 mins away from the canal and surrounding 'green zone'. As well as having just been done out, the apartment had...joy of joys...a washing machine! We had been doing our best with hand washing in the shower, but what tends to happen is everything in your clothes pannier starts to smell 'almost clean' (with a slight hint of parfum de bag lady). So, first thing was to empty every item of clothing from our panniers and start a grand washing spree.
In the meantime we set off for a picnic breakfast beside the canal in the shade of oak trees. It was an excellent spot to observe the Reims Sunday stampede of runners weaving around packs of cyclists. Peach looks as though it is the colour de jour - for men as well as women! And age isn't a barrier - from the very young to the very mature, everyone was out.
Replete, we then headed back to the apartment, where John gallantly sorted out our route for the rest of our trip, and I donned my running shoes and went to join the runner stampede. Awesome run, with little wooded parks to pop into just off the main canal path, and tiny lanes to trot along. Unbelievable in such a big place.
The rest of the day we spent wandering around the inside of the incredible cathedral, which has been restored since nearly being destroyed in the first world war. Then a stroll around the adjacent palace where pieces of the historical puzzle started to fall into place such as the nuns in Chateau Thierry contributing to some of the needlework for the cloaks of kings; and a simple cloak or tabard could weigh about 8kg!