There’s something you really need to understand about Reims. As you’re reading this, if you’re not familiar with the city or the French language in general, you’re reading it as Reems. Don’t worry, I did too. In pre-trip planning we would look up the pronunciation of Reims and become confused. Everything we looked at said it was pronounced “Raunce,” like the French say France, but without the F. This seems utterly wrong and I was sure the internet was wrong. But it wasn’t. Somehow, in French, E-I-M-S sounds like A-U-N-C-E. This may be why I suck at French. Oh well. The city is lovely. We drove to Reims early in the morning and met Cristian, our Champagne tour guide. He drove us to the train station in a Mercedes van, where we waited to pick up our Belgian companions. Then he drove us through the hillsides of the Champagne region. We stopped and walked through fields of grapes. We even got to see people harvesting them. Cristian told us about the grape varieties that make champagne before taking us to a Champagne producer where we watched them squeeze the grapes in a giant wooden vat. He taught us about the Champagne-making process as he walked us through fields, then cellars, then tasting rooms. We drank delicious wine and purchased bottles from the families who make it. At our last winery stop, Cristian helped Travis and our new friend Yannick open the champagne bottles with swords. When the tour was over, Cristian dropped us off at the soccer stadium. We watched the home team win then drove back to Paris to sleep for a few hours before a plane took us home.
The Museum Pass
So when you add it up, the Museum Pass didn’t really work out for us in numbers alone. If we had taken all of the tours on our itinerary, it would have cost us €95, and we paid €112. And we didn’t take the tour at Notre Dame, so that means we paid €112 for €78 worth of access. That said, we’d still do it again. Many places, including the Louvre, have lines specifically for Museum Pass holders. In most places the wait was non-existent and we just walked past the lines and into the facility. At the Louvre, we waited for about 5 minutes, and that was a security check. Having easy access with no waiting made Paris so much more enjoyable than it would have been if we’d spent time standing in line.
I didn’t talk about it here, but we purchased Paris Viste Passes for public transportation We bought a five day pass (€39,30/person) and then an additional day pass (€12,30/person) which allowed us to ride the metro, buses, tramways, and the Montmartre funicular for free as many times as we wanted throughout most of the city. I can’t prove to you that it was a good deal, because I didn’t count my trips. That said, it’s a good deal. We used the metro a lot, and buses quite a few times. Paris is a very walkable city, but it’s big. Most of the time we would take the metro to a neighborhood we wanted to explore and then walk to things from the stop. At €1,80 a ticket, I have no doubt that we took the 29 trips it would take to break even. And again, we never had to think about tickets. That was nice.