Champagne, Beer and Trams

Reims is the capital of the champagne industry. Champagne museums, wineries, ‘caves’, proliferate. They open their doors to a public who even in times of recession can’t resist the lure of this sparkling wine.

The main boulevards are wide, alive with a mix of locals and tourists. No empty or pop-up charity shops in this French provincial city centre.

The central pedestrianised area is a road of many bar-brasseries, their tables full of not champagne but for the most part beer drinking folk. This is northern France, not far from the Belgium and Luxembourg borders. They take the quality of their beer just as seriously as the quality of their champagne.

I’m struck by the city’s tram system. Turquoise blue their ends reflect the shape of a champagne flute. Clang clang bells warn shoppers of their arrival.

late afternoon sun
the waiter carries a glass
as big as his head

Paul Conneally
Reims 2013

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