It is a treat to stay in hotels where champagne as a breakfast buffet choice is de rigueur. Interestingly enough, it is apparently the only alcohol people can drink in the morning and not be considered as alcoholics!
Champagne is a sparkling wine that can only be called champagne following strict vineyard and fermentation practices from grapes grown in the French wine-growing region. Other European countries have their own famous proprietary bubblies such as Italy’s prosecco and Spain’s cava, using their own winemaking processes.
Reims is the unofficial capital of France’s Champagne wine-growing region, and they have an annual marathon, Run in Reims Marathon, to help promote their most famous product. I thought this race was like the Marathon de Beaujolais where wine was free flowing and served at each aid station. Ah, it was not! This was a serious race that did take us to the touristic vineyard route of Reims.
It took us about two hours to drive from our home in Belgium to Reims on Saturday, Octobre 14, 2017. We drove straight to the Stade Auguste Delaune to pick up my bib first.
Security was tight. Everyone had to submit to a pat down and bag search. Because this is a French race, runners had to submit medical certificates dated within the last year.
We stayed at Grand Hotel Continental, a small 3.5-star hotel located along the main shopping street and on the corner of the Reims train station.
The hotel offered a vineyard tour but we did not have time to visit. Check out the prices of their champagnes! Too bad the hotel room did not come with champagne.
We spent the rest of the Saturday afternoon walking the shopping street.
What do you know? A pop-up champagne festival was on-going right in the middle of the walking street!
We visited the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims, a 13th century city landmark and the start area of the race, and had our picture taken in front of La fontaine Subé.
It was time for dinner before we knew it. Pizza was our choice for the evening.
Early breakfast the following morning gave me time to enjoy the offerings. No champagne bottle was in sight.
Security was also tight at the start area. We all had to be patted down before entering our corrals.
We were off! The race started at 8:30 AM with a time limit of six hours.
A major part of the race route was the vineyard roads that took us to various big name wineries.
Crossed the finish line safe and sound in 5:05:38. Flutes of the bubbly were available for all finishers.
I took a couple of flutes for Richard.
He took some photos of the nearby areas while waiting for me.
We had a late check-out so I took a shower before we hit the road.
And just like that, we were back in Belgium.