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July 21, 2015 / Jim Fenton

Europe Day 14: Reims, Schorbach, and the Rhine

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Marc Chagall windows in Reims Cathedral

Marc Chagall windows in Reims Cathedral

We began our day by driving into Reims and visiting the cathedral there. Reims is notable as the place where French Kings were crowned for several hundred years until the end of the monarchy. Extensively damaged in World War I, it was rebuilt but fortunately fared better in World War II. It includes several sections of more contemporary stained glass windows including a notable set created by Marc Chagall.

Schorbach is a small village in Lorraine that some of Kenna’s ancestors come from. She and I had been there before and we wanted to show it to Celeste. Just a few miles from the German border, Schorbach is notable for its 12th century ossuaire (bone house) into which the bones of the deceased were moved when the cemetery filled up. There is also a prominent church with a cemetery showing the large number of townspeople sharing the names of Kenna’s ancestors. Although the ossuaire and church were heavily damaged in World War II, the rest of the village was completely destroyed.

Ossuaire (bone house) in Schorbach, France

Ossuaire (bone house) in Schorbach, France

We briefly drove through Bitche, the nearest small city, which has a very prominent fortress on a hill. From what I have read, it hadn’t been breached until the 20th century, and from its construction it’s obvious why.

Driving north from Schorbach, we quickly entered Germany. On the way to the Rhine Valley, we encountered an exit we had planned to take that was closed, as was the next exit. Then there was a traffic jam. Eventually we discovered that the cause was an overturned truck that had to be brought upright by a crane. Of course, Kenna had to drive this traffic jam as well.

When we arrived in Bacharach, we drove to our hotel, which was about 1.5 km out of town. After checking in, we walked to a nearby restaurant from which we got an authentic, but very heavy, German dinner.

This article is part of a series about our recent vacation in Europe. To see the introductory article in the series, click here.

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