As I have mentioned elsewhere, after checking into a new hotel in a new city (or a new neighborhood) I like to take a walk around the block and see what there is to see in the immediate vicinity.
I did this on the morning of my second day in Reims, and discovered that just down the street from my hotel (or rather my Résidence Hôtelière) was the headquarters of the G.H. Mumm company, one of nine Champagne companies based in Reims.
This surprised me because up to now I thought Mumm was a German company specializing in Sekt, a German sparkling wine which is somewhat similar to Champagne but cheaper.
After doing a bit of quick research into the matter, I can now report that both companies exist. The G.H. Mumm company in Reims was in fact founded in 1827 by three German brothers named Mumm who were living in Reims at the time. But there is also a Mumm Sekt company in Germany which was founded much later by members of the same family and is now based in Hochheim am Main, near Frankfurt.
The word Mumm in German is an informal word for courage or pluck, which is fortunate for the Mumm company because Germans like to drink their Mumm Sekt on New Year’s Eve in hopes that it will bring them courage for whatever might befall them in the coming year.
On the other side of the street the G.H. Mumm company offers guided tours of their Champagne cellars in French, English, German, Spanish and Portuguese. I didn’t take one of these tours, but I imagine they might be interesting for people who still drink alcohol. The guided tours are at 34, rue du Champ de Mars, Reims.
Continuing my walk around the block, I turned left onto the rue du Docteur Lemoine and at the next corner, rue Gosset, I came across this typical little pub and restaurant, Aux Bons Amis (‘To the Good Friends’), which is where workers from the nearby Champagne cellars come to eat their lunch.
The best article I have found about Aux Bons Amis is this highly positive review in German, which describes it as “an old-style workers’ canteen bursting with noise and life” . As the reviewer entered the restaurant, virtually all the tables were occupied by “100 guests, including 99 men and a woman who is just going outside to smoke. A menu does not exist, but the service is very brisk, experienced and exceptionally friendly. There is a choice between two starters, five main courses and then either an assortment of desserts or a cheese platter. Everybody drinks wine, you just have to say the color and there is already a carafe of house wine on the table. Wine and water are included in the price anyway.”
In the foreground in my photo is a poster inviting the inhabitants of this district to meet with the mayor, Adeline Hazan, and her team for information and dialogue. (She was the mayor of Reims and president of Reims Métropole from 2008 to 2014.)
Here I turned left onto rue Gosset, a street with high walls on both sides because of the Mumm Champagne company on the left and the Castelnau Champagne company on the right.
Three quarters of the way around the block I came upon a former G.H. Mumm building which is now being used by the Maestris School, a private institution of adult education.
Before getting back to my starting point I passed one of the last remaining telephone booths in Reims, left over from the days when people didn’t have mobile phones. The telephone in the booth was still in working order.
My photos in this post are from 2013. I revised the text in 2018.
See more posts on Reims, France.