City of Coronations and Champagne, Reims can be proud of possessing four historic buildings that are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List: the Notre-Dame cathedral, the Tau palace, the Saint-Remi basilica, and the Saint-Remi museum.
The jewel of the city, the Notre-Dame cathedral is unusual in that it has been the place of coronation for 33 kings of France from 816 to 1825. Clovis was also baptized in this place in 498. The architectural harmony and remarkable statuary of this 13th-century building make it a masterpiece of Gothic art. Decorated with magnificent statues of angels with opened wings, the cathedral of Reims is really worth its nickname of Cathedral of Angels. Once inside, one is immediately attracted by the brightness of the nave and the magnificent stained glass windows, which date largely from the 13th century. Don't miss seeing the blue stained glass windows of the axial chapel, designed by the contemporary artist Marc Chagall.
Next to the cathedral, the Tau palace, a former archbishop's palace where the coronation banquets were notably organised, is today home to the Works of Notre-Dame museum, where tapestries, sculptures, the cathedral treasury and coronation-related objects are exhibited.
The next of the Champagne city's historic places to visit is Saint-Remi basilica, a magnificent Romano-Gothic building, and its museum. Situated in the buildings of the former Saint-Remi abbey, the museum recounts the history of the abbey and houses art collections from Prehistory to the Middle Ages.
Also not to be missed in the city: Place Royale square, surrounded by arcades, and Place Drouet-d'Erlon square with its lively cafés, shops and restaurants.
The museum-mansion Le Vergeur, installed in a mansion of the 13th and 16th centuries, is home to art objets, furniture and paintings.
Famous for its buildings, the City of Art and History of Reims is also well known for the cellars of its prestigious champagne houses, which are dug into chalk and open to visitors.
City of coronations, City of champagne... Reims is eager to unveil the legacy of its glorious history and immerse yourself in the prestigious world's most famous and most festive of wines.
Rich traditions and know-how secular, Reims has also become a regional metropolis modern and dynamic thanks to its location at the crossroads of several trans-European routes, its highly diversified economy and its teaching excellence and research.
Four sites on the List of UNESCO World Heritage, the refined atmosphere of Champagne Houses, a city immersed in an atmosphere imbued with both the elegance of Art Deco facades and streets and relaxed the lively cafe terraces, an abundant and varied program of events, a natural environment where green is king... Reims opens its doors and welcomes you.
A two thousand year history...
Ancient Reims: Legend Reims was created by Remus, brother of the founder of ancient Rome. The Celtic people who inhabited the region have thus taken the name of Remi. Around 80 BC, they established an oppidum they named Durocortero ("round fortress"). After the Roman conquest, Durocortorum is integrated into the province of Belgium and became the capital. At its peak, with its 30 000 inhabitants, the Gallo-Roman city became one of the most populated north of the Alps.
Around 260 is founded the bishopric of Reims. During the great invasions in 407, Bishop Nicaise is massacred by the Vandals in front of the church he had built. He became the patron of the city of Reims.
The baptism of Clovis: The baptism of Clovis, King of the Franks, by Remi, bishop of Reims took place on Christmas Day 498 in a baptistery whose site is now occupied by Notre Dame. The conversion of Clovis to Christianity, religion of a church heir of Roman power, allowed him to legitimize its military grip on Gaul then divided.
It was after this baptism, which sealed the reconciliation of Church and State, born as the monarchy of divine right French. It's also thanks to him that Reims become the seat of the coronation of the kings of France.
The city of coronations: In 816 occurred the first royal coronation in Reims, that of Louis the Pious. The ceremony, usually five hours long, took place in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, since it was built. She continued by the coronation banquet at the Palais du Tau and a pilgrimage to the body of Bishop Remi, in the basilica dedicated to him. The most memorable coronation remains that the dolphin Charles VII, led to Reims by Joan of Arc July 17, 1429 after the siege of Orleans. A total of 33 sovereigns have been crowned at Reims, the latest being Charles X in 1825.
In the Middle Ages Reims prospered by selling her sheets, linens and other textile fairs in the south of Champagne and trading with the Hanseatic League. The rise of champagne, from the reign of Louis XIV, came complete range of its productions.
Two of the most famous sons of the city, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Comptroller General of the King's finances, and Jean-Baptiste de La Salle, precursor of modern pedagogy, Reims were born in the seventeenth century.
Modern Reims: As elsewhere, the industrial revolution overthrew the appearance of the city, who spent 30 000 to 120 000 in less than a century. Rich mansions replaced the houses with wood sides. Some of the first international airshows were held in Reims early twentieth century. Reims is indeed one of the cradles of aviation.
Then came the First World War. On 4 September 1914, a month after the beginning of hostilities, the German army entered Reims. It was quickly rejected, but she dug in the forts around. Hence, the Wehrmacht bombard the city for 3 ½ years. The cathedral, very hard hit, will receive nearly 300 shells. The seat will result in the destruction of 80% of the city and killed more than 5,000 victims.
The new Reims, which rises from the rubble in the interwar period thanks to the intervention of 325 architectural firms, has a face full of eclectic in its architecture, marked in particular by the Art Deco style.
The Second World War affected the little town. During the conflict, welcomed Reims the headquarters of Eisenhower. This is where, on 7 May 1945 at 2:41, General Alfred Jodl, supreme commander of the Wehrmacht, signed the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. The text, drafted in haste by members of the staff of Eisenhower, was to put an immediate end to the conflict. It was ratified in Berlin the following day by the heads of allied states.
On 7 July 1962, the German Chancellor Adenauer and General de Gaulle sealed at Notre Dame reconciliation between the German and French peoples and Reims erected as a symbol of peace between Germany and France.