Reims France is an important city in the French history. This city is known as the “Coronation City”, since 33 French kings were crowned in this city’s cathedral. Reims is a prehistoric city, which was conquered by the Romans during the 1st century B.C. The Christianity started to flourished in Reims when the Bishop of Reims baptized Clovis I, the first king of France that unite all the Frankish tribes and who converted to Christianity and ruled in the period of 481-511. Since then, it became a tradition that the French Kings should be crowned in the Cathedral of Reims. Aside from this important turn in history, there are also much to discover in Reims especially if you are following the Champagne’s trail in France. Reims France is famous for wine lovers. In fact this city is where our favourite champagne drink first bubbled. Nowadays, there are 5,000 champagne producers in the region. Thus an essential stop for wine fanatics. Reims is a headquarter to thousands of champagne and wine makers, some of them featuring centuries old of wine recipes. In this blog, I will discuss the one day itinerary when in Reims France, as you can see in the map below. We started our trip by parking in the park garage of the Reims Cathedral.
Reims France one day itinerary
1. Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims
This magnificent UNESCO World Heritage cathedral has been the witness to centuries old coronation tradition of many Kings of France. The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims was built in 13th century and illustrated a fine example of Gothic style architecture. This Cathedral is considered as one of the greatest cathedrals in Europe, in fact, some experts believe that it even surpasses the Notre Dame cathedral of Paris as France’s most beautiful cathedral. There are many statues or figures carved on the walls inside and outside the cathedral. You will find inside the cathedral some beautifully and colourfully made stained glass windows.
Historically, Clovis was baptized in the 5th century AD on this site, where the cathedral was built after 800 years. Since then, kings were coronated here starting from King Louis VIII in 1223 up to Charles X in 1825. Another famous king that was coronated here is Charles VII, who was famous for pushing the English away from the French soil and solidifying the monarchy in France. He was coronated in 1429 in front of Joan of Arc.
2. Palais du Tau in Reims France
Palais du Tau is considered a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991 due to its history importance in the French monarchy. This palace is located just next to the Notre-Dame Cathedral and was previously the palace of the Archbishop of Reims. Nowadays, Palais du Tau houses artifacts from the Notre-Dame Cathedral. These include the cathedral treasures, as well as royal treasures such as coronation jewels and various tapestries. Some of the most important artefacts in Palais du Tau are the Holy Ampulla, which was used since the anointing of Clovis in the 5th century, and the 9th-century Talisman of Charlemagne. You can also find here some of the original statues from Reims Cathedral, as the ones in the cathedral are replicas of the original. To prepare your visit to Palais du Tau, you may check their website.
3. Porte Mars
Porte Mars (La Porte de Mars in French) is an ancient Roman arch that stood in the city of Reims since the 3rd century AD. This gate is considered as the largest Roman arch (32 metres long and 13 metres high) and one of the most impressive Roman monuments. This served as the entry gate to the city of Reims during the Roman times. This gate has three archways and is adorned with decorative elements such as columns, friezes, and statues.
4. Les Hautes Promenades
Les Hautes Promenades is a long, beautiful park in the city of Reims. This park is a must-visit for family visitors. Kids will surely enjoy the playground, the fountains, carousels, and other leisure activities. This park could be crowded though during summer season.
5. Place Drouet d’Erlon Reims France
The Place Drouet d’Erlon is something that you will not miss especially if you are looking for a place to eat after hours of touring the city of Reims. This place is located in the heart of the city and is just close to Les Hautes Promenades. There are many restaurants, shops, bars, and cafes along this street. You can also find here the Fountaine Sube and and a gilded statue of the Wing of Victory in the middle of the square.
6. Basilica of Saint Remi
The Basilica of Saint Remi, formerly known as the abbey of Saint Remi, is another UNESCO World Heritage site in addition to the Cathédral Notre-Dame de Reims and Palais du Tau. As the name suggest, this church is named after Saint Remi, the Bishop of Reims who baptized Clovis, the first king of the Franks, way back in 496 AD. This Romanesque and Gothic style basilica was built during 11th and 12th centuries. The 11th century part of the Basilica was built over the chapel of St. Christophe, where St. Remi was buried. The exterior of the basilica consists of high towers and is beautifully adorned with sculptures and stonework, making a magnificent site to visitors. This church is close to many champagne houses, which will be the next itinerary for this trip.
7. Maison Ruinart (House of Ruinart)
Another historical landmark that you should not miss when in Reims France is the Maison Ruinart. The Maison Ruinart is the first established Champagne House in 1729. As the name suggests, Maison Ruinart is established in honour of the visionary, hardworking and modest Benedictine monk Dom Thierry Ruinart (1657-1709), who was a contemporary of Louis XIV. During his time with the city and court in Paris, he gained knowledge of a new “wine with bubbles,” which was not yet called as champagne during that time, but was already popular among young aristocrats. Since then, the House of Ruinarts has a long history and nowadays the Ruinart chalk quarries and its natural cellars are listed in UNESCO World Heritage sites. So if you are a restaurateur, chef, or someone who simply wants to taste upper class champagne, this is a place to be! The costs of tour is 70€ per person, that includes tasting and English-speaking tour guide. For more information about this place and booking of your tour, check the website of Maison Ruinart.
8. Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin (Cellars of the Grande Dame)
Another nice cellar to visit is the Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin (or the Cellars of the Grande Dame in English). This beautiful cellars of Veuve Clicquot offer spectacular tastes of wines. Of course, the history of the cellar could be very inspiring to many feminists and women! It all started with enterprising widow (veuve) Clicquot, who is known for being a strong independent woman. To know more her story, read the book of Tilar Mazzeo’s book “The Widow Clicquot”. The experience of this tour can include tasting, cellar tours, food experience, and picnic depending on the package that you choose. Booking of the tours can be found on their website.
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