This historic city saw the coronation of Charlemagne and of nearly every king of France since the 12th century. Just 45 minutes from Paris, Reims is firmly rooted in the heart of the Champagne region: crowned capital of this king of drinks. Let yourself be borne away by the bubbles…
Reims not just for the champagne but also to discover its monumental architecture and fascinating history: Reims has three Unesco World Heritage monuments to its name. The Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims is one of the most famous buildings in France. This masterpiece of 13th century Gothic architecture has two massive towers, the south tower housing a giant bell called Charlotte. This cathedral was where Joan of Arc was to crown Charles VII in 1429. It also contains stained glass windows designed by Marc Chagall.
Behind the cathedral, you will find the Palace of Tau - Musée de l'Œuvre which is where the archbishops lived from the 12th century onwards, and where these days you can admire the cathedral's collection of treasures. The third Unesco monument is the Basilica of San-Remi, one of the most important Roman buildings in Northern France. The Museum of Saint-Remi has some fascinating stories to tell: it's definitely worth a visit.
Reims is of course the city of champagne. The champagne-making process was brought to the area by monks from the south and turned out to be ideally suited to the soil. Champagne then gained popularity during the Second Empire and the Belle Epoque. The tipple of kings, it was lauded by Diderot and Goethe, and became the preferred beverage of European high society.
The champagne-producing vineyards form a "holy triangle", encompassing Reims, Epernay and Châlons-en-Champagne. The "Champagne Route" will take you on a journey of discovery via many of the cellars of the most famous champagne houses. In Epernay you can see Moët et Chandon's cellars with their 20 kilometres of underground passageways, or visit the Mercier cellars. In Reims itself you can visit many of the major champagne houses, including: Champagne de Pommery, Charles de Cazanove, Demoiselle Vranken, Lanson, G.H. Martel & Co, G.H. Mumm, Taittinger,Veuve Clicquot Cellars, and the Canard-Duchêne Cellars in Ludes.
During the month of June you'll find Reims celebrating the Fêtes Johanniques, which includes a medieval market. Don't miss the Great Coronation Procession which celebrates, with pomp and ceremony, the rich history of this city of coronations. This fun and atmospheric festival also includes a medieval market where you can try all sorts of ancient regional specialities, which - of course - go rather well with champagne. Go on, have another glass!
De gare à gare