Reims

Also called the City of Kings, Reims is a beautiful town in the heart of Champagne, capital of the prestigious wine, famous for its Gothic cathedral.
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Surrounded by vineyards, in the heart of Champagne, Reims offers visitors fabulous architecture and unmissable cultural sites: in fact, the Cathedral, the Palais Tau and the Basilica of Saint-Remi are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Nicknamed the City of Kings, Reims owes its fame to its spectacular cathedral, site of the coronations of the Kings of France, and to Champagne wine, being home to several major producers. In fact, no fewer than six cellars of the renowned sparkling wine were added to the list of UNESCO-listed sites and monuments in 2015.

Things to do in Reims

Take the time to visit the city’s magnificent Gothic buildings as you stroll through its charming old town. You will also see many Art Deco buildings dating back to the 1920s, such as the sublime Carnegie Library, or discover Gallo-Roman remains, such as the Porte de Mars or the Cryptoporticus of Place du Forum.

If, on the other hand, you are a lover of Street Art, you should head for the industrial area of Port Sec-La Husselle, where the greatest concentration of murals can be found.

Reims Cathedral

1Pl. du Cardinal Luçon, 51100 Reims, France (Website)

The cathedral of Reims, a true symbol of the city, is a masterpiece of Gothic art, listed by UNESCO for its incredible beauty. It was here that Clovis received his Christian baptism and that no fewer than 25 kings of France were crowned for more than a millennium.

Magnificently restored after being damaged during the First World War, the cathedral leaves tourists speechless: it has imposing dimensions, with its two 81-metre-high towers and its 38-metre-high vault, sumptuous decorations enriched by no less than 2303 sculptures, including the famous Smiling Angel, magnificent stained-glass windows painted by Marc Chagall and, finally, the majestic Gallery of Kings outside, with 56 statues 4.5 metres high.

A stone colossus capable of instilling magnificence, spirituality and reverence in those who cross the threshold of the cathedral. Don’t forget to climb the 249 steps of the north tower to visit the terrace and enjoy the spectacular view from the church rooftops.

Tau Palace

22 Pl. du Cardinal Luçon, 51100 Reims, France (Website)

Located next to the cathedral, this bishop’s palace owes its name to its T shape, which in Greek is called Tau. It once served as a residence for the city’s bishops and as a place to receive kings waiting to be crowned. Just like the cathedral, the Tau Palace was also badly damaged during the First World War.

Today, it houses a museum retracing the history of the coronations of French kings: it holds historical relics such as the Holy Ampoule, used at every coronation since the time of Clovis, Charlemagne’s talisman, the cloak worn during the coronation of Charles X and the chalice of Saint-Remi.

Basilica of Saint-Remi

3Rue Saint-Julien, 51100 Reims, France

This spectacular basilica is one of the most remarkable constructions of Romanesque art in northern France. At 126 metres long, it is striking for its depth and the feeling of great intimacy it instils in its visitors.

Built in the 11th century to house the Holy Ampulla and the relics of Saint Remi, the bishop who baptised Clovis in 498, today the church preserves the bishop’s tomb in the centre of the choir. The sober Romanesque nave and the four-storey Gothic choir form an impressive ensemble of lightness and harmony.

Saint-Remi Museum

453 Rue Simon, 51100 Reims, France (Website)

Housed in the buildings of the former royal abbey of Saint-Remi, the Saint-Remi Museum holds incredible archaeological and artistic collections that reconstruct the history of the town from antiquity to the Middle Ages.

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the museum has collected historical models, everyday objects and reconstructions. When visiting the museum, you will also pass through the 18th-century cloister, the former refectories and kitchens, the tapestry room or the chapter house, in a truly surprising tour.

Les Halles Boulingrin

550 Rue de Mars, 51100 Reims, France (Website)

Les Halles du Boulingrin is located in a beautiful Art Deco building from 1929, whose interior is very reminiscent of a railway station.

The colourful and very lively covered market is the place to admire, buy or try all the local specialities including Ardennes ham, Langres cheese, truffle dishes, andouillettes and Biscuits Roses de Reims, a real institution, to be dipped strictly in champagne.

Porte de Mars

6Pl. de la République, 51100 Reims, France (Website)

Porte de Mars is a Gallo-Roman vestige, the largest in a series of 4 monumental arches that represented the 4 gates of the city of Durocortorum, the Roman name for Reims.

Today, it is the only one remaining intact: at 30 metres long and almost 15 metres high, it is the largest known triumphal arch in the Roman world.

Also not to be missed are its richly decorated interiors, including a depiction of the scene of the she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.

Villa Demoiselle

756 Bd Henry Vasnier, 51100 Reims, France (Website)

A unique example of transitional architecture between Art Nouveau and Art Deco, Villa Demoiselle was built from 1904 to 1908 according to the plans of architect Louis Sorel, by the owner of the Maison Pommery.

It is a representative residence, emblematic of an architectural and decorative style at the service of the Vranken Champagne House. The guided tour lasts 1 hour and the ticket price includes a final glass of Demoiselle champagne, the cuvée named after the town.

Reims Champagne Automobile Museum

884 Av. Georges Clemenceau, 51100 Reims, France (Website)

Reims is home to one of the five largest car museums in France: it boasts a collection of more than 230 vehicles ranging from 1908 to the present day, a magnificent overview of the history and evolution of the automobile.

You will be enchanted by vintage motorbikes and cars, from the Marne taxi to the racing car, as well as 5000 miniatures and toys related to the automotive world.

The Carnegie Library

92 Pl. Carnegie, 51100 Reims, France (Website)

A gem of Reims’ Art Deco heritage, the Carnegie Library, built thanks to donations from the American steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, was inaugurated in 1928 by Gaston Doumergue, President of the Republic.

A true masterpiece of Art Deco, the building is highly original, incorporating a semicircular geometric form in its architecture. The reception hall is decorated with 20 marble mosaics, surmounted by a four-sided dome ending in a splendid hanging lantern by master glassworker Jacques Simon.

The reading room has a zenith window by Jacques Gruber, representing an open book with the coat of arms of the city of Reims. In addition, this exceptional place contains unique collections.

The Gallo-Roman cryptoporticus

10Pl. du Forum, 51100 Reims, France (Website)

Under the Place du Forum, one of the three half-buried galleries that formed the Gallo-Roman cryptoporticus has been brought to light.

Built around the year 100, these galleries, which according to archaeologists functioned as a covered market and grain store, are among the few in the world to have been exhumed. Today they can be visited and host temporary exhibitions.

Musée-Hôtel Le Vergeur

1136 Pl. du Forum, 51100 Reims, France (Website)

Built in the 13th century as a patrician residence in a neighbourhood inhabited by wealthy merchants, it belonged in the 16th century to the grain merchant Nicolas Le Vergeur, who transformed it and gave it the characteristics of a private palace with interior facades arranged around a private courtyard.

Later, the well-known photographer Hugues Krafft made the palace his home: he brought back objects, clothes and photographic plates from his world travels and built up an important ethnographic collection. At his death, his collections as well as his furniture, paintings, library and archives became the Museum-Hotel Le Vergeur, enriched every year thanks to the generosity of numerous donors.

The Reims Planetarium

1249 Av. du Général de Gaulle, 51100 Reims, France (Website)

A ten-minute tram ride from the Cathedral, the Reims Planetarium is an excellent cultural activity, ideal for those travelling with children: young and old alike will be lulled by the poetry of a beautiful starry sky, but they can also discover the images of the planets taken by space probes or understand our place in the universe.

The visit begins with a museographic space, but the most interesting element is the hemispheric projection room, equipped with an ultra-modern astronomical projector, unique in France, with almost 7,000 optical fibres that allow the reconstruction of a starry sky identical to that observed in nature.

Under the air-conditioned dome, seated in comfortable reclining chairs, you will learn to recognise the constellations and planets with the advantage of being able to accelerate the movements of the stars over hours, days and even centuries. A digital video device completes the system to show the latest images of space exploration and the latest discoveries in astronomy.

Visit the Champagne cellars

One cannot leave the city of Reims without visiting one of the great champagne houses: Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin13, Taittinger, Moët-Chandon14, GH Mumm, Pommery are just some of the companies you can choose from. You will be spoilt for choice: from the most famous producers to smaller, family-run winegrowers.

All you have to do is leave the city gates to the south to find yourself in an ocean of vines, skirting the slopes of the Montagne de Reims. Take the Route Touristique du Champagne and immerse yourself in a wonderful panorama of rows of vines as far as the eye can see. Many winegrowers and cooperatives open their doors, mainly during the week, and passionately present their profession, from working the vines to the Champagne processing stages. These authentic encounters will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable memories of your trip.

One of the most exciting parts is a visit to the chalk cellars, where the champagne bottles are stored. The chalk caves were dug in medieval times for food preservation. Their constant year-round temperature of 10° makes them the perfect place to house the champagne cellars.

Visits almost always end with wine tasting, on request accompanied by aperitifs or tastings of local delicacies. Wine tourism is a unique component of the countryside around Reims and throughout Champagne.

Guided tours

Best day trips from Reims

If you have a few extra days to devote to the city of Reims, you should also explore its enchanting surroundings, which are full of attractions and activities to do.

The Verzenay Lighthouse

15Rue du Phare, 51360 Verzenay, France (Website)

Overlooking one of the most prestigious slopes of the Montagne de Reims, the Verzenay Lighthouse and its Vine Museum invite you to explore the fascinating world of the Champagne vineyard.

Thanks to the most modern audiovisual and scenographic techniques, you will discover all the essential steps in the birth of Champagne. An exceptional panorama of the surrounding landscape can be admired from the top of the Lighthouse, and numerous tasting events and exhibitions take place here throughout the year.

The Moulin de Verzenay

16Rue de Mailly, 51360 Verzenay, France

Located in the heart of the vineyards, the Moulin de Verzenay is a place not to be missed.

Indeed, the view from here is magnificent: although it cannot be visited, your gaze will embrace an ocean of vines and you will be able to take wonderful photographs.

Les Faux de Verzy

177 Les Faux, 51380 Verzy, France (Website)

With more than 1,000 trees, the Verzy Forest is the world’s largest beech reserve. The Faux de Verzy are twisted beech trees, a variety with singularly shaped branches, whose origin is still obscure to botanists.

The trees of the Faux de Verzy are simply spectacular: with their very slow growth and exceptional longevity, they contribute greatly to the uniqueness of the Montagne de Reims Regional Natural Park.

Fort de la Pompelle

18RD 944, , route de Châlons-en-Champagne, 51500 Puisieulx, France (Website)

The Fort de La Pompelle was built in 1883, 8 km south-east of Reims, to complete the fortified belt of the city, designed by General Séré de Rivières after the war of 1870.

Through period documents, objects of everyday life in the trenches, weapons, equipment, uniforms, dummies and artillery pieces, the museum’s rich collections evoke the adventures of the fighting for the heroic defence of Reims. These include the famous Friese headgear collection of the German Imperial Army.

Hautvillers Abbey

1921 Rue de l'Abbaye, 51160 Hautvillers, France (Website)

About 30 minutes south of Reims is the beautiful abbey of Saint-Pierre d’Hautvillers, whose history is inextricably linked to that of champagne.

Founded in 650 by Saint Nivard, Archbishop of Reims, on the spot indicated to him by a prophetic dove, it now belongs to the Champagne house Moët & Chandon and it is in the Saint-Sindulphe church of this abbey that the remains of Dom Pérignon and Dom Ruinart, two great names in the history of champagne, rest.

Although it cannot be visited, the view is stunning and nearby you can stroll through the beautiful village of Hautvillers, considered to be the birthplace of champagne.

Map

In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article

Reims Passes

There are 24, 48 and 72-hour passes to explore Reims and nearby Epernay.

Where to stay in Reims

Nicknamed the City of Kings and Coronations, Reims boasts a historical and cultural heritage of great European importance.

Finding accommodation in the heart of the city is definitely the most popular choice for those with limited time and who intend to visit the main attractions: you’ll then enjoy a central location to get around on foot only.

Centre Erlon is a mini-district in the centre of the city, an area of choice where to stay in Reims if the more historic part is too expensive or almost all booked up. The area boasts three green lungs: the Hautes Promenades, the Square Colbert and the Jardin de la Patte-d’Oie. Nearby, there are large chain restaurants, shops, bars and numerous hotels. It is a good location for sleeping in Reims.

Another perfect area to look for accommodation in Reims is Boulingrin, a district northeast of the city centre, which is home to many must-see sights such as the Halles du Boulingrin and the cellars of the famous Champagne brand Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin. Stocked with bars and restaurants, the area is a stone’s throw from the centre.

If, on the other hand, you are looking for peace and quiet, head south of the city towards Saint-Rémi and Barbâtre. This is a residential and business district: Barbâtre, in particular, is the destination for Champagne lovers. Here you will find the Domaine Vranken Pommery and the visitor centre of the Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin chalk quarries.

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How to get to Reims

Nestled between the Paris region and the Belgian border, Reims can be reached in several ways.

By plane

Reims is only 140 km from Paris. The quickest way to get close to the city of Reims is to land at one of the capital’s airports, Paris Orly Airport and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. From there, you can rent a car to reach Reims and, if you have a few days to spare, visit the Champagne region.

With a longer transfer, you can also plan to land at Strasbourg Airport, which is 350 km from Reims, or at Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg Airport, 400 km away.

By train

The alternative to hiring a car is to take the TGV train from Paris: you will be in Reims in just 45 minutes. The coronation city is in fact located at the junction of the Lille – Dijon – Mediterranean and Paris – Charleville – Sedan TGV lines. Two stations allow you to reach Reims: the Reims-Centre station located in the heart of the city centre and the TGV Champagne-Ardenne station in Bezannes, connected to Reims by tram.

Reims Weather

What's the weather at Reims? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Reims for the next few days.

Saturday 2
10°
Sunday 3
10°
Monday 4
Tuesday 5
Wednesday 6
11°
Thursday 7
11°

Where is located Reims

Reims is located in the north-east of France and is the unofficial capital of the wine region.

Location around