Statue of Winged Victory in Reims
Reims is a city in France that is immersed in history. Located in the north east of France, it was founded by the people of Gaul and became a major city during the Roman Empire. Named after the tribe of Remi, the city was on the list of the Roman conquests of Gaul and became a major population center. Its history of conquest includes, Julius Caesar, Attila the Hun, and the Germans during both World Wars. Throughout history key battles took place in Reims, including those fought during the French Revolution and the reign of Napoleon. On May 7, 1945 General Dwight Eisenhower received the surrender of the Germans in this historic city.
Cryptoportique - an excavated site showing the remains of an old Roman crypt in the city center.
As a center of Christianity since 250 AD, Reims played a key role in crowning Popes and French Royalty. By the 10th Century, Reims flourished as a cultural and intellectual center. The architectural wonders of Reims date back almost as far as its founding. The oldest standing monument in this vestige of civilization is the Porte de Mars (Mars Gate), alternatively dated to the 3rd and 4th Century. The Mars Gate is one of four Roman Gates in the walls that once encompassed the City.
Louis XV Monument in Place Royale
Notre Dame Cathedral
Built between 1211 and 1516 this Gothic cathedral is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. http://www.reims-cathedral.culture.fr/
Monuments and squares play a significant role in the ebb and flow of Reims. The principal squares of the City include the Place Royale, marked by a statue of Louis XV, and The Place Cardinal-Lucon, featuring a monument to Joan of Arc. Restaurants and bars are centered around the Place Drouet d’Erlon in the center of the city.
Square Des Victimes de la Gestapo
Bibliotheque Carnegie “After World War I The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, founded in 1910 by the American tycoon Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), decided to contribute to the recovery of the war-devastated regions in Europe. The City of Reims was given an amount of $200,000.00 to build a new library. The construction of the Carnegie Library was entrusted to French architect Max Sainsaulieu. The construction period lasted from 1921 to 1927.” Carnegie Library of Reims Visitor Guide https://www.bm-reims.fr/
While so many buildings hold keys to history in Reims, the more significant ones are the Palace of Tau, Saint Remi Basilica, Monument to the Black Army of Reims, The Church of St. Jacques, the remains of the Abbey of St. Denis, numerous churches, chapels and temples. The more significant modern buildings that continue the history of Reims are The Carnegie Library, and the Surrender Museum.
Along with all the historically momentous events and people that make up the history of Reims, it is also the center of the Champagne region. Reims is the home to the world’s largest and most recognized champagne houses. These champagne houses have repurposed the chalk mines, caves and tunnels left by miners from Gaul and Rome into the world’s oldest champagne cellars, intricately expanding and enhancing these historic excavations.
Musee Des Beaux-Arts
Cafe du Palais http://www.cafedupalais.fr/english/
Reims offers visitors a wealth of history along with the finest in food, wine and beautiful vistas. A visitor to Reims should begin at Reims Tourisme, a comprehensive web site that breaks down the attractions in Reims into categories. On Reims Tourisme visitors can get an overall perspective of all that Reims has to offer, allowing them to zero in on their personal interests in this magnificent city. Reims Tourisme includes categories ranging from historic to practical.
Essential stops in Reims are listed under Must See on Reims Tourisme. A visitor can find information on tours of all kinds, walking, riding, night tours, and day tours. Other sections on the site will guide a visitor in Reims to the Vineyard Tours, the Champagne Houses, Nature Walks, Shopping, Bars, Restaurants, Hotels, as well as offer helpful hints about bookings, attire, best times and everything you need to know about Reims.
Palais du Tau named for its T shape (‘tau” in Greek) is where Kings of France have been crowned since the baptism of Clovis around 496. http://www.palais-du-tau.fr/en
Gargoyles filled with roofing lead during 1914 fire at Notre Dame Cathedral.
Two of the most popular attractions in Reims are the Palace of Tau and The Museum of The Surrender. A centerpiece of Reims, The Palace of Tau plays a significant role in the history of French Royalty. The Palace was the home of The Archbishop of Reims while playing host to the kings of France at their coronation. The kings would stay at the Palace of Tau in preparation for their coronation at the Norte-Dame de Reims. After the coronation the banquet honoring the new King would be held at the Palace.
The building was largely rebuilt in Gothic style between 1498 through 1509. It was modified again between 1671 and 1710 giving it the present Baroque style. Damaged by a fire in 1914, the restoration began soon after the end of World War II. The Palace currently houses the Musée de l'Œuvre, which displays the remnants of the cathedral treasures, statuary and tapestries. The Palace offers self-guided tours as well as guided tours in multiple languages.
“The Flag of the United States of America takes the place of the Nazi Swastika on the wall of the hospital of Reims as a yankee Medical Unit F of the 178th Army General Hospital moves into the Hospital which formerly housed German soldiers”
Museum of the Surrender
“On Monday, 7 May 1945 at 2.41 am in the War Room of General Eisenhower’s supreme headquarters (S.H.A.E.F.), which occupied part of what was Reims’ technical college, the Allied Forces put an end to the Second World War in Europe by obtaining the unconditional surrender of the Third Reich’s armed forces. This momentous news was broadcast simultaneously the following day, 8 May, at 3 pm in the capital cities of the allied nations. The site was subsequently turned into a museum in 2005, including its Salle de la Signature (Signing Room), which has remained intact. The museum displays, among other attractions, more than fifty authentic, vintage figures." https://www.reims-tourism.com/musee-de-la-reddition/reims/pcu0000000000585
Special thank you to the Reims Tourist office and Andre the tour of the beautiful city of Reims.
Story by Daniel Dachille and Laine Page