Reims in France is rich in history and had been an important city since the reign of ,Roman Empire. Reims was the traditional site for the crowning of the kings of France and holds great importance in the modern history too. Reims and Champagne are inseparable and most of the premier Champagne brands are housed here making it one of the economically significant cities in France. Here are the top 15 things to do in Reims, France.
1. Climb up the steps of the Cathédrale Notre Dame
This UNESCO Heritage site is a bejeweled pompous Gothic cathedral that stands magnificently against the test of time. The rainbow of stained glass used in the windows, the 12-petalled great rose window and the Gothic organ case topped with the statue of Christ and many other splendid pieces of art and architecture lavishly adorn this cathedral. You can also climb the 250 steps up this royal cathedral on an one-hour tour.
2. Experience the days of WW I at Museum Pompelle Fort
This renovated fort museum contains a rich collection illustrating the memories of World War 1. The museum has a scenography of events that happened at the northeast of France from 1883 to present day. The collection at the museum include the objects that the soldiers used in the day-to-day life like uniforms and Fiese Helmets which tell us the of the World War I and the hardships that the soldiers experienced. If you are history lover, this place is definitely for you!
3. Visit the Palace of Tau
The Palace of Tau became a UNESCO Heritage Site along with the Cathédrale Notre Dame in 1991. The palace was used as the residence by the kings of France before their coronation took place in the nearby Cathédrale Notre Dame cathedral. The king was dressed for the coronation at the Palace of Tau before heading to the cathedral. After the coronation, a banquet used to be held at the Palace of Tau. The Gothic architecture of the palace is mesmerizingly beautiful and attracts 100,000 visitors each year.
4. View Saint Remi's relics at Abbey of Saint-Remi
This UNESCO heritage site in Reims is an abbey which preserves the relics of Saint Remi, the Bishop who converted Clovis, King of the Franks to Christianity after he defeated the Alamanni in the Battle of Tolbiac. The 12th century stained glass still remain beautifully adorning the abbey while most of the valuable objects from the abbey were looted during the French Revolution. This place is sure to make you drop dead with its splendour.
5. Ramble through the Montagne de Reims Regional Natural Park
This protected area in France is a range of hills covered by vineyards producing the country's famous Champagne. This Natural Park covers about a whopping 50,000 hectares and is absolutely a nature lover's delight to ramble through the fresh air and green cover. This Bucolic parkland is a wonderful place for a picnic with family or friends.
6. Learn the vintage cars at Musée Automobile Reims Champagne
This motor museum in France, founded in 1985 is the fifth largest in the country with about 200 cars dating from 1908. The museum is airy and huge and houses a wide range of rare and vintage cars, motorcycles and miniatures. A few of the cars from the museum's envious collection include Amilcar, Berliet, Chenard-Walcker, CIME, Citroën, DB, De Dion-Bouton, Delage, Delahaye, Panhard, Peugeot, Renault, Salmson, Simca and Talbot.
7. Seek blessings at Foujita Chapel
The Foujita Chapel or the chapel of Our Lady Queen of Peace is a small chapel that was built by the artist Tsuguharu Foujitha after he decided to follow Roman Catholicism. The chapel's walls are adorned by his religious frescoes paintings in hues of blue, green, brown and yellow. This Chapel was listed as French historic monument in 1992 and this place is sure to awaken the artist in you!
8. Learn the significance of Fort de la Pompelle
The Fort de la Pompelle is one of the many forts built around Reims as a part of the fortification around the city built between 1880 and 1883. The fort saw heavy bombardment during First World War and still remains in a ruined state. The fort was inaugurated as a museum in 1972 and has some rare collection of German army headgear, beer stein, small swords of the German kingdom and Conon de 155 mm GPF.
9. Check the Porte Mars
This third-century arch stands tall at 13 meters high and 32 meters long. This is one of the ancient Roman triumphal arches and the interior and exterior of its walls are beautifully carved! The arch is currently under renovation and please check with your tour operator before visiting this place.
10. Visit the Musée de la Reddition
This museum stands exactly in the place where Germany's official surrendered at the end of World Wars II. The surrender was officially signed in the Reim's Lucee Franklin-Roosevelt on May 7, 1945. The building was later turned into a museum after 40 years and contains photographs, framed newspapers and medals from the remarkable date in history. The room where the document was signed stands untouched till date. Visiting places of such historic importance should be a lifetime experience for anyone.
11. For the bibliophile in you : Bibliothèque Carnegie
Bibliothèque Carnegie is a library in Reims that contains rare medieval manuscripts, books that were printed before 1501 and numerous other historical books. The architecture of the library is stunning and the geometrical railings in the Salle du Catalogue draws the reader's attention. Do not miss the lantern and the fountain in the hall!
12. Champagne Tasting Tour at Champagne Houses
A trip to Reims is incomplete without a trip to the Champagne Houses. Most of the popular ones that are open to visitors are Mumm, Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin, Taittinger and Ruinart. Maison Ruinart is the pioneer producer in Reims and is protected as an historical site. In all these units, you can walk down into the huge man-made chalk tunnels where the ideal temperature and humidity are maintained for the world's best champagne to be fermented. The authentic Reims thing ever can be Champagne tasting right at the place where they are produced!
13. Tour the Musée-Hôtel le Vergeur
This striking little museum in Reims is worth a visit. The architecture is splendid and the museum is furnished with antique furniture from different periods making the place take back in time. A guided tour at the museum lets you get more insight on the collection of decorative arts and engraving!
14. Stroll through the Parc Léo Lagrange
This sprawling park with thick green cover is a perfect place to stroll, relax and unwind. It is calm and is beautifully landscaped with a pool. There are a good number of activities for kids and a skatepark. If you would like to take a break from the noisy city on a sunny day, head to this park in Reims!
15. Get blessed at Église Saint-Jacques
This is the church where bishop Saint Remi baptized and opened "the doors of the faith" to Clovis, the king of France who decided to follow the Roman Catholicism after he won the battle. This famous monument in Reims is dedicated to Mother Mary. The coronation of many French kings has happened in this cathedral and it feels divine when you visit this place.