The small city of Reims is located 150 kilometers northeast of Paris, in the province of Champagne. The population of Reims is in a range 200 thousand inhabitants. The capital of the province of Champagne is another city – Chalon-de-Champagne, but Reims is its most famous city. 

The “Champagne Road” begins in Reims. About 300 wine houses produce the world-famous sparkling wine Champagne. Reims is also very important for the history of France. Here is the Gothic Cathedral where French kings were crowned for eight centuries. 


The Road Of Champagne

The Champagne region is the northernmost of the French wine regions. The vineyards are located on the chalk slopes of the hills in the valley of the Marne river. The southern slopes turned out to be an ideal place for growing grapes, which is necessary for the production of sparkling wine. In 650, the Abbey of Oville was founded on the banks of the river Marne. In 1668, the monk Dom Pierre Perignon came here. The abbot invited him to develop its winery. He experimented a lot and eventually developed a technology for fermentation of sparkling wine, which was later called Champagne. 

Finally, the technology of champagne production was formed a century later, as the champagne of Dom Perignon did not have enough aging. In the valley of the Marne river, the ancient Romans were actively mining chalk rocks. There were many mines here. In 1729, Nicolas Ruinart, the nephew of a Benedictine Abbey monk, came up with the idea of using these mines for secondary fermentation and aging of champagne. The depth and constant temperature of the shaft created the necessary conditions to prevent the bottle from exploding due to internal pressure. At the same time, there should be remained gases inherent of Champagne wine. 

The two capitals where most of the wine houses of the Champagne province are located are Reims and the small city of Epernay. If you are going to Reims, the gastronomic program of your tour should be carefully worked out. In Reims you can visit the famous wine houses: Pommery, Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin, Ruinart, Taittinger, Mumm, Drappier. Equally, well-known champagne houses are located in Epernay: Moet&Chandon, Mercier, Castellane and others. These two cities are the main ones on the famous "Champagne Tourist road" (Routes touristique du Champagne). It stretches for hundreds of kilometers. On its way, there are more than two hundred villages that either grow grapes or make champagne wine. 


Historical sights of Reims 

The main historical landmark of Reims is the Cathedral of the North-Dame de Reims. It is located on the site where in 496 king Clovis I, who united the scattered tribes of the Franks into a single state, adopted Christianity. These two events are of exceptional importance to the French state, so since 1027, all the kings of France have been crowned in the Cathedral of Reims. The last French monarch, Charles X, was crowned here in 1825. Reims Cathedral is the largest in France and is recognized as one of the peaks of the Gothic style of architecture. 

Reims is also home to the Basilica of Saint Remigius. This Shrine attracts thousands of pilgrims. Saint Remigius was Archbishop of Reims during a very difficult period in the state`s history. He fought against paganism and Arianism. In 496, he persuaded king Clovis I to convert to Christianity. Saint Remigius died in 533 at the age of 96 and was buried in the cemetery outside the city walls of Reims. The burial place of Saint Remigius became very revered. In 1007, the construction of a Basilica in the Romanesque architectural style was started here. In the 12th century, the chancel was expanded, and it acquired features of the Gothic architectural style. 

Among other attractions, also should be mentioned the Palace Tau, which is attached close to the Reims Cathedral. French kings prepared for their coronation there, and after the coronation ceremony, a Banquet was held  in the palace for invited guests. There are several museums in Reims. The most interesting of them are the Museum of Fine Arts and the Le Vergeur Museum. There are also preserved monuments of the Roman era: The arch of Mars and the Roman Criptoportico. It is very pleasant to walk around the historical center of the city.

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The smiling angel from the entrance portal of the Reims Cathedral became the symbol of Reims. He is depicted everywhere with a raised glass of champagne
Reims Cathedral - the largest Gothic Cathedral in France, one of the peaks of the Gothic architectural style
Despite the large size of the Gothic Reims Cathedral, it does not seem massive
The Basilica of Saint Remigius in Reims was built in 1007 and became a place of pilgrimage
Grave of Saint Remigius in Reims, who baptized king Clovis I and was named an Apostle of France
The Palace of Tau in Reims is closely attached to the Cathedral of Reims. The kings were preparing for the coronation ceremony there
Crown of king Louis XV in the Museum of the Cathedral Sacristy of the Palace of Tau in Reims
The Museum of Fine arts in Reims is one of the largest art museums in France
Sculpture Arab dance (1886), by Rene de Saint-Marceaux, at the Museum of Fine arts in Reims
The Town hall of Reims on the Market square was built in 1636
A cascading staircase descends to the Roman cryptoporticus
The La Vergeur Museum in Reims is named after the rich bourgeois who owned the house
The Museum La Vergeur is particularly proud of 50 works by Albrecht Durer made on wood
Boulevard Place Drouet-d`Erlon - the main tourist street of Reims
Houses from the 16th and 17th centuries in the historic center of Reims
The Sube fountain on the pedestrian Promenade d`Erlon in Reims
The altar of the Notre-Dame Cathedral of Reims
The height of the Gothic arches of the main nave of Reims Cathedral reaches 38 meters
The altar of the Basilica of Saint Remigius in Reims was expanded in the 12th century and acquired features of the Gothic architectural style
Altar and side transept of the Basilica of Saint Remigius in Reims
The main nave of the Basilica of Saint Remigius was built in the 11th century and retains features of the Romanesque architectural style
The largest hall of the tapestries in the Palace of Tau in Reims. These 15th century tapestries depict scenes the History of king Clovis
The Palatine chapel - the oldest surviving part of the Tau Palace dates back to 1207
The layout of the Palace of Tau resembles the Greek letter "Tau". That is why the Palace got its name: Palais Tau
Art Nouveau furniture and household items at the Museum of Fine arts in Reims
Triptych of the Apocalypse, by Tsuguharu Foujita, at the Museum of Fine arts in Reims
The City hall of Reims has the shape of a square, with a courtyard in the center