The interior of the cathedral however is open to visitors every day. It was rather dark inside, because of the mostly cloudy weather. The famous stained glass windows (some relatively recent additions made by Marc Chagall, see 2nd pic) were like stars in the evening sky. There's also a pretty statue of Jeanne d'Arc in the far left corner.
It turned out that I hadn't chosen the best date to visit these French monuments: November 11 is celebrated as a National Holiday (Armistice Day). The Palais du Tau was closed, as was the Abbey of Saint Remi. Both are museums now, and I would have liked a look inside in both monumental buildings.
On my second visit I focused on the Palais du Tau. I had a quick look inside the cathedral first, and again the stained glass windows were what amazed me. The facade is still (or again?) under construction, about half of it looks cleaned now.
The Palais du Tau lies next to the Cathedral. It now is a museum, holding items related to the cathedral and the coronations. The building itself is pretty modernized, and not too interesting. What I did enjoy were the many sculptures taken from the cathedral: here you can see how huge they are. The museum also holds the original pediment of the cathedral's central portal.
I still did not make it to the Former Abbey of Saint-Remi, which is now a museum with limited opening hours
I visited this WHS in June 2013. The cathedral's spiritual, religious and historical importance justifies it being on the list. Here, General de Gaulle and Chancellor Adenauer set the seal on reconciliation between France and Germany on 8th July 1962. The Former Abbey of Saint-Rémi did not impress me as a site of universal value while the Palace of Tau gave me a more in-depth overall experience. The sound and light show is really the cherry on the cake and is much better than the one organised in Strasbourg.
Date posted: June 2013 Klaus Freisinger (Austria):
Reims is one of the most important cities in French history, and if you are only slightly interested in this subject (maybe slightly confusing but very interesting), then this city is a must. It was the site of over 30 coronations of kings of France, beginning with Frankish leader Clovis (Chlodwig) being christened by bishop Remigius (Rémy) in the 5th century, becoming the first Christian king of France. The cathedral is a real masterpiece of Gothic art from the 13th century, and the former palace of the archbishops, the Palace of Tau, merits a visit as well. The basilica of St-Rémy contains Rémy's tomb and a collection of fascinating 12th-century stained glass windows. There's also a cryptoporticus, showing remains of the Roman Forum. All in all, a fascinating place to visit and very important historically, architecturally, culturally, and religiously.
Have you been to Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Former Abbey of Saint-Remi and Palace of Tau, Reims? Share your experiences!