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Reims


Reims
The Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Former Abbey of Saint-Remi and Palace of Tau, Reims are renowned for their Gothic art and - as part of the coronation ceremony - are directly linked to the history of the French monarchy.

The cathedral is one of the great French cathedrals of the 13th century and one of the masterpieces of the classical Gothic style (along with the ones in Chartres and Amiens). The facade of the Reims cathedral is said to have the best sculptures.

The old archepiscopal Palace of Tau also played an important step role in the coronation ceremony of the French monarchy (the banquet was held there).
The Former Abbey of Saint-Remi has conserved the relics of Saint Remi (died 553), the Bishop of Reims who converted Clovis, King of the Franks, to Christianity. The abbey church is a magnificent example of mediaeval architecture.

Reims, including these World Heritage monuments, was seriously damaged by the Germans during World War I.

Visit November 2006, May 2015

The exterior of the Notre Dame cathedral was undergoing restoration at the time of my first visit (2006). Weather and pollution have taken their toll on this building: large parts of the façade (with the pretty sculptures) are blackened and dirty. The large square in front of the cathedral also is under construction. Maybe the best overall view on the Notre Dame I had from my hotel room window: I could see it bathe in the last streams of sun in the late afternoon and brightly enlightened in the night.


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

Click here to see more of my photos of Reims

Reviews

Jarek Pokrzywnicki (Poland):
Just visited (July, 2015). Currently the cathedral is under restoration (scaffoldings hide rosette of main portal). Located nearby the Palace of Tau is closed on Mondays but it is possible to visit the Museum of Saint Remy (former Abbey of Saint Remy, also part of UNESCO heritage).

As in most of French churches the entrance to the cathedral (and St Remy basilica) is free of charge, although for the museum you should buy a ticket (if wanted to see interior of former abbey - worth visiting).
Date posted: July 2015
Clyde (Malta):
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.
 


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Site info


Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Former Abbey of Saint-Remi and Palace of Tau, Reims
Country: France
Inscribed: 1991
Cultural Heritage
Criteria:  (1) (2) (6)
Category: Religious structure, Christian

Site history:
1991 Inscribed
Reasons for inscription

Site links


Official website:
»Former Abbey of Saint-Remi
»Palais du Tau
»Notre-Dame Cathedral of Reims

In the news:
Not available

Related links:
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Related Forum posts:
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Getting there


This WHS has 1 location(s).

The Cathedral and the Palais du Tau are right in the city center of Reims, a sizeable city in the North East of France. The Abbey of Saint-Remi lies some 25 minutes walk south of the other two locations.

Connections


Architecture
Gothic . Romanesque .
Constructions
Prayer Labyrinth .
Damaged
Damaged in World War I .
History
Coronation Locations . Via Francigena .
Individual People
Charlemagne . John D Rockefeller Jr .
Religion and Belief
Benedictines . Cathedrals . Marian Shrines . Religious Relics .
Timeline
Built in the 13th century .
Trivia
Works by Nobel Prize winning authors .
World Heritage Process
Incorrect UNESCO "Number of locations". .



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