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
). The facade of the Reims cathedral is said to have the best sculptures.
The old archepiscopal palace also played an important step role in the coronation ceremony of the French monarchy (the banquet was held there).
Reims, including these World Heritage monuments, was seriously damaged by the Germans during World War I.
Visit November 2006
The exterior of the Notre Dame cathedral was undergoing restoration at the time of my visit. 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) 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.
More photos can be found in the Picture Gallery
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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