I dreamed about the champagne houses and this idyllic French city. Reims is a city that’s been on my radar for years. For someone who isn’t necessarily the biggest connoisseur of champagne, I don’t know why but something drew me to Reims. I think it was the short commute from Paris, the numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites and thought of bubbly champagne which made Reims so appealing. While Champagne is a big part of city, I soon learned that there are plenty of things to do in Reims.
Things to do in Reims
Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims
I have never found a UNESCO site I didn’t like. And the fact that Reims has two inscriptions on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites was enough reason for me to book my trip to the city. The first inscription includes Reims Cathedral of Notre-Dame, the Palace of Tao and the Former Abbey of Saint-Rémi. The second inscription includes the vineyards and cellars of the Champagne Region.
Perhaps the most well known UNESCO site in Reims is the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. The Reims Cathedral is a gothic style Roman Catholic church in the center of Reims. This cathedral was built after a fire destroyed a former church in 1211. While this cathedral gets over a million visitors a year, it feels quite calm compared to many other cathedrals in France allowing you to enjoy its’ beauty without hordes of crowds. I revisited this cathedral many time during my stay in Reims. The interior had an appeal that brought a sense of peace over me. And the exterior has a golden glow at sunset. Seeing the Reims Cathedral is one of the top things to do in Reims.
Palace of Tau
The Palace of Tau has formally been a residence of the Kings of France. Now the former Palace has been converted into a museum displaying artifacts of the monarchy. When I visited, there was a contemporary art exhibit featuring graphic designs and sculptures by the French artist Speedy Graphito. It was interesting to see the art pop pieces next to the ancient tapestries.
The exterior of the Palace of Tao is beautiful from every angle. After visiting the museum, I took a walk around the Palace. The views from the gardens are especially dramatic.
Former Abbey of Saint-Remi
The Former Abbey of Saint-Rémi, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While it is located away from the city center, this romanesque stye church should not be missed while visiting Reims. Saint-Remi is in the neighborhood where many of the champagne houses are located, making a visit to this former abbey even more worthwhile.
Place Royale is a magnificent square in the center of Reims, decorated in the neoclassical style, with balustrades on the roofs, arcades and cast-iron lanterns.
Maison Fossier is a very pink gourmet biscuit shop in Reims. Be sure to stop by to try/buy some of the biscuits. You can even take a tour of the Maison Fossier factory to see how these infamous pink biscuits are made.
Museum Hotel le Vergeur
Museum Hotel le Vergeur is a 16th Century mansion that has been converted into a museum. This museum gave me a taste of the interior of homes from this time. In order to enter the museum, you need to ring a door bell. As I waited for someone to let me in, I felt as if I was entering a private home. Additionally this museum showcases decorative arts, works of art illustrating the local history and the Royal Coronations. Entry to this museum includes a guided tour, so you will fully understand this museum.
Hotel de Ville of Reims
To my surprise, I was able to freely walk around the Hotel de Ville. The Hotel de Ville is the town hall in Reims and had an ornately beautiful interior.
As the capital of the Champagne region, Reims is most known for its Champagne Houses. In order to fully experience this city, book a visit to one of these Champagne Houses in the city. There are so many champagne houses to choose from; from the large prestigious houses to small boutique ones. I opted for Tattinger, a well-known champagne house I was familiar with. It is an incredible experience to visit the caves and to see the process of making champagne. Do not miss out on visiting the Champagne Houses. This is one of the things to do in Reims that makes the city unique.
Wander the City
One of the best ways to experience a city is by wandering around. Take some time to meander through the streets, eying the lovely sandstone facades with their impossibly blue doors.
Come Join My Journey was given a Reims City Pass by the Reims Tourism Board, however, my opinions are as always my own.