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Things to Do in Reims

With its UNESCO World Heritage–listed monuments, lively student quarter, and a history dating back to 80 BC, Reims is among the most interesting cities in northern France. Today it’s best known for its booming Champagne industry and serves as the unofficial capital of the famous Champagne region. 

The Basics
At around two hours from Paris, many visitors opt to explore Reims on a day tour from the capital. Reims’ top attractions—including its massive Gothic cathedral, art and military museums, and historical market—are not to be missed before heading out into Champagne country. In fact, many visitors typically combine a city tour of Reims with Champagne tasting at one or more of the region’s wineries. 

Reims is also a strategic starting point for Champagne tours, home to prestigious Champagne houses like Taittinger, Mumm, Veuve-Clicquot, and Pommery. Other popular inclusions on a full-day tour include the Champagne town of Épernay, home to the Moët & Chandon vineyards and cellars, and the village of Hautvillers, the former home of Champagne maverick Dom Pérignon. For a more personalized Champagne-tasting experience, opt for a small-group or private tour.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Reims is a must for lovers of incredibly charming French towns, history, and Champagne.
  • The historic center of Reims is easy to get around on foot, but there is also an extensive tram system.
  • Reims is renowned for its nightlife; most bars, live music venues, and nightclubs are found around Place Drouet-d’Erlon.

How to Get There
Reims is located in northeastern France, not far from the borders of Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg. From Paris, it’s about a 2-hour drive or a 45-minute journey by high-speed train—the Reims-bound TGV departs from the Gare de l’Est.

When to Get There
The most popular time to visit Reims is during the summer months of July and August, when it’s recommended to book accommodations and tours well in advance. Other atmospheric times to visit are during the springtime Joan of Arc Festival (Les Fêtes Johanniques) and over the holiday season, when a Christmas village and festive markets set up in the city center.

A Walking Tour of Reims
Begin your Reims walking tour at Place Royale, with its imposing statue of Louis XV. From here it’s a short stroll to the city’s trio of UNESCO-listed monuments: the Abbey of Saint-Rémi (Basilique St-Rémi), the Palace of Tau (Palais du Tau), and the magnificent Cathedral of Notre Dame, whose construction began in 1211 and which once served as a royal coronation site. Be sure to admire the equestrian statue of Joan of Arc on Place Cardinal-Luçon before continuing along Boulevard Lundy, lined with grand 19th- and 20th-century mansions, including the Hôtel de Brimont. Loop around to admire the beautiful Town Hall and pay a visit to the Musée des Beaux Arts, then finish your walking tour at Place Drouet-d’Erlon, where many cafés and restaurants make a perfect spot for lunch. 
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Reims Cathedral of Notre Dame (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims)
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One of France’s greatest Gothic masterpieces, the Reims Cathedral dates to the 13th century and is hallowed as the coronation site of many French kings. The UNESCO-listed landmark—recognizable for its twin bell towers and rose stained-glass window—was shelled during World War I but has since been restored to its former glory.

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Pommery Champagne (Domaine Pommery)
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Founded in 1858 by Alexandre Louis Pommery and Narcisse Greno, Pommery Champagne (Domaine Pommery) was at one time better known for its wool trading than for its bubbly. Today, however, this massive house is one of the Champagne region’s largest producers of the popular celebratory beverage and a destination for travelers seeking to sample sparkling glasses in the same setting where it’s produced.

Visitors can tour the network of chalk pits that sits beneath the city of Reims, where more than 20 million bottles of champagne are stored in a natural temperature-controlled environment. Guided tours include a trip around the grounds, a visit to the cellars and a detailed explanation of how this favorite beverage is produced, bottled and distributed.

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Taittinger Champagne House (Maison de Champagne Taittinger)
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One of the few Reims Champagne houses to have retained its independence, Taittinger is a popular stop for bubbly enthusiasts. With origins dating to 1734, the family-run winery stores and ages its Champagnes in chaulk vaults that date back to Roman times.

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Tau Palace (Palais du Tau)
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The Tau Palace (Palais du Tau) owes its decidedly un-French name to its floor plan, which resembles the letter "T." The site's original structure was a sixth-century Roman villa, which later became a Carolingian palace. Its current moniker stuck after 1131, though that building gave way to Gothic design early in the 16th century and then its current Baroque incarnation in 1671.

Prior to their coronations at Nortre Dame of Reims, the kings of France would stay at the palace. Following ceremonies, they would return for a celebration, the most recent of which took place in 1825.

In the last quarter of the 20th century, the Palace of Tau became home to the Musée de l'Œuvre, a collection of statues, tapestries and reliquaries from Reims' cathedral. The palace is both a national monument and a UNESCO World Heritage site, declared in 1991. Museum tours display the royal apartments as well as certain antiquities from the cathedral treasury.

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House of Mumm (Maison Mumm)
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Founded in 1827, G. H. Mumm & Cie—one of the world’s largest and most-esteemed champagne houses—is a popular destination for oenophiles who are looking to sample and discover more about France’s world-class bubbly. Taste the winery’s famed Cordon Rouge Champagne and tour its underground caves as you learn the history of the House of Mumm.

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Abbey of Saint-Remi (Abbaye Saint-Rémi)
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The picturesque Abbey of Saint-Remi (Abbaye Saint-Rémi)—also known as the Saint-Remi Basilica (Basilique Saint-Rémi)—was founded in the sixth century and offers travelers a classic taste of French religious architecture. Two towering stone spires bookend a regal entryway marked by a round stained glass window dating back hundreds of years. Travelers will find a collection of 16th century tapestries depicting the life of Saint Remi in this spiritual oasis that offers a relaxing escape from the chaos of the city.

Visitors love the quiet, spacious interior and agree that Abbey of Saint-Remi (Abbaye Saint-Rémi) never seems to get crowded. Travelers can explore the stark halls and impressive altars while they learn about the abbey’s destruction during World War I, as well as restoration efforts to return the structure to its original Roman Gothic splendor.

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Nigloland

Get your thrills at one of the most popular theme parks in France, Nigloland, which includes rides and entertainment options for visitors of all ages—from roller coasters to animal-themed kiddy rides to puppet shows featuring the theme park’s hedgehog mascot.

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