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> Reims

Champagne

CORONATION CITY

Reims was ruled by bishops from the 3rd century onwards and the first cathedral was built here in the 5th century. The baptism of King Clovis I of the Franks, in 496, by the bishop of Reims marked the beginning of a long tradition: Reims was thereafter the place where French Kings were crowned. The town entered a period of economic prosperity during the Middle Ages and its famous gothic cathedral was constructed.

Each year in June, Reims hosts the Fêtes Johnanniques, or Feast of Joan of Arc. This remembers the year 1429, when Joan of Arc led the French army to victory and Charles VII was crowned at the cathedral in Reims, with great pomp and ceremony, accompanied by Joan of Arc herself, thus completing her mission which she believed was a vocation from God.

In the late 17th century, monks in the south of France developed a technique for producing sparkling wine, which was particularly suited to the growing conditions in the Champagne region. Associated with royalty and festivities, champagne became the de facto luxury drink of the nobility, affording Reims a new lease of life. 
 
 


reims cathedral

ARCHITECTURAL TREASURES

The splendid gothic Cathedral of Reims is one of the most famous buildings in France. It dates from the 13th century, with the construction of the towers which began in 1241.

The cathedral, together with the Palais de Tau, and the Saint Remi Basilica and Abbey (dating from the 11th century) features on Unesco’s World Heritage list.
The Saint-Rémi Basilica is a monastic building with spectacular stained glass windows which dates back to the 11th century. It was built upon the tomb of Saint Remi, the archbishop who baptized Clovis. The Palace of Tau was the residence of the archbishops of Reims, and was where kings would stay during the coronation ceremonies. At the museum in the palace, you can admire a collection of magnificent coronation robes dating back to medieval times.
 


vineyards

CITY OF CHAMPAGNE

Reims, together with Epernay, is the capital of champagne production. Many major champagne houses are based in Reims, including Veuve Cliquot and Taittinger, and you can tour their cellars and attend tasting sessions. Beneath the city is a network of passageways and cellars carved out of chalk which are used to store the champagne during the maturation process. There are over 100 kilometres of tunnels and caves, some parts of which date back to Roman times.

Around Reims are thousands of acres of picturesque vineyards in which the three varieties of grapes used in champagne are grown. The Côte des Blancs, a wine producing domain which extends from Reims to Epernay is mainly planted with chardonnay grape varieties. Many of the vineyards in the Champagne region are open to visitors, and you can learn all about the fermentation process, take a tour of the cellars and attend tasting sessions here.
 


the reims cathedral

NOTRE-DAME CATHEDRAL

A gothic masterpiece.

Built in the 13th century, Notre-Dame Cathedral in Reims is a masterpiece of French gothic architecture, listed as World Heritage monument by Unesco. Standing on the square, in front of the cathedral, admire the towering facade which is literally covered with reliefs and sculptures. Over 2,300 patterns are carved onto the building, including the famous "Smiling Angel" who welcomes you from the embrasure of the northern entrance.
Inside, light streams through the spectacular multi-coloured stained glass windows illuminating the nave of the building. In the central chapel, don't miss the stained glass windows made by Marc Chagall in 1974.

Visitors are free to explore the church or take an audioguide
Access available to persons of reduced mobility
No visits during religious services
Enquiries from the Tourist Office on +33 326 774 500 or click here to send an email

Place :
Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims
1 place Cardinal-Luçon
51100 Reims
+33 326 471 579

For more information :
Tourist Office
2, rue Guillaume de Machaut
51100 REIMS
+33 326 774 500
In French: www.cathedrale-reims.com

Getting There:
Reims Station (TGV, TER)
 


champaign cellars

CHAMPAGNE TAITTINGER AND CAVES VEUVE-CLIQUOT

Visiting the most prestigious cellars.

A prestigious champagne house, the Maison Taittinger has occupied the château de la Marquetterie since 1932, when Pierre Taittinger acquired the house which formerly belonged to the Fourneaux family.
The Marquetterie is an 18th century residence which nestles among the Chardonnay and Pinot noir vineyards.
Since then, the Taittinger family have managed this business which is known around the world. Champagne Taittinger is one of the most famous champagnes in the world. Visit the cellars where the champagne is kept, enjoy tastings and be surprised by the intense aromas and flavours...

For over two centuries the name of Veuve Clicquot has appeared among the most famous and sought after champagnes in the world.
The name was adopted as a tribute to Madame Clicquot who was widowed at a young age, and bravely took over her husband's business, transforming it into a flourishing and reputed champagne house.

Visitors can explore the old quarries or crayères where the wines are stored, learn more about the mysteries of champagne, and contemplate the bottles in which a slow and careful process of maturation takes place.
This fascinating tour ends with a tasting session.

Opening hours :
Cave Taittinger: until 15 November, every day from 9.30am to 1pm and 2pm to 5.30pm

Place :
Cave Taittinger
9 place Saint-Nicaise
51100 Reims
+33 326 854 535

For more information :
Caves Veuve Cliquot: enquiries on +33 326 895 390 or by email
www.taittinger.fr

Getting There :
Reims Station (TGV, TER)
 


glass of champaign

DISCOVER THE AVENUE DE CHAMPAGNE IN EPERNAY

An avenue which flows with champagne.

The other French capital of champagne, Epernay, is located around 30 kilometres from Reims. On this prestigious avenue, the great champagne houses have set up home. You can explore 100 km of underground passageways, the crayères or old "quarries".

940 metres in length, the avenue de Champagne houses some very prestigious names in champagne production, such as Moët et Chandon, Mercier and De Castellane, whose caves or cellars are open to the public for visits and tasting sessions. Moët & Chandon, Perrier-Jouët, Vranken, Boizel, Pol Roger, De Castellane, G.H Martel, Mercier… the Avenue de Champagne is a champagne-lover's dream come true.

Place :
Avenue de Champagne
51200 Epernay

For more information :
Tourist Office
7, avenue de Champagne
51200 EPERNAY
+33 326 533 300
In French : http://avenue.maisons-champagne.com/

Getting There :
Epernay Station (TER)
 


champaign village

DISCOVER THE CÔTE DES BLANCS

The cradle of Chardonnay.

Sweeping from Epernay all the way to Vertus, the Côte des Blancs is where Chardonnay grapes are grown, this white wine from Burgundy which is a crucial ingredient in the making of champagne.

From the famous Avenue de Champagne in Epernay, the Côte des Blancs takes you via Cramant, where an 8m tall bottle of champagne attracts attention in the village. Follow the itinerary to Oger, classed as "one of the most beautiful villages in France". Make a stop at Mesnil-sur-Oger, and visit the Museum of Wine and of the Vine. In Villevenard, the vines grow in the marshes or marais of Saint-Gond.

Soak up the picturesque beauty of the 100 km of the Sézannais vineyards, with their quiet rustic charm, in this traditional corner where ancient skills are practised in the winemaking trade.

Place :
Avenue de Champagne
51200 Epernay

For more information :
Tourist Office
7, avenue de Champagne
51200 EPERNAY
+33 326 533 300
http://avenue.maisons-champagne.com/

Getting There :
Epernay Station (TER)
 


the vezernay lighthouse

THE VERZENAY LIGHTHOUSE

A champagne panorama.

On the tourist route in Champagne, at the heart of one of the most prestigious wine-producing areas, the montagne de Reims, scale the heights of the Verzenay Lighthouse for a journey across champagne country.

Thanks to the audiovisual technology and ultra modern equipment, you can discover the stages involved in the production of champagne, and the traditions and celebrations involved. To make your visit even more unforgettable, the multitalented actor, producer and director, Robert Hossein will tell you the tales and stories associated with the lighthouse, the phare de Verzenay.

The magic of the grape will surely bewitch you.


Opening hours :
From Saturday 1 January to Saturday 31 December 2011 :
- From Tuesday to Friday from 10:00 to 17:00
- Saturday, Sunday from 10:00 to 17:30
Closed on 1 January and 25 December

Admission prices :
- Full price : 6 €
- Up to 6 years : 3 €
Climb to the top of the lighthouse: 7€ (adult), 4€ (child)
Climbing the lighthouse is a seperate visit to the museum

Place :
Phare de Verzenay
rue du Phare
51360 Verzenay
+33 326 078 787
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For more information :
Mairie
2, rue Arnould Quenardel
51360 VERZENAY
+33 326 494 268
In French: www.lepharedeverzenay.com

Getting There:
No public transport, the Phare is located 15km from Reims
 


Joan Arc feast

FEAST OF JOAN OF ARC IN REIMS

From Saturday, June 4 2011 to Sunday, June 5 2011

Reims returns to the Middle Ages to celebrate Joan of Arc.

The city of Reims celebrates the Fêtes Johanniques ("Johannique" referring to Joan of Arc). This annual festival commemorates the coronation of Charles VII of France, which, thanks to military victories led by Joan of Arc during the Hundred Years' War, took place in Reims Cathedral on 17th July 1429.

Highlights of this festive weekend will include the Grand Coronation Parade with over 2,000 people in medieval costume who accompany "Joan of Arc" and "Charles VII" to Notre-Dame Cathedral.

The whole city goes back in time for this medieval festival, with numerous free events and street performances, parades, brass bands, a medieval market, historical reconstructions, a medieval encampment with knights, artisans and minstrels strolling the streets of Reims.

Place :
Centre-ville de Reims
place de l'hôtel-de-Ville
51100 Reims
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For more information :
Enquiries on +33 326 824 566
Tourist Office
2, rue Guillaume de Machaut
51100 REIMS
326 774 500
www.ville-reims.fr

Getting There :
Reims Station (TGV, TER)
 


Middle Age image

MEDIEVAL FESTIVAL IN SEDAN   

From Saturday, May 21 2011 to Sunday, May 22 2011

Back to the Middle Ages.

At this festival at the heart of the oldest fortified castle in Europe, with an encampment, shows, stilt walkers, strolling minstrels and a medieval market offering authentic produce, visitors will be immersed in a truly medieval atmosphere.

In an area dedicated to artisans you will be able to watch blacksmiths, calligraphers, wood turners, leather workers and other artisans skilled in ancient crafts as they demonstrate their know-how and ply their trades. The food stalls will ensure that all appetites are satisfied!


Place :
Château fort de Sedan
cours du Château
08200 Sedan
+33 324 277 373

For more information :
Phone: +33 324 299 880 (organiser)
Tourist Office
35, rue du Ménil
08200 SEDAN
+33 324 277 373
www.chateau-fort-sedan.fr

Getting There :
Sedan (TGV, TER)
 


piano

THE FLÂNERIES MUSICALES FESTIVAL  

From Friday, June 17 2011 to Friday, July 22 2011

Strolling through Reims in to the sound of music.

For one month this summer, the Flâneries Musicales, (meaning "musical strolls") festival will once again offer inhabitants and visitors alike the opportunity to take in a daily concert, in a variety of musical genres including classical and jazz. A large number of these concerts are free of charge and will feature well-known performers.

The concerts are given in prestigious locations throughout the city such as the cathedral, the Saint-Rémi basilica and its cloister, the Tau Palace (a UNESCO classified world heritage site), and in various performance halls, courtyards, and gardens.

This festival is the perfect occasion to discover the city of Reims at a leisurely pace and in accordance with your musical tastes. One of the main events, the Picnic Concert, attracts nearly 13,000 spectators to the Parc de Champagne every summer.

On the programme this year : Newman and Oltman Guitar Duo, Orchestra of the Opera de Reims, Anima Eterna Brugge Ensemble, Boston Camerata, Jay Gottlieb, Louis Robillard…


Opening hours :
From Friday 17 June to Friday 22 July 2011 :
- Saturday, Sunday from 11:00 to 20:30
- From Monday to Friday from 17:00 to 22:30

Place :
Saint-Rémi Basilica
16 place Saint-Rémi
51100 Reims

For more information :
Phone: +33 326 367 800 (organiser)
Check the programme for 2011 on the official website
Tourist Office
2, rue Guillaume de Machaut
51100 REIMS
+33 326 774 500
In French : www.flaneriesreims.com

Getting There :
Reims Station (TGV, TER)
 


champaign bubbles

VINICONSEIL, BEGINNERS CHAMPAGNE TASTING SESSION 

All year long

See the bubbles in a new light.

With Viniconseil, you are invited to get to the bottom of the secrets of champagne. Wine merchant Philippe Cahours has prepared a host of activities centred on champagne tasting. The magic of chardonnay in champagne, great vintages of the great champagne producers in Champagne, forgotten champagnes, still wines from the Champagne region, pairings of champagnes and cheeses, a fun Champagne quiz, and so on. You'll find there are plenty of original and creative ways of discovering champagne, and of tasting it, of course…

From 250 € (plus tax) subscriptions, based on one bottle for 10 people and 5 bottles tasted
Groups welcome: 4 to 50 people maximum
Other tasting courses are available, please enquire

Place :
Viniconseil
104 rue Ponsardin
51100 Reims
+33 699 169 941
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For more information :
Tourist Office
2, rue Guillaume de Machaut
51100 REIMS
+33 326 774 500

Getting There :
Reims Station (TGV, TER)
 


vineyards

TRISKELL, GUIDED TOUR AROUND THE VINEYARDS OF CHAMPAGNE  

All year long

Made-to-measure champagne tours.

Triskell takes you on a mission to discover the vineyards of Champagne thanks to its service which offers you the chance to hire a car and a knowledgeable guide who will take you on a personalised tour. After a tour around the vineyards of Champagne, dive into the heart of the winemaking culture: visit the wine cellars, to learn more about the champagne making process and of course enjoy a tasting session! Triskell will round off your visit by showing you the main sights of Reims… However, if you have another suggestion, Triskell will take care of it!

Tours tailor-made on application
Groups of 2 to 7 people with or without guide according to availability

Place :
Triskell
23 boulevard des Belges
51100 Reims
+33 326 881 9241
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For more information :
Tourist Office
2 rue Guillaume de Machault
51100 REIMS
+33 326 774 500

Getting There :
Reims Station (TGV, TER)


 

Last Updated on Friday, 25 November 2011 11:38