If you are going on tour to France, you should definitely visit Reims. This city is situated in the north-east part of France. Namely, it lies in the Champagne-Ardenne region, just 129 kilometers from Paris. With its land area of 46.9 square kilometers, Reims is one of the largest cities in the region. Given this fact, Reims is often regarded as the capital of Champagne province.
Not only size but foremost its ancient history makes Reims an effective capital. The city was founded in 80 BC and during Julius Caesar’s conquest of Gaul it served as a capital of the Remi tribe. At those times the city was known as Durocortorum, which means “a round fortress” in Latin. Later the city was given its modern name that echoes its connection with the Remi tribe.
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In the Middle Ages Reims became an important Christian capital and an intellectual centre. The legend says that the Holy Spirit brought the Ampulla containing the Saint Chrism at the baptism of Clovis in 496. Since then the Ampulla had been kept in Reims and served as an anointment at the coronation ceremonies of French kings.
Besides numerous glorious days, the city of Reims has seen a number of tragic events. In the course of history it went through several bloody wars. In particular, it played a crucial role in the French Wars of Religion, the War of the Sixth Coalition and both World Wars. Unfortunately, Reims was greatly damaged during wars and it took a plenty of time and effort to restore the city with its ancient architecture.
Nowadays a lot of tourists come to Reims in order to take delight in magnificent views of the city, to feel the spirit of antiquity and just to take an enjoyable stroll along the streets and terraces. It needs to be said that Reims has a lot to show to its visitors. What is more, it has a lot to astonish with. Paul Wade (2012) points out an interesting fact: some of France’s most important heritage is situated in Reims.
One of the most prominent historical sites is undoubtedly Notre-Dame de Reims, situated just in the heart of the city. It is a Roman Catholic cathedral, built in the thirteenth century, where the coronation of 33 French kings took place. Actually, the cathedral is a reconstruction of an older church that was damaged by fire in 1211. However, the present building has the same structure and is situated at the same place as the original building. Regarding the exterior, Notre-Dame de Reims is one of the most notable gothic churches in France. The facades and the portals are decorated with numerous sculptures and stained-glass windows, which make an impression of lightness and solemnity. Due to its unique architecture, it was included into a list of UNESCO World Heritage in 1991.
In the nearest vicinity of Notre-Dame cathedral one more remarkable tourist attraction can be found. Saint Remi Basilica is also a UNESCO Heritage site. This ancient church, also known as the Abbey of Saint-Remi, was built in the sixth century and later was reconstructed. The oldest part of it represents the Romanesque architectural style and dates back to the eleventh century. Since 1099 the relics of Bishop Saint Remi have been conserved there, which makes the Abbey an important pilgrimage object.
If you want to have a rest and renew the energy, Reims proposes a number of possibilities for that. There are numerous great places to eat here for clients of different tastes and funds. You can try cheap burger bars, pizzerias or Anglo-Irish bars, which are very popular among tourists. The city is also known for good brasseries, where you can enjoy delicious meals in a relaxed atmosphere. In addition, you can try splendid confectionery at the local patisseries. One more option is to choose one of the numerous ethnic restaurants, starting from French cuisine and finishing with exotic cafes and restaurants. Anyway, you will spend your time with pleasure.
Nevertheless, in order to get a deeper understanding of French culture you should definitely visit a restaurant of modern French cuisine. One of the most popular is named La Table Anna. Its address in Reims is 6 rue Gambetta and it is just a few minutes’ walk from the city centre. Chef Jacques Sellier constantly impresses the clients with exceptionally delicious meals and a diverse seasonal menu. What is more, calm and friendly atmosphere of the restaurant is equally suitable for family gatherings, romantic dinners, as well as for business meetings and of course tourist lunches. If you visit La Table Anna, it will for sure pleasantly complement your impressions about the city of Reims.