Things to Do in Reims
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.