Reims, sometimes spelled Rheims, is the largest city in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France, and is pronounced similar to ranse (like dance). It was peopled with the Celtic tribes, called the Gauls, before the Roman conquest; and afterwards, the city name changed to the Durocortorum. But legend has it that the name Reims comes from Romulus’ brother Remus who founded ancient Rome.
As the Roman empire died down, the Franks descended from Germany, and France comprised three warring factions: the Goths, the Franks and the Burgandians. The Franks took the Northeastern part of France, and their leader, Clovis was baptised in Reims after a battle in which he prayed to the Christian God and was granted victory. The city was considered sacred because of his conversion there, and all of the kings were crowned in Reims for a millennium (816-1825), apart from Henry IV.
I don’t have many pictures to share about the city as our focus for the day was the cathedral. But when you go, don’t forget to visit the Porte de Mars – the gate standing from the Roman times. We didn’t, unfortunately. It was too far and we had tired kids. The picture above shows the storage houses from Roman a couple of centuries AD that have more recently been turned into shops.
The cathedral of Reims is one of the finest examples of gothic architecture.
Built in the 13th-14th centuries, “its interior (is) characterized by soaring vertical heights, the richness of its sculpture and the technical quality of its construction” (quoted from here)
This is the interior, looking towards the Ambulatory:
And closer up.
This is looking from the Apse towards the front
and closer up.
As you can see, the restoration on the cathedral is almost constant – there’s almost always something being done. Here is part of the ceiling being restored where you can see the before and after.
In continuing with the pictures, here’s a look down the aisle.
And here are some stained glass windows. The traditional ones:
And the newer ones. If I’m not mistaken, this one at the back was designed by Mark Chagall. (I know he designed some, but am less sure if these close ups are the ones).
This other 20th century window is from Brigitte Simon.
It’s called “The Water of Life”
Here are some more pictures from the inside:
And more from the outside.
We went to the Champagne region to visit the cathedral of Reims, but we didn’t end up seeing much more of the city than that before having lunch and heading on.
and the countryside.