I wanted write reams about Reims but Mr CW informed me that it is pronounced Rrrrrance and not to show my ignorance.  The other thing that I didn’t know about Reims was that it is the location of the caves for the most prestigious Champagne houses; I thought they were in Epernay!  But what I did know was that on a line drawn between Austria and Surrey, Reims makes a jolly sensible place to break your journey.

Legend has it that Reims was founded by Remus, twin brother of Romulus who founded Rome, in 80 BC.  I had thought that they both founded Rome and it was unfair that Remus didn’t get a look in with name.  Turns out he had his own place all the time.  It became the biggest Roman city north of the Alps and Roman remains litter the City, most impressive of all being the Porte Mars.

Triumphal arch Porte Mars in Reims
Porte Mars, Reims

Fast forward to Christmas Day 498, Clovis first King of the French was baptised on the site of the present day Cathedral which subsequently became the setting for nearly all French coronations.  Reims Cathedral is generally reckoned to be the finest example of Gothic architecture, it is a fantastic confection of flying buttresses and intricate carving.  German shells ignited the roof at the end of the First World War, causing a fire so intense that the gargoyles spouted lead, restoration was completed in time for the outbreak of the Second World War.  As you enter the main West door you are greeted by a delightful smiling Angel.  Inside, the stained glass windows are still being replaced 100 years on, but they are incredible.  The champagne industry have funded one side chapel that has a central window depicting the process of making fizzy wine flanked by others in a symphony of fractured greens representing the fizz.  Marc Chagall designed another set with Biblical scenes including the Crucifixion.

Smiling Angel, Reims Cathedral
Smiling Angel, Reims Cathedral

 Next door to the Cathedral is the Tau Palace, former residence of the Archbishops of Reims and venue for post coronation banquets.  Down in basement you can look to one side and see Roman foundations and on the other walls dating from the time of Charlemagne whilst above soar Gothic arches.

Tau Palace undercroft
Undercroft, Tau Palace

We only had one day in Rrrrance and so had to leave many interesting things (not least the Champagne caves) unseen ……. next time!  We stayed in the Novotel Suite Hotel which had a room to sleep all four of us, was walking distance from the centre and five minutes from the motorway.  For dinner we turned our back on the centre of town and walked to the a l’ere du temps creperie at 123 Avenue de Leon. The CW family have eaten in many creperies over the years and this one ranks as one of the best.

TAU PALACE – Adults €8, Under 26 free

We were on our way home from cycling round Lake Constance and stopped at Aachen on the way there, why not click on the blue links to check out our adventures.

24 house in Reims with kids


Oregon Girl Around the World
Lou Messugo



  1. June 21, 2016 / 12:58 pm

    The photo of the smiling angel is lovely and quite funny.. don’t you think the statue, next to the angel, looks like he is rolling his eyes at the joyful exuberance of the angel? Enjoyed reading your post on Reims.

  2. June 21, 2016 / 8:03 pm

    I think almost the only thing I knew about Reims was the pronunciation (not sure where I had picked that up) and that there was a cathedral, but I hadn’t realised such an important one – or that Remus had his own city. It definitely looks like somewhere that’s worth a day trip (or more, I fancy the champagne too). Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

  3. June 22, 2016 / 7:59 am

    I love reading about such interesting history! Such a shame that Reims didn’t get all the attention unlike Rome. #CityTripping

  4. June 22, 2016 / 9:58 am

    Ooh pretty! I am such a francophile and despite significant training in French (to A level equivalent), still get the pronunciation wrong. I want to go there for the champagne. Maybe without the kids!

  5. Wander Mum
    June 22, 2016 / 11:03 am

    Thanks for the pronunciation clarification…I have been saying it wrong for years. Reims is a great city – obviously the champagne is a biggie but the cathedral is stunning althoughI didn’t realise quite how important its place in history was. I think we may have to return soon!!

    • November 10, 2016 / 3:03 pm

      It makes a very good stopover on the way to/from the ferry/tunnel

  6. November 10, 2016 / 9:02 pm

    Ah yes, Reims – home of champagne! I am still dreaming of you… And I love that smiling angel. Thank you for sharing her winning smile with us on #FarawayFiles

  7. November 10, 2016 / 9:18 pm

    Very cool! I love visiting old European Towns and Cities! #FarawayFiles

  8. Clare Thomson
    November 11, 2016 / 4:55 pm

    That smiling angel is fabulous – looks like he’s making a fist of triumph with one hand too! Perhaps had a few too many glasses of the famous bubbly? Reims and Rennes are so hard to pronounce in French – I always end up spitting at someone when attempting it which is rather unfortunate. I’ve never visited and would love to. Thanks for sharing it with us on #FarawayFiles

  9. November 12, 2016 / 9:07 pm

    I had genuinely no idea that Reims (sorry, Rrrrrance) was such a large Roman city. I live very close to the city of Trier, just across the border in Germany. Tourist marketing material about Trier often boasts that it was the “biggest Roman city north of the Alps”.

    But Reims does appear to have a claim too: according to Wikipedia (which is always correct, right?) both cities potentially had a peak population of up to 100,000 in Roman times. So we’ll call it a draw, and I will be planning an exploratory trip to Reims as soon as I can! ;o)

    Thanks for the inspiration! #FarawayFiles

    • November 12, 2016 / 9:20 pm

      Have fun, I look forward to reading about your visit

  10. November 13, 2016 / 10:02 am

    Reading the comments, I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who has been pronouncing Reims incorrectly all of my life. But fortunately only in my head as it doesn’t come up in everyday conversation! I didn’t know it was Roman either. I’m obviously well qualified to blog about travel :-) #Farawayfiles

    • November 13, 2016 / 10:11 am

      Travel is all about learning xx

  11. May 10, 2017 / 3:24 pm

    I chuckled at your pun in the first sentence (and I naughtily chuckle at the English pronunciation of Reems) but I do like this place and despite having been many times to stock up on champagne when we lived in Paris and it was just 90 mins down the road, I didn’t know about its Roman origins. What’s not to love? A city with culture and bubbles! Thanks for linking up to #AllAboutFrance

  12. May 30, 2017 / 11:05 am

    I did know that Reims was pronounced an odd way but could not remember how so thank you for that. As for that angel, she looks like she’s doing an arm cheer/YESSSSS if you know what I mean! #AllAboutFrance

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