The Best Things To Do in Reims in 1-Day
Reims is a French city and commune located 145 kilometers from Paris.
It is famous for having been the site of the coronation of the French kings, for its imposing architecture, and for its gastronomic offer, marked by its champagne vineyards.
Rich in history and culture, the origins of Reims date back to Roman antiquity, and there are traces of both that part of its history and the Middle Ages, its monuments and several remarkable and curious structures and infrastructures.
In addition, it has the honor of having been the city where the Second World War ended since the surrender of the German troops was signed in a building in Reims, where a museum dedicated to that period is now located.
As an extra fact, it is worth mentioning that it was in Reims where Joan of Arc attended the coronation of a king, Charles VII, so we will find the figure of this heroine in various parts of the city.
- Related: 1-day Trip to Champagne Region
Must-Visit Places in Reims
The Cathedral of Reims
The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Reims is the most famous monument in the city. Its imposing Gothic architecture, its height, its history of royal coronations (more than 30 kings were crowned there) and its rich statuary make it unique.
Head of the archdiocese of Reims, the cathedral dates from the 12th century and was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. In addition, this Cathedral is a survivor of the First World War, when it was bombed for its symbolic value,
Its Gothic façade, porticoes, galleries, stained glass windows, medieval tapestries and numerous statues (more than 2,000) make the Cathedral of Reims a work of art to be visited for its monumental character and its immeasurable historical value.
We recommend this tour: Reims: Entrance and Guided Tour of Notre Dame Cathedral
Tour the Palais De Tau
The Palais de Tau is right next to the Cathedral of Reims and its touristic interest is worthy of this vicinity. It is a medieval episcopal palace, whose use dates back to the 12th century, where the kings used to stay before the consecration ceremonies in the Cathedral.
It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Today, the Palais de Tau houses a collection of religious art, reliquaries and ceremonial objects of great interest to lovers of art, history and religion from Charlemagne to the 19th century.
Visiting the Basilica of Saint Remi And Its Museum
The Basilica of Saint Remi dates back to the 6th century, although the oldest surviving part of its structure belongs to the 11th century. It is an abbey that houses the tomb of Saint Remi, patron saint of the city, whose relics have been preserved there since the 6th century.
A Unesco World Heritage Site, the Basilica of Saint Remi has a collection of sacred art in its museum and valuable tapestries on the history of Saint Remigius.
Together with the Cathedral and the Tau Palace, it forms the most representative religious and architectural triptych of the city’s history.
Tour the Place Royale
The Place Royal is one of the most beautiful in the city, especially for its surface and the surrounding environment of 18th-century houses. Designed in 1760, the Place Royale is typical of the time of Louis XVI: arcades, balustraded roofs, large surfaces, and monuments.
As for the statue of Louis XV, while the original was by Pigalle, the current one is by Cartellier, since the former did not survive the French Revolution (except for its base, which is still on display).
Finally, it is worth mentioning, among the surrounding buildings, the Hotel des Fermes, currently the headquarters of the prefecture.
Of course, the whole place is photogenic and worthy of the best postcards.
Tour the Fine Arts Museum
The Museum of Fine Arts of Reims was founded at the end of the 18th century. At the end of 2019, it was closed for works to completely remodel it, so its collections can now be found in other museums and places in the city.
The Museum of Fine Arts has an interesting collection of European and French works, including works by Poussin, Moroni, Matisse, Delacroix and Dufy, among others.
Its collections range from the Renaissance to the present and are divided according to time. It is advisable to check where the collections you want to see are located outside the Museum.
Explore Fort De La Pompelle
Fort de la Pompelle, also known as Fort Herbillon, is a very impressive historical site.
A strategic location during the First World War, collections of helmets and uniforms are preserved there, creating a very moving and realistic effect.
It is a place of memory about the war that tries to retell the experience of those who lived through those harsh conditions.
Everyday objects from the trenches, weapons, equipment, clothing and other materialize in the museum an idea of the experience and the conditions undergone by the protagonists.
Located on RD 944, on the Chalons-en-Champagne road, the Fort is open from Wednesday to Sunday inclusive from 10 am to 6 pm.
Visit a Champagne Cellar
Reims is the capital of the Champagne region, so you cannot leave without visiting one of the city’s famous champagne cellars. There are many to choose from: Mumm, Pommery, Clicquot-Ponsardin, Taittinger, Lanson, and the list is just beginning.
It is worth mentioning that this type of visit transcends the degree of understanding and/or taste about the specific drink, as it opens the way to proposals both touristic and gastronomic, historical and cultural, from which visitors leave enriched (and sometimes imbibed) to enter the world of champagne production.
Visit the Mars Gate
The Mars Gate is an ancient Roman gate is one of the few remaining structures from the Roman period in Reims. It dates back to the 3rd century and was partially restored in the 19th century.
Its style is Gallo-Roman, with 32 meters long, 6.5 meters wide and 13 meters high. It was declared a French historical monument in 1840.
Because of its importance, the Mars Gate was the scene of many historical events of manual, such as the passage of Emperor Augustus through the city.
From its architecture, it can be deduced that it was used to pass carts, animals and heavy equipment.
As for the central arch, its vault represents scenes of different months of the year and their work.
Explore the Chapelle Foujita
Located at 33 Rue du Champ de Mars, this chapel has a beautiful interior decoration by the Franco-Japanese artist Léonard Foujita (1886-1968), who designed and decorated it between 1965 and 1966.
Foujita, a painter of the Paris school, converted to Christianity in Reims in 1959 and it is in the Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix chapel that he blends his vision of Christianity with Japanese culture and references to the Italian Renaissance.
Foujita and his late wife Kimiyo are buried there.
The chapel was blessed in 1966. It is closely linked to the Museum of Fine Arts, which houses an important collection of artists.
Visit the Hotel Le Vergeur Museum
Located at 36 Place du Forum and open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 12 pm and from 2 pm to 6 pm, the Museum Hotel Le Vergeur has a collection of art and historical objects related to the city of Reims.
Beautiful Renaissance facades, charming courtyards, furniture and works of art open to the visitor the sublime world of bourgeois interior spaces that became distinguished from the eighteenth century to the twentieth century.
Although the building was built in the 13th century, it is named after its 15th century owner, Nicolas Le Vergeur, who gave it the characteristics that define it today.
Get to Know the Carnegie Library
Located at number 2 Place Carnegie, this library is included among the Historic Monuments of France due to its Art Deco architecture.
Its origin dates back to the end of World War I when it was built with money donated by the businessman and philanthropist to whom it owes its name. It was inaugurated in 1927.
Open on Thursdays from 2pm to 7pm and on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm to 7pm, this library, which was the main library of Reims for a long time.
Inside, we can appreciate its reception with marble mosaics and a reading room with a zenithal window representing an open book with the arms of the city of Reims as highlights.
Eating Out at Les Halles Du Boulingrin
Located on the Place du Boulingrin, this covered market is a perfect place to enjoy the local products of the region.
It was built in 1927 by architect Émile Maigrot and engineer Eugène Freyssinet.
Classified as a historical monument, the covered market was recently renovated and restored for use in 2012 after having been closed since 1988.
Inside, we can enjoy the aromas, textures, colors and sounds of a typical local food market, with its characteristic animation and vitality.
Visit the Musée De La Reddition
Located at 12 Rue du Président Franklin Roosevelt, this museum is an important historical site, as it is where the surrender of Germany in World War II was signed.
In this museum you will find archives, uniforms, and objects that put into perspective the months that preceded the signing of the Nazi surrender in Reims.
The Signature Hall, the place where the event that ended years of atrocities and served as a kick-off for European memory took place, is like walking through a piece of history, as interesting as it is exciting.
Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., every day.
Musée Automobile Reims Champagne
Located at 84 Avenue Georges Clemenceau, open from Wednesday to Monday from 10 am to 12 pm and from 2 pm to 5 pm, this museum is a must-see for car lovers, especially classic and sports cars.
The museum spans 110 years of automotive history and features nearly 230 vehicles. It is one of France’s most important automobile museums, where you can appreciate the automotive industry’s evolution.
This former factory building houses a permanent exhibition of cars of prestigious brands along with many forgotten brands, rare motorcycles and more than 5,000 miniatures and toy cars.
Tour the Parc De Champagne
Located at 10 Avenue du Général Giraud, this park is a perfect place to take a stroll and enjoy the views of the city and the Champagne region. Open daily from 10 am to 8 pm, although it depends on the season.
Created in 1999 by the Marquis de Polignac, the park has many varieties and species of trees that are a pleasure to walk through. In addition to its natural environment, it offers exhibitions, concerts and cultural events of various kinds.
Practical Information for Your Visit to Reims
Reims City Pass
Tourist cards like this one will save us time, lines and money, since they include the entrance to most of the monuments and museums most sought after by visitors to the city.
Among the various offers, we highlight the following, of one or two days duration, according to need:
This card includes admission to all Reims museums, the Fossier cookie factory and free public transportation as highlights. It also has discounts for some excursions, gastronomy and Champagne houses.
It is also worth clarifying that the pass is activated with the first use and from there its chronological duration counts.
This 2-day pass to Reims and Eperney includes free access to public transportation, museums in Reims and Eperney and the Fossier cookie factory.
Like the 1-day, it also has discounts for some excursions, gastronomy and Champagne houses.
Trains to Reims From Paris
On weekdays, trains depart from approximately 06:58 to 21:28.
Saturdays and Sundays, from 07:58 to 21:28.
On average, there are about 18 trains per day between the two cities. They depart approximately every 38 minutes, operated by Alleo, TGV or OuiGO companies.
Prices for a single ticket start at £16.50.
From Paris Est to Reims, the TGV will take us in 45 minutes. From Paris Montparnasse, the OUIGO will do the same in 1 hour 45 minutes.
- Economic: Apart City Confort Reims Centre
- Medium: Hotel le Bristol
- Luxury: Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa
Plan Your Trip to France
- What to bring to Paris
- Visit Monet’s House from Paris (Giverny)
- Visiting the Château de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley
- The Seasons in France
- How to plan a road trip in France
- How to save money on your trip to France
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