Reims

Reims, founded by the Gauls, became a major city during the period of the Roman Empire. Reims had a prominent ceremonial role in French monarchical history as the traditional site of the crowning of the kings of France.

Notre-Dame de Reims (Our Lady of Reims) is the cathedral where the kings of France were crowned. The cathedral replaced an older church, destroyed by fire in 1211, that was built on the site of the basilica where Clovis was baptized by Saint Remi, bishop of Reims, in AD 496. That original structure had itself been erected on the site of some Roman baths. A major tourism destination, the cathedral receives about one million visitors annually.

Notre-Dame de Reims cathedral was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1991.

We visited Reims twice on our stay in Champagne-Ardenne. First time it was rainy and windy, so we just headed to the Cathedral of Reims and had hot chocolate in a cafe. I also visited a fantastic jewellery and bead store Le Nid de La Pie. (Thanks for the tip Luisa!)

Second time the weather was lovely and sunny. We visited the Musée de la Reddition (Museum of the Surrender 7 May 1945).

On Monday, 7 May 1945 at 2.41 am in the War Room of General Eisenhower’s supreme headquarters (S.H.A.E.F.), which occupied part of what was Reims’ technical college, the Allied Forces put an end to the Second World War in Europe by obtaining the unconditional surrender of the Third Reich’s armed forces. This momentous news was broadcast simultaneously the following day, 8 May, at 3 pm in the capital cities of the allied nations. The site was subsequently turned into a museum in 2005, including its Salle de la Signature (Signing Room), which has remained intact. The museum displays, among other attractions, more than fifty authentic, vintage figures.

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