Maybe my favourite church in Reims.
While less impressive than the cathedral, the basilique Saint Rémi is a superb example of gothic over roman style.
The outside, too many times renovated (sometimes clumsily) is far from perfect but the result inside is incredibly serene.
Saint Remi, the Reims' Bishop (from 460 to 532) who baptized Clovis, died towards 533 aged 96.
He was buried outside the city, in an oratory dedicated to saint Christophe. His reputation of holiness and the repeated miracles soon attracted many pilgrims.
The oratory was soon transformed into a chuch where St Remi's body was transferred and still is (in a rather modern monument).
Towards 750-760, the archbishop Tilpin invited Benedictine monks come from saint Denis to accomodate and guide the pilgrims.
In 1007, the abbot of Saint Remi, Airard started the current building, wich was consecrated by the pope Leon IX in 1049 (on October 1, saint Remi's day).
The monastic complex was modified at the beginning of XIIth century : creation of the abbaye (now musee saint Rémi), introduction of gothic elements in the church.
The chorus was rebuilt between 1170 and 1180, as well as the western part (preserving however the Roman towers).
In 1505, the archbishop of Rheims, decided to rebuild the southern frontage.
In 1602, the pinion of the transept was rebuilt after collapsing.
The church was classified historical building in 1840 and UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.
open 7/4 from 8h to 18h (until nightfall in winter)
The architect of this impressive & majestic Abbey was Louis Duroché.
The buildings date back to the 17th and 18th Centuries.
Very special is the façade à fronton de la cour d'honneur.
There is also a wonderful GRAND ESCALIER, a majestic flight of stairs where you can see a portrait of the young KING LOUIS XVth.
In the picture you see the CHAPTER HOUSE (17th & 18th Century) which is in the UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE LIST!
The Abbey has remains that date back to the Middle Ages, which is very special and very worthy of your visit! You will enjoy it.
The Abbey is situated a few 100 meters away from the CATHEDRAL.
More info: office du Tourisme Reims,
situated next to the Cathedral, left side.
As significant to Reims as the cathedral, la Basilique Saint-Rémi contains the tomb of the city's patron saint, Rémi. He was the bishop of Reims who baptised the first Frankish King, Clovis I, upon his conversion from Arian Christianity to Roman Catholicism in 496 AD. When the saint died in 533 AD, he was buried in a small chapel just south of the city, located on the site of the actual Basilique Saint-Rémi. His tomb later became a pilgrimage site, and by the late 8th century a Benedictine monastery had formed around it. In 852, a new church was built over the tomb and dedicated to Saint Rémi, but it was destroyed just after the year 1000 to make room for a grander basilica. Work on the new structure began soon afterwards and continued for two centuries, mixing Romanesque and Gothic styles in the process. Although a few modifications were made in the following centuries, the Basilica remained quite unchanged until WWI bombing inflicted severe damage. Restoration work after the war continued until 1958. Since 1991, Basilique Saint-Rémi and the adjacent monastic complex (Abbaye Saint-Rémi) have been on the UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites.
The most important treasure within la Basilique Saint-Rémi is the tomb and relics of the saint himself. He was the bishop of Reims who baptised the first Frankish King, Clovis I, at the Reims Cathedral upon his conversion from Arian Christianity to Roman Catholicism in 496 AD. The significant baptism ensured that France and its people enter the orthodoxy and leave Arianism for good. The saint died in 533 AD and was buried here in what was a small chapel then. After the construction of the actual basilica, his tomb was placed in the crypt below the choir, but it was later moved to its current location in the apse. The stunning sarcophagus containing his relics was only constructed in 1847 using 16th century statues of the saint and a scene of the baptism of Clovis I.
The vast interior of Basilique Saint-Rémi measures over 120 metres in length and 58 metres in width, while the ceiling of the central nave rises to a height of 28 metres. Although some modifications were made over the centuries, most of the interior of the basilica has survived from the structure built in the 11th century. These older sections are distinguishable by the Romanesque style of their columns, rounded arches and mullioned windows, as seen in the nave and the north transept, while later work is much more Gothic in style. The difference in architecture is visible in the western façade, the first two spans of the nave, and the ambulatory and its radiating chapels, which are all 12th century works effected during an expansion of the basilica in the Gothic style with pointed arches. The southern façade of the transept, the rib vaulted ceiling of the nave, and some of the chapels scattered around the basilica are early 16th century works. Many of the stained glass windows are either 17th or 20th century replacements, but a few of the rare 12th century windows have survived in the apse, above the tomb of the much revered Saint Rémi. WWI bombings destroyed parts of the interior of Basilique Saint-Rémi, but any damage was meticulously restored in the following decades.
In AD 496, the ancient Frankish king Clovis needed a victory over his enemies the Alamanni. He promised that if he won it, he would convert to Christianity. So he did, at the Battle of Tolbiac. His baptism was right here in Reims. The ceremony was performed by Saint Remi, where the Basilica of Saint Remi now stands. The first church was built in the sixth century. The present one dates from 1007.
Remi was a bishop of Reims in 530s . He baptized king of Franks. Then he was buried outside the town walls (?). But his holliness and the numerous mirracles he performed drew a lot of piligrims. The chapel was built and then it was rebuilt into a church. Later it became a monastery...
On a cloudy day, noone was in this basilica and I had a chance to fill how is it really should be in a cathedral... Quiet. Choral music playing... Not a soul around.
After noisy Paris churches and cathedrals, I had a pleasure to spend an hour in San Remi.
This is the oldest church in Reims, and dates back to 1007. The basilica is a great example of classic medieval French masonry. The complex also houses the the former royal abbey of St-Remi, who was the guardian of the holy ampula and used to anoint the kings of France. The abbey is now a museum and has a large collection of the history of Reims; regional archaeology; and military history.
St. Remi's basilica is an UNESCO World Heritage site located away from the center of town. If you have a nice day it is about a one mile walk from the center near Notre-Dame de Reims.
Saint Remi is named for the 5th century Saint Remi, patron saint of the inhabitants of Reims and dates back to the 11th century with additions made in later centuries. Like Notre-Dame, it sustained heavy damage in WWI and was restored following the war.
Next to the basilica is the abbey, which was the Royal Abbey of St Remi. The present abbey building dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries and is open as the Saint-Remi Museum
We visited at the end of the day and the basilica was not well lit on the interior so try to go earlier in the day.
This basilica is the oldest (and seemed to me to be the biggest, but I guess I was wrong here) church in Reims, dating from 1007. Though now is pretty awkwardly situated in the modern quarter of Reims, this complex began as a Carolingan basilica in 5th-6th centuries, and was already then dedicated to St. Remi.
Despite being an example of medieval French masonry at its most classic, it's more frequently than not missed by the travelers eager to see the famous Reims Cathedral. Within the complex is the former royal abbey of St-Rémi, who was the guardian of the holy ampula used to anoint the kings of France. The abbey now functions as a museum with an extensive collection covering the history of Reims, regional archaeology, and military history. It’s also a kind of a mausoleum, having been a burial place for the kings of France for a long period of time.
Architect Louis Duroché designed the majestic ornamental front of the main quadrangle and the Grand Staircase (1778), where you can admire one of the portraits of the young Louis XV in his coronation robes. It also contains a Romanesque nave leading to a magnificent choir crowned with pointed arches. The nave, the transepts, one of the towers, and the aisles date from the 11th century; the portal of the south transept is in early-16th-century Flamboyant Gothic style. Some of the stained glass in the apse is from the 13th century. Much of the stained glass, however, is more modern, but it still looks fine enough. The tomb of St. Rémi is elaborately carved with Renaissance figures and columns.
Admission is free, but you have to remember that the complex is closed during service hours.
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