Notre-Dame de Reims (Our Lady of Reims) was built between 1211 and 1275 on the alleged site of the baptism of Clovis by Saint Remi in AD496. This cathedral is where the kings of France were crowned.
The Germans bombed the cathedral in 1917 during WWI, it sustained major damage, restoration was funded in part with grants from the Rockefeller family.
My favorite part of the cathedral are the beautiful striking blue stained glass windows by Russian artist Marc Chagall who was commissioned to create them in the early 1970s. One of the windows depicts the principal events in the lives of Abraham and Christ, another window shows the tree of Jesse, the lineage of the Kings of Judah, and the third window shows momentous events in the lives of the Kings of France including the coronation of King Charles VII in front of Joan of Arc and the baptism of Clovis by Saint Remi.
Open from 7:30-19:30 every day
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.
The Landmark of Reims
The gothic Cathedral in France and so important for politics and history !
The outstanding handling of new architectural techniques in the 13th century, and the harmonious marriage of sculptural decoration with architecture, has made Notre-Dame in Reims one of the masterpieces of Gothic art. The former abbey still has its beautiful 9th-century nave, in which lie the remains of Archbishop St Rémi (440–533), who instituted the Holy Anointing of the kings of France. The former archiepiscopal palace known as the Tau Palace, which played an important role in religious ceremonies, was almost entirely rebuilt in the 17th century.
The Cathedral Notre Dame de Reims was started in 1211 on the location of a former church (said to be built around 400 by Saint Nicaise) - destroyed by a fire- and consecrated in 1241. The towers were finshed only in 1430.
It used to be where the French kings were crowned. This tradition was started with Louis le Pieux in 806 (1st one to be crowned in Reims - the 1st to use the present cathedral was Louis VIII in 1123).
The location was chosen in memory of the baptism of Clovis (considered the foundator of the Francs kingdom) by Saint Remi, in 498 (on Christmas Day).
The last king crowned was Charkles X in 1825.
It's a splendid example of gothic art, not only the famous portals with the smiling angels but all those little details everywhere.
The cathedral has several times been damaged, but especially during WWI when it was bombed over several days in September 1914, April 1917 and November 1918 (the worst damages happening to the vaulting, the walls and the west facade).
After reconstruction the cathedral was reconsecrated in 1937.
It still sustains permanent renovations (pluution is the culprit now).
Many statues you can see are copies, the originals are in the Palais du Tau.
The cathedral, made the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1991.
I find the interior of the cathedral not as beautiful as the outside. Maybe it's just that I like churches that are not such a big tourist attraction. It does not improve the atmosphere to have so many people walking about, photographing.
For many years in fact, I never did make photographs in churches.
You can see just a small part of the previously shown gargoyle on the left. And the other side of the rose window.
The church was partly in scaffolds just as it was some 13 years ago. It does look like it needs a good clean up. Most of the church is blackened by air pollution.
Visit the cathedral "Notre Dame". It is listened in the World Cultural Heritage list of the UNESCO and ABSOLUTELY worth to see!
For more infos and pics about the cathedral please have a look into the "General Tips" on this page ...
But before you do that, read the "must-sees" ready, please.
Notre-Dame de Reims is one of Europe's most important Gothic structures. A World Heritage site, the 13th century cathedral has characteristics all its own, in particular its lighting, statuary and unity of style.
Notre-Dame boasts an exceptionally rich statuary. The cathedral is adorned with 2,303 statues, including the famous Smiling Angel, whose jovial expression reflects the Champagne School of the 13th century.
Located in the heart of the city, the cathedral's towers rise above the rooftops of Reims to a height of 81 m. The nave, whose triple-level design is characteristic of the period in which it was built, has a vaulted ceiling some 38 m high. The cathedral is almost 150 m long.
The cathedral is also remarkable for its luminosity, making it a model of the genre in Gothic Europe. A profusion of rosewindows, as well as the delicacy of the windows make this colossal structure remarkably balanced and light.
The baptism of Clovis, around the year 498, gave birth to the Kingdom of the Franks. This exceptional event explains the choice of Reims as the coronation city.
13th, 20th (Chagall, 1974) and 21th century (Knoebel, 2011) stained-glass windows.
Open everyday from 7.30am to 7.30pm (except during services). To visit the upper parts : apply to Palais of Tau.
Outdoor lighting of the cathedral at nightfall.
2011 : 800th anniversary of Notre-Dame and sound & light show "Rêve de couleurs":
Guided tour of the towers: every week-end from 15 March to 5 May and from 9 September to 31 October. Tuesday through Sunday from 6 May to 8 September.
Information at Palace of Tau
This is THE BEST reason to go visiting Reims.
This photograph I took walking away from the Cathedral direction river Marne when I had to wait at a crossing and suddenly saw the wonderful building reflected in the mirror-like façade of the MEDIATHEQUE CATHEDRALE....
You can clearly see that the late afternoon sun is shining on the Cathedral's façade and that the skies are still blue......
THE CATHEDRAL IS UNESCO LISTED AS WORLD HERITAGE!
The days were wonderful.........I love France...
The Cathedral is open daily from 7.30AM till 7.30PM but of course not during services.
For more info: apply at the Palais du Tau.
In winter visiting times may differ so take care to be informed well!
As impressive as i thought the outside was, I was even more taken aback by the interior. The building looks big from the outside, but when you step inside you really realize how large it is. The light from the stained glass windows streamed in and filled the cathedral.
We walked around the perimeter of the cathedral looking at the small chapels and lighting candles in memory of our loved ones. Behind the altar are the stained glass windows that were created by Marc Chagall - very beautiful.
We sat in the main area of the cathedral and just looked at the altar and listened to the chorus that was practicing. Very nice.
The cathedral is definitely a highlight of the region and should not be missed.
A magnificent cathedral in the gothic style, Notre Dame de Reims is one of the must-see churches of France.
Notre Dame de Reims was the site of 25 coronations of kings of France, from Louis VIII in 1223 to Charles X in 1825. In 1429, Charles VII was crowned here in the presence of Joan of Arc. The building was heavily damaged during World War I, but has now been largely restored. There was still some work being done when I was there, but I believe this was to remedy the more modern problems of acid rain and pollution.
The original cathedral that stood on this site was of Romanesque style and was burned to the ground in 1210. Architect Jean d'Orbais designed a new and grander cathedral, which began construction in 1211. The cathedral was gradually added to over the years. The facade is a newer addition which was not completed until 15th century.
Inside the cathedral, you'll see all the marks of fine gothic architecture, including soaring ceilings and remarkable stained glass. You can also see some fine tapestries on display in Notre Dame de Reims. Of these the most important is the one that presented by Robert de Lenoncourt, archbishop under Francois I, representing the life of the Virgin Mary.
Outside the cathedral, be sure to admire the flying buttresses that are typical of gothic architecture. The view from behind the cathedral is just as grand as the front. Look closely at the garoyles on the upper sections of the exterior. You'll see goats and other animals mixed in with the traditional gargoyles (very different than other churches I saw in France!). One the front facade of the cathedral, notice the smiling angel who is located just to the right of the front door. Her famous smile makes for a great photo.
Notre Dame de Reims is an excellent reason to venture to Reims, and a must-see once you're there!
The cathedral is open daily from 7:30am-7:30pm. Admission is free.
Reim's world-famous Gothic Cathedrale Notre Dame began in 1211 and was centuries the traditional site of French coronations. The most famous event in the Cathedral's history was the coronation of Charles' VII - with Joan of Arc at his side on 17 July 1429. The Cathedrale is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The finest stained glass is in the western facade's 12-petalled great rose window.
As I told you in my Reims intro, when you see the Cathedral profile from the distance, you will think it is a large building with a religious character. Well, until you are standing in front of the main door. Unbelievable.
Unbelievable in first term because of its massive scale, after you recovered your breath you starts to admire the work of art it is, with the myriad of sculpted front figures and gothic arabesques, as an ocean of inspiration.
Once inside the first fact that you perceive is the immediate change of temperature, it is cold as a result of the mass of stone of the structure, and you are enveloped by the silent play of shadows and natural light crossing the vitraux. Fantastic.
Here were crowned almost all the kings of France, including Napoleon, when he took the crown from the archbishop's hands and placed it on his head by itself, as the new Emperor of France.
Another curiosity, during the WWII Reims were bombed by allied forces and germans also, taking place a furious fight between both armies, but miraculously the cathedral only suffered minor damages, no one single bomb dropped hit the main building, meanwhile the town was almost completely destroyed.
A captivating place, without any doubt.
An amazing and huge Gothic structure, covered in detailed stonework and Gargoyles. Doncha just love Gargoyles? I sure do!
Anyway, see them and go inside and check out the Marc Chagall stained glass windows. Beautiful!
The site of the coronation of France's kings for centuries, la Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims is among the most important in French history. It is also considered a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, listed as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. The Gothic edifice lies in the heart of the city on the site of two prior cathedrals. The first was erected by Saint Nicaise in 401 AD, and it is where the first King of the Franks, Clovis I, was baptised by Saint Rémi, Bishop of Reims, upon his conversion from Arianism to Roman Catholicism in 496 AD. A much larger mediaeval cathedral replaced the original paleo-Christian structure in the 9th century AD, but a fire destroyed it in 1210 AD. This prompted the Archbishop, Aubry de Humbert, to build a new cathedral in the same style and grandeur as those seen in Paris, Saint-Denis and Chartres. By 1285, the interior of the new cathedral had been completed, while the exterior took over a century longer, with the towers not finished until the 15th century. In total, about 2300 intricately carved statues decorate the exterior of this magnificent cathedral. Unfortunately, the Cathedral suffered during WWI bombings, but any damage was later restored.
For more photos, go to the travelogue: "Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims - Exterior."
The northern side of the Cathedral of Reims is almost as elaborately decorated as the main façade. Niches line the upper part and contain a series of statues of angels that gave the cathedral the nickname la Cathédrale des Anges, Cathedral of Angels. (A similar set of statues decorate the southern side, but the famous Smiling Angel is located on the main façade.) Three Gothic portals on the northern side lead into the transept of the Cathedral, while a large rose window lights up the interior. The elaborate statues that cover the arches above the central and left hand portals are older than those on the façade and similarly depict Biblical scenes. The right hand portal predates the Cathedral and is a rare surviving element from the previous 9th century Romanesque structure. The Romanesque style is visible in the decorations and the rounded (instead of pointed) arch immediately above the door. Outside these portals, a cobbled path leads to the 16th century Porte du Chapitre, which was the main entrance into the enclosure of the Cathedral.