Right beside the Cathedral downtown, the Palace du Tau is a museum that still contains remnants of its 13th century origins. It was redesigned in the 17th century by Mansart and Cotte. The Tau Room has marvelous tapestries that bring to mind the famed "Lady and the Unicorn" series in the Cluny Museum in Paris.
If you are visiting the Cathedral, it would be a shame to miss the Palais right beside it. They don't have a large collection but the building itself is very interesting.
Closed on Monday and 1 January, 1 May, 1 and 11 November and 25 December.
Open from 9:30am to 6:30p, in the high season and from 9:30am to 12:30pm and from 2pm to 5:30pm in the low season. (note: it is closed for lunch)
Entrance through the palace courtyard with a second entrance through the Cathedral from May 6 to September 8.
http://www.palais-du-tau.fr/ to check current fees (free to under 18s)
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Reims, the Palais du Tau was built between 1498 and 1509 and was used by the kings for their coronations. It was here that the kings dressed before the coronation and where they held lavish banquets afterwards. The last coronation and royal banquet was for Charles X who was crowned in 1825. The name Tau comes from the shape of the palace which resembles a "T", tau in Greek. Like the Notre-Dame Cathedral nearby, it was also damaged in WWI and restored following WWII.
The palace is now a museum containing such exhibits as statues and treasures from the Cathedral, Flemish tapestries and royal attire from coronations of French kings.
This Palace is located next to the Cathedral, which really is the very cor of the city.
It is the former palace of the ASrchbishop of Reims, rebuilt under King LKouis XIV by Robert de Cotte.
It has retained its palatial 13th Century chapel and the Gothic great Hall of Tau.
It was here that the FRENCH KINGS celebrated their coronations with abundant festivities, banquets....
It is a pity that the hall where these feasts too place was terribly damaged during the many wars of the last Centuries.
In this Palace are numerous statues, valuables, tapestries, sacramental gold & silver and sculptures from the Cathedral, relics and the coronation regalia dating from the coronation of KAREL X , CHARLES X.
This museum now also has a special CORONATION MUSEUM.
In between the CATHEDRAL and the Palais du Tau is the double-chapel which still has kept safe lots of its 13th Century beauty!
Adjacent to la Notre Dame de Reims, Palais de la Tau is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the cathedral. The palace includes multiple architectural styles, from Gothic to Renaissance and Neoclassical, built over several centuries beginning in 1138 AD. It owes its name "Tau" to the fact that it is in the shape of the letter "T" (tau is Greek for T). It was originally an archbishopric palace, but when the coronations of the kings of France began taking place in Reims, it was transformed into a royal residence for the period of the ceremony. Partially damaged during WWI, Palais de la Tau was restored identically to the original design, and has since been converted into a museum. The galleries of the palace not only detail the coronation ceremonies, but it also showcase a large collection of tapestries, as well as the original statues that once decorated the façades of the Notre Dame Cathedral. Many of these statues did not survive the test of time and war damage well, so they were replaced with replicas.
The Palais du Tau, or Palace Museum, is a former bishop's residence, now a museum of ecclesiastical life. It's so named because its layout forms a T shape, with "tau" being the Greek letter T. This is where French kings prepared for their coronation ceremonies, and held their banquets afterwards. Burned in World War I, it was restored after World War II. It has some interesting exhibits and examples of medieval tapestries and other artwork.
The former Reims' archiepiscopal palace, the Palais du Tau, has been classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.
The site used to be the Reims' archbishop place since the 5th century, firsts a Gallo-Roman villa until the 7th century. Later rebuilt with the present shape in the Xth century. The name comes from the plan of the building, which looks like the letter tau (T) in the Greek alphabet. The oldest remaining part is the chapel, from 1207. The building was largely rebuilt in gothic style in the 16th century and, again, modified in a baroque style in the 17th century.
The palace hosted of the kings of France before their sacre and coronation in Notre-Dame : The king was dressed for the coronation at the palace before the ceremony and a banquet was held there after. The first documented coronation banquet was in 990, and the most recent in 1825.
It is a museum since 1972, showcasing statuaries and tapestries from the cathedral, also reliquaries and other religious objects associated with the sacre of the kings of France.
The best thing is to couple the Palais du Tau's visit with the cathedral's, to see the both the original statues (in the museum) and the copies (in situation).
from September 9 to May 5, from 9h30 to 12h30 and 14h to 17h30
from May 6 to September 8, from 9h30 to 18h30
Price : 6.50€
Audio guides are available at the tourism office.
The palace is located next to the cathedral. There is a ticket office near the south gate. The palais was built in the 12th century as archiepiscopal palace, rebuilt after the fire in the 13th century, refurbished several times over the next 700 years, until it was severely damaged during WWI and restored in the 1970s. Inside the palace is an interesting mixture of styles: several rooms are early Gothic, several are flamboyant Gothic of the 15th century, and several have classical décor. The palace has a collection of tapestries showing the life of the Virgin made in the 16th century. They were donated to the cathedral by Robert de Lenoncourt. Each tapestry is inspired by the Legende Doree de Jacques de Voragine and illustrated editions of the Bible for the poor. There are also sculptures from the cathedral dating back to the 13th-16th centuries. A very interesting feature of the palais is a large hall with domed ceilings, walls covered with royal lilies, and an enormous fireplace with coats of arms and Valois lilies that has tapestries showing the story of Clovis, the first Christian French king. The tapestries are 17th-century and made in Brussels.
Then there is also the treasury of the cathedral, with golden artifacts from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, sacred ornaments of Charles X (who was the last king crowned in Reims in the 19th century), vases and carafes, crowns, crosses, chains with medals. Also, behind the glass, you can see the lower chapel discovered in the 1920s, which has fragments of sculptures from that chapel from 1211-1221.
Constructed in 1690 as the residence of the bishops of Reims (they certainly had a gusto for living well and in luxury, I must observe) and set beside the cathedral, this stone mansion, Palais de Tau, contains many statues that, until recently, decorated the cathedral facade. Those there now are mostly copies. Also on display are many holy relics associated with Reims, including a 12th-century chalice for the communion of French monarchs and a talisman supposedly containing a relic of the True Cross that Charlemagne is said to have worn. This seemed to me a good enough reason to visit the Palais de Tau.
Another one is that the place has strong links to the French monarchy. In fact, the tradition was that the future monarch usually spent the night before the coronation in this palace. The highlights include Salle du Tau and a Gothic Chapel. Salle de Tau was a banqueting hall now housing a museum of tapestries, most of them of 15th century. Here coronation banquetes were held.
Iýve often wondered about the name, thoughý Later I found out that it was because the palace is actually ýTý-shaped, and ýtauý is the Greek letter standing for ýTý. Admission fee is 6 Euros for adults, 4 Euros students and ages 18-25 (just bring proof of your age and student status), and free for ages 17 and under.