Reims
France
By Christopher Feddersen

Many regions of France are known by the cuisine or artistry in which they specialize. That is probably most true with Reims and its surrounding area named Champagne. In these rolling green hills east of Paris, Champagne is cultivated, bottled and shipped to the rest of the world. Only if the grapes are from this area can the resulting elixir bear the name Champagne. The beverage that is the pride of Reims is an appropriate metaphor for the rich beauty, flavors and character to be found here.  

Book your experience in Reims, France through WhatsCheaper.com. Find flights to Reims International Airport (RHE) at or through one of Paris’ international airports, Charles De Gaulle International Airport (CDG)  or Orly International Airport (ORL) at (http://www.whatscheaper.com/flight.php) which are both a short high-speed train ride from Reims. Find your accommodation in Reims with WhatsCheaper.com at (http://www.whatscheaper.com/hotel.php).

WhatsCheaper.com recommends beginning your Reims visit with a tour of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. This nearly 300-ft tall gothic cathedral is where France’s kings were crowned in ostentatious ceremonies and is truly one of the masterpieces of Medieval Europe. The rose stained-glass windows are the finest in the world. It is possible to join a guided tour to climb the cathedral towers to take in a stunning view of the French countryside. Look for high-speed TGV trains zipping around vine-covered hillsides. Many of the cathedral’s most valuable pieces of art, statuary and tapestries - as well as royal jewels and accoutrements used in the coronations - can be found next to the cathedral at the Tau Palace Museum. This palace is where the bishop of Reims resided as did kings prior to their coronations. The cathedral is free to visit, but there is a fee to visit the Tau Palace Museum.

Central to any visit to Champagne is touring the champagne houses in the village of Epernay, just south of Reims, where mansions have been erected over the last two centuries to house such familiar names as Bollinger, GH Martel & Co., Moet & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin and dozens more. Many of the houses are open to visitors for tastings and tours. Look for Champagne houses that offer tours of their underground cellar labyrinths and demonstrate the process of making Champagne. Enjoy the sophisticated luxury of the mansions and tasting fine bubbly. The story of Champagne begins with a Benedictine Monk named Dom Perignon who, after mastering the process for making Champagne here famously exclaimed, “Brothers, brothers, come quickly! I am drinking stars!” In tasting Champagne here, you are not only enjoying one of life’s decadent luxuries at its source, but you are imbibing three hundred years of the meticulous craftsmanship that has given this region so much of its character.

In World War II, American General Eisenhower made Reims his headquarters and received the surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany here on May 7, 1945. At the Museum of Surrender, you can step inside General Eisenhower’s headquarters and the very room in which the surrender was made. The original war maps used by the Allies still hang on the walls. Seventeen years after the surrender, French President Charles De Gaulle chose Reims to complete the reconciliation of the French and German people, further establishing the city as a symbol of peace.

Stroll along the Place D’Erlon, a beautiful open space in the center of Reims surrounded by exquisite restaurants and architecture. Yes, many of the dishes you will find here feature Champagne as a key ingredient. The surrounding countryside supplies Reims not only with Champagne, but fine cheese, for example, comes from nearby Brie and fine chocolate from Troyes. This area prides itself on the fresh and superior quality of its cuisine.

WhatsCheaper.com invites you to plan your visit to see Reims’ royal and luxurious character as well as the storybook villages that are tucked into the rolling green countryside of Champagne. Click the links above to plan your visit.

MUST SEE IN Reims LIST:

  • 1. Notre Dame Cathedral
  • 2. Tau Palace
  • 3. Champagne Houses
  • 4. Town Hall
  • 5. Hotel Museum Le Vergeur
  • 6. Village of Epernay
  • 7. Village of Troyes
  • 8. Musee des Beaux-Arts
  • 9. Gate of Mars
  • 10. Place D'Erlon

Reims EVENT CALENDAR:

  • 1. Joan of Arc Festival - June
  • 2. Folk Dance Festival - June
  • 3. Classical Music and Jazz Festival - July
  • 4. Summer Promenade Concerts - July
  • 5. Music & Light Show at Saint Remie Basilica � August
  • 6. Grape Harvest Festival - September

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