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Reims travel guide — Reims tourism and travel information

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about Reims

Reims (English traditionally Rheims) is a city of north-eastern France, 98 miles east-northeast of Paris. It is a pleasant train ride from the Paris Gare de l'Est station, with the historic cathedral lying a few blocks from the Reims train station. It is a sous-préfecture of the Marne département, in the Champagne-Ardenne administrative region. Its history can be traced back to the Roman Empire.

Reims is situated in a plain on the right bank of the Vesle River, a tributary of the Aisne River, and on the canal which connects the Aisne with the Marne River. South and west rise the “montagne de Reims” and vine-clad hills. Of its squares the principal are the Place Royale, with a statue of Louis XV, and the Place du Parvis, with an equestrian statue of Joan of Arc. The Rue de Vesle, the chief street, continued under other names, traverses the town from southwest to northwest, passing through the Place Royale.

The oldest monument in Reims is the Mars Gate (so called from a temple to Mars in the neighbourhood), a triumphal arch 108 ft. in length by 43 in height, consisting of three archways flanked by columns. It is popularly supposed to have been erected by the Remi in honour of Augustus when Agrippa made the great roads terminating at the town, but probably belongs to the 3rd or 4th century. The Mars Gate was one of 4 Roman gates to the city walls, which were restored at the time of the Norman Invasion of northern France in the ninth century.

In its vicinity a curious mosaic, measuring 36, ft. by 26, with thirty-five medallions representing animals and gladiators, was discovered in 1860. To these remains must be added a Gallo Roman sarcophagus, said to be that of the consul Jovinus (see below) and preserved in the archaeological museum in the cloister of the abbey of Saint-Remi.

Reims history

Before the Roman conquest Reims, as Durocortorum, was capital of the Remi, from whose name that of the town was subsequently derived. The Remi made voluntary submission to the Romans, and by their fidelity throughout the various Gallic insurrections secured the special favour of their conquerors.

Christianity was established in the town by, the middle of the 3rd century, at which period the bishopric was founded. The consul Jovinus, an influential supporter of the new faith, repulsed the barbarians who invaded Champagne in 336; but the Vandals captured the town in 406 and slew St Nicasus, and Attila the Hun afterwards put it to fire and sword.

Clovis, after his victory at Soissons (486), was baptized by Rémi (Saint), the bishop of Reims, in a ceremony with the oil of the sacred phial which was believed to have been brought from heaven by a dove for the baptism of Clovis and was preserved in the abbey of St. Remi. For centuries the events at the crowning of Clovis I became a symbol used by the monarchy to claim the divine right to rule.

Meetings of Pope Stephen III with Pippin the Short, and of Pope Leo III with Charlemagne, took place at Reims; and here Louis the Debonnaire was crowned by Pope Stephen IV. Louis IV gave the town and countship of Reims to the archbishop Artaldus In 940. Louis VII gave the title of duke and peer to William of Champagne, archbishop from 1176 to 1202, and the archbishops of Reims took precedence of the other ecclesiastical peers of the realm.

In the 10th century Reims had become a centre of intellectual culture, Archbishop Adalberon, seconded by the monk Gerbert (afterwards Pope Silvester II), having founded schools where the “liberal arts“ were taught. Adalberon was also one of the prime authors of the revolution which put the Capet house in the place of the Carolingians.

The most important prerogative of the archbishops was the consecration of the kings of France-- a privilege which was exercised, except in a few cases, from the time of Philippe II, Auguste to that of Charles X. Louis XII granted the town a communal charter in 1139. The treaty of Troyes (1420) ceded it to the English, who had made a futile attempt to take it by siege in 1360; but they were expelled on the approach of Joan of Arc, who in 1429 caused Charles VII to be consecrated in the cathedral. A revolt at Reims, caused by the salt tax in 1461, was cruelly repressed by Louis XI. The town sided with the League (1585), but submitted to Henri IV after the battle of Ivry.

In the foreign invasions of 1814 it was captured and recaptured; in 1870-1871, during the Franco-Prussian war, it was made by the Germans the seat of a governor-general and impoverished by heavy requisitions.

In World War I, the city was greatly damaged. The cathedral was severely damaged and was restored . The basilica was rebuilt from the ruins in the course of the next 40 years. The Palace of Tau, St. Jacques Church, and the Abbey of St. Remi also were protected and restored. The collection of preserved buildings and Roman ruins remains monumentally impressive.

During World War II, the town endured some additional damage. In 1945, General Eisenhower and the Allies received the surrender of the Wermacht in Reims.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Reims".

This city is also known as: Reims.

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