20 Things To Do In Reims

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Although Paris is the capital of France, Reims is considered the ‘Champagne Capital’ of the country because many of the champagne houses are based there. Reims is in northeastern France, about 129 km (80 miles) north of Paris. The Champagne region of France where Reims is, houses 33,993 hectares (84,000 acres) of vineyards, the Montagne de Reims being one of the most productive areas. Here, you can visit the champagne houses to taste the wines and tour the cellars.

Although champagne is one of the best reasons to visit Reims, the city offers more in terms of culture and history. The city goes back to before the Roman occupation and although 80% of the city was destroyed during World War I, there are still buildings going back centuries, as well as many Art Deco buildings built after the war. Foodies will also have a ball in Reims, with interesting local dishes to try and Michelin-star restaurants to visit. Let’s take a look at the top things to do in Reims.

Reims, France

**Tour from Paris: If you’re visiting Paris and would like an enjoyable day tour to Reims, a day trip to Champagne with 8 tastings and lunch is an experience you won’t forget.

20 Things To Do In Reims

1- Have A Champagne Tasting Or Two Or Three

hot air balloons floating over a vineyard in reims france
One of the top things to do in Reims, France, is to go champagne tasting.

The Montagne de Reims is home to the three major champagne grapes, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, so it isn’t surprising that there are many champagne houses in the city.

One of the most interesting to visit is Champagne House Lanson as it is the only house that has a vineyard in the city and is one of the few that allow you to visit their vineyard.

The tour also includes the cellars which, during World War II, housed families hiding from the Germans.


The cellars date to Roman times and are part of the Champagne UNESCO World Heritage Site. Naturally, the visit ends with a tasting.

Another interesting champagne house is Veuve Clicquot, which rose to fame in the late 18th and early 19th centuries because of Madame Clicquot.

She introduced rose champagne by blending still red and white wines, now popular as pink champagne.

Madame Clicquot created the first vintage champagne.

Other champagne houses in Reims include Taittinger, Ruinart and Vranken Pommery.

2- Visit Reims Cathedral

Cathedral Of Our Lady Of Reims
Visiting Reims Cathedral is one of the things to do in Reims.

Reims Cathedral is also known as the Notre Dame Cathedral and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Building started in 1211 and the cathedral was finished in a mere 60 years but, unfortunately, it was damaged during World War I and it took until 1938 to restore it to its former glory.

It is still a prime example of Gothic architecture.

Reims Cathedral was used to crown the kings of France starting with Louis VIII in 1223 and ending with Charles X in 1825.

25 kings were crowned here and the facade of the cathedral has to be seen to be believed.

It is covered with more than 2,300 statues with the Virgin Mary in the center of the portal and scenes from the life of Christ adorning the side walls.

You may be surprised to see that there are some statues without heads as these were cut off during the French Revolution, a sign of times to come.

Reims Cathedral is at Pl. du Cardinal Lucon, 51100, Reims. Take a guided tour of Cathedral of Notre Dame de Reims.

3- Visit The Palace Of Tau

The Palace of Tau was built between 1498 and 1509 and was renovated in the 17th century.

It used to belong to the Archbishops of Reims and was used by the kings of France when they were crowned next door in Reims Cathedral.

Lavish banquets were held at these times.

The palace got its name because it is shaped like a T and Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet.

These days it is open to the public as a museum.

You can visit the halls, chapel and gardens.

On display are many artefacts relating to the coronations that were held here, such as furniture, sculptures, and tapestries.

The Palace of Tau is at 2 Place du Cardinal Lucon, 51100, Reims.

4- Enjoy The Art At The Musee Des Beaux Arts

Construction Worker At Museum In Arras On Sunny Day
Enjoying the collections at Musee Des Beaux Arts is one of the things to do in Reims France.

Located in what was once the Abbey of Saint-Denis, this museum houses works by famous artists such as Monet, Renoir, and Pissarro.

It showcases around 230 pieces, covering five centuries of French and European art from the Renaissance until the 20th century.

A highlight of the gallery is the display of Foujita’s work.

He was a Japanese painter who lived from 1886 until 1968 and travelled from Japan to France where he encountered the modern art scene in Montparnasse.

He painted mainly himself, cats, women and became instantly famous.

Other highlights include one of the four versions of Jacques-Louis David’s famous ‘The Death of Marat’ and 27 works by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot who was famous for his landscapes and the vast number of paintings he produced.

The Musee Des Beaux Arts is at 8 Rue Chanzy, 51100, Reims.

5- Visit The Abbey Of Saint Remi

Front Of Saint Remi Basilica
Visiting the Abbey Of Saint Remi is one of the must-do’s in Reims France.

The Abbey of Saint Remi is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Reims, the other two parts being Reims Cathedral and the Palace of Tau.

The abbey was built in the 11th century over the Chapel of St. Christophe where Saint Remi was buried.

Saint Remi was a famous archbishop who lived between 440 and 533 A.D.

He baptized the Frankish king, Clovis I and, as a result, the Frankish people were converted to Christianity.

The abbey is well worth visiting as it is a superb example of Romanesque architecture, with a touch of Gothic in the choir.

There is a museum in the abbey where you can learn about both the history of Reims and the abbey itself, as well as the military history from the Gallic Wars around the year 50 until the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871.

The Abbey of Saint Remi is at 53 Rue Simon, 51100, Reims.

6- Visit The Site Where Germany Surrendered In WWII

After Hitler committed suicide on the 30 April 1945, the leaders of the forces communed in a school in Reims on the 7 May where the Germans surrendered.

The Soviet Union, however, did not completely accept this and it had to be performed again in Berlin the following day.

Nevertheless, the school is renowned as the place where the Germans surrendered.

It is still being used to this day and is known as the Franklin Roosevelt School.

There is a small museum you can visit which is located in the room where the German delegation surrendered.

The flags of the UK, the US, Russia, and France hang outside the building.

The Franklin Roosevelt School is at 10 Rue Du President Franklin Roosevelt, 51100, Reims.

7- Try The Cheeses Of Reims

Brie Cheese With Slice
Tasting cheese is what to do in Reims France for foodies.

France is famous the world over for its cheeses and Reims has its local varieties which are worth trying if you are a cheese-lover.

One of the most famous cheeses is Chaurce, which pairs well with champagne.

It is a soft, creamy, and crumbly white cheese made from cow’s milk and with a buttery flavour.

Another cheese from Reims is Langres which is often served with a glass of red wine.

It is matured with successive washings, creating an orange colour.

The cheese is soft and creamy, has a rich flavour and it’s fine to eat the rind.

A great place to buy these and other cheeses is the Fromage et Vins du Boulingrin which stocks 300 different cheeses as well as 800 wines and champagnes.

Fromage et Vins du Boulingrin is at 28 Rue de Mars, 5110, Reims.

8- Explore The Reims Mountain Regional Nature Park

If you need an escape from city life, head to the Reims Mountain Regional Nature Park which is in between Reims and Epernay.

It covers 50,000 hectares (123,552 acres) and has relatively easy hiking trails covering 400 km (248.5 miles) as well as six family-friendly mountain bike trails covering 100 km (62.12 miles).

In the park, you will come across forests, vineyards and some quaint villages.

The highlight is the Verzy Forest where there are around 800 protected dwarf beech trees.

In total, there are over 150 species of plants and trees in the park.

You may catch sight of birds and animals throughout the park, such as bald eagles, peregrine falcons, groundhogs, and white-tailed deer.

There are also lakes and streams which are occupied by fish and amphibians.

The Reims Mountain Regional Nature Park is at Chemin de Nanteuil, 51480, Pourcy.

9- Shop At The Boulingrin Market

If you want to catch a glimpse of local life in Reims, head to the Boulingrin Market, a covered market created in 1927.

It is open on Friday and Saturday mornings and comes alive as early as dawn so get there early to get the best produce.

On sale, you will find local fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, cheese, meat, fish and brightly coloured flowers.

The inhabitants of Reims come here to buy their fresh produce, to take in the smells and atmosphere and to meet friends.

The food sold here is popular and the stalls empty quickly.

There are many cafes and restaurants close by so stop for a coffee after shopping.

The Boulingrin Market is at 50 Rue de Mars, Ecke Rie du Temple, 51100, Reims.

10- Admire Porte Mars

Porte Mars
Seeing the Mars Gate is one of the things to do in Reims for history lovers.

Porte Mars (Mars Gate) is an enormous Roman gate dating to the 3rd century and restored by the Normans in the 9th century.

It is the widest Roman gate in the world, its width being 33 metres (108 feet).

The gate is 13 meters (42.65 feet) high and has three arches.

It is a spectacular piece of work and well worth going to see.

It’s believed the citizens of Reims had the gate built to thank the Romans for bringing roads to the city, but we don’t know if this is true or not.

The question is, did they like being ruled by a foreign power?

The arch was named after a temple dedicated to the god, Mars, which was close by.

It has intricate carvings on the exterior and the ceilings of the arches.

These carvings include Romulus and Remus, and the story of Leda and the Swan.

Porte Mars is at Boulevard Desaubeau r, 51100, Reims.

11- Visit Villa Demoiselle

Villa Demoiselle, originally called Villa Cochet, was built in the early years of the 20th century and is a mixture of Art Deco and Art Nouveau styles.

It is owned by the Vranken family who also own Champagne Pommery and is one of the champagne houses on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The house is now a museum where you can view amazing paintings, murals, early 20th-century furniture and stained-glass windows.

It is also possible to have a champagne tasting and a tour of the cellars.

The gardens, designed by Eduard Redont are stunning, so take the time to wander around.

Villa Demoiselle is at 56 Bd. Henry Vasnier, 51100 Reims.

12- Taste The World’s First Biscuits At Maison Fossier

If you enjoy eating biscuits, visit Maison Fossier, the shop that created the first biscuit in the late 17th century.

It is still trading and the biscuit to try is the ‘biscuit rose de Reims’, one of the oldest styles in France.

It was by chance that the biscuit was created.

One of the bakers wanted to make use of the heat in the oven between batches of loaves, so he created a dough which he baked twice and created biscuits.

Biscuit means twice cooked in French and because the ‘biscuit rose de Reims’ is baked twice, it is crispy.

It was originally white, but then carmine was added to make it pink.

The original recipe, however, is a secret held by Maison Fossier.

Because it is crispy, people enjoy dipping it in champagne or red wine to give it extra flavour without it falling apart.

A box of these biscuits is an ideal gift to take back home as a gift.

Maison Fossier is at 20 Rue Maurice Prevoteau, 51100, Reims.

13- Try Reims Ham At Boucherie Brezillon

If you haven’t got a sweet tooth and don’t fancy trying the biscuits, Reims ham could be right up your street.

It has a unique flavour and is prepared differently from other hams.

It is covered with nutmeg and parsley, coated in yellow breadcrumbs and then cooked in stock with shallots.

Very few additives are used.

You can buy Reims ham is just about every butcher in Reims but one of the best is Boucherie Brezillon.

This butcher’s is sat between a cheese shop and a bakery, so you have the makings of an upmarket cheese and ham sandwich,

If you like mustard with your ham head to Maison Charbonneau-Brabant, which is one of the few Reims mustard shops left.

They produce a range of 12 different mustards.

  • Boucherie Brezillon is at 32 Rue de Mars, 51100, Reims.
  • Maison Charbonneau-Brabant is at 5 Rue de Valmy, 51100, Reims.

14- Visit Musee Hotel Le Vergeur

During WWI, Reims was occupied by the Germans for eight days until they were forced out by British troops.

However, they were determined to destroy the city and continually bombed it.

In two nights, they dropped 4,900 bombs on Reims, destroying about 80% of the city.

After the war, while Reims was being rebuilt, the owner of the Hotel le Vergeur, a building dating back to the 13th century, decided to preserve some of the relics from the former buildings.

In his garden, he created a museum for them which he gifted to the city when he died.

As well as being able to see the relics, you can go inside the building where there is artwork showing the history of Reims.

Musee Hotel le Vergeur is at 36 Place du Forum, 511100, Reims.

15- Visit The Fort De La Pompelle

The Forte de la Pompelle is one of a series of fortifications built around Reims to protect the city against its enemies.

It was built in1870 after the Franco-Prussian war and was most prominent in defending Reims during WWI.

The fort is now a museum housing many artefacts from the First World War, including an unusual collection of German helmets, as well as uniforms and everyday items that the soldiers would use.

It will remind you of how hard war was, especially during the First World War.

The Fort de la Pompelle is at RD 944, route de Chalons-en-Champagne, 51500, Puisieulx.

16- Visit Place Royale

Place Royal is an impressive square in the heart of the city of Reims, once the original city of the Roman town that was there before it.

Construction for the present square began in 1757 to honour King Louis XV and there is a magnificent statue of him in the centre.

He is holding out a hand as a symbol of his protection over his people.

Most of the buildings have been built in the Neoclassical style.

Also to be admired in the square are magnificent arcades and balustraded roofs.

17- Admire The Art Deco Buildings

80% of Reims was destroyed during WWI so much of the city had to be rebuilt.

Over 6.500 planning applications were submitted and, because Art Deco was popular during the 1920s, many buildings were built in this style.

Be sure to take in your surroundings to see these stunning buildings.

One of the best examples of Art Deco architecture is the Carnegie Library, which is worth visiting as it has a psychedelic green and white circular-patterned ceiling in the entrance hall.

Other interesting Art Deco buildings include Villa Demoiselle and the Post Office which was completely built from concrete.

The Grand Theatre, which is modelled on the Theatre des Champs Elysee in Paris, was also designed in the Art Deco style.

  • Join an Art Deco guided tour of Reims.
  • The Carnegie Library is at 2 place Carnegie, 51100, Reims.
  • The Post Office is at 2 – 4 Rue Ceres, 51100, Reims.
  • The Grand Theatre is at 1 Rue de Vesle, 51100, Reims.

18- Admire The Frescoes At Foujita Chapel

The Foujita Chapel, also known as the Chapel of Our Lady Queen of Peace, was built between 1965 and 1966 in the gardens of the Mumm Champagne Winery.

The Foujita Chapel was designed by the Japanese artist, Tsugharu Foujita, and has become famous for the stunning frescoes he painted inside.

He painted them when he was 80 years old, stating that this was to atone for 80 years of sin.

The chapel was built in the Romanesque style which Foujita liked because it was reminiscent of Reims Cathedral.

Most of the frescoes are biblical, such as the nativity scene and the Seven Deadly Sins.

In addition, Foujita painted the then president of Mumm Champagne and also himself.

The colouring of the frescoes is warm and soft.

The Foujita Chapel is at 33 Rue du Champs de Mars, 51100, Reims.

19- See The Collections At Reims-Champagne Automobile Museum

Beautiful Retro Car At An Antique Car Exhibition
Admiring the cars at the Reims Champagne Automobile Museum is what to do in Reims for automobile enthusiasts.

If you are interested in classic cars, you will be in your element in this museum.

It was founded in 1985 by industrial designer, Phillipe Charbonneaux, to house his collection of classic cars and it has built on this.

The museum houses over 250 cars and motorcycles dating from 1908 to the present day.

There are also classic fire engines on show, enamel advertising plates, and more than 7,000 miniature cars.

In addition, the museum advises about owning classic cars and what the regulations are.

The Reims-Champagne Automobile Museum is at 84 Avenue George Clemenceau, 51100, Reims.

20- Eat At A Michelin-Starred Restaurant

If you enjoy fine dining, there are plenty of establishments in Reims that will suit your tastes.

Le Millenaire is a sophisticated restaurant with a Michelin-starred chef.

It offers traditional French dishes prepared with seasonal ingredients.

There are several menus to choose from with different numbers of courses.

The food is outstanding and well worth the price tag.

Le Foch is a Michelin-starred restaurant that offers French cuisine with a modern twist.

It has a large menu and serves big portions.

It is popular with the locals so you know it must be good.

L’Assiette Champagne, just outside Reims, is a superb hotel with an on-site restaurant.

The food is delicious, and it boasts an acclaimed wine and champagne list.

Racine is in the heart of Reims.

It has a Japanese chef who creates sophisticated and creative dishes with the influences of a wide variety of cuisines.

Herbs, plants, and condiments are all cleverly incorporated into the dishes.

  • Le Millenaire is at 4 – 6 Rue Bertin, 51100, Reims.
  • Le Foch is at 37 Bd, Foch, 51100, Reims.
  • L’Assiette Champenoise is at 40 Av. Paul Vaillant Couterier, 51430, Tinqueux.
  • Racine is at 6 Pl.Godinot. 51100, Reims.
Close-up of the French town of Reims in France on a road map photographed from above.
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Irena Nieslony
Irena Nieslony was born in Windsor, England but now lives on the island of Crete, Greece, in a small village called Modi near the city of Chania. She has visited 32 countries in Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Africa. Her favourite country is Tanzania as she loves wildlife and was lucky enough to see ‘The Big Five”. She also loves Egypt, as ancient history intrigues her, the southern states of the US and the cities of Memphis, Nashville, and New Orleans for music. She has a B.A. Honours degree in English and Drama from Westfield College, University of London. She has been writing for over 13 years and has 13 novels, 7 short stories and thousands of articles published.