Reims, France


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Chris took a week of leave so we could go on a road trip through France with stops at Disneyland Paris, Normandy (including my bucketlist destination of Le Mont Saint-Michel), and the Loire Valley (including my bucketlist destination of the Chambord Chateux!). On our drive over to Disneyland, we made our first stop in Reims - pronounced "rance" believe it or not! "Rance, France!"
With its Roman gate, Gothic cathedral, famous Champagne caves, and a vibrant pedestrian zone, Reims feels simultaneously historic and youthful. 
The highlight of the city? It's towering cathedral! Just pretend the scaffolding isn't there. It's "off-season" now so heavy construction has begun all around Europe fixing things up before the next wave of tourists hits in the spring.
Begun in 1211, the church celebrated its 800th birthday just a few years ago. The amazing Gothic church, one of Europe's finest, was built on the spot where Clovis, the first king of the Franks, was baptized in 496 which established Christianity in France. 
The west portal is perhaps the best anywhere. It has over 2,000 statues decorating every last inch. Incredible! | Inside, a chapel pays tribute to Joan of Arc.
A revolutionary technique of allowing just a few towering columns sprout a web of crisscrossing pointed arches allowed the church to be built higher and allowed the walls to become windows creating a very light, airy interior. 
Left: Modern stained-glass windows installed in 2011 to celebrate the 800th anniversary. | Windows by Marc Chagall installed in 1974.
In front of the church is an equestrian statue of one of the city's most famous one-time inhabitants, Joan of Arc. She led Charles VII to be crowned in this cathedral in 1429 and behind her efforts, the French rallied behind their king and pushed the English out of France to end the Hundred Years' War. Jane Joan of Arc.

Just behind the cathedral is the Carnegie Library, one of the numerous libraries funded by the nineteenth century American millionaire Andre Carnegie. It's a beautiful Art Deco building that was built during the flurry of construction that occurred in the city after the destruction of the First World War. It was closed and the front was covered in scaffolding and what not, so here is a side shot:
A former royal palace. 
It's a very pleasant, charming city. I wanted to just sit at a cafe and enjoy some croissants. (Must pronounce like, "kwasahn").
Architectural highlights. 
All but 70 buildings were damaged in 1918 during WWI. A miraculous reconstruction occurred during the Art Deco age so the city has a wonderful, 1920s charm.
Jane sleeping on Chris. Presh!
The town hall, or in French, the mairie (or in German, rathaus ;)
Chris really wanted to go check out the Porte de Mars, an ancient Roman gate, so we trudged all the way out to it only to find this:
Not one square inch of the Roman ruin was visible. Welcome to "off-season!"

At least the trees in the nearby park were beautiful.
Doubly delicious doors.

I just wanted to burst out in songs from Beauty and the Beast
Fox and I stopped to admire all the goodies in this antique store. One of each please!
It was fun to explore this new part of France, a country we feel like we haven't given it's fair due. This trip finally let us delve deeper into our Francophone neighbor.
 Lunch break! I got a super yummy bagel balanced with a ginormous cookie.
 Our family in Reims, France on Thursday October 13th 2016.
 Next stop: Disneyland Paris!

1 comment

  1. What a beautiful city (minus all the construction! LOL!) ... loving that photo of Jane of Arc ;) Her hair looks so cute!!!!!!!!

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