City Guides Grand Est

Best Things to Do in Reims, France

01/17/2022

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Visit Reims, Champagne

Reims is the capital of the Champagne region of France, a city brimming with history and culture. Between sipping champagne wine, visiting the main sites, and experiencing a memorable and moving visit to a critical piece of WWII history, there are a ton of things to do in Reims. Besides, its proximity to the French capital makes for a super-easy day trip from Paris by train.

Whether you are considering Reims for a day trip or as part of a longer Champagne road trip, here’s a list of the best things to do in Reims, France.

Are you planning your Reims trip last minute?

Below, are some of the best Reims tours, hotels, and more!

Trains to Dijon

Top Experiences and Tours in Reims

Top Reims Accommodation and Lodging

La Caserne Chancy Hotel & Spa (top suggestion), Grand Hotel des Templiers (luxury), La Demeure des Sacres (mid-range), Hotel des Arcades (budget), Les Berceaux de la Cathédrale (apartments), Domaine Les Crayères (château-hôtel 2.3Km from the center).

What to Do in Reims

Visit Reims Cathedral

Notre Dame de Reims

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Reims Cathedral (or Notre-Dame de Reims) is a must of any Reims trip. It was a critical place in the country’s history, as it served as the location of the coronation of the Kings of France.

Visiting the Reims Cathedral is a great free thing to do in Reims. The cathedral saw some damage during the French Revolution, but the effects of war took a much greater toll during WWI when the building suffered German bombardments.

The cathedral has gone through numerous renovations, and, in 2011, the city of Reims celebrated the cathedral’s 800th birthday! Don’t miss the stained glass windows, behind the choir, designed by Marc Chagall: they are stunning!

Tour a Champagne House

Reims is one of the two most-visited cities in the Champagne region, alongside Épernay. The city of Reims is home to some of the most famous champagne houses, including Taittinger, Mumm, and Veuve Clicquot. No visit to Reims is complete without experiencing a champagne cellar tour with tastings!

We opted to visit Taittinger due to its reputation of having the most stunning caves (picture above). The tour of Taittinger lasts an hour and there are different pricing tiers. You will visit the cellars, learn about the art of champagne production, and of course, sample to your heart’s content!

Stroll around Palais du Tau

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Palais du Tau was formerly the residence of the Archbishop of Reims. Today, it houses a small art collection of stunning 16th-century tapestries as well as items from the cathedral treasury and other items associated with the coronations of French Kings – the talisman of Charlemagne is even here!

Palais du Tau also hosts some of the city’s cultural events Click here to buy your tickets.

Check out Saint-Remi Basilica and Musée Saint-Remi

The Basilica Saint-Remi is the largest Romanesque church in Northern France, with some parts dating back to the 11th century. It is the second most important religious building in Reims, and it hosts the relics of Saint-Remi, who baptized King Clovis (the first Christian king in France). King Louis IV is also buried here, among other lesser-known royal figures.

The interior of the church is just as exquisite as its exterior, and definitely one of the best things to do in Reims.

Housed in the former Abbey of Saint-Remi, attached to the basilica, the Musée Saint-Remi hosts a myriad of ancient relics and tapestries.

The museum is divided into four sections. The first showcases the history of the abbey, along with a tapestry depicting the life of Saint-Remi. Next is the Gallo-Roman area, highlighting the ancient city of Reims. There is a permanent military exhibit, and finally, a collection of local items dating back to prehistoric times.

Explore Fort de la Pompelle

Emblematic of the defense of Reims and WWI in northeast France, the Fort de la Pompelle Museum serves to remind us of crucial moments in its history, from 1883 to today.

Its impressive compilation of German helmets, uniforms, and everyday objects used by soldiers will submerge you in an impassioned place of remembrance that depicts the story of these men’s ordeals and the hardships of combat during WWI in the region.

Visit the Musée Automobile Reims-Champagne

Established in 1985 by Phillippe Charbonneaux, the Musée Automobile Reims-Champagne is an interesting thing to do in Reims. It showcases over 200 cars and motorcycles from 1908 to the present day.

In addition to displaying classic vehicles, the museum also strives to provide information regarding the rules and regulations regarding acquiring and driving classic cars.

Get your Fine Art Fix at Musée des Beaux-Arts

One of the many museums in Reims worth visiting, Musée des Beaux-Arts touches all bases, covering all of the major European art movements.

The museum was founded in 1794 with artifacts seized during the French Revolution. Most of the pieces are Flemish, Dutch, and French paintings.

The museum is currently closed for relocation purposes and plans to reopen in 2023. The project was entrusted to Francisco Aires Mateus architecture studio and we can’t wait to see the museum’s new look!

Visit the Roman Portal, Porte de Mars

Dating back to the third century, La Porte de Mars is an ancient Roman triumph arch. It is comprised of three arches, on which the original carvings are still visible. The arches show depictions of Romulus and Remus, an agrarian scene, and Leda and the Swan.

La Champe de Mars is a great free thing to do in Reims.

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Experience Reims’ History at Musée-hôtel Le Vergeur

picture courtesy of Johan Bakker

One of the oldest buildings in Reims, listed as Historical Monument, the Musée-Hôtel le Vergeur hosts a collection of decorative works of art depicting the illustrious history of Reims.

Here, you can see some of the Reims ruins as well! If you want to see an ancient Roman horreum (or granary), stop next door to check out the Cryptoportique.

Place Royale

Royal Square - Reims

Place Royale is a magnificent square in the center of Reims, built in 1757 in honor of King Louis XV. There is a large bronze statue of him in the center of the square, with one hand extended, symbolizing the protection of his people.

Place Royale is surrounded by gorgeous buildings with arcades and balustraded roofs and it is a great place for people-watching.

Admire the Art-Déco style of Bibliothèque Carnegie

picture courtesy of CarnegieCB

Built with donations from Andrew Carnegie, the American steel mogul, the Carnegie Library in Reims showcases some brilliant examples of art deco ornamentation – just check out that lighting fixture! There is a large, semi-cylindrical reading room with parquet floors and large, stained-glass windows.

Checking out the décor at Bibliothèque Carnegie is absolutely one of the best free things to do in Reims.

Sample Reims’ Original Biscuit at Maison Fossier

Fossier biscuits have been around since the late 17th century, and are considered to be the original biscuit-makers of Reims. They offer a variety of types of biscuits, however, they are most famous for their Biscuit Rose de Reims (Pink Biscuit from Reims).

It goes without saying, particularly if you’re a foodie, that a stop at Maison Fossier is a must-add item to your list of things to do in Reims!

Taste Reims’ Regional Specialties

There’s no shortage of great places to eat in Reims. In fact, the city has many of its own specialties that are worth sampling while you’re here.

In addition to the Biscuits Rose de Reims, be sure to try jambon de Reims (Reims ham) and moutarde de Reims (Reims mustard) as well! And don’t forget to sample the locally produced Chaource, a soft, semi-crumbly sheep’s milk cheese.

Les Halles du Boulingrin is a good place to start your food explorations, this covered market is a food lovers’ paradise. There’s an abundance of fresh produce from the region, mouth-watering baked goods, and locally produced food items. It’s the perfect place to grab a few things for a picnic if you’re not up for eating at a restaurant. The market is open Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

If you’re willing to shell out the cash, there are six Michelin-starred restaurants in the city! Be sure to make reservations far in advance.

Visit the Room where Germany Surrendered WWII

I’ve saved my personal favorite for last. Visiting Musée de la Reddition was by far the highlight of our trip to Reims. This is where WWII officially ended on 7 May 1945.

Discover this pivotal event that transpired secretly in the “map room” located in Lycée Roosevelt in the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe, directed by General Eisenhower.

Documents, uniforms, and artifacts bring the months that foreshadowed the capitulation of the Third Reich to life. Stepping foot into the signature room, a significant locality in European history, was incredibly moving. The room symbolizes not only the end of a tragic period in history but also the beginning of a long process of reconciliation.

The cost of admission is 5 EUR, but worth much, much more. Prepare yourself for tears.

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