What to do in Reims?
To visit Reims, the city of coronations, is first of all to discover an important part of the history of France as well as the vineyards of Champagne.
Named City of Art and History, Reims now has 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. But that’s not all!
In our guide to Reims you will first find the list of 15 must-see places of interest in and around Reims, as well as itineraries to visit Reims in 1, 2 or 3 days.
All, as usual, accompanied by our tips and advice!
And if you are looking for where to stay, we also offer a selection of the best accommodation in the city at the end of the article.
So what to do in Reims?
Visit Reims: the must-sees
1. Cathedral of Our Lady of Reims
It is THE must-see monument in Reims , the main place of interest in the city that attracts the majority of tourists. And there is something!
Built in the 13th century, Notre-Dame de Reims cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture.
Built on the ruins of the old cathedral which was ravaged by fire around 1210, it represents the quintessence of the know-how of the craftsmen of the time.
Larger than Notre-Dame de Paris, it has hosted the coronation of 25 kings of France since its creation and is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A must-see during your visit to Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral:
- Admire these extraordinary proportions: 150 m long, 48 m wide and 83 m high
- The Harmonic Façade divided into 3 parts, a classic of Gothic architecture
- The 2303 statues, including the famous “Smiling Angel”
- The impressive 38m high nave
- The gallery of kings, 56 statues over 4m50 on the west facade of the Cathedral
- Climb the 249 steps of the north tower, visit the terrace and the roof to enjoy the panorama (only possible during a guided tour)
- The Henri Deneux garden, adjoining the cathedral and which offers an interesting view of the rear part of the building.
- Hours: Reims Cathedral is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
- Prices : Admission is free. It is possible to take a guided tour for €9 per person, which I highly recommend. Free guided tour with the Reims City Pass which I talk about after this top. You can book the guided tour here.
All the details and times for the guided tours are on the official website of the cathedral
Tips for your Reims itinerary:
If you want to take a guided tour of the cathedral, and you don’t have the Reims City Pass, it is possible to buy a combined ticket with the Palais du Tau for 11€, and therefore save 5€
2. Tau Palace
The Palais du Tau, located right next to the Cathedral, and also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was once the residence of the Archbishops of Reims.
Today transformed into a museum, it serves as a place of exhibition for the treasure of the cathedral of Reims. You will mainly find objects used for the coronations of the various kings. Among which:
- The “Holy Ampulla”, which was used at each coronation since Clovis
- Charlemagne’s talisman
- The coat worn during the coronation of Charles X
- The chalice of Saint-Remi.
You can also discover tapestries and large statues from the cathedral.
Tips for your Reims itinerary:
The Palais du Tau is worth a look if you have the Reims City Pass or if you take an entry ticket combined with the guided tour of the Cathedral (€11).
At €8 for entry alone, however, I find it a bit expensive for a 1h-1h15 solo visit.
3. Basilica of Saint-Rémi in Reims
Built in the 11th century and almost completely destroyed during the 1st World War , it is here that the relics of Archbishop Saint Rémi lie , who, as we have seen previously, converted Clovis to Christianity.
A little smaller than the cathedral, the interior of the Saint-Rémi basilica in Reims is no less impressive.
I really loved the architecture personally! It is a little out of the way from the city center, but definitely worth the detour as long as you appreciate the beautiful stones.
4. Saint-Remi Museum
Right next to the basilica, in the former royal abbey of Saint- Rémi, is the Saint Remi museum.
The building, the 3rd in Reims to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is worth a visit if only for its architecture. On the menu: a beautiful cloister and the monumental grand staircase.
The museum itself is no exception. It retraces, through 17 exhibition rooms and a very rich collection of objects, the history of the city of Reims from prehistory to the Renaissance.
At 4 euros per person for around 2 hours of visit, it is an essential activity to do in Reims if you are interested in history.
For more details on timetables and prices, see the museum’s website.
Tips for your Reims itinerary:
The museum is free for every first Sunday of each month.
5. Mars Gate
The Porte de Mars, a Gallo-Roman vestige which acted as a triumphal arch, was the largest of a set of 4 monumental arches which represented the 4 gates of the city of Durocortorum (the name of Reims at that time).
It is the only one still – practically – intact today.
With these 30 m long and almost 15 m high, it is the largest known triumphal arch in the Roman world.
Don’t miss the interior of the arches, which are also richly decorated, including a depiction of the scene of the she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.
6. Visit a Champagne House
If the city of Reims is known throughout the world, it is not only for its magnificent cathedral: as you certainly know, it is also a mecca for wine tourism.
The city’s second major attraction is therefore undoubtedly a visit to one of the great champagne houses.
The highlight of the visits is the discovery of the chalk pits, where the bottles of champagne are stored.
The chalk pits were, as their name suggests, chalk quarries in medieval times. Their constant temperature all year round at 10°C makes them the ideal place to house the champagne cellars.
You will find the complete list of Champagne Houses to visit in Reims and the surrounding area.
Each estate offers several kinds of visits with tasting, the prices varying according to the cuvée or the type of wine (from only 6€ per person!).
Among the great vineyards to see are: Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin, Taittinger, Moët et Chandon, GH Mumm, Pommery etc…
The hardest part is choosing! (although I will help you a bit!)
A visit that offers excellent value for money is that of GH Mumm, at only 26 euros per person. It must be reserved in advance by clicking directly on this link.
Tips for your Reims itinerary:
For a more upscale tour, which also includes lunch, I highly recommend the Moët et Chandon tour.
It’s simple, it’s the most complete tour and the best choice if you are a big Champagne lover.
7. Visit the Villa Demoiselle
Villa Demoiselle, a true masterpiece mixing Art Deco and Art Nouveau styles, was built at the beginning of the 20th century by the owner of Maison Pommery.
Now owned by the Vranken family (owner of Pommery champagnes), it has been completely renovated to regain its original character and reopened in 2008. It has since been used as a reception area and can be visited.
The guided tour of the villa lasts 1 hour, and the price includes a glass of Demoiselle champagne, the cuvée named after the locality.
As the Villa Demoiselle is private, the visit is not included in the Reims City Pass.
The visit is made only by reservation by clicking here.
8. Champagne Park
If I tell you about this park located on the outskirts of the city, it is quite simply because it is close to the Champagne Houses. If you have chosen to visit Reims in summer, you will be happy to be able to take a short break in the shade in the Parc de Champagne.
Today the largest public park in the city of Reims, it was once attached to the Pommery estate.
Next to the Villa Demoiselle, in the same district, is also the Parc de la Bute Saint-Nicaise, another oasis of greenery.
9. Reims Champagne Automotive Museum
You may not know it, but Reims is home to one of the 5 largest car museums in France.
The Reims Champagne Automobile Museum has a collection of more than 230 vehicles ranging from 1908 to the present day. Motorcycles and cars, from the Marne taxi to the racing car, there is something for everyone!
The museum also presents a collection of more than 5000 miniatures and toys related to the automotive world.
Here too the entrance is free with the Reims City Pass.
10. Basilica of Saint Clotilde of Reims
The Basilica of Sainte Clotilde in Reims, with its Neo-Byzantine architecture, is an atypical monument, which comes out of the classic tourist circuits.
For my part, the first thing I thought when I saw the facade was that it would go perfectly with Gotham City, the city of Batman!
On the other hand, it is not often open : according to the latest information, only on Sundays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in July and August, so you will probably only be able to admire the exterior.
11. Carnegie Library
So that’s a first! A library is not really the first place that comes to mind when we talk about things to see in a city.
Little known to tourists, this little gem is worth a detour for its superb Art Deco style decoration that gives you the impression of being in the United States in the 1920s.
The Carnegie Library is an unusual place to see absolutely during your trip to Reims.
Admission is of course free and the visit is quick, but as it is located right next to Reims Cathedral, you might as well take advantage of it!
12. Cryptoportique gallo-romain
Under the forum of ancient Reims and the current place du Forum de Reims, is one of the 3 galleries that formed the Gallo-Roman cryptoporticus.
Used at the time for the storage of grain, it can be visited today and hosts temporary exhibitions.
13. Museum Hotel Le Vergeur
Private mansion built in the 15th century and classified as a historic monument, it was the home of collector and patron Hugues Krafft at the beginning of the 20th century.
Left as it was since its disappearance in 1935, it is now a museum that you can visit.
Guided tour only.
14. Chapelle Foujita
It was a visit to the Saint-Remi basilica in Reims that decided the Japanese painter Léonard Foujita to convert to Christianity.
Neither one nor two, the man who has a lot of ideas, decides to completely design a Roman style chapel, the Foujita chapel. It is particularly known for its fresco, and the many details from the Japanese tradition.
Price: €4, free entry with the Reims City Pass.
Tips for your Reims itinerary:
Take a look if you have the Reims City Pass, otherwise go your way, there is not much to see.
15. Reims Planetarium
The Reims Planetarium is an excellent cultural activity to do if you have decided to visit Reims with children.
A museum space serves as a prelude to the visit, then towards the large dome which recreates the starry sky. The animators and speakers are at the top, it is for me one of the best planetarium in France.
There are several programs available, and you must reserve your place in advance.
Admission is included in the Reims city pass.
Other Places to See in Reims
- Museum of the Surrender : A museum on a forgotten part of history. If the date of May 8, 1945 is remembered as the end of the 2nd World War, the German surrender was in fact signed in Reims, on May 7, 1945! If you are interested in history, I recommend that you take a trip to the museum, which is free with the Reims City Pass.
- The Museum of Fine Arts of Reims, which even if it is not necessarily the best of its kind, houses some beautiful works. In addition, the visit is free with the Reims City Pass.
- Place Drouet d’Erlon, which is more like a small pedestrian street, is lined with shops and cafés, making it the center of social life in Reims. To see: the Subé fountain.
- The Reims Opera, located near Notre-Dame Cathedral and which is considered one of the most beautiful in France. Unfortunately, it can only be visited on Heritage Day, but you can attend a performance.
What to do around Reims?
There are many things to see around Reims, here is the selection of my favorite places:
Fort de la Pompelle Museum
Fort de la Pompelle, built in 1883 to defend Reims, is located 15 minutes by car from the city centre.
Centerpiece of the defense of the Reims sector during the First World War, it was badly damaged during the conflict.
Classified as a historic monument, it now houses a museum dedicated to the history of the defense of Reims in which you can discover a collection of costumes, helmets, weapons, artillery pieces and historical documents.
Free admission with the Reims City Pass.
The Lighthouse of Verzenay in Champagne – Museum of the Vine
It is an unusual building which stands in the middle of the vineyards, less than 20 km from Reims: the Lighthouse of Verzenay.
While it had an advertising vocation when it was built in 1909, it has now been transformed into a vine museum. It is also possible to climb into the lighthouse, 25 m high to enjoy the panorama over the vineyards.
And at the end of the visit, enjoy the unmissable champagne tasting moment!
3 types of entrance tickets are available:
- Museum only
- Headlight only
- Museum + lighthouse
If you have the Reims City Pass, you will benefit from a reduction on the museum + lighthouse entrance price.
Not far from the lighthouse is the mill of Verzenay, located on a hill overlooking the vineyards.
Classified as a historical monument, it cannot be visited, but is worth the trip for the view (one of the most beautiful in the region) and the photo opportunity!
The Fakes of Verzy
It is in the forest of Verzy, you will be able to observe a curiosity of nature: the faux de Verzy, trees with an improbable shape also known as twisted beeches.
With around 1,000 fakes, this place is home to the largest concentration of Verzy fakes in the world. You can discover these unique trees through a 3 km trail in the forest.
About 30 minutes from Reims, it would be a shame to miss this site when visiting the city!
Abbey of Saint-Pierre d’Hautvillers
About 30 minutes south of Reims is the very beautiful Saint-Pierre d’Hautvillers abbey, whose history is intimately linked to that of champagne.
It now belongs to the Champagne house Moët & Chandon and it is in the Saint-Sindulphe church of this abbey that rests the remains of Dom Pérignon and Dom Ruinart, 2 great names in the history of champagne.
You can also take the opportunity to visit the village of Hautvillers, considered the birthplace of champagne.
Reims City Pass
The Reims City Pass is an initiative launched by the Tourist Office which allows you to save money when visiting Reims. He understands:
- Free museums and sites to see in Reims that I talk about in this guide
- Guided tours of the city (historical Reims, Reims by night, Art Deco tour, etc.)
- The Reims City Tour, which is the visit of the city by bus
- Free public transport
- Discounts on visits to Champagne Houses
- Discounts/gifts in some restaurants.
1 Day Reims Itinerary
If you only have one day in Reims and you want to visit the city’s monuments and a Champagne house, you will need to plan your itinerary well.
Here is the visit of Reims in express version:
- Start your day with a visit to Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral.
- Continue with a visit to the Palais du Tau, located just next door
- Have a bite to eat in the city center, place Drouet d’Erlon for example
- No time to lose, head for the Saint- Rémi basilica
- Continue with the Saint- Rémi Museum
- End your day with a visit to a Champagne House (click here!) of your choice.
It’s not easy, but 1 day in Reims is really short!
2 Days Reims Itinerary
In 2 days in Reims, you will have time to fully enjoy the city, so it is better to plan a different itinerary for day 1.
Here is an optimized itinerary for this visit in 2 days, in order to avoid unnecessary round trips. I also recommend that you take a Reims City Pass for this duration.
Day 1 in Reims
This day ‘s itinerary is dedicated to visiting the city center of Reims and can very well be done on foot, as long as you are not allergic to walking!
If you have the Pass, you can also opt for one or more guided tours.
- Start with the most remote monument, the Foujita Chapel
- Then go visit the Surrender Museum
- Go through the Mars Gate
- Go down to Place Drouet d’Erlon via the Promenades Jean-Louis Schneiter (the new name of the Hautes Promenades)
- Have a drink in the square and it’s already time for the lunch break!
- Then go for the guided tour of the Hotel Le Vergeur Museum at 2 p.m.
- Then head to the Place du Forum, very close to see the Gallo-Roman cryptoporticus
- Join now Reims Cathedral for the guided tour
- Last big visit of the day, Palais du Tau, but beware, it closes quite early in winter. You may therefore have to visit the next morning.
- Before going to dinner, take a short tour of the Carnegie Library, next to the Palais du Tau.
For this 2nd day in Reims, as the distances are quite large, you will have to take public transport or your car.
- If you couldn’t do it on the 1st day, start your day by visiting the Palais du Tau
- Then head to the car museum or the Reims planetarium, as you choose.
- Start your afternoon with a visit to the Saint- Rémi basilica and the Saint- Rémi museum.
- The rest of your afternoon will be dedicated to visiting a Champagne House
- You can also take a short walk to the Parc de Champagne for a quiet moment!
If you want to visit Reims and its region over 2 days, another possibility is to combine the “express” itinerary presented in “Visit Reims in 1 day” with the itinerary for day 3 that I propose to you just after.
3 Days Reims Itinerary
3 days in Reims is the ideal time to enjoy all that the city has to offer.
So why not consider a long weekend in the city of coronations?
For your 3rd day, in addition to the previous itinerary, this is an opportunity to explore the surroundings of Reims.
Unless you want to make other visits to the city center, the Reims City Pass will be useful for the first 2 days, no need to take the 3-day version.
- Start your day with a visit to the Fort de la Pompelle museum
- Then head south to visit the vine museum at the Phare de Verzenay and take some pictures of the Verzenay mill.
- Lunch break in or around Verzy
- After the meal, head to Les Faux de Verzy for a short walk in the forest
- End your day with a little thought for Dom Pérignon and Dom Ruinart, at the Saint-Pierre d’Hautvillers abbey
You can also do the itinerary for this 3rd day in the opposite direction, which is more advantageous if you leave Reims by the north to return home.
Accommodation in Reims?
To enjoy your holidays, sleeping well is important! We have therefore selected for you the best hotels in Reims in each price category.
So, where to stay in Reims?
- Appart’City Confort Reims Centre : Located 500m from Reims Cathedral, offering modern, bright and quiet studios, this aparthotel is the best choice for visiting Reims without breaking the bank! Studio from 60 euros per night.
- Hôtel des Arcades: Located in the city center, near the Subé fountain. Double room recently renovated, clean and comfortable, from 86€ per night, breakfast at 8€. Most: the situation, the good breakfast, the calm. It is our favorite for its price/performance ratio in Reims.
- The Originals City, Hotel Le Bristol: Located 750 meters from the cathedral. Warm and comfortable double room, some with a balcony, from €110, breakfast €12. Most: the location, the pleasant staff, the comfortable bedding.
- Best Western Premier Hôtel De La Paix : Also very close to the cathedral, this 4* hotel is quite simply the best in town. Private parking and indoor pool! A great choice for a romantic getaway. Night in a double room from 140 euros.
And for those who want to spend a luxury stay in Reims, I recommend the Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa.
This 5* hotel is located in the heart of the vineyards, in a former post house from the 19th century. The setting is sublime and the rooms are just superb! The hotel also has a huge indoor pool and an outdoor pool overlooking the vineyards.
And for dinner, don’t forget to book a table at the restaurant “Le Royal”, awarded one star in the Michelin Guide.
Where to eat in Reims?
- L’Alambic: Located very close to the garden of the crow’s feet. This restaurant welcomes you in an old champagne cellar. A cuisine full of flavors with good fresh products awaits you.
- L’Aqua: A little away from downtown Reims. Small restaurant that offers dishes entirely homemade and beautifully presented. You will enjoy from appetizer to dessert. Excellent value.
- Le café du palais: Located 2 steps from Reims Cathedral, in the city center. Under its glass roof and in a magnificent setting, this restaurant offers traditional, quality bistro cuisine with regional accents.
Reims Tourist Map
So that you can find your way around easily, I have prepared a tourist map of Reims, with all the places to visit that I talk about in this article. You can display the map legend by clicking on the top left button with a small arrow.
And you, what are you planning to visit in Reims?
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