city in Marne, France
Europe > France > Grand Est > Reims

Reims (sometimes spelled Rheims in English), a city in northern France, is perhaps best known for its world heritage listed cathedral, where generations of French kings were crowned. It is also the largest city in the Champagne area and some the champagne cellars located in the city are likewise inscribed on the world heritage list.


Understand edit

Reims, the home of champagne (the most celebrated and celebratory wine in the world), is the main city of the Champagne area. Though it is somewhat hiding in Paris' shadow and does not immediately come to mind when people think of France, it is a charming city, and one that the French hold dear to their hearts. The Reims Cathedral, one of the most beautiful buildings of the European Middle Ages, is filled with history: almost all French kings were crowned there for about 1,000 years. However, most of the city's old houses were destroyed during World War I, and the city was extensively rebuilt in the 1920s in an Art Deco style.

Reims, Épernay and Ay are the main places of champagne production. Many of the largest champagne producing houses, referred to as les grandes marques, have their head office in Reims. Most are open for champagne tasting and tours by appointment only. Champagne is aged in the many chalk caves and tunnels, some originating in the Roman period, located deep inside the ground.

The city centre is fairly small and easily walkable, with many streets for pedestrians only, mainly in the shopping area.

Get in edit

By plane edit

Reims does not have its own airport. However, it is very close to Paris Charles de Gaulle. Other airports within driving distance are Paris Beauvais (2 hours) and Châlons Vatry (45-60 minutes).

By train edit

Since the high speed train line has been opened, Reims is linked not only to Paris, but also to major cities in the country: Lille, Bordeaux, Nantes, Strasbourg, ... Charles de Gaulle Airport is only 30 minutes away and offers good connections from the South-East (Lyon, Avignon, Marseille, Nice, Montpellier). Trains from cities other than Paris arrive at the brand new Champagne-Ardenne TGV station, located just outside the city. This station is connected to the central station through bus and local train. When booking your ticket, check the station you'll be arriving to or leaving from, as many people get mixed up and miss their train.

Although you can get cheaper tickets if travelling on the regular train lines (with a change of trains in Épernay), it will take over 2 hours, so you might get a much better deal by buying a TGV ticket a few weeks in advance.

  • 1 Reims railway station (Gare de Reims), Place de la gare.    

Get around edit

Map of Reims

While the centre is fairly compact and easy to get around by foot, if you want to go further afield then try the buses. They're very reliable, run regularly, and despite local complaints, good value at €1.55 to go anywhere. If you intend to use them a lot, buy a carnet of 10 tickets from bars, tabacco shops or newspaper shops. single tickets can be bought on the bus but make sure you have the right amount. You can also buy day tickets which are interesting if you take the bus at least 4 times during the day Reims Public transportation website

Taxis are reasonable (about €2 a mile) but you can't hail them and they have to be booked in advance, which can be difficult if your French isn't above conversational level.

With TGV a day trip to (or from) Paris is possible (it takes 45 minutes). Be aware you have to book in advance, but at least you can do this in English online at

See edit

Main altar of the Basilique Saint-Rémi de Reims
  • 1 Cathedral (Notre-Dame de Reims), Place du Cardinal Luçon. The French equivalent, somewhat, for England's Westminster Abbey, the cathedral at Reims was the church in which numerous French monarchs were officially crowned. Reims is one of the later Gothic cathedrals and renowned for its height. There is a fine interior west facade with carvings of Biblical scenes; some fine 13c stained glass in the high windows of the nave and choir; and windows by Marc Chagall (in the eastern chapel) and the two local artists Jacques and Brigitte Simon. The south transept window by Jacques Simon shows themes linked with champagne including a portrait of the monk who invented it, Dom Perignon.    
  • 2 Palace of Tau, 2 Place du Cardinal Luçon. Was the archbishop's palace and retains a 13c Palatine chapel.    
  • 3 Carnegie Library of Reims, Place Carnegie. A public library in Art Deco style. Free.    
  • 4 [formerly dead link]Porte de Mars, Place de la République. A large late-Roman period triumphal arch.    
  • 5 Hotel de la Salle, 4 Rue de l'Arbalète. A fine Renaissance mansion.
  • Hotel des Contes de Champagne. Is a fine Gothic merchant's house.
  • 6 Town Hall, Place de l'Hôtel de ville. Dates from the 17th century. Behind it on the right is a fine art nouveau building originally for Mumm champagne, with mosaics showing the champagne making process.
  • 7 Saint-Remi Basilica, Rue Saint-Julien. A Romanesque church some way south of the centre of town.    
  • 8 Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts), 8 Rue Chanzy, +33 3 26 35 36 00. Tu closed.

Do edit

  • The many champagne houses and the chalk caves that are used to store and age the champagne can in most cases be visited. Most of the houses have several guided tours throughout the day in a variety of languages for a small fee, which usually includes a sample at the end of the tour. It is a good idea to call ahead to ensure that you don't miss the tour you are interested in.
  • Reims has a number of great museums, in particular the Musee de Beaux Arts and the War Museum, but as they all cost, visiting soon eats into your budget. The best thing about Reims is there is always something going on for free. The best by far is the Christmas Fair which fills the Place d'Erlon with a huge number of specialist stalls, great for pre-Christmas shopping.

If you like classic cars, this is a mecca.

For the kids in the summer, the traders set up a free, supervised area in the Place d'Erlon, it even has some English speaking guardians.

For a cheaper time, head down to the Place de la Republique early on a Saturday morning (07:00-13:00) to look around the market, fish, meat, cheese and bric a brac at reasonable prices, unless they realise you're a tourist! If you don't feel like shopping, just wander about and soak up the atmosphere.

  • Football: Stade de Reims play soccer in Ligue 1, the top tier in France. Their home ground Stade Auguste-Delaune (capacity 21,000) is just south of town centre.

Reims has a vibrant theatre life. There is the main Theatre (Opera and Culture), La Comedie (20th-century drama and film art), and further out the centre, La Cartonnerie (alternative, performance and music acts). It also has the Opera cinema which plays English language films, which are marked "V.O." on the board outside.

There is a free listing guide available in most bars and supermarkets called 'Sortie' which comes out on Thursday, which lists all the live gigs and cinema times.

  • La Vigne du Roy, +33 6 31 86 59 23. Private and semi-private tours of the Champagne region. They offer half-day, full-day or multi-day tours that focus on high quality boutique wineries in mostly Grand and Premier Cru Villages. They provide tours of the vineyards and wineries and offer comparative tastings of different styles of Champagnes that are made by these artistic wine makers. We present the entire process of creating Champagne and the culture and history behind it. They also host lunches with Champagne at a winery with traditional food from local farmers. Varies.
  • Ballooning is big around here, for more information contact the tourist office.

Buy edit

Reims has all the usual stores you'd expect in any major town. The Galeries Lafayette has menswear, womenswear, kidswear and a food hall downstairs, which sells English food at exorbitant prices if you feel homesick.

There is a small shopping centre, Espace d'Erlon, which has a Monoprix downstairs, not a bad bet to buy your Champagne at prices that aren't inflated as they are in some tourist shops. It also has a FNAC (the French equivalent of HMV) which sells CDs, DVDs, and books, including English ones.

There are two wine cellars facing the cathedral, both of which sell a wide variety of champagnes at pretty much the same price as the maisons themselves, sometimes cheaper.

If you feel the need to buy English or American newspapers, there is a news stand opposite the Gluepot (the English Pub) on the Place d'Erlon. The guy who runs it is extremely good fun and revels in the chance of speaking English.

Eat edit

The Place d'Erlon is the near beating heart of the city (It's not exactly a hotbed of activity!) There are many great places to eat here from cheap burger bars (Q, a Belgian McD's) to Anglo-Irish bars. If you go around the corner onto Boulevard Foch you will find some good mid-price eateries.

For better ethnic food look down the road at the side of the Opera cinema for a selection of good, cheaper, French and Ethnic restaurants (Chinese, Mexican and French).

Another option is to buy a baguette at one of the many patisseries like Petit Four and sit by one of the fountains and watch the world go by.

Budget edit

Pizzerias around the Place Stalingrad are a lot cheaper than the centre of town.

  • 1 Le Cabasson, 37 Rue Cérès. French restaurant
  • 2 Le Petit Four, 2 Rue des Capucins (off the Place d'Erlon, past the Opera cinema and across the lights). A small kiosk for sandwiches. It's bright yellow, you can't miss it!
  • 3 Le Regal, 4 Pl. Stalingrad.
  • 4 Le fast, 49 Rue de Courcelles.
  • 5 La p'tite Cocotte, 88 Rue du Mont d'Arène. Down home cooking
  • 6 Pizzeria L'Antica, 48 Rue Chanzy.
  • 7 Chamas Tacos Reims, 6 Av. Jean Jaurès.

Mid-range edit

  • 8 L'Edito, 80 Place Drouet d'Erlon, +33 3 26 40 33 06.
  • 9 Aux Coteaux, 86 Place Drouet d'Erlon, +33 3 26 47 08 79. The real gem worth finding, mainly a pizzeria but with some nice mains as well.
  • 10 Café de la Paix, 25 Place Drouet d'Erlon, +33 3 26 47 00 45.
  • 11 Kilberry, 182 Rue de Vesle. Irish pub serving food.
  • 12 Coté Cuisine, 43 Bd Foch.
  • Le Maharajah, 13 rue de Thillois.

Splurge edit

  • 13 Brasserie Excelsior, 96 Place Drouet d'Erlon, +33 3 26 91 40 50.

Drink edit

Champagne of course!

Place de Stalingrad- There are two great places here, The Kilberry and Stalingrad. The Kilberry, an Irish pub, is where all the French drink. It's a lot cheaper than in the centre and, to my mind, has a better atmosphere. It also has lots of free music and good promotions. The manager, Mike, is generally friendly and the staff and locals are very friendly. Definitely one to watch the Rugby in. For the quieter drink, try the Stalingrad on the corner. It's a traditional French Tabac, has limited food at lunchtime. The owner, Patrick, is an English speaking Jazz fan and there is normally live Jazz upstairs on a Thursday night.

Place d'Erlon- The main street in town is home to some excellent establishments. Cochon A Plumes and the Gin Pamp are two of the few places that have happy hours. Gin Pamp, being the less expensive of the two, is typically more crowded; it also sometimes offers live music. The Cochon A Plumes, however, offers an excellent atmosphere. Other options include the microbrewery Les 3 Brasseurs, L'Apostrophe, The Shirlock Pub (where the servers wear kilts), the James Joyce, and The Gluepot.

Interested in staying out a little later? Try the LBee (complete with a small dance floor) or La Bodega! Both close around 03:00. After that you will need to go to one of the few night clubs in town.

If you venture as far as the Porte de Mars, nip across to the Bar d'Anvers, across the Place de Republique, nothing out of the ordinary, but you may get involved in an interesting conversation, if you speak French and sit at the bar.

Sleep edit

Reasonably priced hotels off the Place d'Erlon include Grand Hotel du Nord and Hotel Cristal. Most of these hotels have a reasonably priced deal with the underground car park in Place d'Erlon, but remember to ask for a ticket at entrance to the car park and don't use your credit card, or you will end up paying twice.

The cheapest place to stay in the Place d'Erlon is the Hotel Victoria. It's family run by the Camus and has been since the war. Don't be put off by the gaudy placards outside, or the cramped bar/ reception, the rooms are large, clean, en-suite and all come with TV (French), an added advantage is free wi-fi in the bar/reception. The bar is also the cheapest place to drink in the Place d'Erlon.

Stay safe edit

Reims is a safe city overall, with a decent police presence day and night. However, some neighborhoods north of the main railway station (Orgeval) and in the city's southwest (Croix Rouge, Wilson) have their share of crime, but they have limited touristic value. Being aware of your surroundings and keeping your belongings close to you are enough to avoid trouble.

Connect edit

As of June 2022, Reims has 5G with all French carriers.

Go next edit

Paris by bus takes 2 hr 30 min.

This city travel guide to Reims is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.