Reims is steeped in history. Located 80 miles north-east of Paris, I imagine it to be a lovely day trip from the French capital. I however was in Reims during my touring holiday and had selected Reims due to its perfect proximity between Lyon and Calais, for a relaxed stop over.
Reims is not a big city, but the historical importance of the town is evident everywhere you look. Reims is located in the Champagne-Ardenne region. The city was founded by the Gauls and served as a major city for the Roman Empire. Since then, the city has hosted important religious meetings, political negotiations, hostilities and bombings of both numerous battles and wars and most notably, the coronations of the Kings of France. The most famous attractions in Reims are the Cathedral and the Palace. I will share my visit to these two amazing places in my second post about Reims. But for now, let me focus on the charm of the town.
I arrived in Reims in the late afternoon, after a 5 hour drive up from Lyon. It was time to freshen up, get ready for dinner and re-charge my batteries before hitting the road again in the morning. I chose a hotel on the canal because I knew it was only a short walk into the centre of Reims (which was also good for walkies with my pup). During the short walk into the centre, along a residential street, you notice bullet holes and cracks in buildings, sustained during World War II bombings.
The main square in Reims is full of various restaurants, bars, brasseries and cafes. This is the centre of Reims and was buzzing, as the restaurants spilled out onto the main square. The atmosphere is relaxed, fun and lively. The food is good and heaven for the champagne tourists looking to score a local bargain. The square is called Place Drouet d’Erlon and actually does not look anything like a square, but more like a long road comprised of multiple little squares. The surrounding streets are filled with various different shops and stores, and the famous Cathedral is not far at all either.
Watch out for “Reims – Part II” … Coming soon!