Is Reims Worth Visiting? 19 Reasons Why You Should!

Wondering if Reims is worth visiting?

Well, you’re in the right place.

I’ve been living and traveling in France for the past 10 years, and I can confidently say that Reims is a must-visit destination. From the jaw-dropping Reims Cathedral to the renowned Champagne houses, there are plenty of reasons why this city should be on your list.

So, if you’re debating a trip to Reims, this guide will help you make your decision. I’m going to share with you all the reasons that make this city so incredible as well as top attractions and things to do while you’re here. And, by the end of this article, I can guarantee you’ll be adding it to your itinerary.

Let’s get started!

Is Reims Worth Visiting in France
Is Reims Worth Visiting?

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Is Reims Worth Visiting?

Yes, Reims is worth visiting!

With so many things to see and do, it’s a great place to visit if you’ve never been before.

Located in the Grand Est region of northeastern France, this often-overlooked city is rich in culture, history, and, of course, Champagne.

For more than eight centuries, the kings of France were coronated right here at the beautiful Reims Cathedral.

But that’s not the only important role it has had.

During the Second World War, Reims served as the headquarters of the Allied powers. It’s also where Germany surrendered on 07 May 1945. And, today, you can visit the very room (the Map room) where this historic event took place at the Musée de la Reddition.

Map Room with Allied Maps on the Walls and a wooden table in the center at Musée de la Reddition. This is where Germany surrendered to the Allies
Map Room at Musée de la Reddition

Finally, Reims is the unofficial capital of Champagne. You can tour some of the most prestigious Champagne houses and sample some of the best wines in the region.

So, if you want to add a little luxury to your vacation while learning about some of the most significant events in France’s history, then Reims is for you.

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    19 Reasons to Visit Reims

    From enthralling museums to world-renowned wineries, there are so many reasons to visit Reims.

    Below I’ll cover what makes this city so special and why you should add it to your itinerary.

    1. Champagne Tours

    Two rows of Champagne bottles at the G. H. Mumm & Cie Champagne house in Reims.

    A visit to Reims wouldn’t be complete without exploring a wine cellar, and of course, tasting a glass of bubbly. After all, it’s the unofficial capital of Champagne!

    Here, you’ll learn all about the production process, from growing the grapes to aging and bottling. It’s a chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most prestigious Champagne houses.

    But my favorite part was the tasting. I enjoyed sampling the different types of Champagne and comparing them (Brut vs Extra Dry vs Dry).

    Book your Half Day Champagne Tour here ➔

    2. Historically Significant

    The interior of the Basilique Saint-Remi in Reims
    Basilique Saint-Remi

    The history of Reims goes back thousands of years to the time of the Romans. But its role in the history of Europe began in the 5th century.

    In 498, King Clovis was baptized at the Reims Cathedral by the Bishop of Reims, Remi. And, from that moment on, every king of France was coronated in Reims, 33 in total.

    The most significant of these was King Charles VII, who was crowned in the presence of Joan of Arc in 1429.

    Fast forward to the First World War where Reims withstood bombings for almost four years. Of course, its role was not as important as that of Verdun, but it did leave a mark. And the Reims Cathedral was nearly destroyed.

    During the Second World War, Reims was again demolished. It held off German forces until May 1945, when Germany surrendered.

    Today, you can travel to each of these moments in history through monuments and museums. Highlights include La Porte de Mars, the Cryptoportique, the Reims Cathedral, and the Musée de la Reddition.

    And, while I loved each one, I found the Basilique Saint-Remi to be the most unique. It was less crowded and there were information boards detailing its history. It was also where Saint-Remi was buried. Most visitors rush to the Reims Cathedral, but I encourage you to take a detour to this magnificent church.

    3. Lots of UNESCO Heritage Sites

    The Reims Cathedral is a reason to visit Reims
    Reims Cathedral

    Reims is home to many UNESCO Heritage Sites, some dating back thousands of years. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone who loves to dive into history when they travel.

    In 1991, this prestigious status was awarded to the Reims Cathedral, the Palace of Tau, and the Abbey of Saint-Remi. Each one played a vital role in France’s history and their architecture is second to none in the region.

    4. Reims City Pass

    The Reims City Pass is an incredible way to get the most out of your time in the city. It offers discounts on several attractions, access to all museums, as well as a free guided tour of your choice.

    There are three types of passes – 24 hours, 48 hours, and 72 hours.

    The 48 and 72-hour passes include museums and attractions in Épernay, a small town near Reims.

    If you’re visiting Reims as a day trip from Paris, then the 24-hour pass is the best way to go. But, if you plan on spending the night in Reims, then the 48 or 72-hour pass makes the most sense.

    Get your 24-Hour Reims City Pass here ➔

    Useful Tip: For the 48 and 72-hour pass, you can do all the offered activities in less time than suggested. So, I recommend planning your trip and then deciding which pass is right for you.

    5. Tons of Museums

    Golden Coronation Chalice at the Palais du Tau
    Coronation Chalice at the Palais du Tau

    There are plenty of fantastic museums in Reims. And each one showcases a part of the city’s unique history.

    Below I’ve listed the best museums to visit in Reims:

    Musée de la Reddition – This is the very site where Germany surrendered to the Allies in World War 2. Here you’ll step back in time and relive this monumental event that changed the course of history. The museum houses a wealth of artifacts, documents, and photographs that offer an inside look into this important moment.

    Palais du Tau – This is where the banquets were held after the coronations. It’s a glimpse of the lavish lifestyle of French royalty from centuries ago. My favorite exhibits were those about the coronations, like the Coronation Chalice.

    Musée des Beaux-Arts – The Museum of Fine Arts houses an incredible collection of paintings from the 16th century to the 20th century. Here you’ll find exhibits dedicated to European artists. Some of the most notable include Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Giovanni Battista Moroni.

    Musée Historique Saint-Remi – Located in the Basilique Saint-Remi, this museum is most known for its art and archeological collections. But there are also several artifacts from Saint-Remi himself.

    Musée-Hôtel le Vergeur – Once a hotel for wealthy merchants in the 13th century and later a private mansion owned by Nicolas Le Vergeur, it, now, houses a vast collection of art. The most impressive being Albrecht Dürer’s The Apocalypse and The Great Passion.

     6. Sabrage Workshops

    One of the coolest things you can do in Reims is take a sabrage workshop.

    If you don’t know what sabrage is, it’s the art of opening a bottle of champagne with a sword.

    This tradition was popularized under Napoleon’s rule.

    After a victory, his cavalry would use their swords to open a bottle of Champagne. And, in Reims, you can learn how to do this very technique!

    If you’re successful, you’ll be rewarded with a taste of the champagne from the bottle you opened! Plus, you’ll receive a certificate of swordsmanship. It’s undoubtedly one of the coolest things to do in Reims.

    Book your Sabrage Workshop and Champagne Tasting here ➔

    Free One Day in Reims Itinerary

    Sign up for a free copy of my One Day in Reims Itinerary. It has everything you need to guarantee an amazing trip!

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      7. It’s Walkable

      Lush Green Plants Covering an Entrance at the Musée-Hôtel le Vergeur in Reims
      Musée-Hôtel le Vergeur

      One thing I liked about Reims was how walkable it was.

      Compared to cities like Paris, where sidewalks are narrow, Reims is the exact opposite. Here they are wide enough to fit more than one person and crosswalks are well-marked, making it a very safe place to explore on foot.

      Not only that but most attractions are next to each other. As an example, the Palais du Tau, the Reims Cathedral, and the Musée-Hôtel le Vergeur are within five minutes of each other. All you need to do is download Google Maps or on your phone and you’re good to go!

      8. Reims Cathedral

      Rose Stained Glass Window at the Entrance of the Reims Cathedral
      The Rose Window

      The Reims Cathedral is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. It’s also one of the most famous churches in the country.

      Built during the 12th century, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims (Reims Cathedral) is a stunning example of French Gothic architecture.

      The exterior features intricate carvings and sculptures that immediately grab your attention. And the interior is no less breathtaking. The ceiling soars to the heavens while stained-glass windows fill the church with light.

      A very fitting place to crown the kings of France!

      9. The Joan of Arc Festival

      Jeanne d'Arc and Charles VII white plaque in Reims
      Plaque Dedicated to Jeanne d’Arc

      Every June, the Fêtes Johanniques (Joan of Arc Festival) is held to commemorate the coronation of Charles VII that took place on 17 July 1429.

      This weekend-long event is a chance to experience the Middle Ages first-hand. With craftspeople dressed in costume, minstrels filling the streets with music, falconry displays, and stone-cutting lessons, it’s something you won’t want to miss. There’s even a reenactment of the coronation ceremony!

      It’s the perfect time to come and learn about the history and culture of Reims.

      10. Biscuit Factory Fossier

      Five Rose Fossier Biscuits on a Blue Plate with a Bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne
      Fossier Biscuits

      Biscuits Fossier is the oldest biscuit maker in France. They are famed for their bright pink color and delicious buttery texture.

      Founded in 1756, these elegant treats were served at the coronation ceremony of Louis XVI. They later became the sole producer of biscuits for the king.

      Today, you can visit their facilities and learn all about the history of these pink treats. At the end of the tour, you’ll even get to sample a few!

      While their original recipe is the most famous, they have several other flavors. I tried quite a few and they were all delicious!

      11. Excellent Base for Day Trips

      Visiting Monument a la Victoire et aux Soldats de Verdun as a day trip from Reims
      Visiting Monument a la Victoire et aux Soldats de Verdun

      Reims is a perfect base to explore many of the other cities and villages in the Grand Est region.

      You can rent a car, take the train, or book a tour.

      I found that taking the train was the easiest way to travel. Since Reims has two stations (Gare de Reims and Champagne-Ardenne TGV), it’s super easy to get to where you need to go. Not only that but both serve most day trips that are possible.

      Useful Tip: Champagne-Ardenne TGV station is not downtown Reims. But TER trains from Champagne-Ardenne TGV station go to Gare de Reims and take 10 minutes.

      Some of the most popular day trips include Paris, Amiens, Nancy, Metz, and Strasbourg. All are less than two hours away by train.

      But my favorite was Verdun. I loved the First World War memorial and the non-touristy feel of the downtown. There were so many places to visit in Verdun, I couldn’t pull myself away.

      Book and Purchase your Train Tickets here ➔

      12. Architectural Wonders

      The Foujita Chapel in Reims is one modern building to visit. Built with white cream-colored stone and a bright red door.
      The Foujita Chapel

      The architecture in Reims is one of its main attractions. From ancient Roman walls to Gothic cathedrals, there’s no shortage of things to see.

      While Reims took a beating during both World War 1 and 2, much of the city underwent restoration. And those buildings that couldn’t be saved made room for more modern ones.

      Some of the oldest pieces include La Porte de Mars and the Cryptoportique. Both date to ancient times.

      Then, you’ll notice there is a lot of Gothic-style architecture. Some of the most important include the Reims Cathedral and Palais du Tau.

      With regards to modern-style buildings, there are quite a few that are worth visiting.

      The Foujita Chapel was built in 1966 and houses some beautiful murals from Japanese artist, Tsuguharu Foujita.

      But the Carnegie Library of Reims is the most impressive Art-Deco building in town. It was named after Andrew Carnegie, who donated the funds to build it. And the interior resembles a traditional American library with an impressive collection of books, totaling some 400,000.

      13. Culinary Delights

      Along with Champagne, Reims offers a rich culinary experience. From local bistros to gourmet restaurants, you can enjoy traditional French cuisine at its best.

      And if there is one food you have to try it’s Le Jambon de Reims or Reims ham. While the recipe is a secret, the general ingredients are known. The ham is first seasoned and then cooked in a broth. Finally, the edges are coated in breadcrumbs.

      You can try this specialty on its own or stop by a local restaurant. It’s often added to various dishes in Reims.

      14. Easy to Access

      Regional TER Train for the Grand Est Region in France
      Regional TER Train

      While Reims does not have an airport itself, it’s still very easy to access.

      The nearest airports are those in Paris, Charles de Gaulle Airport and Orly Airport. Then, trains run regularly from Paris’ Gare de l’Est to Gare de Reims and take about 45 minutes.

      You could also rent a car in Paris since it’s only 144 kilometers (89 miles) away. Even with traffic, the drive takes less than two hours.

      Finally, if you want to visit Reims but don’t want the hassle of organizing your trip, there are tons of tours from Paris.

      Book your Champagne Day Trip from Paris here ➔

      15. Lots of Shopping

      Place Drouet d’Erlon with a statue topped with a Golden Angle in Reims
      Place Drouet d’Erlon

      Reims offers a unique shopping experience with its blend of high-end boutiques and local artisan shops.

      You’ll find tons of shops near Place Drouet d’Erlon. Then, every day there are one or two markets somewhere in Reims. The location changes depending on the day, so if there is one you want to see be sure to check the schedule.

      If you’re looking for souvenirs, there are plenty to choose from. Reims is most known for its champagne glasses, made with intricate details. There is also a wide range of local food items like cheese, chocolates, and mustard that make great gifts for friends and family back home.

      16. Reims Mountain Regional Natural Park

      This regional park is a scenic area, perfect for anyone who wants to escape the city and enjoy the outdoors. It features lush forests and wetlands connected by well-labeled hiking and biking trails.

      But the coolest thing to do is visit the Faux de Verzy. This section of forest is full of dwarfed beech trees that are completely contorted. It’s an eerie feeling that reminded me of the Forbidden Forest in Harry Potter.

      17. Luxurious but Affordable

      La Porte de Mars is a monument that is free to visit in Reims
      Admission to the Porte de Mars is Free

      Despite the number of lavish activities in Reims, it’s a surprisingly affordable place to visit.

      From hotels to restaurants, there are plenty of options for those looking for an upscale vacation without breaking the bank.

      As an example, many Champagne houses offer tastings and tours for under €30. It includes a guided visit, a lesson on the different types of Champagne, and a tasting (usually three different varieties).

      Several monuments like the Porte de Mars are also free to visit!

      18. Enchanting Christmas Market

      The Christmas market in Reims is the second only to Strasbourg. So, if you’re visiting in winter, it’s definitely worth adding to your list.

      Held every year from late November to late December, this charming market is filled with festive decorations. You’ll find stalls with local artisanal items as well as a variety of food and drink.

      If you’re feeling chilly, stands are selling steaming cups of mulled wine.

      It’s the perfect place to get into the festive spirit and find unique gifts for the holidays.

      And compared to the other Christmas markets I’ve been to in France, it’s far less touristy.

      19. It’s Photogenic

      A mausoleum made of white stone with a green door at the Cimetière du Nord in Reims
      Cimetière du Nord

      Reims is an incredibly photogenic city. With its ancient cathedrals and grand squares, there are tons of opportunities for stunning images. The best time to take your camera out is at sunrise or sunset, but you’ll find any time of day works in Reims.

      If you’re looking to get some unique shots, I recommend heading to Cimetière du Nord. I spent about an hour walking around and I was able to snap quite a few interesting photos (like the one above).

      Best Time to Visit

      Reims is a beautiful place to visit year-round. And each season has something special to offer.

      April to June – If you’re looking for some of the most beautiful weather and views, then spring is the best time. While the beginning of April can be rainy, the weather is, in general, very mild. But the biggest advantage to traveling during this time of the year is the low prices.

      July and August – During the summer, the sun is always shining. And with it comes American tourists. This is the busiest time of year and prices are at their highest. Unless there is an activity that you want to do, I recommend visiting in spring or fall.

      September to October – Another shoulder season in Reims. Prices drop, temperatures decrease, and the beautiful fall foliage begins to appear. This is my favorite time to visit Reims.

      November and December – The biggest draw to Reims this time of the year is the Christmas market. The weather is cold, cloudy, and grey. As it nears the end of December, temperatures plummet to the negatives. So, make sure to bring a warm jacket.

      January to March – This is the low season. The weather is often cold and rainy, but you won’t find any tourists in sight. If you want to visit Reims without the crowds, this is the time to go.

      Best Hotels in Reims

      There are tons of accommodation options in Reims. Below I’ve compiled a list of my top recommendations.

      Best Restaurants in Reims

      There’s no shortage of incredible places to eat in Reims. Here is a list of the best restaurants.

      • Le Petit Carbet – Modern French-style dishes with fresh produce. The staff is friendly, and the food is delicious.
      • La Galinette – Beautifully presented dishes. The menu is centered on French recipes with a modern twist.
      • Au Cul de Poule Restaurant Reims – Bistronomie Reims – Bistro-style food, but with contemporary additions. They also have an excellent selection of wine.

      FAQs About Visiting Reims

      Why should I go to Reims?

      Reims is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves history, culture, and Champagne. This is where the kings of France were crowned, Germany surrendered to the Allies, and Champagne is made. If you want to indulge in luxury and dive into the history of France, Reims should be at the top of your list.

      Is Reims a good day trip from Paris?

      Yes, Reims is a great day trip from Paris! The city is only 45 minutes away by train and there’s plenty to see and do. You can explore historic sites, sample some Champagne, and visit the beautiful Reims Cathedral. It’s a wonderful way to experience French culture without having to travel too far.

      Is Reims safe at night?

      Yes, Reims is generally safe at night, but you should always be aware of your surroundings. If you exercise basic safety precautions, you’ll be able to explore the city safely in the evening.

      Free One Day in Reims Itinerary

      Sign up for a free copy of my One Day in Reims Itinerary. It has everything you need to guarantee an amazing trip!

      Free Printable One Day in Reims Itinerary

        Conclusion: Is Reims Worth Visiting?

        Reims is 100% a city worth visiting. It’s steeped in rich cultural heritage with tons of things to do. Not only that but you can experience luxury without emptying your wallet.

        Whether you’re looking for a day trip from Paris or a weekend break, Reims won’t disappoint.

        So why wait? Start planning your trip to Reims today and experience what makes it so special!

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        I hope you enjoyed my post and found it useful. Here are some other articles that I think you might find interesting.

        Jen Ciesielski
        Jen Ciesielski

        Jen Ciesielski is the creator of Dabbling in Jet Lag. She has lived abroad for over ten years, traveled to more than 50 countries, and speaks French and English fluently. Her areas of expertise include moving abroad, learning languages, and travel planning. Originally from the United States, she now lives in France, where she has been for more than six years. She has also traveled extensively around the country. She shares her experiences as an expat living in France and helps thousands of people plan their trips every month.

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