Quick guide to... Reims

France - - Quick Guide To... Reims -

Ly­ing in the heart of the Cham­pagne wine­grow­ing re­gion, Reims con­tains one of France’s most im­pres­sive cathe­drals, tree-lined boule­vards and sev­eral fine-din­ing restau­rants. The city also makes an ex­cel­lent base for ex­plor­ing the Route de Cham­pagne.

What can I see and do? Be­gin your visit in the vieille ville, which is dom­i­nated by the 13th-cen­tury Gothic cathe­dral ( main pic­ture), a tow­er­ing, lav­ishly dec­o­rated build­ing. It was here and in pre­vi­ous churches on the site, that 34 French sov­er­eigns were crowned be­tween 816 and 1825.

A short dis­tance away lies the Palais du Tau where the princes stayed be­fore their coro­na­tions and held ban­quets af­ter­wards. The build­ing is now a mu­seum dis­play­ing litur­gi­cal ob­jects and ta­pes­tries from the cathe­dral.

For an in­sight into the city’s role in World War II, visit the Musée de la Red­di­tion, which is housed in the for­mer head­quar­ters of US Gen­eral Dwight D. Eisen­hower, com­man­der of the al­lied forces. Orig­i­nal bat­tle maps, pho­to­graphs and mil­i­tary uni­forms are on dis­play.

A visit to Reims isn’t com­plete with­out go­ing to the Tait­tinger cham­pagne house, 1.5km south-east of the city cen­tre. You will learn about how the fizz is pro­duced and tour the cel­lars ( pic­tured above), some of which date from the 4th cen­tury.

Where are the best places to eat? For hearty French clas­sics, try l’alam­bic (menus from €14, restau­rant-lalam­bic.fr). Set in a vaulted cel­lar, the restau­rant serves dishes such as pi­geon in mus­tard sauce, and cod fil­let with chou­croute.

An­other great place for clas­sic cui­sine is Anna – S, La Ta­ble Amoureuse (menus from €29, an­naslat­ableamoureuse.com). High­lights in­clude Arc­tic char with a Cham­pagne jus and fil­let of veal in a rich morel sauce.

For sheer in­dul­gence, with a price tag to match, it is hard to beat the three­Miche­lin-starred L’assi­ette Cham­p­enoise (menus from €95, as si et te champe noise. com). Chef Ar­naud Lalle­ment’s dishes in­clude such de­lights as milk-fed lamb with pre­served veg­eta­bles, and John Dory served with a spicy beet­root jus.

Where can I stay?

Book into the four-star Best Western Pre­mier Hô­tel de la Paix (dou­bles from €127.50, best­west­ern-la­paixreims.com), less than a ten-minute walk from the cathe­dral and the rail­way sta­tion. The 164 rooms are mod­ern and have satel­lite TV, air-con­di­tion­ing and a mini-bar.

Get me there!

Trains from Gare de l’est in Paris take around 45min (tel: 0844 848 5848, voy­ages-sncf.com).

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