The northeastern region of Champagne-Ardennes is not only well known for the champagne it produces and the many, many vineyards, but also for extensive forests and rolling hills. The region has a rich Medieval heritage, most notably the magnificent Reims Cathedral, where 25 Kings of France chose to be crowned. The departments in Champagne-Ardenne are: Ardennes, Aube, Haute-Marne and Marne.
Château de Bar sur Seine | Château de Chacenay | Château de Doumely | Château de Hierges | Château de Lafauche | Château de Landreville | Château de Montcornet [Website] | Château de Montmort [Website] | Château de Reynel | Château de Rumilly-lès-Vaudes | Château de Sedan | Château de Vignory
Founded in the 6th century AD, the Abbey of Saint-Rémi guarded the relics of the Bishop of Reims. The basilica was the abbey church, and the Romanesque nave and transept date to the 11th century. Today, the 17th and 18th century abbey buildings are used for exhibiting the history of the abbey and Reims from Prehistory to 16th century; not to be missed is the Gallo-Roman exhibit. [Website]
The UNESCO listed, 13th century Reims Cathedral is where kings of France were once crowned, and built on the site of the basilica in which Saint Rémi baptised Clovis, the first king of the Franks, in 496 AD. The façade has many statues and sculptures, which includes the baptism of Clovis and a ‘gallery of kings’. The Cathedral we see today was built between 1211 and 1275, replacing an older church that was destroyed by fire. [Website]
Built on the site of a Gallo-Roman villa, which became a Carolingian palace, the Palace of Tau was the Archbishop of Reims’ palace. It was here where Kings prepared themselves for their coronation, and where the coronation banquet took place. Since 1972 the palace has housed the Musée de l’Œuvre has exhibited art from the cathedral, as well as artefacts associated with coronation ceremonies. [Website]
Although substantial signs of the Romans in Reims date to as late as the 1st century AD, the Gallic Remi tribe and their settlement were of strategic importance to Caesar and his campaigns in Belgica long before then. Under the Romans Reims became the provincial capital of Belgica. The city continued as an important centre for Gallic nobility into the early Medieval period. Little survives of the Roman period today.