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Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Reims
Ranked #2 of 61 things to do in Reims
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Reviewed July 23, 2013

Stunning cathedral, definitely worth a trip to take in the marvellous architecture and stain glass windows

Thank JoJoMorris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"stained glass"
in 212 reviews
"light show"
in 173 reviews
"beautiful cathedral"
in 163 reviews
"marc chagall"
in 86 reviews
"chagall windows"
in 33 reviews
"rose window"
in 30 reviews
"free entry"
in 29 reviews
"french kings"
in 73 reviews
"smiling angel"
in 47 reviews
"awe inspiring"
in 50 reviews
"gothic architecture"
in 37 reviews
"restoration work"
in 26 reviews
"worth a visit"
in 88 reviews
"french history"
in 27 reviews
"first world war"
in 34 reviews
"notre dame de reims"
in 24 reviews
"champagne region"
in 21 reviews

1,775 - 1,779 of 5,896 reviews

Reviewed July 19, 2013

This was quite spectacular, the cathedral was lit from 10.30 at night with the full and very colourful spectacle playing
from 11.00. We toured other French cities with similar displays, but this was the only one that was free, lots of places to sit and watch from the square around the cathedral, so don't miss it.

Thank Yvonne M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 19, 2013

I am not a man of God. I am not religious. I do not have any issues with Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. I don't think it should be a sin, just for saying "Jehovah". BUT I do appreciate a fine Cathedral and the Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Reims is, well. How can I say this – up there for being one of the best I have ever seen? Indeed for being just Wow!

The Gargoyles and carvings on the outsider are as good as any I have looked up at and indeed it is worth getting neck ache for. From Angels to demons, Bishops to kings they are all carved somewhere on this magnificent building. It, at times is just one 3D storybook and you have to do it justice and look at the outside of it for a while.
The three portals are laden with statues and statuettes; among European cathedrals, only Chartres has more sculpted figures (which must have a bucket full to beat this).
The central portal, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is surmounted by a rose window framed in an arch itself decorated with statuary, in place of the usual sculptured tympanum. The "gallery of the kings" above shows the baptism of Clovis in the centre flanked by statues of his successors.
The facades of the transepts are also decorated with sculptures. That on the North has statues of bishops of Reims, a representation of the Last Judgment and a figure of Jesus (le Beau Dieu), while that on the south side has a modern rose window with the prophets and apostles. Fire destroyed the roof and the spires in 1481: of the four towers that flanked the transepts, nothing remains above the height of the roof. Above the choir rises an elegant lead-covered timber bell tower that is 18 m (about 59 feet) tall, reconstructed in the 15th century and in the 1920s.
The interior of the cathedral about 455 ft long, 98 feet wide in the nave, and about 125 feet high in the centre. It comprises a nave with aisles, transepts with aisles, a choir with double aisles, and an apse with ambulatory and radiating chapels. It has interesting stained glass ranging from the 13th to the 20th century. The rose window over the main portal and the gallery beneath are of rare magnificence.
The cathedral possesses fine tapestries. Of these the most important series is that presented by Robert de Lenoncourt, archbishop under François I, representing the life of the Virgin. They are now to be seen in the former bishop's palace, the Palace of Tau. The north transept contains a fine organ in a flamboyant Gothic case. The choir clock is ornamented with curious mechanical figures. Marc Chagall designed the stained glass installed in 1974 in the axis of the apse.
The treasury, kept in the Palace of Tau, includes many precious objects, among which is the Sainte Ampoule, or holy flask, the successor of the ancient one that contained the oil with which French kings were anointed, which was broken during the French Revolution, a fragment of which the present Ampoule contains.
Notre-Dame de Reims cathedral, the former Abbey of Saint-Remi, and the Palace of Tau were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1991.
The beauty of this place is more amazing when you realise what happened to it during World War I. German shellfire during the opening engagements of the First World War on 20 September 1914 burned, damaged and destroyed important parts of the cathedral. Scaffolding around the north tower caught fire, spreading the blaze to all parts of the carpentry superstructure. The lead of the roofs melted and poured through the stone gargoyles, destroying in turn the bishop's palace. Images of the cathedral in ruins were used during the war as propaganda images by the French against the Germans and their deliberate destruction of buildings rich in national and cultural heritage.[6] Restoration work began in 1919, under the direction of Henri Deneux, a native of Reims and chief architect of the Monuments Historiques; the cathedral was fully reopened in 1938, thanks in part to financial support from the Rockefellers, but work has been steadily going on since. But you look at The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, in Barcalona and the abount of faffing they have done since 1882, I think the good folk and workers of Reims have done a great job.
One final point. It is a STUNNING and BEAUTIFUL Cathedral, with lots of things to leave you jaw-droppingly inspired. And it was FREE to get in. That’s right. FREE. So York Minster with your £15 charge, St Paul’s Cathedral and your £16, Westminster Abbey with your staggeringly high £18 fee and Winchester with a better, but never the less cheeky £6.50 fee – Oh, Winchester state the fee is to make sure they have sufficient funds to maintain the buildings for the future, for people to come to visit and attend services. Hundreds of thousands of pounds each year has to be spent on ongoing maintenance. I am sure the others from the UK I have mentioned bleat the same. But to get into Reim Cathedral cost me nothing. Zéro. Rien, free – so this is to Reim’s credit – they do ask for donations at a collection box at the end, but if you put in it’s up to you. And remember Reims had the bejesus bombed out of it. Now that is what I call cost!

2  Thank Steve H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 19, 2013

Any human being who does not find these great medieval cathedrals awe inspiring needs to take a long hard look at themselves. Ok now on to the review..A beautiful building right up there with York Minster, Koln and Chartres. Truly amazing both inside and outside. My overwhelming thought on visiting any of these magnificent medieval cathedrals is how far backwards we have gone as a civilization ! Some of our modern buidings just pale in to insignifance compared to these monumental achievements. Saw the Burj Khalifa in Dubai but it is not fit lace the boots of this miraculous edifice !

This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 18, 2013

If you go to Reims before September, make sure you go and watch the Son et Lumiere. It is absolutely spectacular and well worth it. It starts at 11.00pm but not on sunday or Monday, and lasts about half an hour

Thank Katemanley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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