Insider's Guide to Champagne

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Palais du Tau (Tau Palace)

The Palais du Tau - or Tau Palace - owes its decidedly un-French name to its floor-plan, which resembles the letter "T." The original structure on the site was a 6th-century Roman villa, which later became a Carolingian palace. Its current moniker stuck after 1131, though that building gave way to Gothic design early in the 16th century and then its current Baroque incarnation in 1671.

Prior to their coronations at Nortre Dame of Reims, the kings of France would stay at the palace. Following the ceremony, they would return for a celebration. The most recent coronation celebration occurred in 1825.

In the last quarter of the 20th century, the Palace of Tau became home to the Musée de l'Œuvre, a collection of statues, tapestries and reliquaries from Reims' cathedral. The palace is both a national monument and a UNESCO world heritage site, declared in 1991. Museum tours display the royal apartments as well as certain antiquities from the cathedral treasury.

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