Reims was founded in 80 BC by a Gallic tribe called the Remi, from which the town gets its name. The Remi allied themselves with Julius Caesar during his conquest of Gaul, and that association made the town a favored municipality in the Empire.
Over the centuries, Reims has found itself on the receiving end of aggression, from the likes of regional invaders such as the Vandals and the Huns during the fifth century on up to the Germans during the Franco-Prussian War, WWI and WWII. Despite the ensuing damage, Reims has always rebuilt, and today, the city is a bustling center of commerce and culture.
Along with Epernay, Reims has enjoyed a booming champagne industry for many years. Chalk caves, dug out by Romans seeking building material, wind in labyrinthian tunnels beneath the city. It is in these caves that the major champagne houses store millions of bottles of bubbly.
This trip was beautiful. We picked three trips through Viator and all were exceptional. The tour guide (Selena) was very well informed and the comparison between a small family owned winery and Moet-Chandon was a great contrast. The church tour was wonderful.
Despite a cold and rainy day it was a great trip. Guide was very knowledgeable, the scenery superb and the champagne great.
Fantastic tour! Love that we saw a small family champagne and a huge one. Our guide was great!!!!! Being in a small van of 8 made it much more friendly and comfortable and I learnt so much, will use this company again!
Points of interest include: the old-city squares of the Place Royale (dominated by a statue of Louis XV) and the Place Cardinal-Luçon, famous for its equestrian statue of Joan D'Arc, as well as the Place Drouet d'Erlon, adorned with fountains and statuary and ringed by restaurants and bars. Ancient constructs include the Porte de Mars (Mars' Gate), an alleged Remi tribute to Augustus and the sarcophagus of the Roman consul Jovinus, found in the abbey of Saint-Remi. Like Paris, Reims has its own church of Our Lady; Notre Dame was once where the kings of France received their crown, and it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991.
As Reims is a university town, students tend to dominate the nightlife. Of note is the place Drouet-d'Erlon, a square where you will find the best clubs in the city. Bars stay open rather late, and they range in type from elbow-to-elbow noisefests (the Glue Pot) to more intimate pubs (such as L'Escalier) where the volume is low enough to mingle with the locals.