The weather in Paris for the past few days has been really hot which is not enjoyable without having somewhere to swim. So we decided to get out of the city for a few days and on the recommendation of our friends, Jenny and Gavin, went to Reims which is about 130 km north of Paris in the Champagne region. Our criteria for the hotel search were airconditioning and a pool and we found the Hotel au Tambour which was perfect for us. The most important structure in Reims is its great cathedral where all 25 kings of France have been crowned. The first was Clovis in the 5th century. He was first baptized by St Remi and then crowned as the first Christian King of France. As I indicated in a previous chapter, the kings of France were not necessarily chosen by succession and some of the stories of them getting to Reims to be crowned before a rival is a whole story. The cathedral was pretty badly damaged by shelling in WWI but the damaged sections have been meticulously restored. One of the features of the cathedral are three stained glass windows by Marc Chargall,[ one of our favourite artist]. The city, population 190,000, is quite spacious with wide streets and lots of outdoor spaces.
Being in the region we couldn't miss the chance to go to the heart of the champagne region, Epernay
The other important church in the history of French royalty is the Cathedral St Denis which is where most of the kings and other important royalty are buried. It is on the outskirts of Paris and can be reached by the Metro
The visit was amazing and one of the highlights of our whole trip. The original basilica on the site was built in the 5th century and the current building is from the 12th century and considered the first true Gothic building. It was built by Abbot Suger and some of the windows are original, making them the oldest stained glassed windows in a major structure. Kings and family members were buried there until the French revolution when mobs dug up the bodies and placed them in two common pits outside the church. They remained there until the middle of the 19th century when they were exhumed and as many as possible of the bones returned to their original places in the church. In addition, the bodies of many of the kings buried elsewhere were relocated to St Denis in the mid-18th century
Days Of Discovery - Reims, Epernay and St Denis
Monday, July 29, 2013
Paris, Île-de-France, France