The Reims Cathedral

The Reims Cathedral
Photo by: Chi King, Creative Commons

Visiting a cathedral where kings have been crowned can be a unique experience.

The Reims Cathedral, which was built in 1211 and completed in 1311, stands today as one of the most remarkable architectural and artistic monuments. Architect Jean d’Orbais was the initial designer, while Robert de Coucy lent his expertise during the completion stage. The Gothic cathedral’s west front (which was added during the 14th century but inspired by 13th century design) has three portals with medieval statues, and highlighted by sculptured arches, classic rose windows of stained glass, and a couple of matching towers surrounding it. Two enormous bells can be found at the south tower.

In 1875, funding for the wide-scale repair of the façade and balustrades was approved. The end result was a beautiful façade which emerged among the most striking masterpieces of the Middle Ages.

There are many things a reflective traveler may find splendid when visiting Reims Cathedral. Some find viewing Russian painter Marc Chagall’s masterpiece a wondrous experience. Other people, who may be fascinated with the stories of French monarchs, will be delighted seeing stone effigies of France’s 56 kings at the Gallery of Kings at Reims Cathedral’s western façade. Reims had actually served as the site where the kings of France were crowned.

Also worth checking out is the Palais du Tau, which served as the archbishop’s home. Royal banquets for future kings were held at this palace just before their coronation. There’s also a museum that houses medieval works of art & carvings.

One has to behold the beautiful tapestries, the rose windows, the detailed sculptures, and the harmonious Gothic interiors to see just how breathtakingly beautiful they are. Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral, the former Abbey of Saint-Remi and the Palace of Tau were designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1991.

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