Our first visit to Reims France was a very brief two hour stop on the way to our destination in southern Burgundy. It took us a mere 1.5 hours to drive from Charles de Gaulle airport. If you find yourself in a situation like this, with much to see and little time, I highly recommend a tour of the city on the little train that boards in front of the Cathedral. It is also a good way to cool off on a hot summer day and still enjoy sight-seeing.
On this little train tour we were able to get a nice view of some of the major sites and thus plan our future visit. One of the primary squares of Reims that we drove by was the Place Royale, with a statue of Louis XV.
Place Drouet d’Erlon in the city center has many restaurants and bars. Our lunch stop included some local champagne, a salad and tartiflette – a savory cheesy potato dish. You will also find many opportunities for degustation (wine tasting) as Reims is on of the centers for champagne production. The Widow Clicquot is a fascinating read as it gives you an inside look at the history of the champagne industry of Veuve Cliquot champagne.
The fountain in this square provided a cooling mist while we ate. On our next visit we are able to leisurely wander the shops on this street before returning to the Cathedral of Reims for an extensive visit.
An easy walk from the Cathedral is the St-Remi Basilica, named for the patron saint of Reims. St-Remi was the Bishop of Reims who crowned Clovis king in the Cathedral in 496A.D.