The King’s Gothic Cathedral
There are Gothic Cathedrals and then there are Gothic Cathedrals. The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims is one of the latter – a spectacular specimen made for kings in the city now at the heart of a region now associated with luxury living. Reims became an important Christian site after Clovis, ruler of the Franks, was baptized here in 496, giving his endorsement to the non-pagan religion. Following his conversion, king after king came here to be crowned and consecrated. An original cathedral burned in 1210, but local resolve began the re-building the following year. Work continued for several centuries, but later architects retained the stylistic motifs that originated in 1211. As such, the Reims Cathedral is unique for it brings together evolutionary elements from across Europe and unifying them within the existing design. Of note are the statues that grace the Cathedral’s façade. Converse to the unifying theme of the broader architecture, the statues are an exhibit in variation that mark diversity of styles – here two main schools were exemplified: a return to medieval tradition and a Graeco-Roman influence. The Gallery of Kings is a centralized monument with Clovis at the helm that represents the latter while the famed smiling Angel of Reims is a purely medieval icon that became popular and exported throughout the medieval Christian world, from Spain to Germany. From nuanced details to the grandeur of the nave, Reims Cathedral is a classic, like a vintage Dom Perignon, to be popped and enjoyed as a celebration of life.
Where to Watch
A world class cathedral, legendary Champagne houses, and so much more.
With an old town of half-timbered houses, this city on the Marne River with the Canal latéral à la Marne adjacent, it’s a pint-sized city with a lot to offer.
The approach to Nancy is topped by a 4.4 km. climb that will likely split the field. Watch the peloton just past the industrial town of Neuves-Maisons before heading into Nancy to take in it’s cultural gems.