Palais du Tau at Reims!!

And going east back to the Marne and the Champagne area of my belle France. I like to update this post on an unusual museum in an episcopal palace next to the Cathedral of Reims! Hope you en enjoy this jewel and thanks for reading me over the years!

And while in Reims why not come to an unique museum, another awesome monument to visit in my belle France. This on in Reims, department 51 of the Marne, in the Grand Est region of France.  This is a city best known for the Champagnes and no doubt a must to see too. However, seldom the monuments are overlook. Do not miss this museum in a palace, the Palais de Tau.  I have other posts on Reims but apparently my pictures for the Palais de Tau are few if any, do not believe it!


The Archbishop Palace of the Tau in Reims was the place of residence of archbishops of this city. It owes its name to its plan, which was in the Middle Ages in the form of a letter T (Tau in Greek). Building adjoining the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Reims, it was also a royal residence at the coronations of the Kings of France in Reims.  Occupied since the 5C at this site, the former residence of the bishops and archbishops of Reims was enlarged and rebuilt over the centuries, with major reshuffles at the end of the 15C and in the years 1680-1690. The palace was transformed into a court of law, then a trade exchange during the French revolution.  Severely damaged during a fire at the beginning of WWI in 1914, following bombardments on the Cathedral, the Palais du Tau was restored in the 1950’s ,and has since 1972 a museum linked to the Cathedral and the coronations of the kings of France.

A bit of history i like

At the present location of the Cathedral, the founding Bishop Nasser built a Church dedicated to Notre-Dame at the beginning of the 5C and settled in a contiguous Gallo-Roman villa, whose vestiges were found during excavations in the lower hall of the current palace. This church is the place of the baptism of Clovis by the bishop of Reims Remi around 500 and becomes from 816 to 1825 the place of the coronation of most of the kings of France. The Palace of  Tau was the place of residence of kings for their coronation, and the Hall of the Tau hosted the Royal banquet at the end of the ceremony.

The palace of Tau is in the flamboyant Gothic style at the end of the 15C. The palace retained this style for nearly two centuries, until the work of Robert de Cotte between 1688 and 1693.. The palace then acquires a classical aspect. The palace saw the archbishop’s departure in 1790 during the French revolution, during which the palace was transformed into a court of law, then on the stock exchange of commerce. The archbishop’s return was made during the restoration in 1823. For the coronation of Charles X in 1825, the palace was restored. The separation of the Church and the State in 1905 ended the occupation of the palace by the Archbishops of Reims. On December 17, 1906, the Archbishop of Reims Louis-Joseph Luzon was forced to leave the palace.

From 1907, the palace of Tau is intended to host the ethnographic Museum of Champagne. It is necessary to wait until 1950 for the reconstruction of the palace to be opened, in order to welcome a museum which opens in 1972. Since 1972, the Palais du Tau is a national monument managed by the Centre of National Monuments ;the Palais du Tau contains the museum with important sculpted elements coming from the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, deposited after the fire of 1914 and during the 20C. The tapestries that were exposed to the Cathedral are visible in different rooms of the palace. The museum exposes the treasure of the Cathedral, and dedicates halls to the evocation of the rites of the Kings of France. It is also the place of temporary exhibitions, demonstrations and shows. It currently has a restaurant room with terrace in the courtyard.   Since March 2017, the palace has hosted a tea room, the Tau.

Things to see are plenty here!

The lower Chapel dates from the beginning of the 13C. A 14C tympan, a Virgin and the Child, is located above the passage leading to the Chapel. Since 1919, the lapidary deposit elements of the Cathedral, visible through a glass door closing the access, has been formed in this part of the palace. In particular, the fragments of the rood of the 15C Cathedral, destroyed in 1744, are shown. The lower room, located below the Tau room, dates from the 15C. It presents vaults on a cross-shaped warhead, the vault keys bearing the arms of Guillaume Briconnet. Excavations have shown levels dating back to the Gallo-Roman era and the north wall has 9C arcs

Tau Room or banquet hall; this room initially had a form of T, hence its name. This large, now rectangular room since Robert de Cotte’s works in the 17C, was previously reworked at the end of the 15C. His arms, mingled with those of ecclesiastical heraldry, are carved on the chimney.   The wooden frame of the room has the shape of an inverted ship’s hull and has nine horizontal beams. The room, heavily damaged during the fire of 1914 which destroyed this ceiling but spared the chimney was restored following old engravings. Two large wall hangings illustrating the history of the 15C Fort Roy Clovis are exhibited. This room is also called the Feast Hall as the banquet following the Royal coronation took place there

The treasure is exposed in two rooms located between the Tau room and the upper Palatine Chapel. The first presents the treasure of the old regime and the second exhibits the collections dating from the restoration, mainly the coronation of Charles X. It consists of objects from the cathedral and objects used during the coronation ceremony, among which: the reliquary of the Holy Ampulla ; the chalice of the coronation, a piece of goldsmith which was part of the regalia of the Kingdom of France; the talisman of Charlemagne, jewel of the 9C. This gift of the Caliph Haroun ar-Rachid to Charlemagne would have been found during the exhumation of the emperor’s body in 1166. Kept since in Aix-la-Chapelle, the talisman was offered to Josephine Bonaparte by the Bishop of the city in 1804. This jewel in gold, emeralds, garnets, beads and sapphires contains a thorn of the True Cross; the reliquary of the Resurrection dating from the second half of the 15C. The nave of St. Ursula. This ceremonial nave , carried out by a goldsmith of Tours of the late 15C, was given to Anne of Brittany in 1500. In 1505, the Queen placed statuettes of Saint Ursula and her companions on the deck of the nave. The nave reaches Henri III, who offers it to the Cathedral in 1575. The coat of arms of Henri III, and a Latin inscription made for his gift are visible on the base of the object.

This Palatine Chapel is accessible from the Tau room. The entrance is surmounted by a tympan adorned with a Adoration of the Magi. It currently hosts the six candlesticks and the Cross which were made on the occasion of the marriage of Napoleon and Marie-Louise . The Chapel is built on two levels.

Charles X Room; this room is particularly dedicated to the coronation in 1825 of Charles X, the last sacred French sovereign. The coat of the coronation of Charles X is a piece of purple silk velvet 5.70 meters long.

The Antichamber; this piece presents a copy of the crown of Louis XV, the original in the Louvre museum one of the versions of the painting by Joseph Siffrein Duplessis representing Louis XVI in the coronation costume. Since November 2017 is presented the period copy of a portrait of the Grand Dauphin by Henri Tara, whose original is presented at the Château de Versailles.

Goliath Room; this room contains statues and various elements of the Cathedral. The Goliath, carved with its chain of mesh and its helmet, dated the third quarter of the 13C is 5.4 meters high and weighs 6 tons. Other monumental statues of the Cathedral are also exhibited in this room: the Synagogue and the Church, Adam and Eve, Saint Paul and Saint James, and the risen Christ and Saint Thomas.

Small Sculptures Room ; a hall with many carved heads fallen during WWI, the monumental sculptures of Abraham, and some models, including the one representing the ideal cathedral of the famous-le-Duc, and since November 2017 a Model of the Cathedral of Reims.

Song Room, four wall embroideries, dating from the 17C, represent imagined scenes of the biblical book Song of songs adorning this room. These embroideries of wool and silk come from the castle of Hauteville (Aisne) and were given in 1807 to the Cathedral.

Square Lounge, or Pepersack room; the statues of Saint Peter and La Madeleine, dated the 1st quarter of the 13C and deposited from the western façade of the Cathedral in 1970, are presented here. This room also exhibits the six remaining tapestries of a set of 29 pieces woven in Reims in the 17C , representing episodes of the Life of Christ.

Room of the King of Judah; the statue representing a king of Judah gives its name to this room of modest dimensions. This imposing statue of 4.2 meters high, dating from the middle of the 14C, was located at the base of one of the towers of the Cathedral in the Gallery of Kings.

Coronation Hall of the Virgin; this room owes its name to the gable called Coronation of the Virgin from the central portal of the cathedral. This gable with a width of 8 meters and a height of 5.5 meters, displayed above the staircase of honor, was deposited in 1948-1949. This room contains several tapestries of the   life of Notre-Dame; these were given in 1530 . Sculptures of kings, one attributed to the representation of Philippe Auguste, frame the tapestries.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and coming is a must are:

The National Monuments webpage on the Palais du Tau:

The tourist office of Reims on the Palais du Tau:

This is one of the best antiques museum and merits a visit! Palais du Tau at Reims. Hope it helps you make it when possible.

And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: