Curiosities of Reims!!

One of my favorite cities, region,and one of the first cities that I visit in France way back in 1990. It has become a fixture ever since with many family trips and even weekend getaways. It is a tender family story as my dear late wife Martine used to work picking grapes here to save for schooling together with her other sisters and brothers who followed.

Reims is in the Department of the Marne No 51 in the region now of Grand Est old Champagne-Ardenne; and the Marne dept, east of Paris. I like to tell you about my walks in the city and the marvelous architecture and history they have. This is all new text, with older pictures; hope you enjoy it as I.

The Rue Colbert is located on the perspective that goes from the City/Town Hall (Hôtel de Ville) to the Place Royale. A fountain in the center and at its ends two parking areas. It links the Place Royale to Place Simone Veil. The road is one-way towards the City/Town Hall, and bears this name in homage to Colbert, a native of the city. Since the mid-19C, it has replaced rue Royale and rue Charles X. It is surrounded by the Place du Forum of the old forum of the Roman wall of the city. In its center a cryptoporticus is still open and it was for a long time a market place, cloth market, wheat market, a covered market was built in 1872 but was not rebuilt after the Great War or WWI.pic below towards the City Hall.

Some interesting buildings in the next over Place du Forum are at No 13-15: building with the sculptures, taking up in particular the theme of wheat, There are several houses in the Art Deco style.  The Vergeur museum-hotel is located between the house of the Counts of Champagne and the Cryptoporticus, corner of rue du Marc. The Musée le Vergeur, created in 1932, houses the collections that Hugues Kraff had accumulated during his life and during his numerous trips and which remain the property of the Société des Amis du Vieux Reims. Since January 1, 2019, the Musée des Beaux-Arts has taken over the scientific management of the Le Vergeur museum. 
The cryptoporticus is worth the detour to see ,is an underground gallery, a horreum, in the shape of a U at the present Place du Forum. It was certainly the northern part of the Roman forum during antiquity which must have been 65 meters wide by 250 meters long ; it was built around the year 100 , and mostly ruined during the invasions of the 4C; its entrance consisted of a monumental staircase which turned at a right angle and thus passed above an altar for the statue of the emperor.

The Rue de Vesle has been pedestrianized over its entire length since the tram was inaugurated in April 2011. In the center of the street is the Vesle station of tram A and B. It is one of the busiest streets in the city center of Reims. It bears the name of the Vesle, a river, tributary of the left bank of the Aisne and which crosses Reims. This was one of the old ways of Reims, is the old rue de la Porte-aux-Ferrons, and covers, part of the site of the decumanus maximus, the main Gallo-Roman street which crosses the city. from east to west. Very largely destroyed during the Great War or WWI, it does not preserve any old buildings, but it does have several art deco buildings.  These are at No 17 to 23: corner building, remarkable for the rigorous geometry of reasonable Art Deco. The building of No 33 to 45: Galeries Lafayette. The original attic, capped with broken roofs, was destroyed by fire in November 1932 and then rebuilt in 1933 with imperial domes. The No 65 to 73: The KodaK building. And no number the Portal of the Saint-Jacques Church. Also, the Reims Opera, inaugurated in 1873 in Italian-style theater with initially 1,200 seats, then enlarged by 100 seats during its restoration in 1931, it is one of the most beautiful in France, with a sumptuous ceiling. in luminosity and of a circular frieze having for theme the arts of the theater.  Although the architecture of the building is neoclassical, all the interior decoration is in Art Deco style such as bas-reliefs, ironwork, chandeliers, paintings, etc. The Passage Saint-Jacques links the Rue Condorcet to the Rue de Vesle over a length of about 20 meters by two branches. Destroyed in 1918, it was replaced by a semi-covered passage, the Saint-Jacques passage and by the Saint-Jacques square created in 1925. The Galerie Condorcet succeeds a bus station and a garage. This passage links the Rue Condorcet to the Rue de Vesle over a length of approximately 60 meters by two Branches. After 1920, as part of the reconstruction after the Great War or WWI, a bus station was created at this location, The concession was replaced, in 1971, by the current shopping mall on the ground floor. Pic below me left Reims Opéra building!


The Place Royale ,measures, according to the dimensions of the time, 33 toises by 38 (about 64 meters by 74 meters) . In the center, was a monument dedicated to Louis XV .The royal statue was destroyed during the French revolution, then, replaced in 1818 by a bronze representing the king as a Roman emperor. The sculptures of the pedestal, have been preserved. Around, the square is lined with buildings with structured architecture, characteristic of royal squares. It bears this name because of the presence on this square of the statue of Louis XV.  The current square was part of the influence of the Roman forum of Durocorturum, it takes over the main Roman axes, the Cardo and the Decumanus, but over time it closed under the pressure of the construction of houses, houses with gardens, which belonged in large part to the chapter of Notre-Dame grouped under the name of Grand Credo and belonged to the parish of Saint-Michel welcoming many canons. On the one hand, the recovery of the old cardos and decumanus by destroying the Porte aux Ferrons (or Porte de Vénus) and the restructuring of the wheat and cloth market places (current place du Forum) with the creation of a new perspective towards the City/Town Hall (now rue Colbert). On the other hand by the recovery and widening of the current rue de Talleyrand / rue Chanzy for reasons of convenience. And finally the widening of the current Rue Rockefeller to facilitate the arrival of the king at the cathedral during the coronation. See pic below,the sous prefecture of Reims and back the Notre Dame Cathedral!

The paving of the Place Royale was done in 1766 and its embellishment by the Monument to Louis XV, was inaugurated on August 26, 1765 and its illumination by twenty lanterns in 1763. Le Génie du Commerce (also called Le Citoyen) on one side and La Raison mastering the Strength on the other are from this time. The first stone of the current monument was placed on March 30, 1818. The monument comprising the new statue of Louis XV and the allegories was inaugurated on August 25, 1819 with a feast as majestic as that of 1765. The monument was surrounded by a gate . It has now become paved again and is prohibited from parking to give it a more harmonious appearance. You can see the old Hotêl des Fermes which is today a magnificent sub-prefecture of Reims. The Place Royale remains one of the most beautiful squares in Reims, even if we hardly do anything but pass by there.

This pic I have in another post on the ND Cathedral but will tell you more about the rue Libergier as it was normally the street I parked to walk to the Cathedral and ate just by the corner at the old Le Colibri which is in my blog as well. Today no longer there , there is a Au Bureau restaurant which we have tried elsewhere but not yet in Reims.

The rue Libergier begins at the rue Chanzy and it ends on boulevard Paul Doumer towards the Vesle river, It bears the name of Hugues Libergier architect of the Saint-Nicaise Church. The street was crossed by the enclosure of the Augustan oppidum at the level of n ° 25. The habitat consisted of gardens, orchards and villas on an older substrate; a third century domus had a fountain. The street has been bearing this name since 1836 by creating a street that started from the Notre Dame Cathedral, replacing rue Sainte-Catherine, then crossing the old garden of the Carmelite convent, it was once again lengthened to end at the canal de l ‘Aisne à la Marne in 1853. The street lost its upper part at the end of the Great War or WWI to become Rue Rockefeller. Pic from my on street parking walking to the ND Cathedral!

Reims Cat Notre Dame rue lieberger parking may07

The city of Reims and its heritage

The Reims tourist office on must sees

There you go folks, a dandy set of beautiful streets in wonderful sublime Reims! Hope you enjoy the tour ,and do walk this city, a lot more than Champagne! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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