Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims

Tuesday, 1 December 2020 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, House of the Month, UNESCO World Heritage

© G.Garitan/MathKnight/cc-by-sa-3.0

© G.Garitan/MathKnight/cc-by-sa-3.0

Notre-Dame de Reims (meaning “Our Lady of Reims”), sometimes known in English as Rheims Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in the French city of the same name. The cathedral was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is famous for being the traditional location for the coronation of the kings of France. The cathedral church is thought to have been founded by Bishop Saint Nicasius in the early 5th century. Marking an important conversion, Clovis, King of the Franks, was baptized a Christian here about a century later. Construction of the present Reims Cathedral began in the 13th century and concluded in the 15th century. A prominent example of High Gothic architecture, it was built to replace an earlier church destroyed by fire in 1221. Although little damaged during the French Revolution, the present cathedral saw extensive restoration in the 19th century but was severely damaged during World War I. The church was again restored in the 20th century. Reims Cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Reims. The cathedral, a major tourist destination, receives about one million visitors annually.

In 1955 Georges Saupique made a copy of “Le Couronnement de la Vierge” which can be seen above the cathedral entrance and with Louis Leygue copied many of the other sculptures on the cathedral facade. He also executed a statue of St Thomas for the north tower. The Franco-German reconciliation was symbolically formalized in July 1962 by French president Charles de Gaulle and German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, where in 1914 the Imperial German Army deliberately shelled the cathedral in order to shake French morale. The cathedral, former Abbey of Saint-Remi, and the Palace of Tau were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1991. On his 74th Pastoral Visit, Pope John Paul II visited Reims on 26 September 1996 for the 1500th anniversary of the baptism of Clovis. While there, the Pope prayed at the same chapel where Jean-Baptiste de La Salle celebrated his first Mass in 1678. On 8 October 2016, a plaque bearing the names of the 31 kings crowned in Reims was placed in the Cathedral in the presence of Archbishop Thierry Jordan and Prince Louis Alphonse, Duke of Anjou, one of many pretenders to the French throne.

© Vassil Entrance © Ji-Elle/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Magnus Manske/cc-by-sa-3.0 © G.Garitan/MathKnight/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Johan Bakker/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Mattana
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© G.Garitan/MathKnight/cc-by-sa-3.0
The cathedral’s exterior glorifies royalty. In the center of the front facade and above the rose window is the Gallery of Kings, composed of 56 statues with a height of 4.5 meters (15 ft), with Clovis I in the center mid-baptism, Clotilde to his right, and Saint Remigius to his left. The three portals are laden with statues and statuettes; among European cathedrals, only Chartres has more sculpted figures. The central portal, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is surmounted by a rose window framed in an arch itself decorated with statuary, in place of the usual sculptured tympanum. The “gallery of the kings” above shows the baptism of Clovis in the centre flanked by statues of his successors. The facades of the transepts are also decorated with sculptures. That on the North has statues of bishops of Reims, a representation of the Last Judgment and a figure of Jesus (le Beau Dieu), while that on the south side has a modern rose window with the prophets and apostles. Fire destroyed the roof and the spires in 1481: of the four towers that flanked the transepts, nothing remains above the height of the roof. Above the choir rises an elegant lead-covered timber bell tower that is 18 m (about 59 feet) tall, reconstructed in the 15th century and in the 1920s. The total exterior length is 149.17 meters and its surface area is 6,650 square meters.

The interior of the cathedral is 138.75 m (about 455 ft) long, 30 m (approx. 98 feet) wide in the nave, and 38 m (about 125 feet) high in the centre. It comprises a nave with aisles, transepts with aisles, a choir with double aisles, and an apse with ambulatory and radiating chapels. It has interesting stained glass ranging from the 13th to the 20th century. The rose window over the main portal and the gallery beneath are of rare magnificence. The cathedral possesses fine tapestries. Of these the most important series is that presented by Robert de Lenoncourt, archbishop under François I (1515–1547), representing the life of the Virgin. They are now to be seen in the former bishop’s palace, the Palace of Tau. The north transept contains a fine organ in a flamboyant Gothic case. The choir clock is ornamented with curious mechanical figures. Marc Chagall designed the stained glass installed in 1974 in the axis of the apse. The treasury, kept in the Palace of Tau, includes many precious objects, among which is the Sainte Ampoule, or holy flask, the successor of the ancient one that contained the oil with which French kings were anointed, which was broken during the French Revolution, a fragment of which the present Ampoule contains.

Read more on Reims Cathedral, France.fr – Reims Cathedral and Wikipedia Reims Cathedral. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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