Directions for a complete change of lifestyle in Reims

You get to know cities by strolling around them and this is what we did in Reims, one of the large towns of Champagne in France, to discover its heritage, of course, but especially all it offers in terms of dining and leisure opportunities. Their variety and lively atmosphere will capture your imagination and you will soon feel right at home.

From cafe terraces to boutiques

Bars and restaurants with a terrace, at street level or on the roof, are the place to be par excellence during the summer (and springtime). They are sought out, enjoyed and thronged, providing an open-air alternative lifestyle for those who have not yet been on holiday (or who have already returned). You can then have a wander round some of the food shops and try some of the city’s typical desserts, for example at Maison Fossier, the oldest cake shop in France. They are most famous for the pink sponge cakes or macarons made in this establishment since 1756 and eaten as an accompaniment to champagne.

Location: 25 cours Jean-Baptiste Langlet

Panoramic views while you eat

Time stands still at the Il Duomo restaurant, located on the seventh floor of the Holiday Inn Hotel. What you need is a glass of wine or champagne to enjoy admiring a lovely sunset over the city and its imposing Cathedral. This could be one of the best viewpoints in Reims and you can enjoy a delicious Mediterranean dinner at the same time: Sicilian calamari, peppers confit and marinated artichokes, potato gnocchi, cherry tomatoes and Parmesan and a dessert of fresh red fruits, vanilla and pistachio butter loaf

Location: 46 Rue Buirette

Pommery cellars

Reims, the world capital of champagne, is just over an hour from that most famous of cities, Paris. So getting to this region, with its 25,000 hectares of vineyards and some fifty wine producers, is quick and easy. A good way of discovering and sampling the champagne culture is to visit the Pommery Cellars. A staircase of 116 steps leads you down to part of the 18 kilometres of underground passageways used as wine cellars. Visiting them combines contemporary works of art, bottles of champagne and chalk drawings on the walls.

Location: Place du General Gouraud 5

Art deco and the Café du Palais

Reims was almost destroyed in the First World War but the local people turned their grief into a huge effort to rebuild the city. To do this they contracted dozens of architects who imbued the buildings in the centre of this French city with art deco style. A good example is the Café du Palais where this artistic movement combines with hundreds of objects on show evoking the numerous events that took place in this restaurant: jazz concerts, fashion shows and film screenings. Don’t forget to try the bistro cuisine and the regional wines and cheeses.

Location: 14 Place Myron Herrick

The secret of uncorking a bottle of champagne

To continue learning about the champagne culture we recommend an experience you will never forget as long as you live. It’s the sort of thing that becomes a part of you and makes you feel things you never thought you would experience. You should first visit Pol Couronne, one of the best known houses of the popular drink, with a strong brand identity. Among their wines we can highlight Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, produced from a delicate combination of quality varieties of grape. Secondly, you will have to uncork a bottle of champagne with a sabre. Yes, a sabre. Skill matters much more than strength here.

Location: 11 Cours Jean-Baptiste Langlet

Cool trendy places

The food offering of Reims is at its peak and in recent months the city has seen a surge of the coolest restaurants ever. From creative cuisine, exquisite dishes of local and international food, to delicious patisserie. La Braise is one newcomer that is really shaking up the champagne capital and its tables have been full every week since it opened its doors. Book early or you won’t get in! The ceviche of sea bream is delicious.

Location: 1 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Reims street art

Reims invites you to stroll, to have a drink or bite to eat at one of its many terraces and restaurants and to tour its street art. There are dozens of murals in places you would least expect so that the culture of all is available to all. Walk through the centre and you only have to look at any corner, column, item of street furniture or inside a car park. France’s relatively lenient laws on graffiti art since the First World War have allowed local artists to be creative and express themselves outdoors. If you have time, you can visit a 400-metre-long wall in the industrial area of Port Sec – La Huselle where more than 60 Reims artists came together to decorate the wall using it like a blank canvas.

Location: ZI Port Sec

Festival of light and colour

The cathedral is one of the most important symbols for the people of Reims. In the longest church in France, built in the thirteenth century in the purest Gothic style, were crowned most of the Kings of France. This monument, adorned with numerous sculptures, the most famous being the Smiling Angel, is transformed at night, especially when the good weather arrives. Don’t miss the festival of light and colour (mapping) on its facade and the terrific atmosphere created all around.

Location: Place du Cardinal Luçon