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Reims is a city located in Northern France, in Champagne-Ardenne region, and Marne département. It lies about 130 kilometers north-east of Paris.
The city has around 185,000 inhabitants, and is considered as the "champagne capital". Millions of bottles of the most celebrated wine in the world lie in caves beneath the city. Some of these caves were dug by the Romans; they extracted stones to build the city.
Reims was founded by the Gauls over 2,000 years ago and played a major role at times in French history. It is a landmark mainly because most kings were coronated in its cathedral, one of the masterpieces of Gothic architecture. You will find more historical information on Wikipedia. The city suffered severe damage during WWI as fighting went on on its outskirts for four years. The reconstruction turned the city into a landmark for Art deco, the architectural style that developed in the 1930s. However, the city retains many interesting monuments from the past:
From Roman times:
- part of the forum
- a former arch of triumph called "porte Mars", one of the few preserved in the Roman world
From the Middle Ages:
- Notre Dame cathedral, masterpiece of gothic architecture
- Saint-Remi basilica
- Saint-Jacques church
From later periods:
- Hôtel Le Vergeur, house of a rich seed merchant in the 1500s
- Palais du Tau, former archbishop residence, partly built in the 13th and 14th centuries
- Place Royale, an example of classic architecture of the 1700s
- Former Jesuit college, built in the 1600s
- City hall (1600s)
- War room where the end of WWII was signed for the first time on May 7, 1945
- Carnegie library
The famous Champagne vineyard is only a few kilometers away, mainly south of the city. The "route du Champagne" will lead you across rolling hills, through nice villages and gorgeous landscapes. The area has also collected numerous national awards in flower contests ; some nearby villages, Baconnes and Coulommes-la-Montagne are famous landmarks. You might want to have a taste of champagne and buy a couple of bottles at a producer's home; many signs will invite you over. If you drive, be careful not to break the .5 gram alcohol limit for your own safety. Besides, police controls are not uncommon!
You might consider spending 2 or 3 days visiting the city and the vineyard. You might want to check the visitor center to hjelp you plan your trip.
What to visit ?
More informations about the places to visit in Reims on the wikivoyage:ReimsReims is also a many-time award winner in national flower contests; you will enjoy its parks, gardens and flowerbeds.
Couchsurfing in Reims
On February 7, 2009, there were 239 couchsurfers in the city, The Reims group had over 300 members from all over the world, most of them are located in or around the city and are among the most active. They will be happy to welcome you.
At present, there are no regular meeting scheduled for Reims couchsurfers. However, members meet for informal gatherings every once in a while. People interested in taking part should join the Reims group where events are posted.
Here are some pictures of some past meetings:
Surfing couches in the city should not be a problem. However, if you enjoy the countryside, there are very few members located around Reims. So you'll have to widen your search somewhat. At night, the area around Place Drouet-d'Erlon, facing the railway station, is the most lively spot in town.
There are few places where you can change currencies. The most central one is a particular post office:
2, Rue Cérès
Phone: +33 3 26 77 64 80
Fax: +33 3 26 77 64 90
If you are close to a bank, you might check with them as they may provide this service.
Get to / turn in / run out from Reims
General information about traffic
Please note: Extensive road works are under way until 2010, as the city is building a new streetcar line through the center. For that matter, the information provided by GPS, internet mapping system road maps and older bus route maps may be obsolete. Please follow the road signs or ask your host if the area you are planning to drive through has specific traffic regulations. You must expect to run into unusual traffic jams, especially on rush hours (weekdays,7:30-9:00, 12:00-12:30, 13:30-14:00 and 16:30-18:30). Parking may also be difficult.
Hitchhikers and backpackers
- There no luggage service of any kind in any of the two train stations.
- If you want to hitch-hike in 1:30 hours to Paris, you can get to the bridge "Pont de Venise", a hitchhiker launch ramp with the highway entry. The interchange #23, facing the police station on boulevard Roederer, is closer to the center and also used for that purpose. But make sure you hitch hike ahead of the interchange, many policemen come in and out the station!
TUR / Transports Urbains de Reims http://www.tur.fr (partial translation into English)
This is the city bus company.
Bus network spreads across the whole city. Daytime lines are identified with letters (from A through Z); Evening routes are different and run from around 8pm to 12:30 am. They are numbered 1 to 5
You can buy day tickets (€ 3), single tickets to the bus driver (€ 1, with one connection allowed) or 10-ticket booklets (€ 8.60, 14% cheaper than singles) in shops like tobacco and newspapers shop, train station...
If you want to visit typical small Champagne wine villages in the surroundings, you can reach Rilly-la-Montagne, Avenay-Val-d'Or or Ay by train from central train station, or board a regional bus from the central train station.
Bus map (pdf file)
Tickets and pricing
STDM / Société de Transports de la Marne http://www.stdmarne.fr/ (in French only)
STDM is the regional bus company. It offers transportation to local cities and villages around Reims like Châlons-en-Champagne, Épernay, Troyes, Charleville-Mézières.
Timetable is on a 2x daily basis. You can buy the tickets at the office in central train station
Eurolines buses also stop in the avenue facing the central train station (more details in a next update)
Usually, you can book railway tickets online on the SNCF Website
Well, usually, because the site experiences problems every one in a while. You might also try tgv.com and tgv-europe.com if you are interested in booking only high speed line tickets. Tag prices are higher on high speed lines, but if you book early, you may easily board a high speed train for much cheaper than local trains. In this case, the earlier, the better.
Reims-Centre This station is central, very close to downtown city. Here you can get board fast lines (TGV) and regular lines. Be careful: Most TGV trains to/from Paris Gare de l'Est stop at/leave from this station. Check your booking.
Don't worry, there is a bus line and a local train to/from the other station: Champagne-Ardenne TGV. map
Champagne-Ardenne TGV This station is on the outskirts of the city, 15 min. by bus or 4 min. by local train from central station. Only high speed trains (TGV) will stop here. This is the station you should book to/from if you want to travel to/from Strasbourg, Disneyland Paris, Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport, Lille, Bordeaux, Poitiers, Nantes ... Some trains will also take you to Paris Gare de l'Est, but most of these leave from the central station. map
- Clique et croque 19 rue Chanzy, close to the cathedral
- Cybergames 52 place Drouet-d'Erlon, the area where most of cafés/shops/restaurants are located.
- Internet Café, 3 rue Lesage, close to the place de la République, sometimes called '"place de l'Œuf " ("Egg square") and avenue de Laon. Open until 11 pm.
Free wifi access
McDonalds retaurants provides free internet wireless access. There is one facing the theater at the angle of rue de Vesle and rue de Talleyrand
Many people in France have Internet+Phone+TV from DSL lines. Most ISP will allow you to phone home for free to more than 90 countries and territories (landbased lines) and maybe GSM, to USA & Canada. Please check with your host as conditions may differ.
A few active CouchSurfers
To get in touch with the Reims CS community, just join the Reims CS group.
Emergency phone numbers
- Police Station: 17
- Health Urgency: 15
- Hospital: 03 26 78 78 78
- Fire Station: 18
- Consulate: there is no consulate in the city
- Doctor on duty 24/7/365: 0821 21 15 15