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Summary Article: Reims
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

City in the département of Marne, and largest commercial centre of the Champagne-Ardenne region, France, situated 130 km/80 mi northeast of Paris on the right bank of the River Vesle, a tributary of the Aisne; population (2005 est) 184,800. From 987 all but six French kings were crowned here. The western facade of its cathedral, Notre Dame, is one of the masterpieces of the Middle Ages. In World War II the German High Command formally surrendered here to US general Eisenhower on 7 May 1945. Reims is the centre of the champagne trade and has textile, chemical, mechanical, metallurgical, and foodstuff manufactures.

Features Reims has a university, as well as stained-glass workshops where artists such as Braque and Chagall worked. The Musée St Denis displays French paintings from the 17th century to the present. The church of St Rémi, dating from the 11th century, is the oldest church in the city. There are also Roman remains here, including the Porte de Mars, dating from the 2nd century AD.

History Reims was known in Roman times as Durocorturum and was one of the principal towns of Roman Gaul. It has been an archbishopric since the 4th century AD. The baptism of Clovis I in 496 by St Rémi, or Remigius, started the custom of crowning kings of France here. In the 10th century Reims was an intellectual centre.

Ceded to England in 1420 under the Treaty of Troyes, it was retaken by Joan of Arc, who had Charles VII consecrated in the cathedral, the building of which began in 1211. The cathedral was badly damaged during World War I, but was gradually restored.

Napoleon was victorious in an engagement here in March 1814. The town was taken by the Germans during the Franco-Prussian War, and again at the beginning of World War I, but was soon evacuated by them. However, for four years Reims was in the battle zone and three-quarters of it was destroyed. The war room where the World War II surrender of German forces by General Jodl was received has been preserved, along with many of its effects, and is open to the public.



Reims Cathedral

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