We visited Reims last summer to visit the cathedral and to just look around. Unfortunately I never got around to posting the pictures so I thought I would do it now. Notre-Dame de Reims (Our Lady of Reims) is the seat of the Archdiocese of Reims, where the kings of France were crowned. The cathedral replaced an older church, destroyed by fire in 1211, that was built on the site of the basilica where Clovis was baptized by Saint Remi, bishop of Reims, in AD 496. The outstanding handling of new architectural techniques in the 13th century, and the harmonious marriage of sculptural decoration with architecture, has made Notre-Dame in Reims one of the masterpieces of Gothic art. The former abbey still has its beautiful 9th-century nave, in which lie the remains of Archbishop St Rémi (440–533), who instituted the Holy Anointing of the kings of France. The former archiepiscopal palace known as the Tau Palace, which played an important role in religious ceremonies, was almost entirely rebuilt in the 17th century.
The royal basilica of Saint-Denis belonged to a prosperous and powerful Benedictine abbey during the Middle Ages and was the first monumental masterpiece of Gothic art. Enlarged in the 7th century through the impetus of Dagobert 1 (639 AD) who was buried there, followed by his son Clovis II (657 AD), the monastery quickly became one of the main burial sites for the Merovingian dynasty. From the time of Hugues Capet (987-996), the first Capetian monarch, the basilica was firmly established as the definitive “Cemetery of Kings”. It continued to develop, and proceeded to become one of the most powerful Benedictine abbeys of the Middle Ages. The royal necropolis contains tombs of French kings with remarkable funerary sculpture dating from 12th to 16th centuries.