Reims

Reims or Rheims (răNs, rēmz) [key], city (1990 pop. 185,164), Marne dept., NE France, in Champagne. The center of the champagne industry, Reims is situated amid large vineyards. Before the champagne industry took on its present proportions in the 18th cent., the chief products of Reims were woolen textiles. They are still important, and there are many other industries. As Durocotorum, the city of Remi, it was one of the most important cities in Roman Gaul. The see of an archbishopric since the 8th cent., Reims continued to play an exceptional role in French history. Clovis I was baptized and crowned (496) king of all Franks in the cathedral by St. Remi, the bishop of Reims, and it became customary after Louis VII (1137) for the kings of France to be crowned there. In the present cathedral (13th–14th cent.), Joan of Arc stood next to Charles VII when, at her instance, he was crowned in 1429. The cathedral is a monument of French Gothic architecture. During World War I, heavy bombing, which nearly leveled the city, destroyed the interior, including most of the irreplaceable stained-glass windows. Restored, partly with funds from the Rockefeller Foundation, it was reopened in 1938. The town hall (17th cent.) and the old Church of St. Remi (11th–16th cent.) were also gravely damaged. In World War II, on May 7, 1945, German emissaries signed the unconditional surrender of Germany at Allied headquarters in Reims. Reims has a university founded by Pope Paul III in 1547. Jean Baptiste Colbert and St. John Baptist de la Salle were born in Reims.

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