(active 1211-1275 in Reims)

Exterior view

Cathedral, Reims (Marne)

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. That original structure had itself been erected on the site of some Roman baths.

With its Radiant Gothic façade of unequalled dimensions, its interior characterized by soaring vertical heights, the richness of its sculpture and the technical quality of its construction, the Cathedral of Reims remains one of the most beautiful examples of Gothic art.

Unusually the names of the cathedral's original architects are known. A labyrinth built into floor of the nave at the time of construction or shortly after included the names of four master masons (Jean d'Orbais, Jean-Le-Loup, Gaucher de Reims and Bernard de Soissons).

The photo shows the west façade of the cathedral. here everything is subordinated to aesthetic unity and upward movement, including window tracery and sculpture. Work on the west façade took place in several phases, which is reflected in the very different styles of some of the sculptures. The upper parts of the façade were completed in the 14th century, but apparently following 13th century designs, giving Reims an unusual unity of style.

View the ground plan of Reims Cathedral.