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The smiling angel, one of 2,300 statues that decorate the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims, France, inside and out.
The smiling angel, one of 2,300 statues that decorate the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims, France, inside and out. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
The smiling angel, one of 2,300 statues that decorate the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims, France, inside and out.
The smiling angel, one of 2,300 statues that decorate the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims, France, inside and out. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
The west facade of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims, France. The cathedral is decorated, inside and out, with 2,300 statues of various sizes. Construction of the cathedral began in 1221 to replace an earlier edifice that was destroyed by fire.
The west facade of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims, France. The cathedral is decorated, inside and out, with 2,300 statues of various sizes. Construction of the cathedral began in 1221 to replace an earlier edifice that was destroyed by fire. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
A statue of Victory tops the column of the Sube fountain on Place Drouet d'Erlon in Reims, France.
A statue of Victory tops the column of the Sube fountain on Place Drouet d'Erlon in Reims, France. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
The richly adorned Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims, France. While there are kings, prophets bishops and saints decorating it, its most popular statues is that of a smiling angel.
The richly adorned Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims, France. While there are kings, prophets bishops and saints decorating it, its most popular statues is that of a smiling angel. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
A modern fountain on the opposite end of Place Drouet D'Erlon from the Sube fountain in Reims, France. This one, spraying jets of water, reminds one perhaps of a dandelion.
A modern fountain on the opposite end of Place Drouet D'Erlon from the Sube fountain in Reims, France. This one, spraying jets of water, reminds one perhaps of a dandelion. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
A statue of Saint Anthony of Padua in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims, France.
A statue of Saint Anthony of Padua in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims, France. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
The beautiful stained-glass rose window above the western portal of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims, France.
The beautiful stained-glass rose window above the western portal of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims, France. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Closeup of an art deco gate at the Bibliotheque Carnegie de Reims, a library built in the same architectural style that was built from donations by the industrialist Andrew Carnegie after World War I. It is just across the street from Reims cathedral.
Closeup of an art deco gate at the Bibliotheque Carnegie de Reims, a library built in the same architectural style that was built from donations by the industrialist Andrew Carnegie after World War I. It is just across the street from Reims cathedral. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
This fellow seems to be caring the weight of a Reims cathedral portal on his shoulders. Construction of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame began in 1221 to replace an earlier edifice that was destroyed by fire.
This fellow seems to be caring the weight of a Reims cathedral portal on his shoulders. Construction of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame began in 1221 to replace an earlier edifice that was destroyed by fire. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
A statue of Joan of Arc sits across from the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims, France. Before the area surrounding the cathedral was renovated, it stood more prominently in front of the edifice.
A statue of Joan of Arc sits across from the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims, France. Before the area surrounding the cathedral was renovated, it stood more prominently in front of the edifice. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
A lion-shaped gargoyle and an angel adorn the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims, France.
A lion-shaped gargoyle and an angel adorn the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims, France. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
The ornate eastern facade of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims, France. Construction of the cathedral began in 1221 to replace an earlier edifice that was destroyed by fire.
The ornate eastern facade of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims, France. Construction of the cathedral began in 1221 to replace an earlier edifice that was destroyed by fire. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Reims is in the middle of France’s Champagne country.

Many of the bubbly’s makers have their headquarters here and vineyards surround the city.

But Reims is probably best known for its magnificent Cathedral of Notre-Dame.

Built in 1221 to replace an earlier edifice, it features an amazing 2,300 statues of all shapes and sizes, inside and on the outside of its imposing structure.

And despite all the bishops, saints, royals and Jesus Christ, the most popular statue is that of a smiling angel. With its almost Mona Lisa-like smile, it adorns the cathedral’s western facade by its main portals.

Sort of hidden away across from it is a statue of Joan of Arc.

She once stood in front of the cathedral, but with a remodeling of the surrounding square, the French heroine was unfortunately banished to the bushes.

There are also other things in Reims that are worth a look.

The Palais du Tau next door was once the palace of the Archbishop of Reims. Today it is a museum housing the cathedral’s treasures.

Nearby is the Bibliotheque Carnegie de Reims, an art deco library built from donations by the industrialist Andrew Carnegie after World War I. Besides the building itself, check out its wrought-iron gate and fence.

Much of the old city center has been made into a pedestrian area lined with cafes and restaurants. It’s a perfect place for a break.

While strolling around, you’ll probably pass the two interesting, but very different, fountains on each end of Place Drouet d’Erlon. One looks like a faded water-spurting dandelion, the other is topped by a golden angel.

So, if you are on your way back from Paris, the D-Day beaches or the battlefields and cemeteries of World War I, make a pitstop in Reims for a coffee or a champagne and check out the city’s marvels.

abrams.mike@stripes.com

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