Report - - Our Lady of Reims Cathedral, Reims, France October 2017 | European and International Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Our Lady of Reims Cathedral, Reims, France October 2017


more tall than ginger tho.....
Regular User
Our Lady of Reims Cathedral



Obviously there’s a lot of history associated with cathedrals and this one is no exception. I had no idea it was quite as old as it is when I decided to have a closer look. I’ll keep the history fairly brief as there’s plenty more info online should one want to find out more. My knowledge on Europe’s history as a whole is limited as well but I’ll try (a bit!)…. It’s in fun fact style – hope yers don’t mind

Apparently Reims was once the ‘principle city of the Remus Tribe’ and the city’s importance grew, eventually becoming the capital of the Roman Province of Belgium

It has been a religious site since the 5th Century. It was a “modest edifice” which was rebuilt and enlarged in the 9th and 12th Centuries in early Gothic style. The whole thing was then destroyed by fire and razed to the ground in 1210

The choir, (the main central part of a church) which still exists today, started to be rebuilt in 1211 and was consecrated (declared sacred) in 1241 as was the transept (the side parts that make the building cross shaped)

The western façade (decorations) at the opposite side of the cathedral from the scaffold (but shown below) was constructed in the second half of the 13th century

The two towers were built in the 15th Century and were originally going to have spires but a fire in 1481 destroyed the roof and “made their realisation….. impossible”

Almost all the worlds cathedrals face east!

It is one of the most beautiful examples of Gothic art

Since the year 816 all but two of France’s Kings were coronated here by the Archbishop

The limestone used in its construction was quarried in Fismes – 18 miles west of Reims. The hardest in the foundations, the most irregular in the facing and the best stuff for the sculptures

The timber roof was destroyed by fire in 1481 and again in the first world war. The current one was made of concrete between 1925 and 1935

The cathedral was quite badly damaged in WW1 and near non stop restoration has taken place ever since

My Version of Events

Having just done a bit of research on the cathedral I’ve found it’s quite old and important. I kind of wish I’d found out a bit more about it sooner. I just rocked up on my way back through France. When I first saw it I couldn’t believe the amount of scaffold up the east face of it. It was pretty quiet round town in that area so it had to be done, really. I’m not in the least bit religious but I have a lot of respect for buildings that were built so well in such an over the top style so long ago. I particularly like Gothic buildings – even though I don’t know much about them. I like big grand buildings and arches and spires and bells and towers and rooves! I like it that they’re decorated so well – even though I have no idea who these “characters” and statues that I’m looking at are or what testament they come from. It doesn’t mean a thing to me – but they’re incredibly detailed.

I suppose I can’t talk about the access but it wasn’t hard. Once at the top of the scaffold I went straight to the nearest tower hoping there’d be a view from the top. It’s completely enclosed up there even though there’s ladders up it. I ignored the trapdoor even though I might’ve squeezed past the padlocked chain. Across the main roof that was being replaced was a bell tower, so I walked across the scaff to it and ignored another trapdoor (for the time being!) The two main towers beckoned but they defo weren’t accessible from the outside. They weren’t really accessible from the inside either much to my disappointment.

Walking above different parts of the cathedral was easy. Where the scaffold stopped the roof ledges started. All the roof’s doors, though, were very locked and the main part of the building was pretty damn secure. All apart from this little hole, which would prove to be the safest and easiest way in/out! Now I can squeeze but it’s tricky when yer feet can’t touch the floor on either side. It’s a wriggle, twist and squeeze of sorts and not easy with a camera. Annoyingly I’d left my tripod out of reach on the scaffold and I wasn’t going back for it. I kind of regret that decision as you’ll see below. Luckily this isn't a photography forum ;)

Straight to business. A nice catwalk of a scaffold

I went up but there was no view out so I came back down again!

Straight across the scaffold under the tarp and up to have a look at the bells situated right in the middle of the cathedral. I got some pics of the roof being rebuilt under the tarp but it was obviously darker under there and I didn't fancy waving a torch about so they didn't come out that well


Looking east out of the south side

After a short struggle I was in. Across a bit more scaffold inside and down and I was on the cathedrals ceiling. Ladders up the left took me back to the hatch in the bell tower roof passed a million flies

The view from the bell tower looking west towards the two spireless towers. I really, reallly wanted at least one of these. The south one (left) might've been accessible though dangerous. It'd have involved climbing up on to a timber frame and maybe on to a spiral staircase from there (the obvious door to it being locked). The pigeons would've gone mental though - the odd one or two flapping away made things obvious I thought! The right one would've been a right squeeze 6ft up over a locked door (and then down - both ways) through a 1ft gap onto a spiral staircase - na

Back down the ladders on to the ceiling towards the two towers

Wasn't expecting the area between the two towers to open up and be outside again

A few spare statues and bells?

This is why I wish i'd brought my tripod through. I wasn't prepared to start moving furniture for a better photo though. As i started to walk towards the other end a bell started ringing, albeit briefly. Turns out it was one o clock in the morning. Well I thought I'd activated something so sketched back up the spiral staircase pretty quick and eventually out the way I'd come in. Yer can see this bit during the day anyways - its well impressive though, I was a bit disappointed

A final one from outside - the western facade

Well that's it, back to blighty tomorrow and back to a few drains hopefully. Appologies for the usual amount of waffle. Hope you liked it though! I enjoyed the explore!