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The Cathedral of Notre-Dame

Without Rheims Cathedral, Champagne would not have the image that it enjoys today.

The Cathedral of Notre Dame of Rheims is among the World Heritage sites listed by UNESCO.

Before ever Champagne was recognised as the King of Wines, it enjoyed a long history as the Wine of Kings. Champagne flowed at the anointing of every French king, starting with the coronation of Charles VI in 1374. From that auspicious start, Champagne would reach beyond its regional boundaries and commence an expansion that continued down the centuries.

Medieval art paid homage to the link between cathedral and wine in works depicting Champagne’s dedication to winegrowing. Reims’ most famous gothic monument features column capitals and balconies decorated with grapevine motifs. The left-hand porch of the west façade meanwhile shows an angel in tender contemplation of the goblet of wine that she is about to drink.

The cathedral gave Champagne its credentials, establishing a reputation for which we shall forever remain grateful. So it was only fair that Winegrowers and Champagne Houses should give something in return — seek every opportunity to bring their own stone to the edifice.

Paul Valéry wrote of the sea that it was "always recommencing". So it is with the restoration of our cathedral — a never-ending task that looks to each generation for help.

Our American allies, not content merely to spill their blood to free us from the Nazi occupiers, further demonstrated their generosity by financing post-war reconstruction. Our gratitude goes especially to the Rockefeller Foundation to which the cathedral as we find it today owes so much!

The American legacy served as a shining example, inspiring Winegrowers and Champagne Houses to contribute in their turn to the preservation of one of the most precious possessions of our national heritage — a place to sing out loud the glory of God and, why not, "mezza voce", the glory of Champagne too?


Discover our site devoted to [Rheims Cathedral-]: le champagne sacre des rois de France (Champagne was used for the anointing of French kings).