” The beauty of Reims is surprising “
The mayor of Reims, France, yield its secret about its city
How do you define your relationship with this place?
I see this territory on a daily basis, therefore I have the same needs and the same expectations as each rémois. But, as I am also responsible for the conduct of the city affairs, and thus preparing for the future, I imagine the places and existing services as they have always been but also as they could be. I have to feed myself daily with inspiration to improve the city by imagining its future.
What is your territory history? In other words, where have you lived, studied, or worked?
I was born in Reims, I have followed the city throughout my schooling, from kindergarten up to my PhD. After school I worked in Reims, and today I’m the mayor of the city. One can say that I am 100% Rémois. This strong anchoring in Reims is the illustration of the passion I have for my city. I could have known other horizons but at every stage of my life I made choices with Reims in mind.
How can you define your engagements/actions for your place/territory?
I want Reims to be attractive. I want the people to have pride in being Rémois, something that they say loud and clear. They are the first ambassadors of their city. And I wish all who visit our city, whether they are students, tourists or investors, become ambassadors of Reims also.
Define your place in 5 words.
- Royal: Reims is the city of the rite of our Kings of France. This feature is an important part of the DNA of the city, evidenced by our heritage.
- Effervescent: in the heart of the Champagne region, Reims is a town bathed by the wine of Champagne. Many present houses, cellars scattered around the territory, and the presence of vines attest to this. The wine of kings, king of wines is ubiquitous in Reims.
- Heritage: True martyr of the the great war, the Reims territory still keeps traces of this painful episode in our history. The extensive destruction of the city subsequently gave an architectural heritage of very rich and eclectic reconstruction, which today is still one of the specialties of Reims (Art Deco…).
- Open: Reims, by its history and its economy, is a town with an international orientation. Thus it is in the Cathedral of Reims that General de Gaulle and Chancellor Adenauer sealed the Franco-German reconciliation in 1962.
- Secret: The beauty of Reims is surprising. One only needs to pause and look up and admire the wealth of attractive buildings, or leave the beaten path and descend underground to view the magical places of the area.
If you had to recommend someone to visit your place/territory, what would you tell them in a few words?
I recommend relying on the great poet, Jean de la Fontaine, who said, ” There is no city that I prefer to Reims, it is the ornament and the honour of France.”
What is the first place you recommend someone to visit when they arrive?
Our UNESCO heritage, of course. Our city has been recognized twice on the UNESCO World Heritage site list. The first UNESCO recognition is comprised of the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Palace of Tau, and Saint-Remi Basilica, honored in 1991.
The second UNESCO site recognition came in July of 2015 and highlighted the heritage associated with Champagne. Recognition of the hillsides, houses and cellars of Champagne has awarded les Crayères (the Roman caves which serve the conservation of Champagne), the butte Saint Nicaise, or even the green path of the Garden City.
What is the last place you recommend someone to visit before they leave?
They must also take a detour by the district of the town hall to admire the facades and the splendid Town Hall lounges.
But in all cases, the first thing and last thing to do in Reims is certainly enjoy a glass of champagne, to begin this stay under the best auspices and wind up in a good mood.
What would you recommend someone to take home from your place?
A bottle of champagne, of course! To share it with those who are dear to you!
And also lots of pictures to discover the greatest amount of beauty in our city!
What is the least known fact about your place?
The signing of Nazi Germany’s surrender took place at Reims on May 7, 1945. The room that hosted this important moment in the history of the world is still visible, kept in the state, in what is now the Museum of the Surrender. This is an emotionally moving place.
What do you think your place will be like in 100 years?
Taking the train of modernity without renouncing the multi-secular identity of the city!
What is your favorite place? Why? And you can’t say your own place/territory!
The Côte d’Azur, for the wealth of landscapes, human warmth, the gastronomy and the omnipresence of the sun.
What place do you dream of visiting? Why?
Marseille is the oldest commune of France. Its story plunges in the depths of history. It is an open city, tolerant, with a clean soul that often gets overlooked. I see a lot of parallels with Reims.
Is there anything else you want to add to this interview?
Welcome to Reims!
What are your duties/responsibilities in that place?
I have the honour to have been elected by my fellow “rémois”, first as a member of parliament in 2008, then as Mayor of Reims in 2014. So, I now have the pleasure to be the Deputy Mayor of the 12th city of France, a city with over 1,000 years of history, which has an out of the ordinary heritage.