The Cathedral Notre-Dame naturally dominates the urban landscape of Reims and its imposing form can still be seen from the distance much as it has since its construction in the 13th century, despite the intrusion of modern buildings. Another contender here is the relatively 'recent' edifice of Basilica of Saint Clothilde (Basilique Sainte-Clothilde), built at the very end of the 19th century.
What I like the most is the slightly oriental 'feel' that emerges from the mass, from certain angles. In fact, that was indeed intentional on the part of the architect resposible for its design.
It was also designed to house a reliquary offering an impressive collection of items of religious significance, 'les reliques', in the crypt. These I have yet to see, though this will be more out of curiosity than any religious feeling on my part. There are some two thousand Relics!
Cardinal Langénieux, archibishop of Reims, ordered the construction of an edifice that would be dedicated to the saints of France; Sainte Clothilde.
The Rémois, Alphonse Gosset (1835-1914) took on the task of designing Sainte Clothilde. Gosset was a well- established architect, with the creation of the Grand Théâtre de Reims, the grounds of the champagne house Pommery and the workers' districts of the city to his name.
The neo-byzantine style was employed and the basilica is based on the form of a Greek cross. The stature is imposing.
Drawing inspiration from his research work published in 1877, Les Coupoles d'Oriént et d'Occident, Gosset makes references to Hagia Sophia of Constantinople, the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome and the church of Saint Augustin in Paris.