Reims has also played a prominent ceremonial role in French monarchical history as the traditional site of the crowning of kings of France; for about 1,000 years almost all French kings were crowned here. The cathedral, Notre-Dame de Reims, was formerly the place where numerous kings of France were coronated. The building is one of the late Gothic cathedrals and renowned for its height. It was completed by the end of the 13th century, with the exception of the western front that was erected in the 14th century. It replaces an older church, destroyed by fire in 1211. The original church had been built on the site of Roman baths. The cathedral is one of the most beautiful buildings of the Middle Ages in Europe.
Among other interesting places in Reims are: The Palace of Tau, the archbishop's palace, which also served as the residence of the kings of France on the occasion of their coronations. The palace is located next to the cathedral, and was built between 1498 and 1509, it is open to the public as a museum. The Saint Remi Basilica, which dates from the 11th century with later additions up until the 15th century, is located about 1½ km (1 mi) from the cathedral. The basilica almost approaches the cathedral in size.
The Place Drout d'Erlon in the city center contains many lively restaurants and bars, as well as several statues and fountains. During the summer it fills with people sitting outside the many cafés. Among other principal squares of Reims are the Place Royal and the Place Cardinal-Lucon. Most of the old houses in Reims were destroyed during World War I, and the city was extensively rebuilt in the 1920's in an Art Deco style.