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Reims (Municipality, Marne, France)

Last modified: 2024-04-27 by olivier touzeau
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Flag of Reims, outdoor and indoor versions - Images by Olivier Touzeau, 26 August 2020

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Presentation of Reims

The municipality of Reims (179,380 inhabitants in 2021; 4,702 ha) is the most populous city in the Marne department and the 12th most populated city in France, with 182,460 in the city proper (commune). There
are 320,000 inhabitants in the metropolitan area. Reims lies 129 km  east-northeast of Paris. Its primary river, the Vesle, is a tributary of the Aisne river.

Founded by the Gauls, Reims became a major city during the period of the Roman Empire. Reims later played a prominent ceremonial role in French monarchical history as the traditional site of the coronation of the kings
of France. The royal anointing was performed at the Cathedral of Reims, which housed the Holy Ampulla of chrism allegedly brought by a white dove at the baptism of Frankish king Clovis I in 496.
The Cathedral, the Palace of Tau and the former Abbey of Saint-Remi have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991. Many of the largest champagne-producing houses have their headquarters in Reims.

Olivier Touzeau, 26 August 2020

Flag of Reims

The flag of Reims has its colours derived from its coat of arms: it is horizontaly divided blue over white and can be seen on the city hall (inner court).
The ceremonial flag, inside the city hall, has a the greater arms of the city of Reims, placed inside a shield with a beige field and golden outline (photo).

The coat of arms of Reims is blazonned: Silver two foliage of laurel vert in double saltire, the chief azure semy de lis or
The motto: Dieu en soit garde means God be her guard.
On the greater arms are branches of oak and laurel, an the three decorations granted to Reims: Croix de guerre 1914-1918, Croix de guerre 1939-1945, Légion d'honneur.

Olivier Touzeau, 26 August 2020

Logo flags of Reims

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Logo flags of Reims, left in use since 2014, right observed before 2009 - Images by Olivier Touzeau, 12 July 2021

A blue flag with the logo adopted in 2014 (letters in white) can sometimes be seen too in front of the city hall.
See this picture in an article in the newspaper L'Union from 2019.

On his website, French vexillologist Pascal Vagnat reported in 2009 the use of a logo flag with the famous smiling angel of the cathedral and the motto "the smile of Europe".

The Smiling Angel (French: L'Ange au Sourire), also known as the Smile of Reims (Le Sourire de Reims), is a stone sculpture of the cathedral of Reims which was carved between 1236 and 1245. This figure is in the north portal of the west facade of the cathedral. The Angel statue was beheaded following a fire caused by a German shell on the cathedral of Reims, during World War I, on 19 September 1914, and the head broke into several pieces after falling from a height of four meters. The head was collected by the abbot Thinot the day after the fire and stored in the cellars of the Archbishop of Reims to be discovered by the architect Max Sainsaulieu on the 30 November 1915. It became an icon for the French wartime propaganda as a symbol of "French culture destroyed by German barbarity". After the war, the original fragments were molded and preserved in the Musée national des Monuments Français. The already famous sculpture was restored and put back in place 13 February 1926.

However, this is not the former logo of Reims, but a former logo of the tourism office. The former city logo, in use between 1983 and 2014, had no reference to the smiling angel [source].

Olivier Touzeau, 26 August 2020