24 sacred hours at La Caserne Chanzy in Reims

A former Art Deco fire station looking over a jewel of Gothic art, a UNESCO World Heritage site: a new opening in a classic spot. In Reims, facing the Notre-Dame Cathedral, La Caserne Chanzy, which has been closed for the last 25 years, has been transformed into an elegant luxury hotel by Autograph Collection by Marriott, which sparkles in the historic heart of the City of Kings, and with a decor inspired by the land of Champagne, the region that crowned French kings and French art-de-vivre.

9 am: A history lesson in the front porch

In front of the entrance of La Caserne Chanzy Hotel & Spa, immerse yourself in the history of Reims. Built in 1926, the Art Deco building symbolizes the reconstruction program the city took on after the war of 1914-1918. In front of it, across the esplanade, lies the Notre-Dame Cathedral, a jewel of Gothic art, which was restored stone by stone within 20 years. As we contemplate the new outline that gives back its luster to the forecourt, we also note the architectural details of a renovation that has been efficiently carried out, like the "Firefighters" inscription preserved on the bas-relief of the pediment. It's a rare example of a hotel imbued with the spirit of the city in which it resides.

9:15 am: Introduction in the lounge

To soak up the delicate alloys of materials, colors and lights woven into the decor, start by curling up on one of the openwork stools hewn from oak in the lounge to sip a coffee. The soft light diffused by the huge glass roof, the shades of green and rosy beige dance in homage to the wine world, and the variation of textures give off a softened atmosphere that resembles a winter garden. Far from the buzz that used to prevail within these walls, think about the strange destiny of this old station transformed into a cozy cave.

10 am: A one-on-one with the cathedral

Half of the 89 rooms and suites overlook the Notre-Dame Cathedral: be sure to peek over for a fabulous one-on-one with this historic monument of France, the place where the kings were crowned! Captivated by the profusion of stone perforations that are part of the view, it's even more stunning at night. The hotel's carpeting boasts a broken-line pattern evoking an aerial view of the Champagne hillsides, lamps shaped like champagne bottles and a balance of soft tones dotted with gold resembling a vineyard. The outline of a the hotel is inspired by the excellence of the lands magnificent delicacy.

11 am: A bath of light with a view

It is difficult to resist such a view: a bath prolongs the rendez-vous with the cathedral. Tirelessly follow the effect of the sun on the limestone, trying to randomly identify arches and tympana, the represented scenes, David's fight against Goliath and Judgment day. It's a bath with the battles and heroes of the Bible. In response, ink and gold decorations dance on the glass side of the bathtub at the whim of the light, drawing a strange aquatic universe all in transparencies that seem to be filled with champagne bubbles. A work designed by Caroline de Boissieu, which is part of the age-old art of stained glass, also a Champagne specialty!

1 pm: At the table of La Grande Georgette

La Grande Georgette (External link) was the large firefighters' ladder at the time of La Caserne Chanzy. It's also the name of the brasserie on the terrace overlooking the cathedral. Inside, it's fun to spot the little facetious touches distilled in a decor that plays with the origin of the building: navy-colored benches and walls highlighted with tones of bright red hinting at firefighters' uniforms, metallic structures that look like ladders line the walls: in line with this, dishes revisit local traditions. Reims ham and sweetbread braised with blossom honey from Champagne are all on the menu.

3 pm: Royal treatment at the spa

Sets of glasses and mirrors and a delicate combination of colors on a background made of raw materials; the Deep Nature spa is the ultimate feature of La Caserne Chanzy. After enjoying the infinity pool and the hammam, relax at the pace of the "royal treatment": 115 minutes of absolute relaxation combined with a therapy based on Vinesime cosmetics, which earn their benefits from the world of vine and wine. Marc, seeds, grains, or pulp evoke the velvet grand cru!

7 pm: Cocktail on the patio

Enjoy the mild evening with a timeless aperitif break in the patio, wisely arranged in the middle of the 5,500 m² (59,201 sq. ft.) of La Caserne Chanzy. The modern curves of the furniture, echoing the slate wall, are dotted with an elegant contrast created by the original materials, thoroughly restored white stone and brick. At a height of 25 meters (82 feet), a building catches the eye: designed in the manner of an Italian campanile, the old drying tower stands guard. Climb it tomorrow to admire the view of the old city and its cathedral before exploring its splendid interior.