From a Special Correspondent The Coronation cathedral of France is at Rheims, less than two hours by train from Paris, and here more than thirty kings were crowned, the last being Charles X, in 1824. Clovis, the first King of France, or perhaps more accurately King of the Franks, was made King on Christmas Day, in the year 496, in a chapel which stood on the ground now occupied by the present cathedral.
The Cathedral of Rheims is considered by many the finest Gothic cathedral. Although it took more than two centuries to build. the original plan of its first architect, Jean d'Orbais, was adhered to, so that the cathedral has a unity which many others lack.
In no other cathedral except Chartres. do we find so sharply marked the spirit of the Middle Ages. The interior is impressive, with its massive pillars, side aisles. and stained glass windows of great beauty through which the sun's rays paint patterns on the stone flags. Here in this church. beside one of the pillars. Joan of Arc stood while the crown was being placed on the head of Charles VII, who owed the throne to her.
Hundreds of statues adorn the church, both its exterior and interior, some of them so accurate in detail as to provide exact information on wearing apparel of the time of the Crusades. Among its curiosities that attract thousands of visitors are its bell and its clock. The bell. "Charlotte," is declared to be the sweetest sounding bell in France.
During the war. 281 shells struck Rheims Cathedral and it is only recently that repairs have been completed.