The Abbey, the monks

It was in 1211 that the construction of the Saint-Nicaise Basilica began, founded on the ruins of the ancient church dedicated to the saint decapitated by barbarians. The monks who possessed greatterroirson the Côte des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims dedicated themselves to the cultivation of vines and among the chalk mines completed a network of corridors and vaults to shelter the wines with which they traded. The basilica also served as a pilgrimage site, visited by illustrious figures – one of whom was Russian tsar Peter the Great, who visited in 1717 and was intrigued by the mystery of the “shaking pillar,” one of the curiosities of the nave of the church.