Day Trip to Reims
I knew when I studied in Paris, I wanted to visit the Champagne region of France and go on one of the champagne tours in Reims. Reims is a small city in northeast France, known as the “unofficial capital of the champagne region.” Although Reims is most famous for its champagne houses, it has a number of other sights worth visiting, including the Cathedral of Notre Dame Reims, also known as the Cathedral of Reims. I spent the night in Reims, but I think you can conquer this city in a day if you’ve planned ahead. Without further ado, here’s my guide to Reims France!
How to Get to Reims from Paris
My friends and I left Paris early in the morning to start our day in Reims. We departed from Paris Gare de l’Est, and within about 45 minutes via TGV, we arrived in Reims! From the train station, my friends and I walked to our hostel. We stayed in the CIS de Champagne hostel, which was fine for a quick overnight stay as it was clean and safe, even though it wasn’t anything special.
Le Petit Basque Reims – Lunch at the Best Restaurant in Reims
After settling in, we decided to go get lunch before our champagne house tour. We found a bistro called Le Petit Basque and had what was one of the best meals I had in France. I love the French 3 course lunch, and this one came complete with a delicious salad featuring prosciutto and brie, the classic french dish Coq au Vin, and a traditional regional dessert called Biscuit rose de Reims all for 13 euros. I highly recommend eating lunch here for a wonderful meal at a very affordable cost. This restaurant has a very authentic French feel, and almost no one there spoke English (which I always take as a good sign when looking for local food!).
Champagne Tours in Reims
Most people visit Reims for the famous champagne houses. There are a number of champagne houses in Reims, so I recommend doing a little research before you decide which to tour! Some of the most champagne houses in Reims are Veuve Clicquot, Tattinger, and Ruinart. I decided to visit the Vranken Pommery Domain, also known as the Champagne Pommery house! I’m so glad we made the decision to go on the Champagne Pommery tour because we learned a lot about the champagne-making process in a unique setting. We took a tour of the Pommery estate, which included a glass of champagne at the end of the tour for 22 euro! You can purchase tickets and see more options on the Pommery website. We went to Reims in February and the tour was just 5 visitors and our guide, so we got to ask lots of questions and get to know our guide!
The Pommery champagne house in particular is interesting because the owners have always incorporated art into the cellars. Old sculptures and modern art installations were around every turn as we walked though rows of thousands of bottles of champagne in the underground cellars. We saw bottles in various stages of readiness and learned about the different grapes that make champagne and other wines. Our tour ended with a glass of yummy Pommery champagne and chatting with our friendly guide about going to school in Paris. I would definitely recommend visiting the Vranken Pommery Domain if you want to visit one of the best champagne houses in Reims and learn more about this iconic beverage.
Cathedral of Reims and Other Landmarks
The Cathedral of Notre Dame Reims is another famous sight in this city. Construction on the Reims Cathedral started in the early 1200’s on the site of an even older church that had been built on top of Roman baths. The ancient history of the church is fascinating. The exterior of the cathedral is beautiful, and it looks similar to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. There are a number of other things to do in Reims after you’ve visited the champagne houses and the cathedral, like visiting the Saint Remi Basilica and Abbey.
There are a number of shops in the Centre Ville area if you want to go shopping while you’re in Reims, and there are a number of restaurants and bars in the area along the Place Drouet d’Erlon. Check out the Reims tourism website for upcoming events in the city!
At the end of your day in Reims, you can head back to the train station to catch your train ride back to Paris, or grab some dinner and check out the city at night if you’re leaving the next day!
Check out my photos below for a look into the Pommery champagne house and its interesting artwork!
I loved visiting Reims and checking out the champagne region! Have you visited Reims, France? Did you visit a champagne house?
4 thoughts on “Day Trip to Reims: The Heart of Champagne”
Thank you for this post. My wife and I (from California), and another couple (from Colorado), followed your advice and booked the trains (which had to be shifted due to the train strikes), a champagne tour of the Vranken Pommery caves, lunch at Le Petit Basque, and a private driver to drive us to and around Epernay, where we had another champagne tasting, before returning to the train station for a 5pm train back to Paris. We had a fantastic and very memorable day in Reims and Epernay, and we couldn’t have made it happen without following your suggestions.
One interesting fact is that, when we arrived in Reims at 9am, we took a taxi from the train station to the Cathedral of Notre Dame Reims so we could visit before our Pommery tour. When I was entering the Cathedral, there was a woman at the door collecting entrance fees, but there is no entrance fee. She was a scammer, but when I reached for my wallet, it was missing! I panicked and returned to where the taxi dropped us off. No wallet. So I noticed a tourism information office 20 feet away. I walked in and asked if anyone had brought in my wallet, and unfortunately nobody had. A gentleman at the counter offered to put a call out to all of the taxi drivers in the area to see if anyone had been to the Cathedral to drop off passengers and had found the wallet. I knew this was a long, long-shot, but it was worth a try. To my utter and complete surprise our taxi driver showed up 10 minutes later to hand me my wallet, fully intact. WoW!
Hi Gary! Thank you so much for taking the time to write out this comment! It made my day! I’m so happy you guys enjoyed Reims. And I’m so glad you found your wallet! It’s always a moment of panic when you lose something in a foreign place! Hope you have a great weekend Gary!