Reims and surrounding area
Reims is a popular day trip destination from Paris and it is famous for Champagne. Any typical visit to Reims will include a visit to wineries, wine cellar tour with wine tasting and a stroll around the city center. In this article, I am sharing an alternative guide to this itinerary. If you are a nature lover and the fancy touristic tour packages do not appeal to you, then here is a solution for you.
Following are some tips for you to have an extended experience of the Champagne region as a day trip or for multiple days.
Extend your visit
Most of the tourists visit Reims as a day trip from Paris. It is obviously very convenient because Paris is flaky and has all the fun the trips are about. Reims is smaller. Visitors come here mainly for Champagne and the Notre Dame church.
If you arrive here by car, you can go out of Reims on your own for some beautiful sites of vineyards. There are numerous organised tours where visitors are taken to wine properties for authentic Champagne tasting with lunch/dinner package. These tours maybe lifetime experience but are costlier and if you feel it like burning your pocket, then bringing a car is the best option. You can go wherever you want on your own.
There are beautiful small villages around Reims amidst rolling hills of vineyards. You can even stay in such villages for a relaxing and local experience.
Where to go
I would suggest going to the wild park region towards the south of Reims. This is a large green area which is mainly covered by large private vineyard properties and many small villages cum settlement studded in between.
My favorite one is ‘Hautvillers’. It is a small settlement about 25 km from Reims and it offers a wide view over the lush green valley with unending vineyards in the sight. Such a pretty spot to relax and sip sparkling Champagne!
Those towns in the wild park area between Reims and Epernay have few accommodation options and some wineries as well. One needs to call them in advance for bookings.
If you wish, you can also go Epernay – another town with lots of champagne cellar tour options.
You can choose to stay at Epernay for nice little town feel. There are lots of hotels and restaurants. The town is rushed mainly by day tours and by the evening, you can stroll around peacefully and find a spot to enjoy a romantic dinner with Champagne. We stayed in a duplex apartment type suit in Epernay. We totally liked it for the views in front of the building. You can watch a review of this property here.
Things to do in Epernay
Epernay is comparatively less crowded than that of Reims but if you want to visit some old and big properties like Moët et Chandon or Champagne COLLARD-PICARD, you need to book in advance. I recommend Champagne Charles Mignon for their authentic tour experience and Champagne tasting varieties. Their tour will not be heavy on your wallet as well.
There is one more Champagne producer which I recommend for a budget cellar tour. On the back side of Avenue de Champagne, there is Champagne Georges Cartier who also offer informative cellar tour and tasting. Their cellar is not huge like other big properties who line the main street but the information we get is nothing less. They have very reasonable rates and kids are allowed on the tour. Thus for families, I recommend Champagne Georges Cartier cellar tour and Champagne tasting.
This is a historic main street in Epernay which is studded with old and big players in the Champagne industry. They all offer a variety of tours and one must book them in advance.
Yes, there is a museum all dedicated to Champagne. Didn’t you book the Champagne tour in advance? You don’t want to go to private properties? No Problem! Visit this museum and for a reasonable price, you can get all the information about production, sells and trade etc. There are Champagne tasting tours arranged by the museum as well.
Recently they have started a workshop for families with kids age above 7 years – THE ODYSSEY OF TASTE. Enquire about this workshop in advance.
There is a small road train which will take you through town showing highlights of the Epernay along with an audio guide. This can be a fun part for kids.
I hope this guide will help you plan your budget visit to the Champagne region and you will enjoy your sparkling Champagne soon.
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