Champagne & Reims region
Ah la Champagne….so we need to say more?
Ok . . . Taittinger, Dom Perignon, Laurent Perrier, Mumm, Veuve Clicquot, Ruinart, Moët & Chandon. . . you still want more? Then you need to come!
A stay in the vineyards of the Champagne region or in its capital city Reims is the opportunity of a lifetime to see where the famous bubbly is made so at the next big occasion when you open a bottle of Champagne, it will have a very special taste and hold many memories!
Reims is a nice historic town, which was relatively preserved during the wars. The majestic Cathedral has a very important role in French history as it is the place where most of the Kings of France where crowned, or “sacré” in French meaning to be blessed by God. Therefore, Reims is often referred to as La Cité des Sacres.
How to Get to Reims & the Champagne region?
Reims is only a 1hr30 drive east from Paris or CDG Airport. This is a great first or last stop in a French self-drive tour. We do recommend driving to Reims which is faster and more convenient than other transportation options.
There is a high-speed train (TGV) going there, and although we do not think this to be the best option, it can also be considered. Please be aware however that the TGV station is far outside of town and the car rental agencies are at the downtown train station (regular trains, no TGV). This makes the connections a bit complicated but manageable with time.
Geography of the Champagne Region
The Champagne vineyards are mostly between Reims and Epernay, which is located 35 minutes south of Reims, so the area is quite small and can be visited in 2 days, including some Champagne winery visits.
Between the 2 cities is the « Montagne de Reims » which culminates at 286 meters and is thus only a « mountain » by name. However, it provides nice slopes for the vineyards and a lovely countryside to drive around.
The whole area was once under the sea and for fossil lovers, we will recommend a place you will always remember.
Let’s drink Champagne!
One thing you need to learn in French: if you say « Je suis interessé par LA Champagne » and « Je suis intéressé par LE Champagne » - you mean something totally different! In the first case, you are talking about the Champagne region and in the second, the win . . . so make sure to sharpen your French a little, although both are great to talk about.
What do you eat with Champagne ? Biscuits Roses of course !
Of course, it is cheaper to buy Champagne wines right in the production area: you will find good quality bottles starting 20€ - or even around 15€ at smaller, less internationally famous wineries.
For those who just want to taste a few Champagnes and get a general overview of the region, we will be happy to recommend a self-drive itinerary where you can get a « bit of everything » and book a visit and tasting in a famous Maison de Champagne such as Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot or Moët & Chandon.
For the Champagne lovers, let one of our private guides take you from the vineyards to the wineries and probably taste more Champagnes in a day than you ever have. You will learn about the soils, the vintages, the making process and also visit smaller family wineries where you could not go on your own. We can also plan for you to enjoy several wine regions in France including Champagne.
Champagne, oui . . . but also . . .
In the Champagne area, you will also wander in the Faux magical forest, taste the famous pink biscuits from Reims and…visit the Cathedral! This immense building dating back to the beginning of the 13th century is a real jewel and travelers often feel hypnotized by its majesty and immensity.
Did you know that the German surrender of World War II was signed in Reims, in the school housing General Eisenhower’s headquarters for the final months of the war? The Musée de la Reddition is fascinating, and you will see the untouched map room and table where the surrender signature took place.
Roman ruins are still visible also, such as the Mars door near the very lively covered market of the lively Boulingrin neighborhood in Reims!
Reims has also one of the biggest Christmas markets in France.
Where to stay in the Champagne region
The answer is quite simple: between Reims and Epernay. You don’t want to stay north of Reims or you will have to drive around the city every time you want to reach the Champagne vineyards.
Reims is much livelier than Epernay where we recommend strolling the famous Avenue de Champagne on a visit.
We have selected great accommodations in Reims for those who like to be in town and also some very nice Bed & Breakfasts in the vineyards, in little towns or even in a Champagne winery – to be closer to the local products: A difficult choice but happy to be making it!
Let us know what you like and we will plan your stay in the Champagne region accordingly !