Reims: a 7-day itinerary up and down the Champagne.
Reims is one of the main French destinations for a wine lover. It is called the capital of the Champagne wine-growing region and is the place where the world’s largest producers of the most famous sparkling wines are located.
This city has a unique beauty and is the place where wine and art join. Besides being a strategic point from which to start excellent wine tours, Reims has an illustrious history behind it: a place where many French kings were crowned in the city’s cathedral. We went to visit this city of plenty, which has a lot to offer and this is our 7 day itinerary for a trip to Reims:
- Nearby: -Epernay (40 min by car) -Ambonnay (30 min by car) -Ay (35 min by car)
- Accommodation cost: 370 € for a week’s stay in an apartment for 4 people, 5 minutes walk from Reims’ cathedral.
- Events: Regalia – from 20 June to 2 September 2019. A spectacular and captivating light and music show which is projected onto the facade of the cathedral.
THINGS TO SEE IN REIMS AND CHAMPAGNE:
DAY 1: Travel and arrival in Reims in the evening
DAY 2: Day in Reims
DAY 3: Visit the most famous wineries – aperitif at the cathedral – exploration of the city – tasting
DAY 4: Visit Epernay – return to Reims – tour the city’s wine shops – Regalia
DAY 5: A lunch of baguettes, local cheeses and champagne – visit the cathedral – tasting – Regalia
DAY 6: French lunch – afternoon rest – evening at Place Drouet D’Erlon
DAY 7: Wine tour – Visit Tau Palace – tasting at Tresors de Champagne – Regalia
DAY 8: Departure in the morning
DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
We arrive in Reims in the evening after a 14-hour journey from Brescia. I highly recommend, if you can, that you travel to Reims by car. We had many unexpected drawbacks (including buying the wrong train tickets) during our trip and we waited for hours for various trains which seemed like they were never going to come 🙁 As soon as we arrived at Reims station we set off with our luggage and decided to go via the town centre, to take a closer look at the city, Mattia finds an open wine shop and sprints in…I guard the suitcases
Our second day is a Sunday, we get up early and after having breakfast in a bakery (with croissants of course!) we take a tour of the city, which appears to be deserted. We discover that all the wine shops, wineries and various shops only open from Tuesday to Friday…therefore our purchases will have to wait a few days;) Before lunch we decide to stop at the bar / wine bar, Le Parvis, which is right in front of the cathedral, we order a glass of vintage 2006 Deutz rosé champagne and take in the view. We spend the day exploring the area, passing by Rue de Tambour, a beautiful pedestrianised street covered in colourful cobblestones, we visit the beautiful city squares, we arrive at Place Drouet D’Erlon, one of the liveliest streets in the city and take some pictures of the beautiful 17th century Venetian carousel which is located nearby.
On day three, we wake up and set off in search of some of the world’s most famous wineries: first we stop off at Louis Roederer and Jacquart (which are opposite each other) and then we continue on a little further until we reach the Krug, a winery that we just had to see (before discovering that visits are closed until December). We discover that Veuve Clicquot and Henriot are also located in the vicinity. We walk for 30 minutes, cross the city and arrive at the Pommery (which you can visit for a reasonable price, from around € 30), Ruinart and Charles Heidsieck (How much have we wanted to visit Charles Heidsieck!). We dedicate the afternoon to visiting the city and taking some remarkable photos 🙂
A day dedicated to visiting Epernay. It is possible to get to Epernay by train; starting from Reims the journey takes 30 minutes and a ticket costs 7 € per person. We arrive and immediately we rush to visit Moët & Chandon, where obviously we can’t not take a photo with the Dom Perignon statue. We take a tour of the town and visit some wine shops. If you get chance whilst you are in Epernay, we suggest you visit the following wineries: Moët & Chandon, Perrier Jouet, Pol Roger and Gosset. We return to Reims and visit other wine shops in the city.
After a breakfast consisting of croissants and coffee (coffee…so to speak, there’s no point looking for an espresso in France!) and a stroll through the town centre, we find out where we can buy some delicious local cheeses. We are advised to go to La Cave aux Fromages which indeed sells some fantastic products! We go to the bakery to buy bread and finally, with a baguette under our arm, we head home. We have lunch of champagne, baguettes and cheeses from Reims (one of my favourite meals :)) and in the afternoon, we visit Reims Cathedral which is extraordinarily beautiful. As soon as we went in we were enchanted by the bright colours in the windows and by the atmosphere in this fine example of Gothic architecture. We return to the house and relax with a nice bottle of champagne;) During our stay in Reims we visited several wine shops and tasted many champagnes, in this article you can find some useful tips on which bottles to buy and where to find them: Reims: wine shops and bottles I recommend. In the evening we head out to the Regalia again, the show never fails to impress.
Day six is a day of relaxation. We have a drink at the Pol Couronne wine bar, a nice, quiet place, perfect for couples or friends, where you can taste different vintages (even the oldest ones); and for lunch we go to the Cote cuisine, a typical French restaurant, to taste the local cuisine. We have a little rest in the afternoon and in the evening we stop off at the Place Drouet D’Erlon (the Las Ramblas of Reims, as we like to call it!), the liveliest street in Reims town centre, where there are various restaurants, pubs and fast food outlets.
We go on another tour of the surrounding wine shops, one of which is called La Grande Boutique du vin, our favourite wine shop! There we find some gems, and before heading home we go for a walk around the town centre. In the afternoon we visit Palazzo Tau. Tickets cost € 8 and it comes with a guide (in your chosen language) detailing the various rooms in the building which are used as a museum. Unfortunately, during our visit, there was a strong thunderstorm so in the end it was not possible to see the whole Cathedral. Indeed, as you go into Palazzo Tau, it is also possible to buy a ticket to climb to the top of the cathedral … we were so disappointed that we could not go.
We leave at 6 am to go home.
INFO AND GENERAL ADVICE ON REIMS
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT REIMS?
We stayed in Reims in August and found that the temperature was ideal for walking without getting too hot. There was a pleasant breeze in the mornings and evenings and the weather during the day was perfect, not at all humid.
VISITING REIMS’ WINE CELLARS, HOW DO I GO ABOUT DOING THIS?
You’ll be spoilt for choice for the wineries to visit in Reims. With regards to the big wineries, the advice I will give you is to send an email, in advance, asking for the necessary information, so as to avoid nasty surprises once you arrive at your destination. There are many wineries that are not open to the public but for professionals, sommeliers, wine merchants and big enthusiasts, they can be visited by appointment. Other wineries like Pommery, for example, are more accessible, but I still recommend sending an email to guarantee booking an appointment. Another option is to check with the tourism office as they often organise events and they will provide plenty of useful information. Below you can find their site and by clicking on the “what to do, live and see” section and then on “ENOTOURISM” you can get lots of helpful information: https://www.reims-tourism.com
All the best,
Camilla and Mattia are the founders of Enodays, a blog created to share information and useful tips for all wine and travel lovers. Camilla has a degree in design and works as a graphic designer in a communications agency. Passionate about wine and travel, she is constantly looking for new places to explore. Mattia runs the Enodays blog with passion, sharing all the experiences that led her to travel for wine. Mattia is a sommelier and passionate about wine and this has led him to work for several years in this world. He is always looking for new wines to discover; loves to explore wine territories and wine shops, searching for products with excellent value for money.