Are you feeling a little overcome by people, cars, and noise?
Hey, I know you love Paris, but sometimes a weekend away in the countryside or a smaller city or town is just what you need.
It’s why Reims is a perfect weekend escape from Paris.
Did you know, Reims ancient town has centuries of history to explore.
It was once the city of coronations for the French Kings and thanks to the Monks, Reims is the place to stay to sample the Champagne region.
So if you love champagne, then Reims is your heaven.
Only an hour by TGV from Paris, via Champagne-Ardenne, book your romantic getaway in Reims.
Reims: Weekend Escape from Paris
With so many Champagne Houses to visit, plus the history of the city exudes, Reims is just one of those places you need to visit and enjoy the stunning architecture.
And champagne of course.
Maybe hiring a car is the best option for you. Especially if you want to see more of the Champagne Houses around Reims.
How Do I Get to Reims?
If you don’t want to drive, so you can enjoy more sparkling wine, take the TGV from Paris.
The TGV from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport will take you to the Champagne-Ardenne TGV station, about 30 minutes from Reims. From here, they have a regional train taking you directly into the city. Simple.
Depending on what time you arrive, the small tourist office at the Reims train station can book Champagne House tours.
And hotels and restaurants are within an easy walk of the train station.
Where to Stay in Reims
We have found housesitting one of the best travel options to see more of Europe without it eating into our travel budget. You can find more information at Go House Sitting.
When choosing accommodation, we have a few favorites.
Always a favorite is Booking.com to receive a 10 % discount.
But for us, we love the lower prices of Hotels.com where after your 10th-night booked, your next night is free based on your average stay rate.
When we are staying longer and need the use of a kitchen, we use Airbnb. If you are new to Airbnb, then this link will give you a discount on your new booking.
What is Reims Famous for?
Reims has had significant times in history, making it famous for:
- All French Kings were crowned at the Cathedral Notre Dame Reims
- Joan of Arc liberated the French from the English in 1429
- World War II unconditional surrender document was signed in Reims
- Wonderful, delicious sparkling wine, aka bubbles, champagne
Self-Guided Walk of Reims
Reims is easily explored on foot.
We have done the hard work (enjoyable hard work) for you, with a self-walking guide of Reims.
How to Book Champagne Tours
We found a tourist office located outside the main train station to book a variety of tours to experience the wonderful champagne of the region.
While you can take a guided mini-bus to wineries outside the city, there are many options to visit Champagne Houses on foot in and around the city of Reims.
So, it’s up to you to choose how many and which Champagne House to enjoy.
To help with your selection, we used The Champagne Houses to find out times and a map of Champagne Houses in Reims.
Our preference was Champagne Taittinger.
Why we choose Taittinger
Taittinger is a famous, family champagne business dating back to the Crusades here in the city of Reims. We had heard of the Taittinger Caves and wanted to see the underground area and taste some delightful champagne.
Booking a Tour of Taittinger Cellar Caves
To book a tour, you can go directly to their website Pick a Visit – Taittinger or just arrive at Champagne Taittinger.
It’s a good idea to check the website first, especially if you want to take a tour in English.
We strolled up to the winery and booked a tour when we arrived, and only had a half-hour wait until it commenced. While we waited, we came across a collection of vintage vehicles parked outside.
Always impressive to see these classics.
A Little History of Taittinger
Around the Middle Ages, there was a Monastery on this site where the Monks of the Saint Nicaise Abbey carved out chalk cave cellars to house their wine.
It’s amazing how long these caves have been here.
But there is also a modern history to the caves.
During WWI, locals used the caves to shelter from bombings, and some even left reminders of their time while they waited, in the form of carvings in the cave walls.
Taittinger Tour begins
The tour guide leads us down, down, down the 100 steps of the spiraling stairwell.
Finding ourselves 18 meters below ground in the cellar caves, listed as a UNESCO site.
Patience is a virtue they say – especially for Taittinger Champagne
Taittinger now holds around one million bottles on this site (the smaller one of two) as the fermenting phase takes 10 years.
Typically, we were told, Taittinger produces 7-8 million bottles a year and sell 5-6 million bottles each year. That means Taittinger keep 5 years stock on hand in both caves systems.
Wow, that’s a lot of champagne!
Luckily for us, we didn’t have to wait that long to enjoy a matured sample of champagne. At the end of the tour, depending on the ticket purchased, you can sample one or many varieties from the Taittinger range.
Taittinger champagne bottles are unique in their shape and quantity. (They use a large bottle with a long neck). The largest bottle holds 3 liters, so larger than a magnum.
And the taste, divine.
10 Must-Sees Places of Reims
Not only is their champagne to enjoy in Reims, but also history dating back to the Romans.
You will find Reims has an amazing old town with beautiful buildings, churches, and cobblestone streets. And with a lovely pedestrian area for people to enjoy a drink in the local restaurants, bars or cafes.
And as you do in France, an early morning walk to a local bakery was perfect for a coffee and croissant for breakfast.
1. Notre Dame de Reims – Cathedral of Reims
Notre Dame de Reims is an impressive “new” church built in 1211, on the previous site of the Basilica from 496AD.
When entering the church, the first thing you notice is its size and the many side chapels, including the chapel for St Therese and Joan of Arc.
It was here in 1429 when Joan of Arc liberated Reims from the English.
Reims Cathedral was also where the Kings of France were crowned.
2. Palais du Tau – Bishops Palace
Next door to the Cathedral is the Palais du Tau which was the palace for the Archbishop of Reims.
The palace is now a UNESCO site and well worth a visit to see the Treasury and Tapestries dating back to the 15th century.
It was from here the Kings processed to their coronation to Notre Dame de Reims and returned to a banquet in celebration.
3. Saint Remi Basilica – former Abbey Church
The Basilica is a UNESCO site and contains the relics of Reims’ patron saint, Saint Remi who as Bishop baptized Clovis the King of the Franks in 496.
Unfortunately for us, the Basilica was closed. But, we did wander the grounds to view the Gothic architecture dating back to 1049.
4. Abbey Museum (Saint Remi Museum)
The Abbey Museum (closed between 12noon to 2 pm) is a UNESCO site found next door to the Basilica.
And, the museum has so much information on the history of Reims.
5. Porte de Mars – Old Roman Gate
The Porte de Mars was once the gate of the city and dates to the 3rd century. It was built as a triumphal arch named after the nearby temple Mars.
6. Museum of Surrender WWII
It was here in the Franklin Roosevelt High School building where the signing of Germany’s surrender in WWII took place on 7 May 1945.
You can visit the Museum of Surrender to view the surrender document and other military memorabilia.
But, another interesting fact, this building was also General Eisenhower headquarters.
7. Hotel de Ville, Reims
The Hotel de Ville is the local government office for the city.
What an impressive building. Imagine working here?
8. Palais de Justice
This Palais de Justice was once the Hotel Dieu.
The building is open to the public on rare occasions, where you can view the 13th-century vaulted cellars.
Now that would be impressive to see.
9. Place Royale
The Place Royale dates to Roman times when the area was part of the Roman forum of Durocorturum.
Today you will find many beautiful buildings of French architecture.
And make sure to take a look at the statue.
The original of King Louis XV was destroyed in the revolution, so the statue you see here is a depiction of a king as a Roman Emperor.
10. Champagne Mumm
Walking the streets of Reims we came across this beautiful door of Champagne Mumm.
Another reason to stop and visit for more champagne in the city of Reims.
To book a tour, click here G.H.MUMM Champagne
Where to Eat in Reims
Whether you have chosen to walk around the city or rent a car to travel further, Reims provides a choice of restaurants.
If on a budget, you have the student area. But if you are wanting a memorable meal, then the inner city area is the place to head.
The street that impressed us the most for restaurants and bars, was Place Drouet d’Erlon.
This street provides a great atmosphere for outside dining, it seems whatever the weather. It’s great for people watching and to get the feel of a French city.
For us, each morning we found a local Boulangerie for coffee and a croissant or two. Perhaps a Caffee Au Lait (Coffee with Milk) or a Cafe Noisette (Expresso with Milk).
Reims, Perfect Weekend from Paris
Are you convinced to come to Reims for a weekend?
Reims is an easy city to navigate and a refreshing change away from the big city of Paris. You can relax with drives to the rolling countryside, sipping bubbles, while enjoying fabulous French cuisine.
You get to set your own pace on how many Champagne Houses to visit. And how many glasses of champagne to taste.
Who wouldn’t want to spend a weekend enjoying the very best champagne from France’s Champagne region?
Make time to visit now.
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