We just got back from a fantastic day champagne tasting in Reims, France. For those of you who have followed me for a while, you might know a few things about me and my love for champagne. I’m not sure when this love affair started but that’s not really as important as knowing that if you are mildly interested in champagne and are looking for an experience champagne tasting, I highly recommend heading for a day trip to Reims.
Reims has a fascinating historical past. From crowning kings in the cathedral, to being bombed during WWI, and being a part of the few places where champagne can actually be accurately called champagne, this is the perfect place for champagne tasting and learning about champagne itself. Reims is just a short 50 minute TGV train ride from Paris, a perfect amount of time to plan a champagne tasting day trip. The train ride itself will cost you somewhere around $39 euros each way. (If you’re planning on the fly, consider booking at a machine at the Gare de l’est train station where you might score a better deal.)
Once there, consider getting around how we did, by buying a bus/metro pass for $3.80 euros or even renting bikes for the day for around $20 euros. There are some great sites to see and plenty of places to book a champagne tasting, so get there early in the morning and plan to stay until around 6-6:30 or so, when most of the champagne houses close.
Reims has all of my favorite champagnes and we were lucky enough to be able to take a cave tour of Taittinger’s cave cellars, which date back to the 3rd century. There are over 3 million bottles in their cave cellars currently and each bottle that’s aged is turned by hand! For $16 euros you get the cave tour with a champagne tasting and the prices go up depending on how many champagnes you want to try. The tour was most definitely worth it. You can’t reserve online but if you call chances are you will able able to get a tour booked a day or so in advance (on a weekday).
Another fabulous spot for champagne tasting in Reims was Veuve Clicquot. We stopped by for a champagne tasting on their front patio outside. The tours book a few days in advance but it’s easy to email them and book online.
Make sure you save time to see two of the most beautiful structures in Reims. The Reims Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Saint-Remi Basilica. They are absolutely breathtaking both inside and out. Walking inside these grand structures, with their stone walls, stained glass windows, and vast chandeliers, it’s so difficult to comprehend the amount of labor and time that went into these religious undertakings. Being in these beautiful churches, you cannot help but delight in all the grandeur.
If you’re visiting Reims for champagne tasting, a unique experience to try is the Perching Bar, which is a 25-minute drive from Reims in a town called Verzy. The Perching Bar is a champagne tasting room that sits in the Verzy forest atop a tree-house-like building that you have to access by walking bridges. I’d recommend this place if you’re staying overnight in Reims and have a chance to rent a car
Our last champagne tasting stop before heading back to Paris was to Mumm Cellars. Their last cellar & champagne tasting tour is ends at 4:30, so if you go, be sure to head there on the earlier side. We just missed the last tour but we were able to swing by the tasting room to pick up a bottle of champagne to go. You’re able to drink in the parks in Reims, so we made a little park date and set up shop for our own champagne tasting party!
We had an absolutely delightful time champagne tasting in Reims. Please, please do go for a visit if you’re planning day trips outside of Paris. Reims, the beauty, & the champagne tasting are well worth it.