Referred to as the ‘Coronation city’, Reims has witnessed the making of French history right since the dawn of the millennium. The city is also the base to explore the beautiful Champagne trail of ‘Montagne de Reims’, where the world’s best champagnes come from!
From the Reims Cathedral to the vineyards and cellars of the champagne houses, there is a lot to explore in Reims, which is why it gets over 1.5 million visitors each year. A mere 145 km away from Paris, it is ideal for a day trip to enjoy the treasures of Reims.
What Makes Reims Special
Reims holds a special place in the history and culture of France. The city that has been around for two millennia has three UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Cathedral of Notre-Dame, the Palace of Tau, and the old Abbey of Saint-Rémi. But there is more to Reims than the towers of the Cathedral and the cellars of the champagne houses.
The city played an important in the World Wars and has a legacy of Art-Deco architecture and modern development. It is also known for its fine-dining with Michelin-star restaurants that stir up great food to accompany the excellent champagne of Reims.
Paris to Reims Tour
Guided Tour of the Reims Champagne Region from Paris
• Explore Reims and the Champagne region in a full day guided tour
• Admire the Reims Cathedral, the gothic marvel that witnessed the coronation of French kings
• Take in the beautiful the hills and vineyards of ‘Montagne de Champagne’
• Witness the process of champagne-making and the subterranean wine cellars at the champagne houses of Mumm and Mercier
• Sample the best of the region – champagne, white pudding, and Reims Pink biscuits
You will spend the entire day in the beautiful region of Champagne and Reims. Your guided tour will start at the Mumm Champagne house where you will savor the ‘Red Ribbon’ champagne and learn how it’s made. You will then get to explore the magnificent Reims Cathedral and admire its rose windows and statues. Later, you will head to a local restaurant to sample the local delicacies. You will also get time to explore the city on your own before heading to Épernay for a tour of the Mercier house. After a day of visiting vineyards and heritage sites, you will head back to Paris.
What to See and Do in Reims
A day in Reims will involve you going through some of these iconic attractions. Here’s what you should expect during your excursion:
Reims Cathedral: The first chapter of almost every French king’s history played out at the Reims Cathedral. The 13th century Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral is one of Europe’s finest Gothic cathedrals and the site of coronation of over 30 French kings. The Cathedral is a must visit on a day trip to Reims from Paris. The magnificent cathedral stands tall at 81m, and houses 2,303 statues. The sun shines through its brilliant rose windows and stained glass, which were painted not only by ancient artists, but even by the 20th century genius Marc Chagall.
Palais du Tau: The walls of the Palace of Tau speak of the gaiety and celebrations of the coronations of kings. The palace hosted the ceremonial banquets after the coronation in the nearby Reims Cathedral. A fixture on every Paris to Reims day trip, the Palace is today maintained as a museum and contains the coronation objects like the Talisman of Charlemagne and the Chalice of coronation. The palace, built in the Baroque style, also houses several statues and rich tapestries that narrate heroic stories of France. While it was transformed as a classical palace in the 17th century, its medieval artistry peeks through in many of its rooms.
Montagne de Reims: The mountains of Reims offer the sweet bubbly that people across the world celebrate with – Champagne! The Montagne de Reims are one of the four regions of Champagne district AOC, where houses have the right to call their sparkling wines ‘champagne’. A Reims champagne tour will definitely take you through the Montagne de Reims to discover the sunlit vineyards that produce the famous sparkling wine. UNESCO has in fact declared the hillsides, houses, and cellars of Saint Nicaise Hill in Reims as a World Heritage Site.
Abbey of Saint Rémi: Saint Rémi is the patron saint of the city of Reims and holds importance as the Bishop who converted Clovis, the King of Franks, to Christianity. His relics are still preserved at the Abbey, beside which is the grander Basilique Saint-Remi. The basilica competes with the Reims Cathedral in size and has been built in classic Gothic style. The Basilica, a stop on every Reims day trip from Paris, also holds the Saint-Remi Museum with exhibits from the fourth century, which display the art and history of France.
Visit a Champagne House: Reims sits atop mountains of chalk which were excavated by the Romans to build their monuments. These cavernous spaces called ‘crayeres’ became ideal as wine cellars to stock the world famous Champagne. Champagne houses were built all over these cool cellars that are now a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit to a champagne house is a must on a day trip to Champagne from Paris. Most champagne houses offer a tour of the vineyards, followed by a visit to the cellars where hundreds of wine bottles are stocked at any given time!
Things to Consider When Booking Your Trip to Reims
Reims is a beautiful city to explore and while one might want to see and experience everything there are often constraints that need to be taken into consideration.
- Cost: Reims is a city with multiple things to do and see. This means that you have to organize a plan yourself, do the ticketing, and coordinate the travel. This will take up a lot of your time, not to mention, champagne houses needed to be booked much in advance. A guided tour will ensure that you have everything set in place for a slightly extra cost. Plus, you also get the services of a knowledgeable guide on your day trip to Champagne from Paris who will enthral you with exciting information.
- Season: A day trip to Reims is best from May to October when the weather is just right. The summer season is from June to August when it’s warm and the weather is perfect for a visit to the Champagne country. The vineyards can be a delight when the sun is out. All the attractions are open and several festivals and keep happening through this period making Reims a very lively and tourist-friendly place.
- Time in Reims: Reims in Champagne region is a historic city with a splash of nature to enjoy. Ideally, visitors can spend an entire weekend in Reims exploring the city and its many offerings. However, if you are in Paris only for a short duration, a champagne tour of Reims is the best way to explore the city within a day. Almost all the champagne tours in Reims design the tour in such a way that you get to see the historic bits as well as the champagne trail.
- The Cathedral can be photographed in all its glory from the street ‘cour Anatole France’ that is right behind the cathedral.
- You can go up the towers of the Cathedral from April to October.
- The facade of the Reims cathedral is beautifully lit up in a light show every summer. Known as the Reve de Couleurs it will run from 1st June to 10th September 2018. There is also another light show that takes place at the Abbey of Saint Remi every Saturday at 9:30 PM until October 7th.
- Champagne cellars are cool at any given time of the year. The temperatures can go down to ten degrees Celsius, it is best to carry warm clothing on this segment of the tour.
- The Boulingrin Market is an old covered market in the city and opens on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturday mornings. You can find all sorts of local delicacies including Reims Pink Biscuits, ham and mustard.
- Reims has got 9 Michelin stars at these restaurants that you can visit - L'Assiette Champenoise, The Domaine des Crayères, Le Foch, Le Grand Cerf, The Millennium, and Racine.
- If you wish to explore the Art Deco architecture, visit the Carnegie Library and the Reims Opera House.
- There are also Roman remains in Reims; you can explore them at the Cryptoporticus and the Mars Gate.
Other Day Trips from Paris
Paris to Giverny
Art and nature come together in the picturesque village of Giverny. The village made famous by the legendary impressionist artist Monet, is where he spent the last 40 years of his life and created his most iconic paintings. It is here that Monet lovingly created a home and studio, from where he would paint the vivid colors of his Clos Normand garden, the lotus pond, and the Japanese garden. Just 75 km away from Paris, Giverny is an ideal stop to explore the muse and inspiration of generations of Impressionist artists and Monet himself.
• Giverny, Monet's Garden & Versailles Palace Full Day Trip from Paris
Paris to Normandy
Drama is writ large across the countryside of Normandy. From the dreamy woodlands to the stunning beaches, Normandy is a spectacular region with just the hint of drama and history. It’s most important part in recent history was played out on the D-Day beaches, where the Allied forces marched to victory, defeating the Germans during the World War II. The poignant war memorials and cemetery reflect upon the sacrifices of the war. A day trip to Normandy will also cover a tour of the countryside and the views of the English Channel from the cliff of Pointe du Hoc.
• WWII: Normandy U.S. D-Day Beaches Full Day Trip from Paris