Visiting the Champagne Region: 24 hours in Reims

Visiting the Champagne Region: 24 hours in Reims
I was hosted by The Agence Regionale Du Tourisme Grand Est on a press trip but all views and photos are my own.

Reims is the capital of the new Grand Est region which consists of Alsace, Champagne-Ardennes and Lorraine. It is a city that holds a special place in the history and culture of France as it was where a multitude of coronations took place for the various Kings, as well as home t0 three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, The Cathedral of Notre-Dame, The Palace of Tau, and the old Abbey of Saint-Rémi.

Also of major significance in history was that The Second World War ended in Reims with the German Regime signing the official surrender of World War II in the Reims’ Lycée Franklin-Roosevelt at at 2.41am on May 7 1945.

For those who love sparkling joie de vivre, you will be pleased to know that Reims is home to numerous world-famous Champagne houses where you can take a tour and sample some fine Champagne, and has also been declared the unofficial champagne capital of Europe.
It’s perfect to explore the Montagne de Reims, which focuses on pinot noir. This zone makes the fullest bodied Champagnes, often intended to age.
Due to its proximity to Paris, it’s ease of accessibility is ideal for a day trip, weekend jaunt or short break and there is lots to see and do as it is full of culinary flair, rich medieval history and exotic Art Deco architecture resulting from the city’s reconstruction after the First World War. It has something for everyone, whether you are a foodie, love history and architecture or simply enjoy a glass (or two) of Champagne.

Getting to Reims

Getting to Reims from Paris could not be easier! Take a train from Paris l’Est to Reims and the fastest train is 45 minutes, making it so ideal even for a day trip.

What’s more, from Reims you can also visit Épernay by train, to explore the pinot meunier–focused region of the Vallée de la Marne.

Things to do and see in Reims

G.H. Mumm Champagne House Cellar Tour and Tasting

When in Reims, a tour and tasting at a Champagne House is a must and G.H. Mumm is widely considered to be France’s finest Champagne producer and I recommend visiting for their 1-hour Champagne cellar tour, which is so interesting and informative.

You will visit the ancient cellars where the Champagne is aged, see the museum which displays old machinery depicting how the champagne making process has changed over time,  and gain insight into Mumm’s celebrated Champagne-making traditions and processes. I particularly enjoyed learning about the different grapes used in Champagne, as it was something I wasn’t too familiar with beforehand.

You will then end your tour with a tasting session and sample the fine bubbles for yourself. We tried their signature Cordon Rouge Champagne, which was fabulous.

Cathédrale Notre Dame

A visit to the Gothic cathedral, Cathédrale Notre Dame, is a must! It was built in 1211, features spectacular stained glass windows, a 12-petaled rose window, a Gothic organ case, statues with hidden messages and an astronomical clock built in the 15th century. Numerous French kings have been crowned here and it is an important aspect of French history.

We were lucky enough to see it both in the day and at night time as at the time they had a fantastic s0und and light show on certain evenings. It is worth checking if this is on when you visit as its a marvellous show.

Try the famous Biscuits Roses de Reims

Around 1690 local bakers in Reims created biscuits rose de Reims (pink biscuits) made from sugar, flour, egg, and salt, and then twice-baked cookies so that they were crispy as they were historically dunked into Champagne.

I recommend wandering into Fossier, who has been the iconic purveyor of biscuits rose de Reims since 1845, to see the range and have a try at eating 0ne to see what you think! The shop itself is pink and gorgeous.

Boulingrin Covered Market

Built in 1927 by the architect Émile Maigrot and the engineer Eugène Freyssinet, the Boulingrin Covered Market was created following an architecture competition launched in 1922 for the construction of a wholesale and retail market, but was then closed down in 1988.

Since 2012 it has since been newly renovated and restored and open on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday mornings.

Here you can find fresh vegetables, fruits, breads, meats, cheeses, flowers and even confectionary!

Cooking class at Au Piano des Chefs

Highly recommend a cooking class with Chef Eric at Au Piano des Chefs where you will start by heading to the market to buy some fresh seasonal produce and then have a wonderful cooking class at his kitchen, which is such a fantastic experience.

The best part is that you get to indulge in what you make, having learned some fabulous skills and techniques along the way!

Find out more:

La rue de Tambour

La rue de Tambour is a colourful street in Reims which is a must visit! Pay attention to the details on the floor as there will be tiny murals depicting the kind of shop near you on the street – e.g. croissant for the local baker and a pair of glasses for the local optician!

Where to eat and drink

Brasserie Excelsior Reims

A gorgeous spot for some lovely food and bubbles, in an art-deco townhouse. If it’s a lovely day, sit outside in their courtyard as it is the best spot t0 people watch from!

The Continental Restaurant

Close to the station, so ideal for a short trip, the The Continental Restaurant has superb food and in a stunning setting, with the restaurant offering a panoramic view of Colbert Square and the promenades of Reims.

Where to stay

Continental Hôtel

The Continental Hôtel, which was a mansion from the 19th century now transformed into a hotel in 1880, has kept the character of its old stones and today offers 4 star comfort in a very convenient central location, close to the station as well as to the promenades.

The rooms are luxurious and spacious and the breakfast is fantastic too!

Have you visited Reims? What were your highlights?

I was hosted by The Agence Regionale Du Tourisme Grand Est on a press trip but all views and photos are my own.
Binita Shah-Patel

Hi, I’m Binny – a writer, dreamer, serial wanderluster and travel addict. I am originally from Kenya but now live in London. I set up this blog to share my experiences eating out as well as travelling.

I love packing my bags and going off on adventures as one of the best things about travelling is the ability to just get lost in it. To set aside the maps and itineraries and just see where the road takes you, learning and evolving and living in the moment along the way.

It’s my goal to get swept off my feet as often as possible.

Find me on: Web | Twitter

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  1. October 4, 2019 / 8:05 am

    I loved following this trip, it looked like so much fun!

  2. November 4, 2019 / 10:01 am

    This brought back so many happy memories of visiting Reims earlier this year, oh and all the champagne!

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