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.
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: https://www.aupianodeschefs.com/
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
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?