Champagne Day Trip Itinerary from Paris to Reims
You’re going to Paris, but want to get outside the city for a day? Sipping bubbly, touring champagne caverns, and enjoying more of France’s history and architecture can all be done on your over 40 solo travel with this Champagne day trip itinerary from Paris to Reims without a car.
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A Day Trip from Paris:
Reims, Champagne Without a Car
for Over 40 Solo Travel
Is Reims, France Worth Visiting?
Oh, my goodness, yes! There is a lot of history in the quaint city of Reims, France. I included it in my last stay in Paris, and was so glad I did.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t need anyone with me to enjoy some champagne. Call me Marylin Monroe. This is why this day trip from Paris made a perfect solo excursion.
Reims, northeast of Paris, is situated on the Vesle River and the unofficial capital of the wine-growing, Champagne region where the beautiful bubbly gets its name. Sparkling wine is sparkling wine, but only French sparkling wine can be called Champagne.
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Champagne is home to over 1900 municipalities, but only Reims can boast the Reims Cathedral, one of Europe’s most historic, Gothic churches where French kings were crowned. Reims is also where the Germans surrendered to the Allies in May 1945 to end WWII in Europe.
If you like champagne and history, it would be a shame not to put Reims on your visit list while traveling solo in Paris.
How Much Time Do You Need in Reims, France?
Whether you’re into history, champagne, architecture, or all of the above, you can certainly spend more than one day in Reims. Make Reims a home base while you champagne taste your way around the Champagne region.
If you don’t have the time, however, Reims is definitely doable in a day trip. The fact that you can do a Champagne day trip itinerary from Paris to Reims without a car is a major bonus. Hence, this blog post!
For this itinerary to be a success, plan on devoting at least 8 hours in Reims.
Why did I choose Reims over Épernay or any other Champagne city? It wasn’t just the Champagne Houses, it was also the Cathédrale of Notre-Dame de Reims (Reims Cathedral), which I learned so much about in art school and was on my bucket list ever since.
How to Get to Champagne from Paris
A great thing about doing Reims as a day trip? It only takes 45 minutes by TGV train to Reims from Paris. You catch the train from the Paris Gare de l’Est. Round trip tickets are inexpensive can be bought online in advance or at the station. It runs all day so you have multiple Paris departure/arrival options.
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There are tickets available with changes, but purchase a direct Paris-Reims ticket to save travel time. I also recommend reserving a seat in high season, and downloading your ticket to your phone. To save some money, consider getting your ticket online in advance.
If you’re thinking of seeing more than Reims while visiting Champagne from Paris without a car, you can also access Épernay and Châlons-en-Champagne by train. However, this day trip itinerary only allows time for Reims.
How to Get Around Reims
Reims is very walkable. It’s flat with much to see in close proximity. This itinerary is purely on foot, and you’ll never be walking more than 30 minutes (max) at a time.
However, if you wish to get some more Reims in on your day trip or just rest your feet, Reims’ public buses and trams can help meet your needs. It’s inexpensive, too.
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Champagne Day Trip Itinerary Without a Car
This itinerary assumes you’ll return to Paris in time to relax and have dinner. That said, a 9am Paris departure is ideal. You do not want to leave Paris later than 9:30am or waste time on a non-direct train ticket.
Champagne Houses open 9:30am to 10am. I know what you’re thinking. No, it’s never too early to enjoy champagne.
You always have the option to dine in Reims to extend your day trip, of course.
Doing a walking Reims champagne tour is beneficial so you can get fresh air between bubblies. You won’t be as sleepy so you can enjoy more of the Reims sights.
The closest Champagne Houses open for tasting and touring are Champagne Charles de Cazanove and G.H. Mumm, with Tattinger and Veuve Clicquot being on the farther end of this Reims itinerary.
Reims Champagne House 1
Stepping out of the Reims station, turn left and within 5 to 15 minutes you’ll hit your first tasting, depending on your preference.
Just next to the station is the first possibility, Champagne Charles de Cazanove, at 8 place de la République. If you’re on a budget, keep your money for the tours later in the day and pop in here for a tasting. It’s not as good as Mumm, in my humble opinion, but what do you have to lose by trying it?
Now that you’ve tickled your nose and are in the Reims vibe, head towards the city center to see Reims’ crowning (pardon the pun) glory, Reims Cathedral, just a 10 to 15-minute stroll away.
The Cathédrale Notre Dame de Reims, Place du Cardinal Luçon, was the site of over 25 French king coronations and the center of the European reconstruction efforts in 1962. Taking over 200 years to build and completed in the 15th century, it was built in the classic, Gothic style with flying buttresses, ribbed arches and tall windows. It became a UNESCO as a world heritage site in 1991.
The cathedral is open 7:30am to 7:30pm except Sundays (check for hours), and free to enter.
If you want a tour to learn more about the cathedral’s history, book online at least two weeks in advance. I did not do the tour and, instead, strolled the vast interior provided by stunning ribbed arches while soaking in the architectural details and light from the colorful, rosary trace windows.
Feel free to forgo one of the champagne tastings on this itinerary and tour as much of the cathedral as you please. Audio guides are available for self-paced tours and tower tours available at certain hours. Make sure you’re ready to take on the 200+ stairs!
After spending an hour or so, or when you feel like you got enough pictures of the cathedral and enjoyed the open aired plaza, now’s the time to relax with a wonderful lunch with perhaps some more bubbly or glass of wine.
The goal is to find a place close to the cathedral or along the way to the next tasting, Veuve Clicquot. For your convenience, here are some sumptuous dining recommendations that vary depending on your budget or tastes:
I decided to turn south from the cathedral for a 20 minute walk down the Rue des Capucins towards the beautiful Basilique Saint-Remi, another UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s free to enter and admire its lovely 11th century Romanesque nave.
I ended up at Il Gusto, just Around the corner from the basilique, where I enjoyed a savory Italian meal. From there it was a mere 3 minute walk to Veuve Clicquot.
Pop into the Reims Touristic Office, 6 Rue Rockefeller, across from the Reims Cathedral plaza for more cuisine recommendations. They also provide Champagne House and accommodation recommendations.
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Reims Champagne House 2
Reims champagne tasting would not be complete without a Veuve Clicquot tour, 1, Rue Albert Thomas. I adore Veuve Clicquot, and adored the 90-minute tour even more.
I opted for the Clicquot Signature, 90-minute tour (in English) with two tastings, which I booked just before lunch. It allows up to 15 people, but since I was there in the off season it was not full and felt like a more personalized tour. Although you can reserve your tour on site, I would advise reserving in advance, especially in peak tourist season.
The skilled and courteous tour guide leads you to the stunning underground cavern where you get a brief introduction to the champagne with the tour and tasting. Our tour guide was pleasant and patient with the many champagne questions while also providing information on the history of the Champagne House and its caverns.
The caverns have not just housed the champagne, but they also served as underground access for the Allies during WWII. Here you can see a Red Cross sign marking the way to the hospital for the wounded.
This Champagne House was my favorite tour on this day trip.
Reims Champagne House 3
Equally breathtaking, informational, and tasty is the Tattinger champagne tour experience. Located at 9, Place St Nicaise, Tattinger is just an 8-minute walk towards the city center from Veuve Clicquot.
Again, I booked my tour onsite. I relished the L’Instant Rosé tour with two tastings (I love Rosé). Tattinger offers a variety of champagne tastings with your tour. Note, they close at 5:30pm with the last tour offered at 4:15pm.
After a brief overview of the House, you descend down winding stairs 18 meters down to their historical, chalk quarry caverns, also an UNESCO World Heritage site. These caverns have housed champagne first made by Benedictine monks and have survived the French Revolution when the abbey did not.
The champagne is lovely and the staff very accommodating. A very pleasant experience for sure.
One for the Road?
After Tattinger, it’s only a 15 to 20-minute walk back to the city center. By now you’ve finished your 8-hour or so tour of Reims and its local Champagne Houses.
Before you head back to Paris, walk through the Place Drouet d’Erlon, sightsee or shop if that’s your thing. You’re bound to find a lovely space to sip another glass of champagne before your Paris train departs.
I hope you truly enjoy your your Champagne day trip itinerary from Paris to Reims without a car. Write me a comment below to let me know how much fun you had!
More Champagne Without a Car?
Is one day in Champagne not enough? Here you can find a complete listing of Champagne’s Champagne Houses with a map to each and how to visit information. Again, the Reims Tourist Office can assist or help you book a tour in English.
With trains running between Reims, Châlons-en-Champagne, and Épernay, it is possible to expand upon your Champagne day trip itinerary from Paris to Reims without a car.
If you prefer to arrange a Champagne tour from Paris without riding the train, not to worry! There are bountiful tour options to make your France travel fruitful.
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