Champagne day trip itinerary from Paris to Reims

Champagne Day Trip from Paris to Reims Without a Car (2023)

UPDATED 9/23/23

Have champagne taste on a beer budget but really want to explore the Champagne region from Paris? Yes, Paris can eat up that travel budget, but there is no reason why you can’t be sipping bubbly, touring champagne caverns, and enjoying more of France’s food, architecture, history, and UNESCO World Heritage sites inexpensively. I did so myself with my epic, self-guided Champagne day trip from Paris to Reims without a car (or Paris tour group).

This day in Champagne from Paris is budget friendly and eco-friendly travel.

Seriously, if you’re questioning whether or not to put a Paris to Champagne day trip into your Paris solo travel itinerary because of finances, stop questioning.

If you don’t visit Reims for all it has to offer, you’re going to kick yourself. I would hate for you to go home from Paris with any regrets. Let’s prevent that.

Use my Champagne itinerary and tips on how to get the best of Reims in one day from Paris by train that won’t break your Paris travel budget. Keep reading.

As you’ll notice from the tips throughout, this Paris to Reims itinerary is intentionally written for the first time, solo traveler, and/or older traveler (I am over 50 and have been traveling solo FOREVER). Yet, anyone can use this travel itinerary it to plan and book a fabulous, budget Champagne day trip from Paris.

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France Travel Packing Essentials

Here some travel essentials ideal to making your solo travel in France easier, if not more eco-friendly.

Is Reims, France Worth Visiting?

Oh, my goodness, yes. There is a lot of history in the quaint city of Reims, France.  I included a Reims day trip in my last Paris visit, and was so glad I did. It made for my best day trip from Paris during my 4 days Paris.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t need anyone with me to enjoy some champagne in Reims. Call me Marylin Monroe. 

Also, Reims is so close to Paris, it makes an ideal Paris day trip. Here is how I did it on a budget.

Reims, northeast of Paris, is situated on the Vesle River and the unofficial capital of the wine-growing, Champagne region (Champagne-Ardenne region) where the beautiful bubbly gets its name. Sparkling wine is sparkling wine, but only French sparkling wine can be called Champagne.

Picture of angel statue holding glass of champagne

The Champagne wine region has been a rich agricultural area of France going back to the rule of Charlemagne and produces approximately 300 million bottles of champagne a year.

Champagne is home to over 1900 municipalities, but only Reims can boast the Cathédrale of Notre-Dame de Reims (Reims Cathedral), a UNESCO World Heritage site, which is one of Europe’s most historic, Gothic churches and the site of French king coronations. Reims is also where the Germans surrendered to the Allies in May 1945 to end WWII in Europe.

If you like champagne and history, again, it would be a complete shame not to put Reims on your visit list while traveling single in Paris.

Wine vines and flowers Veuve Clicquot Reims France

How Much Time Do You Need in Reims, France?

You can certainly spend more than a day in Champagne. If you do, make Reims a home base while you tour the Champagne region. 

If you don’t multiple days, however, Reims is definitely doable day trip from Paris. The fact that you can do a Champagne day trip to Champagne region from Paris without a car is a major bonus. Hence, this blog post.

For this self-guided Champagne itinerary, plan for 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 Reims Cathedral, which I learned so much about in art school and was on my bucket list ever since.

Front of Reims Cathedral France
Reims Cathedral

The Reims Cathedral is just one of the things to do in Champagne, France for your Champagne solo travel.

How to Get to Champagne from Paris Without a Car

A great thing about doing a self-guided Paris to Champagne day trip? The Paris to Champagne train time is only 45 minutes if you ride the TGV train to Reims. Catch the train from the Paris Gare de l’Est.  

Round trip Paris to Reims train tickets online are inexpensive. The train from Paris to Reims runs all day so you have multiple Paris departure/arrival options.

CORR Travel Tips

There are tickets available with train changes, but purchase a direct Paris to Reims train 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, get your ticket online in advance.

To see more than Reims while visiting Champagne from Paris without a car, you can also access Epernay and Châlons-en-Champagne by train. However, this self-guided day trip itinerary only allows time for Reims (and it’s enough, trust me).

Trainline has Cheap Train and Bus Tickets

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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.

Reims city center France
Reims city center

Champagne Day Trip Itinerary

This self-guided Champagne itinerary assumes you’ll return to Paris in time to relax and have dinner. That said, departing Paris before 9am with a direct train ticket is ideal.

Champagne Houses open 9:30am to 10am.  I know what you’re thinking. No, it’s never too early in the day to enjoy champagne.

You always have the option to dine in Reims for dinner 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.

Plus, let’s be real: you’re eating and drinking a fair bit of champagne, so walking is a great way to work off the calories.

The closest Champagne Houses open for tasting and touring are Champagne Charles de Cazanove and G.H. Mumm, with Taittinger 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 guided 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?

Champagne Charles de Cazanove
Charles de Cazanove

If not, walk 10 minutes further to G.H.Mumm, 29 Rue du Champ de Mars. Enjoy a 90-minute Cordon Rouge experience (or other experience) while learning about Mumm’s champagne history. Check for tasting and guided tour hours and availability in advance. Times differ during the year.

Reims Cathedral

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.

Reims Cathedral Reims France
Reims Cathedral

The Cathedral of 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.

Altar inside Reims Cathedral
Reims Cathedral altar

The cathedral is open 7:30am to 7:30pm except Sundays (check for hours), and free to enter.

Entry to Reims Cathedral France Reims France
Reims Cathedral entry

If you want, take a guided 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.

Reims Cathedral gargoyle
Reims Cathedral facade

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.

Lunch in Reims

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 Saint-Remi, where I enjoyed a savory Italian meal. From there it was a mere 3-minute walk to Veuve Clicquot.

Il Gusto lunch meal Reims France
Lunch at Il Gusto

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.

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 guided tour of this famous champagne’s caverns even more. 

Front of Veuve Clicquot Boutique Shop_3907
Veuve Clicquot

The 90-minute Clicquot Signature tour is no longer available, but the Yellow Card 60-minute tour (in English) with two tastings looks to be very similar (confirm tour details with Veuve Clicquot), and at a reasonable price. I booked my tour just before lunch, and it was a small group probably because I was there in the off season, which I recommend. It 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.

Woman walking down stairs to enter Veuve Clicquot cavern
Veuve Clicquot cavern stairs
Veuve Clicquot employee pouring champagne
Veuve Clicquot champagne tasting

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 champagne 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.

Dusty bottles of champagne in cavern
Champagne cavern

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.

WWII Red Cross sign in Veuve Clicquot cavern
WWII Red Cross sign, Veuve Clicquot cavern

This Champagne House was my favorite tour on this champagne day trip.

Reims Champagne House 3

Equally breathtaking, informational, and tasty is the Taittinger champagne tour experience. Located at 9, Place St Nicaise, Taittinger is just an 8-minute walk back towards the city center from Veuve Clicquot.

Again, I booked my champagne guided 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 champagne tour offered at 4:15pm.

*Tattinger’s cellar tour and tasting is reopening in 2024.

Tattinger employee conducting champagne tour
Taittinger champagne tour

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.

Walking down spiral staircase to Tattinger cavern
Down to the Taittinger cavern

The champagne is lovely and the staff very accommodating.  A very pleasant experience for sure. 

Tattinger employee pouring champagne for tasting
Taittinger champagne tasting

Champagne Day Ending

One more for the road? After Taittinger, it’s only a 15 to 20-minute walk back to the city center. By now you’ve finished your 8-hour Paris to Champagne tours in Reims and tasted at 2 to 4 champagne houses, all within walking distance.

Before your Reims to Paris train, 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 Champagne to Paris train departs.

Place Drouet d'Erlon Reims France
Stroll the Place Drouet d’Erlon

If you’re not in a hurry, have dinner in Reims.  There are multiple dining options in the vicinity.  Perhaps try one of these:

I hope you truly enjoy your self-guided Champagne day trip from Paris to Reims without a car.

How Much Will You Save on This Champagne Itinerary?

What time of year you visit Reims, what tasting/tours you choose, your lunch and Paris Reims train ticket will vary your total Champagne day trip from Paris budget, of course.

As a ballpark estimate, here is what you could expect to pay to plan your Champagne day trip from Paris budget (max estimate prices at time of writing):

  • Round-trip Paris Reims (direct) ticket bought in advance: 30€
  • Mumm Cordon Rouge Experience (1.5hr tour and tasting): 28€
  • Reims Cathedral (no tour): Free
  • Lunch of your choosing: 35€
  • Veuve Clicquot Yellow Card (1-hour tour with two tastings): 35€
  • Taittinger Cellar Tour (with 4 tastings): 35€

Again, these are estimates, but how does roughly 175€ sound for a full day in Champagne with three champagne house tours and tastings, sound?

Do a budget lunch and forgo a champagne house and you still have an amazing day in Champagne without a car for your travel budget.

Overall, while it may not be the most luxurious Champagne experience, it is still possible to have a great Champagne day trip from Paris to Reims on a budget using this self-guided Paris day trip itinerary and complete your Paris solo travel. You only live once, and regret sucks.

Best Tours to Champagne from Paris Options

Sold on the idea of taking a Champagne day trip from Paris but want to take a tour instead? I hear ya. Sometime’s it’s nice to break up the solo travel and meet people. No problem, I totally understand.

The good news is you can get a Paris Champagne tour to Reims (or a day trip to Épernay from Paris tour) that could suit your Paris itinerary. If you are going to pay for a Paris Champagne tour, I would stick to a small group tour for the best value.

Here are some highly rated, options I would consider the best Champagne tours from Paris because they are small group tours and reasonably priced. I would consider doing one of these tours while traveling France.

Also included are some other tours in Reims for convenience. Just book early if you’re traveling during the high season.

Best Champagne Tours from Paris & Reims Tours

Perhaps you’re thinking now one day in Champagne just not enough. Here you can find a complete listing of Champagne’s Champagne Houses for informtion on how to visit each, with a Champagne region of France map to those champagne houses that allow tours of their champagne cellars.

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 Paris to Champagne region tour without a car.

Let Me Hear From You

I hope you truly enjoy your Champagne day trip from Paris to Reims without a car for budget and eco-friendly travel in France. Write me a comment below to let me know how much fun you had.

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