A day trip to Champagne from Paris – All you need to know!
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Whether you just adore the idea of sipping bubbling champagne or you just want to get out of Paris for a day – a day trip to Champagne from Paris is an amazing experience. Visit vineyards and cellars, taste bubbly exquisite Champagne in a stunning surrounding, enjoy a masterclass, talk with wine experts or visit historic sites like the cathedral of Reims… or the hometown of Dom Pérignon. … sounds great, doesn’t it?
Either you simply reserve a seat on one of the Champagne tours from Paris or you travel on your own by train. If that sounds confusing, don’t worry! Read on and know everything you need to know for visiting the Champagne. How to get there, what to do there, how to enjoy it to the max!
Where is the the Champagne region?
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The Champagne is a wine region around 160km/100 miles east of Paris, bordering Belgium in the north. Reims and Épernay are the two commercial centres of the Champagne and also the cities where most Champagne producers are having their head quarters.
The Champagne-Ardenne was an independent administrative region of France. In 2016 it got merged with the neighbouring regions Alsace and Lorraine to form the new region Grand Est.
That’s being said, the Champagne is fairly large region. In order to visit the Champagne houses, vineyards and cellars, you should head to Reims. Reims is the biggest city in the region and the centre of Champagne productions – most big Champagne houses – les Grandes Marques – are having their headquarter and visitor centre there.
Then there is also Épernay. It’s a a small town 40 minutes from Reims, but nevertheless the second most important Champagne city. You find here as well headquarters and visitor centres of big brands, but the most important is probably Dom Perignon.
Why you should make Reims your base and not Épernay
Even though Épernay is a valid destination when visiting the Champagne, I still recommend to make Reims your base. First Reims is easier and quicker to get to from Paris. The regular train to Épernay takes 1h20, while it’s only 40 minutes to Reims. It’s not much, though when you have only little time, every hour counts. The real game changer is though, that you absolutely can take a tour from Reims that includes Épernay, hence visit both from Reims, while there is no tour from Épernay that brings you to Reims as well.
Why you should visit the Champagne region from Paris
The first reason to visit the Champagne region is obviously to taste Champagne. Even though it’s fairly common to refer to all sorts of sparkling as Champagne, it’s fundamentally wrong. Only sparkling wine that comes from the Champagne region, made from regional grapes and ages in the miles long underground cave system, can legally be called Champagne. By visiting the Champagne, you’re basically at the source of everything that is good.
Wait, you are more into wine? Take a day trip to Bordeaux instead!
But the Champagne is also historically a very interesting destination. The biggest city of the new Grand Est region, Reims, had already been a major city in the Roman Empire. Some ruins got preserved until today! Reims also has one of the most important cathedrals in France! Between the 12th and the 19th century, most french kings got crowned there. Located relatively close to the german border, many battlegrounds of WWI were located in the Champagne region and can be visited today.
And to get back to the fun stuff: you can taste champagne!
What you can expect in Reims
• a beautiful cathedral (a world heritage site)
• the Palais du Tau (also a world heritage site)
• roman ruins, for example the Mars Gate
• Famous Champagne houses like Veuve Clicquot, Ruinard, Pommery, Mumm, Taittinger and many more.
How to get from Paris to Champagne?
You have several options for traveling from Paris to Champagne. You can take the high speed train TGV, a bus, rent a car or book a tour. As you probably will try quite some alcohol, I strongly advise against renting a car though. Your best bet is either taking a train or booking a tour from Paris.
The most convenient and efficient way to visit Reims is booking a champagne day trip from Paris. It might be a bit more expensive (not necessarily, even) than organising the trip on your own, but you can be sure not to miss any highlight. Just lean back and your guide will figure out the rest.
Our Tip: check out this tour it’s the best rated on getyourguide.com and includes a visit of Épernay, Hautvillers (Dom Perignon’s home), a vineyard tour, lunch and of course lots of Champagne. Click here for more rates and availabilities.
Reims by train
If you decide to organise your own transportation, visiting Reims by train is quite easy and quick. Paris and Reims are connected by TGV, the french high speed train. It takes only 45 minutes from Gare de l’Est.
If you are traveling by train, and wish to visit Reims and Épernay, I advise to book a tour from Reims though. The train from Reims to Épernay does take only around 40 minutes and it’s theoretically doable to visit both locations independent. However, if you have any champagne tasting tours scheduled, you’ll be very much running from a to b. Check out this all-in-one tour from Paris that includes both cities (click to know more). You also can visit a champagne house in Reims on your own account in the morning and an organised tour to Épernay in the afternoon. This tour is the most popular one.
Gare de l’Est train station
All destinations east from Paris are usually leaving from Gare de l’Est, hence if you travel from Paris to Champagne, Gare de l’Est is your station. The train station lays in the north of Paris and is reachable by Metro 4, 5 and 7 or RER E. It is also serviced by the Transilien P suburb train that connects communes in the south east to Paris. If you are worried about taking public transport in Paris, don’t miss our guide about how to use the Parisian Metro!
Where’s the train leaving at Gare de l’Est?
Gare de l’Est has 30 platforms. Platfrom 2-12 and 23 -30 are used by main train lines, for example the high speed train TGV. Those platforms are marked as yellow respective blue zone. Aim to arrive 30 minutes prior departure at the train station to be on the save side. Around 15 minutes before departure, the platform will be indicated on screens. High speed trains and trains to Germany are shown on the screen labeled “Départs Grandes Lignes“. Before a number pops up, it will usually already be indicated whether it’s in the yellow or blue zone, so you can already already wait in the somewhat right place.
To be on the safe side, aim to arrive 30 minutes before your train is scheduled.
Purchasing tickets for your trip from Paris to Reims by train
You can purchase your train tickets at the SNCF ticket office in Hall Alsace on the ground floor, or at the yellow or white ticket vending machines that you find all over the station. However, buying your ticket on the day might be very expensive and you risk that the train you plan to board is sold out.
∇ Purchase your tickets in advance and online!
To avoid super expensive train tickets, queues or – and more likely – sold out tickets, plan your trip to Reims in advance. You easily can purchase train tickets here. Make sure that your purchased ticket is a mobile tickets, so you only need to have them on your phone and don’t need to print them out. However, if you are not sure you’ll have an internet connection, take a screenshot, just to be on the safe side.
Sold out tickets are not the only thing that could go wrong in Paris! Read more about the most common Paris mistakes!
Visiting the Les Grandes Marques
If visiting Reims with an organised tour is not really your cup of tea, you can certainly visit the headquarters and cellars of the big Champagne Houses, Les Grandes Marques, on your own.
The big houses are offering guided visits that you simply can sign up for online. Below I put together a list of the most popular ones. Just keep in mind that they are not necessarily in the centre of Reims and you need to organise your own transportation. There are busses and trams circulating in Reims, or you just get a taxi.
The most popular Champagne houses in Reims:
• Veuve Clicquot – located 5km from train station • guided visit from 28€/p
• Ruinard- located 5km from train station • guided visit from 70€/p
• Pommery – located 5km from train station • guided visit from 25€/p
• Mumm – located 1.5km from train station • guided visit from 23€/p
• Taittinger – located 5km from train station • guided visit from 21€/p
Find the best itinerary for your bubbly Champagne trip!
There are quite a few options on how to travel to Reims and how to fill your day. It can be quite confusing but I summed up 4 options that seem to me the most logical.
What you pick depends on your travel style – do you appreciate traveling with a group or are you more the independent traveler? and of course: your budget.
If plan to visit the Champagne on a budget, book your train tickets early to get some low fare tickets. If you reserve only one Champagne tasting and have a budget lunch, you Champagne day trip will be probably around 80€ per person. But that’s really the bare minimum.
Option 1 – Reims, self organised
cost for transportation to Reims, tastings, transportation in Reims, and Lunch: from approx. 150€
Hop on a train (don’t forget to book your train ticket in advance, especially the morning trains are full) and try to be in Reims early. I like to book tickets with omio.com, their page is very easy to navigate and you get the tickets conveniently send to your mobile phone.
After some sightseeing, the visit of the Cathedral is a must (!!) head to the first Champagne house of your choice and enjoy a guided visit and a Champagne tasting.
Depending on where your your first Champagne experience took place, you can either have lunch around the Domaine (might be a bit pricy though) or head to the Place Drouet d’Erlon in the centre. It’s a pedestrian street with plenty of restaurants. Best to check tripadvisor to know what eateries are close to your morning Champagne tasting.
Visit a second Champagne House in the afternoon before heading back to Paris. If you can’t decide which are the best Champagne houses to visit, Taittinger and Pommery are very popular ones.
Option 2 – Champagne region from Reims
cost for transportation to Reims, guided tour and Lunch: from approx. 220€
This is a great option if you are keen to explore the region to the fullest but save some money on transportation.
Organise your own transportation from Paris to Reims and make sure you arrive around 9am. To be on the save side, it’s of course best to reserve your train tickets in advance online (I think I might have mentioned that already :D)
Your tour starts at 9.30 and is by far the most popular Champagne tour from Reims. Compared to similar tours, the “Reims and Épernay small group day trip” is the best value for money, it includes amongst others:
- Champagne tastings Taittinger and Moët & Chando
- visits of Épernay and Hautvilliers, the home of Dom Pérignon
- a sightseeing tour of Reims
- transportation and english speaking guide
You’ll be back at the train station of Reims in the late afternoon/early evening to catch your train from Reims to Paris.
Option 3 – Reims and Épernay, self organised with tour
cost for transportation to Reims, guided tour and Lunch: from approx. 180€
Catch an early train from Gare de l’Est to arrive in Reims before 9. Start your day off with sightseeing in Reims, visit the Cathedral, have a morning café and visit a Champagne House of your choice. Don’t forget to reserve your spot in advance though, I linked the tour pages of the Champagne houses just above.
I suggest to have lunch at the Café de Palais. It has excellent reviews and is not far from the tourism office, the meeting point for your next activity.
You will leave Reims for the afternoon and take a trip to through the vineyards of the Champagne region. Visit the The cathedral of Reims and a family run winerey. You’ll learn everything about Champagne production and – of course – taste Champagne. Click here to get more information about this Champagne afternoon tour.
You’ll be back at the train station of Reims in the early evening. Just in time to hop on your train back to Paris. To avoid stress, I recommend to purchase your train ticket before online.
Option 4 – full Champagne region tour from Paris
cost for tour incl. transportation, tastings, masterclass, lunch: form approx. 255€
If you’re not up for any hassle or organisation, a care-free Champagne tour package is the best you can do. There are a few tours available from Paris but this one has the best rates and the most interesting features:
- It includes hotel pick up
- Champagne paired lunch
- a Champagne masterclass
- and the visit of at least 2 Champagne Houses including tastings
- visit Dom Pérignons village Hautvilliers and Épernay
- taste 8 different Champagnes during the day
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