Day Trips From Paris: Reims


This is the last in a three-part "Day Trips From Paris" series where we explore day trip options in Versailles, Giverny and Reims.

Day Trip To Reims, France

It takes less than an hour by high-speed TGV train from Paris to reach the capital of Champagne, Reims. This historic city has an astonishing 13th-century gothic cathedral which witnessed centuries of coronations of French kings. (Joan of Arc’s expulsion of the English from Reims allowed for the coronation of Charles VII here in 1429.) The city has an important 20th-century history as well. In the Musée de la Reddition, housed in a former technical school, you can see the very room where the Germans surrendered to the Allies, ending World War II. The furnishings are all original to that day, as are the maps on the walls showing troop positions. Standing in this room sends chills up the spine.

"Standing in this room sends chills up the spine."

But of course, most people come to Reims for the Champagne. Wineries around the world make sparkling wine nowadays, but no one does it quite as well as the Champenoise. Touring the Champagne houses is a delight. Grand mansion-like tasting rooms stand on top of networks of caves, or aging cellars, carved out of the chalk and limestone. (Romans did the initial quarrying for building material.) Of the regularly scheduled guided tours offered by the great Champagne houses, one of the best is Mumm, with an interesting video before a tour of the caves, and a nice glass of bubbly as the grand finale. The tour of Pommery also is worthwhile; its impressive caves host rotating exhibitions of contemporary art.

Extend Your Stay

The TGV train makes it easy to visit Reims as a day trip from Paris, but the city certainly merits an additional day or two, if time allows. Right across the street from Pommery is the elegant Château Les Crayères, which has a superb setting in a beautifully landscaped park, two outstanding restaurants (a brasserie and a haute-cuisine table), and exquisitely decorated rooms, several of which come with fireplaces. And what could be better than curling up in front of the fireplace in a château with a flute of exquisite Champagne?

This piece originally appear in the April/May/June 2015 Traveler magazine. Click here to access the full issue.

By Hideaway Report Staff

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