Champagne Dreams: Day Trip To Reims From Paris

glass of champagne on top of a wooden barrel branded Veuve Clicquot

Thinking of taking a day trip to Reims from Paris? Great idea! Reims is one of the major hubs in the Champagne Wine Region of France, so it’s a great place to learn more about champagne (and maybe to taste some). It’s also a vibrant, historical, confident city in and of itself, so it’s a lovely place to explore, even if you’re not into champagne.

I took a day trip from Paris to Reims in April 2023 and it really was the perfect day! I travelled there by train, explored the city and did a champagne tour where I learned loads and tasted some exquisite champagnes. When I got back to Paris, I felt enriched, inspired – and I wasn’t exhausted at the end of the day. You can’t ask for much more than that from a day trip!

In this post, I’ll show you how to get to Reims from Paris, what to do there (I’ll suggest an itinerary for one day in Reims) and how to get back to Paris. I’ve also included an annotated map of Reims.

And because I visited the Veuve Clicquot champagne house (because it’s my favourite champagne), you can also use this specifically to learn how to do a day trip from Paris to Veuve Clicquot.

Feel free to use the contents to jump to the info you’ll find most useful.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. These are links to products or experiences I recommend and if you were to buy something after clicking on them, I might earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Any earnings go towards the upkeep of this blog, which I appreciate.

About Reims And The Champagne Region

Reims is a city in the northeast of France. It is the biggest city in the department of Marne and lies within the Champagne Wine Region of France.

There’s been a settlement here for more than 2,000 years, when it was founded by the Remi tribe, before being taken over by the Roman Empire. It has historical significance for being the place where the Kings of France were consecrated for hundreds of years.

The Champagne Wine Region is best known for the production of champagne, the sparkling white wine that bears the region’s name. Wine has been produced in the region since the middle ages, but champagne production became really popular in the 18th and 19th centuries.

EU law and the laws of most countries dictate that only wines that come from this region can use the name ‘champagne’. Any sparkling wine that is not from the Champagne Wine Region is not actually champagne.

There are two main cities in the Champagne Wine Region where you can do champagne tours or experiences: Reims and Épernay. Of the two, I think Reims is the best option for a day trip to Champagne from Paris because it is quicker to get there.

Tall Gothic-style cathedral
Reims’ Cathedral de Notre-Dame is where French kings were crowned

How To Take A Day Trip To Reims From Paris By Train

Getting To Reims From Paris

You have some options. You could hire a car and drive there, but if you want to taste champagne, you wouldn’t be able to drive for a while afterwards.

Another option is to take an organised tour that picks you up in Paris and takes you to Reims by bus. This could be a good option if you don’t want to worry about the logistics of making your own way there. 

However, I recommend taking the train to Reims because it’s easy and fast. This is the route I took and it worked really smoothly. I’ll talk you through how to do it.

Paris To Reims Train Tickets

The best train to take to Reims from Paris is a TGV train because this is the fastest option. TGV trains depart from Paris Gare de l’Est and the high-speed trains take 46 minutes to get to Reims.

I recommend booking in advance to get the best prices and also to guarantee that you can take the train you want because they do get busy. Bookings come with a seat reservation, which you should stick to (don’t sit in any seat – sit in the one you’ve been allocated).

You can book tickets on the official French railway website (SNCF Connect, which has prices in Euros). Or, if you prefer, Omio lets you choose from a number of currencies, including €, £, and US$.

The start of your journey is Paris Gare de l’Est and the end is Gare de Reims / Reims Ville station. NB. Don’t pick a train that goes to Reims-Maison-Blanche station, because this is not in the centre of the city and the journey will take longer (and requires a change of trains).

There are several trains from Paris to Reims throughout the day, but not every train will be high-speed, so pay attention to the journey duration. For my day trip to Reims from Paris, I took a 10:28 TGV train, which arrived in Reims at 11:14 am.

old fashioned carousel and pink cherry blossom tree
Reims City Centre

Paris To Reims Train

When taking the train from Paris to Reims, arrive at Gare de l’Est a little early. You need to give yourself enough time to scan your ticket bar code on the electronic barriers, find your carriage and take your seat well before the departure time. The train doors close up to 2 minutes before departure, so don’t leave it too late!

Once you’re on board, take your seat, settle in and enjoy the speedy ride across northern France!

One Day in Reims – The Perfect Itinerary

Here is a suggested itinerary for how to spend your one day in Reims, based on my own delightful visit.

Morning – Explore Reims City Center (Centre Ville)

If you arrive late morning, as I did, start off by strolling from the train station into the city centre, which is only a short walk. Here are some of the things to look out for in the town centre.

Square Colbert

Right next to the station, you’ll walk past or through Square Colbert to get to the city centre. It’s a nice green park with a statue of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, a Reims native who was France’s First Minister of State in the Louis XIV era.

black statue of a man in a green park
Square Colbert

Place Drouet d’Erlon

This wide, attractive boulevard is lined with café bars and terraces and features a large, ornate fountain topped with a gold statue of Victory, depicted as a winged angel. This is Subé Fountain, built in 1906.

ornate fountain and tower with a gold angel on top
Subé Fountain

Fontaine de la Solidarité

Another nice fountain is the Fontaine de la Solidarité. Built in 1977, it is smaller and more modest than the Subé Fountain and is nicknamed “the ball fountain”.

Covered Passages: Passage Talleyrand & Passage Subé

Similar to the covered passages of Paris, Reims also has some covered passages containing a variety of independent shops. Passages Talleyrand and Subé form a cross shape under vaulted glass ceilings and create a nice space to browse or shop.

pedestrian shopping passage with a vaulted glass ceiling
Passage Talleyrand

Hôtel de Ville (Reims Town Hall)

Unfortunately, the Hôtel de Ville was under renovation when I visited, so I couldn’t see much of its façade. But the 17th-century building looks very grand from photographs I have seen from before the scaffolding went up!

Place Royale

This square is a Monument historique, meaning it’s a heritage site in France. Place Royale has some smart government buildings fronted with columns and a statue of Louis XV in the middle.

grand building with pillars and a French flag seen through two archways
Place Royale

Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Reims

Now we come to the architectural showpiece of Reims! Even if you’re not particularly interested in churches and cathedrals, it’s hard not to be struck by the intricately detailed carvings that adorn Reims Cathedral.

It’s also big: the two elaborate Gothic towers dominate the centre of Reims, so it kind of demands attention.

Architecturally, the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Reims is considered a masterpiece in Gothic architecture, displaying some of the most innovative 13th-century techniques.

close up of the ornate details on a gothic cathedral in Reims, France
Cathedral details

But it’s not just a spectacle to look at. The cathedral is historically significant for a couple of reasons.

First, it was where the kings of France were crowned from the time of Philippe II Augustus (anointed 1179) to that of Charles X (anointed 1825). The cathedral hosted thirty-three sovereign coronations in just over 1000 years!

And secondly, in 1962 the Franco-German reconciliation and signing of the Elysée Treaty was preceded by a mass at the Cathedral, attended by both the German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, and French President, Charles de Gaulle.

The Cathedral of Notre-Dame was built between 1211 and 1515 (although some renovations were made subsequently) and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.

If you want, you can take guided tours of Reims Cathedral.

La Pierre d’Heures

A little way south of the cathedral, there’s a giant sculpture or sundial on one of the pavements. I haven’t been able to find out too much written about it, but I thought it was pretty cool.

large rust-coloured sundial on the pavement of a street
La Pierre d’Heures

Le Four à Bois

This boulangerie (bakery) just opposite the sundial had a line outside both times I passed it when exploring Reims. The people lining up were speaking French, so there’s a good chance they were locals, rather than tourists. And they say you should pay attention to where locals eat because it’s likely to be good.

So, I joined the queue and grabbed a tasty pain au chocolat, which was the perfect balance of flaky and gooey.

rows of delicate and colourful cakes in a bakery
Le Four à Bois

Basilique Saint-Remi

This is another medieval church in Reims; this one is said to be the largest Romanesque church in northern France. It has a lovely churchyard, which is a good place to sit if you need a rest during your exploring

Other Things To Do In Reims

Here are some other things to do during your day trip to Reims from Paris, which I personally skipped, but which might interest you:

  • La Porte de Mars – a Roman triumphal arch that dates from the third century AD, and was the widest arch in the Roman world
  • Carnegie Library of Reims – a public library, built in the 1920s in the Art Deco style
  • Musee des Beaux Arts de Reims – a museum of fine art. But this is currently closed for renovation and is due to re-open in 2025
  • Palais du Tau, which was once the grand residence of the Archbishop of Reims
  • Musée Automobile Reims Champagne – a motor museum exhibiting 230 cars and motorbikes dating from 1908

Reims City Pass

Now, if you’re tempted to pay for any tours or museums in Reims, you might want to check out the Reims Epernay Pass for Reims and Épernay. It’s available from Viator and it can be bought for one, two or three days. Access gives you a few benefits, including:

  • Unlimited access to public transport
  • Reims to Epernay round trip by train (with the 48h and 72h passes)
  • Free activities, including a tour of the Cathedral Notre-Dame and Musée Automobile Reims Champagne
  • Lots of discounts at cafes and experiences in the towns
  • Champagne tasting benefits, eg discounts on some tours & free extras on others

The Reims Pass will only be worth paying for if you think you will use the benefits, so it’s worth reading the details before signing up. I personally didn’t use it on my day trip to Reims from Paris.

Late Lunch

There are some excellent options for lunch in Reims, including Le Condorcet in the City Centre, which was very chilled out when I went.

multi-coloured pavement tiles outside a restaurant called Le Square
Le Square

I also heard good things about Restaurant La Fontaine and Le Square, which are both a little further out of the centre, towards many of the Champagne houses.

NB. These family-run places close during August, like some French businesses tend to.

Afternoon: Get Your Bubbles On!

After lunch, with your stomach full, it’s time for the highlight of your day trip to Reims from Paris: a champagne tour!

Reims Champagne Tour – The Champagne Houses

There are tours of vineyards near Reims and in the town there are also various champagne houses that offer cellar tours and tastings, including well-known brands like Ruinart, Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot and Pommery.

I chose to do a cellar tour with Veuve Clicquot, mainly because if I’m going to splash out on champagne, that’s my brand of choice.

glass of champagne on top of a wooden barrel branded Veuve Clicquot

Veuve Clicquot Tour

There are different options for doing tours with Veuve Clicquot. For example, Get Your Guide offers a tour that combines a cellar tour of Veuve Clicquot, another winery and lunch.

You also have several shorter options you can book directly with Veuve Clicquot on their website.

I chose to do the ‘Only One Quality – The Finest’ cellar tour, which lasts 1.5 hours. I booked this directly with Veuve Clicquot, where the tickets were non-refundable and non-exchangeable.

The Veuve Clicquot cellars are about 25 minutes’ walk from the centre of Reims and I was told to arrive 15 minutes before the start of my tour. It’s an easy enough walk, but you could get a taxi if you didn’t feel like doing it.

Veuve Clicquot Cellar Tour

My tour started by descending the many stairs into the cellar, which is deep underground. It is 24 km long and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site for Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars in the Champagne Wine Region.

stone steps going down into a cellar lit in yellow-orange light
Descending into the Veuve Clicquot cellar

The cellar is kept between 10 and 12 degrees C and 95% humidity, so make sure you have an extra layer of clothes, in case you get chilly down there.

I thought the cellar tour was excellent. During the hour or so we toured the cellar, the tour guide skillfully taught us about the basics of champagne production. And she interspersed this with the history and story of the brand, and its ground-breaking founder, The Grand Dame of Champagne, Madame Clicquot.

I didn’t know anything about Madame Clicquot before I did the tour and I came away inspired by the story of how she took over the champagne house at a time when women were rarely running businesses. And she not only ran it successfully, but she grew it and also invented several things which are established in champagne making today. There should be a movie about this bold, innovator!

Veuve Clicquot Champagne Tasting

After the tour, but still in the cellar, we got to taste some champagne! This was great because we had a lesson about different types of champagne as we did it.

glass of rose champagne on a wooden barrel table

We tasted four wines, with a mix of vintages and blends and we were encouraged to identify the varying flavours within each one – which I was not brilliant at, but I did OK.

I did really enjoy the champagnes, but I was definitely feeling the buzz as we ascended the stairs to come out of the cellar… Maybe I shouldn’t have finished every glass, haha!

The exit steps are pretty cool: they’re lit up in the signature Veuve yellow, one step for each vintage year.

stone steps, lit in yellow-orange, with a year labelled on each step
Exiting the Veuve Clicquot cellar
Veuve Clicquot Shop

After the tour, we were able to use the toilets and browse the gift shop – and this was probably the most disappointing aspect of the experience.

Not the toilets – they were fine! The gift shop was disappointing. It was just very geared towards high-end items and pricey souvenirs that I didn’t think were worth paying for.

I would have been in the market to buy a bottle of one of the wines we tasted, but everything seemed overpriced. It’s not that they were more than I was used to paying – it’s that they were the same price, which is odd given the prices I’m used to in the UK include a hefty import tax.

It wouldn’t have been convenient to leave with a bottle, but I might have been tempted to do it if there was a bargain to be had. As it was, there wasn’t so I didn’t buy anything.

I did, however, spend a little time in the café.

Veuve Clicquot Café

Seeing as I was feeling the buzz from the booze, I figured I should take my time before heading back into the streets of Reims. I had a coffee and a bite to eat in the cafe, relaxing on their nice outdoor terrace for a while.

The menu was limited, but I had a really tasty burger!

burger and fries on a yellow table branded Veuve Clicquot
The branding was everywhere!

Other Reims Champagne Tours

I arranged my Reims champagne tour independently, meaning I had to get to the Champagne cellar myself.

However, if you prefer to have someone else worry about the logistics and the transfers, there are some ‘all in’ tours which might be a better fit, including these highly-rated tours on Get Your Guide:

 

Returning To Paris After a Perfect Day Trip to Reims

After your champagne tour, wander back towards the train station, making any sightseeing stops in the city you missed earlier.

On my day trip to Reims, I made a point of revisiting that bakery (Le Four à Bois) to grab some snacks for the train. I bought some mini Financiers, which were perfect for the journey home. They were moist and light – so moreish!

Reims To Paris Train

Again, I’d recommend booking your return journey back to Paris in advance and arriving at Reims station 5-10 minutes before your train is due to depart.

I took the 5:15 pm train, which arrived in Paris at 6:01 pm.

paper bag of mini cakes
These mini Financiers were the perfect train snack!

Before Your Day Trip To Reims From Paris

At the risk of repeating myself, I do recommend you book some things in advance of your day trip to Reims, rather than trying to do them on the day (which risks disappointment).

Specifically, you should book the following ahead of time:

  • Train ticketsOmio can help you find the best-value tickets for your dates.
  • Champagne tour, if you want to do one. If you don’t have a specific champagne house in mind, Get Your Guide has several options, as does Viator.

Tips For A Day Trip To Reims From Paris

Having made a day trip from Paris to Reims, I have a few tips for others doing the same:

  • Wear comfortable shoes, as there’s a fair amount of walking (unless you opt to use public transport or taxis)
  • Don’t overdo the champagne on your champagne tour. Know your limits and stick to them. After all, we all know too much wine can lead to bad decisions. If you feel the buzz, take your time before doing anything risky and, obviously, don’t drive.
  • Don’t stay too late – it can be tempting to try to do everything in a place if you only have one day there, but one of the things that really worked on my day trip to Reims was not cramming too much in. I came back late afternoon, meaning I was back in Paris for dinner. I felt like I’d had a full, exciting day – but I wasn’t totally worn out, which is a good thing, I think.

If You Want To Stay Overnight In Reims…

I did a day trip to Reims from Paris, ie there and back in one day. So that’s the first-hand experience I’m sharing in this post.

I didn’t stay overnight in Reims, but I do understand that some people might prefer to spend one day there and stay overnight.

Based on a little research, it looks like they have some well-rated and centrally-located hotels there, including:

I mainly use Booking.com to book hotels because I appreciate the loyalty benefits and the ability to pay on departure, rather than when you book. Feel free to search for a hotel for your dates:

Map Of Reims

I’ve mentioned a lot of places in this article, so I imagine it helps to clarify where they all are in relation to each other. Here’s a map of Reims with markers for the things to do I have mentioned in this article.

How To Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left-hand corner of the map to view the layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each one.  If you click the star next to the map’s title, it will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu, go to ‘Your Places’ or ‘Saved’, then click Maps and you will see this map in your list.

FAQs – Day Trip To Reims From Paris

How Far Is Reims From Paris?

Reims is approximately 144 km (90 miles) east of Paris.

Is Reims Worth Visiting?

I definitely think so. I’m a big city person and I love Paris deeply, so spending a day away from Paris isn’t something I do lightly – but I thoroughly enjoyed my one day in Reims.

Reims gives you a chance to experience some of the finest wines in the world in their place of origin and to learn about them from experts.

Added to that, the city itself is charming with some extravagant Gothic architecture. And even beyond the cathedral, there are plenty of attractive architectural flourishes around Reims.

I did this day trip as a solo traveller in Paris and had a great time on my own. I could also see that this could be a good thing to do if you’re in Paris as a couple because the champagne aspect can be seen as romantic.

When To Visit Reims?

I think you could go year-round, but it is likely to be busiest with tourists in the summer months.

Having said that, locals might be somewhat scant in August when many French people go on their summer holidays. In checking some details for the article during August, I noticed some local businesses were closed for August, and there were also fewer fast trains running.  

I did my day trip to Reims from Paris in Spring: mid-April. This was a pretty good time of year to go because the city wasn’t very busy, but the weather was mild enough to walk all over. And there were some lovely cherry trees in bloom in the churchyard of Basilique Saint-Remi.

Ps. If you’re interested in Spring blossoms I have a whole post on the best places to see cherry blossoms in Paris.

pink cherry blossom trees in a churchyard
Cherry blossoms in Basilique Saint-Remi churchyard

How To Get Around Reims? / Is Reims A Walkable City?

Yes, I found it to be very walkable. It’s not a big city, so it’s totally possible to walk around.

As I normally do, I used CityMappper app to help me plot a walking route to where I wanted to go, including between the city centre and the champagne houses.

There are buses, which are included in the Reims Pass, and there are also taxis if you prefer not to walk everywhere.

How Much Time Do You Need For Reims?

I found a day to be the perfect amount of time. And, as you’ll have gathered by my timings, I didn’t make it a long day: I arrived late morning and left just after 5 pm. And that felt spot on for me.

Obviously, if you want to see more things in Reims, you could start earlier and finish later than me.

Is Champagne Cheaper In Reims?

I only looked in the Veuve Clicquot shop and I didn’t think the prices were cheaper than I can get at home: they seemed about the same to me.

There might be champagne merchants in the city where you can get better deals, but I didn’t buy from any.

dusty bottles of champagne stacked together in racks
Veuve Clicquot cellar

How Is Reims Pronounced In French?

Well, to my non-French-speaking surprise, it is NOT pronounced ‘Reems’, nor ‘Rhymes’. It’s something closer to ‘Ruhms’ or ‘Rams’, but with the R rolled and with little emphasis on the M and S.

But don’t take my word for it. The best way to know how to pronounce Reims (or anything else in French, for that matter) is to use the ‘play audio’ function in Google Translate, which will play a French person pronouncing it (look for the speaker icon). You can download Google Translate to your phone as an app.

Wikipedia also has an audio of the pronunciation of Reims here (press on ‘listen’).

The Last Word

I hope this article has given you some helpful info and inspiration about doing a day trip to Reims from Paris. I’ll say it again: I loved doing this day trip and I would recommend it to anyone looking to complement their time in Paris with some other nearby places in France.

If you need any other ideas for day trips, I have a whole post with ideas of day trips from Paris by train, including to places in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and even the UK.

And if you need any ideas about Paris itself, have you checked my guide to Paris for first-timers and also Paris off the beaten path?

If you like this article, I'd be delighted if you shared it!

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