Sip and Savor: Top 7 Things to Do in Reims, France
Welcome to Reims, a city steeped in history and fine little bubbles. Nestled in the heart of the Champagne region, Reims is a destination that is worth the 45-minute day trip from Paris. From ancient Gothic architecture to prestigious Champagne Houses, this city has a lot to offer. Let’s explore my top 7 things to do in Reims to get you inspired to plan a visit!
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01- Visit One of the Large Champagne Houses
Pommery Champagne House
Visiting Reims without experiencing a Champagne House is akin to a trip to Paris without a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.
Reims is in the heart of Champagne country and boasts renowned Champagne houses like Veuve Clicquot, Pommery, Taittinger, and Ruinart. Indulge in sipping France’s finest bubbles by scheduling a wine tour and tasting session.
Ruinart in Reims, France
If you only have time for one Champagne house, I would strongly advise Maison Ruinart.
Since its founding in 1729, it proudly holds the distinction of being the oldest Champagne House. Ruinart is known for its elegant and meticulously crafted Champagne, which are Chardonnay-dominant blends.
Walking downstairs into the chalk cellars at Ruinart Champagne House
What made our wine tour truly special was the opportunity to explore the ancient chalk caves, known as “crayères,” where Champagne bottles are still carefully stored beneath the city of Reims to this very day. These chalk cellars are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After the tour of the chalk caves, we sat down with a few other couples for a lovely explanation and tasting of two cuvées.
Ruinart Wine Tasting
Maison Ruinart now offers the opportunity to reserve a brunch paired with a tasting. Incredible French cuisine alongside exceptional Champagne? Oh, yeah. I wish they had this option available when we went.
In case Maison Ruinart is fully booked, I’ve heard that Champagne House Taittinger also provides an excellent Champagne tour experience.
If you want to know more about who runs the best Reims Champagne tours, don’t miss my article below.
02- Pop Into the Coolest Wine Shop for a Tasting
Trésors de Champagne wine shop
I know, I know. I’m recommending more Champagne tastings? Yes, after all, you are in the heart of Champagne country.
My husband and I stopped in for an impromptu Champagne tasting. We were dazzled by all the illuminated wine bottles hanging from the ceiling. Each winegrower had their own section along the wall highlighting their best bottles.
The staff was incredibly kind and accommodating and walked us through a tasting of six unique Champagnes. If there is something you like, you can ship it back home at a reasonable cost. Love this shop!
Trésors de Champagne wine tasting
03- Snack on Some Fine Pink Biscuits
Biscuit rose de Reims and Champagne
Reims is famous for its vibrant and sweet pink biscuits, an ideal complement to fine Champagne.
It’s a tradition to dip these biscuits into your glass of Champagne, creating a pairing as perfect as a warm chocolate chip cookie and a tall glass of cold milk.
Fossier’s Confectioners is credited for their creation in the late 18th century. I was told the delicate pink color comes from carmine, a natural red dye derived from cochineal insects.
Maybe that’s why the biscuit has a crunchy consistency. Just kidding. Its consistency comes from baking it twice successively.
04- Witness the Iconic Reims Cathedral
The Reims Cathedral is a symbol of French history. This masterpiece of Gothic architecture is where the French kings were crowned, which is the reason Reims is known as the “City of Coronations.”
We appreciated its grandeur and the detailed sculptures on the exterior. A visit inside will reveal all the exquisite original stained glass windows.
During our day trip from Paris, the Reims Cathedral was our first stop during our self-guided tour. It’s located less than 15 minutes from the Reims train station.
05- Enjoy an Exceptional Lunch at a Great Price
Domaine Les Crayères in Reims
The French are all about good value for the money. One of the ways to enjoy a delicious meal from an exceptional restaurant is to go during lunch for their prix fixe menu.
Domaine Les Crayères is a gorgeous classic French hotel in Reims known for its gastronomic 2-star Michelin restaurant Le Parc Les Crayères. Chef Philippe Mille is the creative genius behind its success.
He also heads up the little sister restaurant, Le Jardin Les Crayères, located on a beautifully landscaped terrace at the same hotel.
Salmon in Bellevue, herbs from the garden at Le Jardin Les Crayères in Reims
We enjoyed a delightful three-course tasting menu priced at just 33 euros (now it’s 39 euros). What an amazing value for the quality of the food!
06- Step into the Past and Admire Porte de Mars
Porte de Mars in Reims, France
I wasn’t expecting to see the world’s largest Roman arch right in the city of Reims. We happened upon this ancient triumphal arch on our walk back to the Reims train station.
The name “Porte de Mars” originates from its proximity to a temple devoted to the Roman god of war, Mars. It is surprisingly well preserved, and you can still see all its detailed carvings.
This little part of history is certainly worth swinging by if you are walking to/from the Reims train station.
07- Find a Hidden Foodie Gem in a Fish Shop
Oysters and Champagne
I ran out of time to experience #7 on my list, but I wanted to include it because it was highly recommended.
Le Bocal is an intimate local’s favorite restaurant and is known for its incredibly fresh oysters and extensive seafood menu. After all, it is located in the back of a fishmonger’s shop.
And of course, they serve Champagne (by the bottle or glass at a reasonable price) to go along with their oysters. Yet another perfect pairing. It’s a popular place, so reserve in advance.
If you have been, please let me know your experience at this adorable, quaint restaurant and let me know if this is some of the best seafood you’ve had.
The highlights of Reims can certainly be explored in a day. There are more historic attractions and museums to explore in Reims if that’s your interest. I love to learn about a city through its culinary contributions, so my city guides tend to focus on the best foodie finds sprinkled with a few historic sights in between. I hope you found this Top Things to Do in Reims list helpful as you plan your own ideal trip.
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