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Feb 25, 2009 01:18 PM

Doable? Reims Champagne house visit, no car, no French

Hi, Hope I'm putting this in the correct place (if not, Mods please feel free to move). I'm going to be in Paris and am looking for a day trip. I was thinking possibly of Reims, visiting the cathedral and maybe a champagne house. I'm not interested in a packaged tour, but I speak no French and will be arriving by train. Is there anyplace within the city center to see a champagne house or do a tasting that you'd recommend?

thanks very much in advance for any info you can give me.

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  1. I was in Reims in April, also on foot. The TGV drops you off a bit away from the center of town, about a ten minute walk away. There are plenty of champagne houses in the center of Reims that will do tastings, pick a few and go nuts, but be aware that most are by appointment only. There aren't any in particular that I'd recommend, though I'm a fan of Henriot.

    The cathedral is breathtaking, much more worth the trip than Notre Dame in Paris, and has a little information center nearby where you can find tourist information. Definitely head to the Monoprix there to do your champagne shopping! You'll be amazed at how inexpensive the good bubbles are there.

    Though to be honest, I found Arbois in the Jura a much more beautiful and interesting side trip than Reims, even if just for the lack of "tourist" feeling I got there.

    5 Replies
    1. re: phedre

      Thanks Phedre. Would Arbois be a possible day trip by train? Get there and back in a day? Interested ...

      Not excited by the appointment only aspect of the champagne houses. Was hoping to wing it a bit.

      1. re: LulusMom

        Both Taittinger and Martel let you drop in without an appointment. You might want to call first to find out when their tours are scheduled so you don't show up 10 min after one leaves.

        That said, since you don't speak French, winging it might not be a good idea. If you schedule a tour, you can schedule in a particular language. If you drop in, you get to live with what the majority wants.

        1. re: tmso

          Good point about the language/winging thing. Tattinger is a big favorite with me, so maybe that is the way to go. I really appreciate the wealth of information I'm getting from everyone. Thanks so much.

          1. re: LulusMom

            Do both! Taittinger is a big house, which has a certain appeal, while Martel is a much smaller house, with its own different appeal, and they pour some interesting wines for the tasting at the end.

            1. re: tmso

              Would there be time to do both, as tours, in a day trip? I'm hoping to make it back to Paris in time for dinner that night.

    2. If you are looking for a tour illustrating well how champagne is made,
      Mumm is pretty good. Also, in addition to visiting the cathedral, you
      might considering visiting the Basilique Saint Remi, which is much
      older (it was built in the 11th century). It suffered major damage
      in WW I, and when I was going to school in Reims in the 1960s,
      they were still working on restoring it, but the job is done now.

      3 Replies
      1. re: bclevy

        bclevy, thanks - if I make it to Reims, I will make sure to see the Basilique Saint Remi. It is also walking distance from city center?

        1. re: LulusMom

          If I recall, it is about a 20 minutes walk from the Cathedral.

      2. Confirming the prior posts, there are several champagne houses you can reach on foot within a 15-20 minute walk from the center of Reims.

        2 Replies
          1. re: DavidT

            Thank you so much DavidT. That should be really helpful.