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Day trip to Reims

Manhattan Diner Oct 16, 2012 05:06 AM

We will be in Paris next week and would love to take a day trip to Reims to tour a few champagne houses and have a nice lunch. We had hoped to take the trip offered by the Cook'n with Class group, but they are booked up. Can anyone recommend a company that offers day tours to Reims from Paris?

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  1. sunshine842 RE: Manhattan Diner Oct 16, 2012 05:13 AM

    go by yourself - it's easy!

    The TGV runs from Paris right to Reims (or to the TGV station 8 km from the city ; check www.voyages-sncf. for details - or visit www.seat61.com for a great primer on European train travel.

    Contact the office of tourism at www.reims-tourism.com -- the folks there speak good to great English and can help you make a reservation if necessary.

    Do make sure you visit the wonderful cathedral (a UNESCO world heritage site) -- two houses, the cathedral and a great lunch make a nearly perfect day.

    33 Replies
    1. re: sunshine842
      ChefJune RE: sunshine842 Oct 16, 2012 08:03 AM

      Sunshine842, you took the words right out of my mouth.

      We'll be day tripping to Reims next month. It's so easy.

      1. re: ChefJune
        Barblarry RE: ChefJune Oct 21, 2012 10:38 PM

        ChefJune do you have recommendations for places to eat in Reims near cathedral or vicinity. Sounds like you know the area. We would love any additional tips for our trip from Paris to Reims. From what I've read we may need reservations for some champagne houses / let me know if you have more tips thanks so much,

        1. re: Barblarry
          ChefJune RE: Barblarry Oct 22, 2012 10:33 AM

          The day we went to the cathedral, we had a very "meh" lunch close by in a place whose name I don't recall.

          This trip we're planning to cab it out to Assiette Champenoise for a special lunch. I stayed there when I was in Grad School at the University, and the food is some of the best I've eaten anywhere.

          1. re: ChefJune
            Barblarry RE: ChefJune Oct 22, 2012 11:01 AM

            Chef June! OK so my husband and I need to hear more about this special lunch! Obviously you have researched something fantastic - please share! Thanks! Is it in Reims? We are extreme foodies! Any other day trips or interesting places you also want to share with us would be amazing! Thanks for your time!

            1. re: Barblarry
              ChefJune RE: Barblarry Oct 22, 2012 11:08 AM

              Assiette Champenoise is on the outskirts of Reims. It's a Michelin 2* restaurant in a charming country-type inn.

              Here is their web site. http://www.lassiettechampenoise.com/i... The Lallement family are very welcoming and the chef, Arnaud Lallement is arguably the best in France right now.

              1. re: ChefJune
                Barblarry RE: ChefJune Oct 22, 2012 03:39 PM

                ChefJune once again great info! Thank you from the bottom of our stomachs!!

                1. re: Barblarry
                  Julian Teoh RE: Barblarry Oct 22, 2012 06:00 PM

                  I've supported ChefJune's view on this before, and it has been an age since I visited Assiette Champenoise, but it truly is stunning. It's also walking distance from the cathedral if you want to work up an appetite.

                  ChefJune, could I please trouble you for a report when you get home? I'd love to see how Lallement's cooking has evolved in the last few years.

                  1. re: Julian Teoh
                    ChefJune RE: Julian Teoh Oct 23, 2012 07:31 AM

                    I'll be delighted. Might not even wait until I get home!

          2. re: Barblarry
            PattyC RE: Barblarry Oct 22, 2012 11:43 AM

            The best meal we had in Reims (we only ate at casual places) was at Le Bocal, the restaurant upstairs of the small fish market close to the train station. I believe they're open Tuesday through Saturday. Only 12 or so seats so get there early or make a reservation.

            We toured Ruinart and made reservations several weeks in advance. They only take 8 per tour and it was a very leisurely paced tour that took about 2.5 hours including the tasting. I believe Taittinger, Martel and Charles de Casanove take walk-ins.

            My report that includes Reims http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/841915

            1. re: PattyC
              sunshine842 RE: PattyC Oct 22, 2012 11:57 AM

              Ruinart will be closing from January to the end of April for work (of what sort, they don't say).

              1. re: sunshine842
                Barblarry RE: sunshine842 Oct 24, 2012 09:57 PM

                Sunshine842 do you know if we need to make reservations for the TVG from Paris to Reims in advance or can we just buy ticket at station the day of our trip. Thank you

                1. re: Barblarry
                  sunshine842 RE: Barblarry Oct 24, 2012 11:04 PM

                  You can do either -- just like airplane tickets, the further out you buy, the cheaper the fares, but you can walk up and buy on the day, too. While there's always a chance a train could be sold out, this is pretty unlikely -- the Paris-Reims TGV runs regularly throughout the day.

                  Visit www.seat61.com for a great primer on European train travel.

                  1. re: sunshine842
                    mangeur RE: sunshine842 Oct 25, 2012 08:57 AM

                    Note that the price differential can be mind-blowing, e.g., Planning a lunch outing, I checked ticket prices from home and found Paris -> Angers at, AFAIR, 35€. I dallied and when we went to buy them several days before travel in Paris they were over 100€. (We didn't go. )

                    1. re: mangeur
                      Barblarry RE: mangeur Oct 27, 2012 05:15 PM

                      Manger thank you for your response about waiting too long before booking your train trip to Reims. Looks like we need to plan ahead for the TVG trip for November 13th, Thanks,

                      1. re: mangeur
                        Delucacheesemonger RE: mangeur May 7, 2013 12:37 AM

                        OTOH, price for TGV returning from Lyon was 60 euros when looked at months ago, went to station Sunday, bought 15 minutes before train and was 68 euros so it depends sometimes.

                2. re: PattyC
                  Barblarry RE: PattyC Oct 22, 2012 03:38 PM

                  PattyC thank you too for the great info! I'm sure we will be following your great ideas!

            2. re: sunshine842
              Barblarry RE: sunshine842 Oct 21, 2012 10:29 PM

              Sunshine842 thanks for your informative response to question about "day trip" to Reims. My question to you is when my husband and I arrive at train station in Reims from Paris can we walk to cathedral and a few champagne houses and have lunch in close proximity to the station.

              1. re: Barblarry
                sunshine842 RE: Barblarry Oct 21, 2012 10:38 PM

                Pop over to the Reims tourism site -- there are maps and extensive lists of houses, restaurants, and other tourism sites in the city. The city has an extensive bus and now a tram network, as well as no shortage of taxis.

                As I mentioned above, it depends on at what station your train terminates as to whether you'll need to take further transport into the city.

                1. re: sunshine842
                  Barblarry RE: sunshine842 Oct 21, 2012 10:44 PM

                  Thanks so much for your quick and informative response! Calling tourism office tomorrow!

                  1. re: sunshine842
                    Barblarry RE: sunshine842 Oct 24, 2012 08:02 PM

                    Sunshine842 one more question.. You mentioned that it makes a difference what station we get off at in Reims so what station do we get off at from your knowledge that is near cathedral and champagne houses? We will be staying in Bercy so if you also have prior knowledge what train we take we'd appreciate your knowledge! Thank you so much!

                    1. re: Barblarry
                      sunshine842 RE: Barblarry Oct 24, 2012 11:05 PM

                      The central station is Gare de Reims. (the TGV station just outside the city is Champagne-Ardennes -- 8 km/5 miles from the centre of the city)

                      You can't get a train to Reims from Bercy. You have to go to Gare de l'Est.

                      See www.seat61.com for a great primer on train travel (I'm not affiliated with this site in any way, and it's a non-commercial information site, but I keep posting it because you really, really need to go read the information the guy posts.)

                  2. re: Barblarry
                    PattyC RE: Barblarry Oct 22, 2012 11:51 AM

                    It's a short walk to the cathedral from Reims gare. Many of the champagne houses (Veuve Clicquot, Pommery, Ruinart, Martel, Taittinger) are located in the south part of town about a 30 minute walk from the train station. The tram does not go to this part of town but there are buses and taxis. Charles de Casanove and many restaurants are close to the train station.

                    There's another station called Champagne-Ardenne which is 8 km outside of Reims. The tram does go there. Taxi fare is about 20 euros.

                  3. re: sunshine842
                    Barblarry RE: sunshine842 Oct 24, 2012 07:57 PM

                    Sunshine842 which two houses would you recommend that we visit close to cathedral then lunch or dinner at your favorites where? Thanks

                    1. re: Barblarry
                      sunshine842 RE: Barblarry Oct 24, 2012 11:08 PM

                      There are a number of houses located in the city -- www.reims-tourism.com is the best place to go for listings and from there you can send them an email to ask them to make reservations for you.

                      While I have visited dozens of houses over the years, not a single one has been in the city -- so I'm afraid I'm not a good reference for the houses in Reims proper.

                      1. re: Barblarry
                        ChefJune RE: Barblarry Oct 25, 2012 07:53 AM

                        Pommery, while (imho) not the best Champagne, does have an amazing tour that is full of history. (There is a German tank in their cellar left over from WWII!) They also have a contemporary art gallery in their cellar that is very interesting. A colleague who used to live in Reims recommended their tour strongly to us, and we really enjoyed it. As well, we were surprised by some of their wines.

                        If you have the chance, read the book "Champagne" by Don and Petie Kladstrup before you go. It tells the history of the region and the wine. During both World Wars, Champagne was very heavily attacked, occupied by the Germans/Nazis and damaged. Yet the Champenois managed to save their wineries and wines. In WWII, the Nazis used Chateau Pommery's cellar to store their tanks. As you walk down the long staircase into their cellar, it's hard not to think about the tanks that lumbered down and up each day...

                        1. re: ChefJune
                          Barblarry RE: ChefJune Nov 1, 2012 12:42 PM

                          Dear Chef June,
                          I just spent 40 minutes trying to make a reservation at Pommery on their website with
                          no luck. Any suggestions? I have a MAC and not sure if that is the problem??
                          Pommery sounds spectacular! Help me if you can - thanks

                          1. re: Barblarry
                            John Talbott RE: Barblarry Nov 1, 2012 06:41 PM

                            I'm no Chef or ChefJune but I'd rec a telephone call just before service starts, thus 11h30 in the morning or 19h30 at night Paris/Reims time.

                            1. re: John Talbott
                              PattyC RE: John Talbott Nov 1, 2012 07:08 PM

                              Pommery is a champagne house.

                              1. re: PattyC
                                John Talbott RE: PattyC Nov 2, 2012 05:38 AM

                                Of course, little cognitive slippage there conflating it with the Resto in Salsomaggiore Terme.

                            2. re: Barblarry
                              ChefJune RE: Barblarry May 7, 2013 06:36 AM

                              Barblarry, if you're about on 5/7/13, November 1 I was blacked out by Hurricane Sandy and unable to get on line. I hope you just walked up to the winery at tour time and bought a ticket. I saw lots of folks doing that.

                            3. re: ChefJune
                              mbcraw4d RE: ChefJune May 6, 2013 11:29 PM

                              Just a note/update: we just took the Pommery tour, and there's no history or tank in the tour, just cheesy contemporary art. Kind of disappointing. We even asked about the tanks, and they gave us some cock-and-bull story about an inflatable tank being an art exhibit. But the Champagne we got to taste afterwards was lovely, especially the bonus Cuvée Louise they gave us to try.

                              1. re: mbcraw4d
                                ChefJune RE: mbcraw4d May 7, 2013 06:34 AM

                                There was definitely a German tank in the Pommery cellars. you can't miss it when you walk down the stairs. I can't imagine they have removed it after all these years.

                                So sorry. you must have drawn a lousy guide. It was the best tour we had in Champagne in terms of information and history. Even better than the tour we had of Krug with Remi Krug, himself!

                                Have you read the book "Champagne" by Don and Petie Kladstrup? You will get all the history of Pommery that your guide overlooked. and the rest of the region, as well.

                                1. re: mbcraw4d
                                  sunshine842 RE: mbcraw4d May 7, 2013 05:17 PM

                                  IIRC, Pommery was closed for renovations at some point this spring -- totally fits with your story that they'd have parts of it open while they finish work in another area....like the part surrounding the tank, which I have heard about from dozens of people, so I'm pretty sure it's really there.

                          2. Delucacheesemonger RE: Manhattan Diner Oct 16, 2012 05:35 AM

                            Another option to a Champagne town is to go to Troyes, Drappier is there amongst others and the stained glass school, exhibits, and store are awesome as well, not that Reims and it's cathedral aren't wonderful as well.

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