I’ve visited wineries on previous trips to France, but this time around, I figured it was time to sample another signature beverage: champagne! The city of Reims, headquarters of many of the top champagne houses, is an easy daytrip from Paris, so off my friend and I went in search of bubbly.
Upon arrival, we headed to L’Alambic for lunch, figuring we ought to get some sustenance before drinking ALL the champagne. This restaurant was really lovely: a cute space, good food, and a very nice owner who chatted away with us.
Then, it was on to the champagne houses. We popped into Taittinger to book a spot on an afternoon cave tour (the caves are the cellars where champagne is stored and aged), then headed to Veuve Clicquot to kill time. We hoped to hang out at Veuve and sip some champagne, but they had no seating area and apparently only allow people who have booked one of their cave tours to drink on the premises. So, we did what all classy ladies would do when faced with such a situation: we bought a bottle of Veuve and two plastic, bright orange Veuve commemorative cups, and then headed to a nearby park to drink al fresco. What made it even better was that some sort of children’s sports team was practicing in the park at that time, so as we sat on the bench and split the bottle of champagne, they literally ran laps around us. #StayClassy.
After our Veuve triumph, it was back to Taittinger for our tour (the two houses are literally on the same street, so it was an easy journey). After watching a short video about the history of Taittinger, it was down to the caves, where we learned more about the champagne making process and saw all the thousands and thousands (millions?) of Taittinger bottles aging away down there. The tour ended with a classy champagne tasting.
We walked back into the heart of Reims for one final stop: Notre-Dame de Reims, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The church opened in 1275 (!!) and the kings of France were once crowned here, so it was, as one would imagine, impressive and imposing.
All in all, I would classify Reims as the perfect daytrip from Paris: easy to reach, plenty to do, but not so much that you feel you’re missing out by spending only a day. Oh, and the champagne. Lots and lots of champagne.