Roaming around the region of Champagne
It has always been a bucket list item of mine to visit vineyards, volunteer with wine making processes, and visit wine cellars. I had hoped at least to visit the vineyards before moving back to my home country. I had almost given it up because of the COVID situation, until one of my friends found a good deal and dragged me to the region of Champagne.
We stayed at Reims and visited the other cities around the area. We visited Epernay, Ay via train lines and Hautvillers by foot. You basically can cover Reims and other cities in half a day each. We spent 2 nights and covered 4 cities.
Reims is one of the beautiful cities I’ve visited in France, with clean cobbled streets. But there isn’t much significant places to visit — because even the vineyards were away from Reims. Having said that we were lucky enough to witness Reims Regalia — Light show on Notre dam Cathedral!
Reims Notre dam cathedral is one of the artistic cathedrals in France. The structures are exquisitely detailed and is beautiful. Basilica of Saint Remi was closed so we were not able to see it.
Mars Gate which consists of remains of Roman triumphal arch and was apparently the widest arch in the roman world. Place Drouet D’Erlon is a street filled with restaurants. You could see the pretty Sube fountain while walking down the path. Place Royale which contains a statue surrounded by ancient buildings was smaller than other French and Belgique cities I have visited. Another place in Reims which you need to see is Cryptoporticus.
“One of the five cryptoporticus registered in all the Roman world. Built during the 3rd century. It was used for storing grains in the basement and for walks at the surface. Today, only its Eastern part remains, but this is unusually well preserved for a Gallo-Roman structure.” Wikipedia
There is also the automobile museum in Reims — which we could not visit. There were also other museums and chateaus which we were not that interested.
Moët & Chandon apparently has the largest cellars which apparently is incomparable with other champagne makers. There are many who offer cellar visits. My friend visited Moët & Chandon cellars while I visited the Taittinger cellars. It is advisable that you book these cellar visits at least few weeks earlier. The prices can range from EUR 20 – EUR 200+ based on the services and complimentaries offered.
I can recommend the Taittinger cellar experience as it contains historical value. The lime walls are built by the Romans centuries ago and there is background story which involves a scandal. ;)
I suggest you pick an experience which you really want. I wanted a budget friendly, english-speaking, experience with traditional cellars. Hence, for me Taittinger cellar visit was perfect.
- The Abbaye d’Hautvillers has the Dom Perignon’s grave. He was a respectable monk who pioneered producing quality champagne. Moët & Chandon’s famous champagne is named after him.
- If you are going in Summer and plan on walking in the vineyards — have hats, chocolates/ sweets, plenty of water and sun cream with you.
- Other than champagne, Fossier’s Rose biscuits are produced in Reims. You should grab some Rose biscuits to have with your champagne.
- Check for events in your social media channels before you go. Don’t miss out on interesting events like Reims Regalia.
- If you are a student, carry your international student identity card with you. Some places have discounted rates for students. (+ always carry your proof of identity)