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Visiting the Champagne region of France is a must if you are a wine lover that is visiting or staying in Paris. It can easily be a quick day trip from Paris, although if you love the French countryside and you want to visit multiple different Champagne Houses, I highly recommend going for at least a few days. In this guide, I am sharing with you my honest opinions about everything we did in Champagne from where we stayed, where we ate, the houses we visited and more. You can also listen to our podcast where we recap the entire trip!
There are a couple of different ways that you can get to the Champagne region, but it mainly depends on where you’re staying. Reims is the largest city in the Champagne region, and it is also a hub for many of the main Champagne houses, such as Pommery and Champagne Taittinger. If you’re coming from Paris, it’s super easy to just hop on the high-speed train directly from Paris to Reims. If you’re staying in a smaller town or farther away from a larger city, you may want to consider renting a car or hiring a driver.
We decided to rent a car in Paris and drive ourselves to the Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa, which is where we stayed. This hotel is located about 20 minutes from Reims. After the nightmare of driving through Paris with the rental car, I wish we would have taken the train from Paris to Reims, rented a car from Reims, returned it back in Reims at the end of our stay, and taken the train back to Paris. Driving in that city is not fun and was definitely stressful. We typically use Enterprise to rent our cars and they have Enterprise locations in Paris and in Reims.
You can also hire a driver for part or all of your state in Champagne but it’s definitely more expensive to do it that way.
I cannot say enough good things about the Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa. Our weather wasn’t the best while visiting Champagne, France and staying at this hotel made it so much more enjoyable. All hotel guests can use the spa amenities even if you don’t book a treatment! They have an indoor and outdoor pool, sauna, steam room, and many different spa treatments available. All of the rooms are stunning and we ended up getting a complimentary room upgrade from booking through Amex. The view overlooks Épernay, some other small towns in Champagne, and the vineyards! The staff and the service at the hotel was absolutely incredible.
Domaine Les Crayeres is located in Reims right next to some of the major Champagne houses. If you’re looking for a luxury property within the city, this is a great spot. I would recommend staying in Reims if you’re mainly interested in visiting the larger Champagne houses within the city, or if you’re just coming for one night. If you stay here, you can easily get around by walking or grabbing a taxi! From Paris, you can just take the high-speed train which is about 45 minutes one way.
Dining at Rôtisserie Henri IV was our favorite meal while visiting Champagne, France! The staff was super fun and the food tasted like home-french cooking. It’s located in a small town about a 10 minute drive from The Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa.
The Royal is the Michelin Star Restaurant located in the Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa. The staff and service was exceptional. The menu was very creative and we really enjoyed our Champagne pairings with each course. It wasn’t my favorite Michelin star meal I’ve ever had, but it was an amazing experience and delicious food!
This place has the best burgers in the Champagne region and is located right in the heart of Reims. In between visiting Champagne houses, definitely stop here for a casual bite to eat.
Our very first visit in Champagne, France was to Champagne Palmer and they really set the bar high! Established in 1947, Palmer & Co began with 7 different winegrowers who came together with their shared passion of growing Premier & Grand Cru grapes in the Montagne de Reims region. We got to tour the impressive caves under their production facility in Reims, and their collection is outstanding! The chalk cellars are 18 meters below the ground and naturally maintain a constant temperature and humidity perfect for aging.
While the minimum aging requirement in bottle for Champagne is 15 months, Champagne Palmer’s non-vintage cuvées age for a minimum of three years, vintage cuvées for 6-8 and some for 10 years or more.
It was such a pleasure to sit down and taste 6 of their incredible wines. My favorite was the Amazone made from Chardonnay & Pinot Noir, aged for more than 10 years, notes of dried fruits, hazelnuts and brioche. These wines are definitely some to look out for.
Champagne Taittinger wines have always been some of my favorite Champagnes for all sorts of occasions. I have a full blog post dedicated to our visit that you can check out!
Piot Sévillano is a small producer located in the town of Vincelles with a unique lunch experience. They offer three courses each paired with a glass of Champagne. The food was delicious, traditional French lunch food and the wines were lovely! My favorite wine was the 2012 Brut.
The grower, Christine, was there to explain all of the wines and the history of the Champagne House. Piot Sévillano tasting room is located in a renovated old school house! They produce 60,000 bottles a year. The vines are all near Vincelles in the Marne region of Champagne. They have 8 hectares and grow all three Champagne varieties with 70% of their production being Pinot Meunier. They have been using sustainable vineyard practices over the last decade and will be officially certified organic this year!
Pommery is definitely one of the most popular and largest Champagne houses you can visit. It’s also located in Reims. We did the Tour and Lunch Pairing experience on our visit. To be honest, it wasn’t my favorite visit in Champagne. The caves are definitely impressive but it’s much more of a museum-like experience than learning about the production of wine. I also wasn’t super impressed by the food they served at lunch, although it was fun to taste through Pommery reserve wines that I’ve never had before. I’d say it may be worth a visit just to see the caves and do a casual tasting but not a must-visit in my opinion.
If you find yourself in Épernay, be sure to stroll down the Avenue de Champagne. There are so many Champagne houses located right on this street included Moët & Chandon, Pol Roger, Perrier-Jouet and others! While some houses you will need a reservation to visit, there are a lot of cute spots to stop for a bite to eat and a quick tasting! Staying in Épernay is also an option if you’d rather be closer to the Côte des Blancs and surrounding regions.
Since the region of Champagne is pretty spread out, plan out which ones you are going to visit by the city or area. For example, Reims has many of the larger Champagne Houses in the city, Épernay also has many Champagne houses on the Avenue de Champagne.
I highly recommend renting a car to visit some of the smaller villages and producers in Champagne. Driving there is quite easy and it’s nice to explore! Check out Hautvillers, an adorable village where Dom Perignon first discovered Champagne.
Surprisingly, many of the Champagne Houses we wanted to visit were closed on the weekend. Make sure to check the operating hours ahead of time, and if possible make a reservation. Plan for a few hours at each stop and travel time in between.
Visiting Champagne, France in the spring we had some interesting weather. One minute it was raining and the next the sun was out. This is pretty common for March – April, but most of the year it’s still best to pack layers and check ahead of time for rain!