These champagne houses have a common goal: to advocate for the region, and its historical importance and influence, through their champagne.
Just a 40-minute train ride from Paris, Champagne makes the perfect day trip especially if you need a break from city hustle. Most famous as a wine region, Champagne is, in fact, a province and includes cities: Troyes, Épernay and Reims (which is not to be pronounced as REEMS, but RE-AN-S.)
1. Reims Cathedral
Place du Cardinal Luçon, 51100 Reims, France
Before the drinking starts, take a 12-minute stroll from the train station to Reims Cathedral which is mostly known as the location for Kings of France’s coronation. Construction started in the 13th century as a beautiful example of High Gothic architecture and royalty. In the front of the exterior, you can see the Gallery of Kings of 56 statues with Clovis I in the center, in the middle of baptism. Inside, you’ll see gorgeous stained glass from the 13th to the 20th century that not only act as bringing additional light but to invigorate an even greater impact as visual sermons of stories from the Bible.
2. Start at Vranken Pommery Domain for a theatrical experience.
5 Place du Général Gouraud, 51100 Reims, France
We begin our champagne tour at the Pommery Domain, inside its 20th century estate. Catered for the beginner champagne drinkers, the Pommery tour is theatrical with a walk through elongated staircases and dimly lit cellars. Although this champagne house began in 1858 as a wool trading business, it grew to be one of the region’s biggest champagne brands. In 1874, it became the first house to commercialize a brut champagne.
3. Grab an exquisite meal at Le Parc Restaurant Les Crayères.
64 Boulevard Henry Vasnier, 51100 Reims, France
If you’re ready for a fancy meal, stop by Le Parc Restaurant Les Crayères where French cuisine is delivered in sheer elegance. The setting is made for royals, in the style of the quintessential French art de vivre. The refined menu is composed by Michelin chef Phillippe Mille, who emphasizes produce grown by local artisans while featuring the Champagne terroir. From delicate appetizers to savory meat dish, each plate blends contrasting ingredients into one harmonious melody inside a 17-acre chateau built in 1902.
Dress code: The restaurant does not allow: sandals, flip-flops, shorts or athletic wear.
4. Head to Taittinger for a sophisticated tasting.
9 Place Saint-Nicaise, 51100 Reims, France
Founded in 1734, Taittinger is an independent family brand is still run by Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger and his children. Their main goal is to advocate for the region, and its historical importance and influence through their champagne. This gives the champagne a different, a more intimate feel than some of the bigger brand name champagnes, even though they may be one of the biggest houses and estates.
5. End your day at the smaller yet our favorite: Champagne Florent Bergeronneau-Marion.
22 Rue de la Prévoté, 51390 Ville-Dommange, France
We save the best for last. Our favorite was a little spot nestled on the outskirts of Reims, in the small village of Ville-Dommange. While Florent Bergeronneau-Marion isn’t like the other major champagne houses, it offers picturesque views, generous hospitality, and people passionate about champagne. The Bergeronneau family has an award-winning champagne and has tended to this vineyard since 2007. They do every step of the champagne process themselves, from the cultivation of the vine to grape pressing, vinification, and finally champagnization. This is an off-the-beaten path discovery, a total hidden gem winery that you can’t miss!