Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Reims Mini-break

Last week, we spent two days in Reims, and while it was fun, it wasn't quite as champagne-filled as I was expecting it to be. We did however, have very beautiful weather:We visited two of the big Champagne houses: Tattinger and Pommery (many of the others close during the winter months). I think I'd like to go back again one day, but with a car, so we could visit some of the smaller producers outside of Reims. A lot of the big ones are pricey and seem to be much ado about nothing. They were skimpy with their champagne tastings, often only offering one glass of their cheapest bottle, and on top of that, they were selling them for more at the houses than they were in the city center!
Another thing that surprised me was the lack of champagne shops in the city center - I'd planned on visiting a few houses and then just doing a bunch of tastings in town. But we walked all over that city and only found two, right by the church. And neither of them offered tastings, or at least not during the winter months.

It was interesting to see the caves though, and to hear about the history that went with them. And I had to laugh when I saw these adorable school children coming out of the Pommery cave - can you imagine your elementary school taking you to learn about champagne?Now that the TGV can whisk you to Reims in a mere 45 minutes, it is possible to do a day trip from Paris. We paid 32€ RT for first class tickets from the Gare de l'Est. There are a few houses within walking distance of the station, but you will need to take a bus or a taxi out to the bigger ones as they are on the edge of town. (FYI: it cost us 8€ for a taxi from the train station to Tattinger). If you go, make sure to check each house's website for tour times & availability - and note that some of them require you to book in advance.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

We live actually fairly close to Reims and I've never been... I'll have to get my husband to take us at least on a day trip here come spring...

February 22, 2011 at 3:26 PM  
Blogger yveline said...

why not try EPERNAY..the big champagne houses are at walking distance from the train station (moet et chandon, mercier) and the beautiful Avenue de Champagne.
Try to buy a bottle of Ratafia, while you are there...
Conseil d'une Champenoise pur-sang!

February 22, 2011 at 10:50 PM  
Blogger Pepe Le Pew said...

The caves full of bottles are pretty cool.

February 23, 2011 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

In about a week I was planning a day trip to Reims so this post was very helpful! It's too bad to hear that the tastings weren't very generous though... I cannot believe that they sent a field trip to the champagne caves! Ridiculous. So French.

February 24, 2011 at 5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what you meanabout the lack of tasting rooms - I had a similar experience in Dijon a few years back. I had hoped to get to try many different Burgundies, but ended up only finding one shop that offered tastings. He definitely got our business. :)

February 24, 2011 at 9:04 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

I was disappointed with the lack of shops in the centre ville as well! And the lack of tastings in the shops.

February 25, 2011 at 12:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You'd probably be better off in Epernay for visiting champagne houses. But have you been to Reims for the Joan of Arc festival that takes place every June? If not, it's a massive two-day event, and well worth a visit.

February 26, 2011 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger ChelseaF said...

I went last September and took a tour that picked up / dropped us off from Paris (door to door). Our host was so wonderful and knowledgeable. We visited the vineyards first, which was really nice and we got to sample some grapes.

We then went to a small house (Cuperly) which was very generous with their pourings. They opened up about 5-6 bottles for a group of 7 of us. Visited Tattainger as well - very impressive tour but not as generous with the pour.

Tour included a wonderful lunch in Reims and a short tour of the Cathedral with our very knowledgeable guide.

Great tour, was one of the more memorable highlights of our trip.

The company is and our was Trong.

September 27, 2013 at 1:23 AM  

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