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.