Many people believe that the best things to do in Reims during Christmas, October, August or the rest of the year have to do with exploring its vineyards because it is the place where the world famous champagne comes from. However, the reality is that this city has much more to offer and is an excellent tourist destination for both young and adult travelers and even for an entire family group with children included.
So I advise you to keep reading this post, as I will tell you about 10 plans and activities that stand out for their convenience and entertainment potential, which will allow the tourist planning of your trip to Reims to be a real success from start to finish.
1. Get to know the vineyards and the headquarters of Moët et Chandon
As champagne is one of the great protagonists of this city and the region in which it is located, then you can imagine that a guided tour that takes you directly to some of the most famous wineries is a highly recommended plan. In this context, an excursion to the headquarters of Moët et Chandon is something you can not miss, as it is the most famous champagne producer worldwide, which makes this idea one of the best day tours from Reims.
This drink is characterized by its quality, as well as its pale yellow tone in which the fruit is perceived on the palate of the consumer. The cellars of this champagne producing company are more than two centuries old and these vineyards have had an appellation of origin since the early twentieth century, becoming one of the first brands to achieve this distinction of quality.
So it is almost always a relatively private tour for a limited group of people. Transportation usually takes place in an air-conditioned minivan and the experience includes a tasting of at least 10 different types of champagne produced by this company. Also included is the accompaniment of a guide who is a specialist in the history of champagne and this particular brand.
Details of interest:
- Price: the excursion usually costs about 200 euros per person, which is logical knowing that this is an exclusive experience.
- Duration: the total duration of this type of sightseeing tour is approximately nine hours.
2. Visit the important battlefield of Verdun
The Battle of Verdun was a war event of World War I in which Germany and France engaged in a constant and direct confrontation for almost a year. The battle actually lasted 303 days and has been one of the longest and most costly in human history. Some historians point out that there were almost 700,000 casualties as a direct consequence of this conflict.
Today, the site where this battle took place has a very significant historical importance. For this reason, there are guided tours that take you to see the different monuments that are on the ground, as well as the interactive path where people can see how this trench battle took place.
Undoubtedly, it is part of the main tourist attractions of this city and its surroundings. So a guided or self-guided tour is a plan that is part of the best things to do on a two-day trip to Reims.
Although the truth is that a private tour is a much more advisable plan because it offers you a logistics in which you only worry about learning about this historical event without dealing with the transfer. Let alone paying entrance fees for the various memorials.
Details of interest:
- Price: the price of this type of tour is usually around 350 euros.
- Duration: the walk usually lasts about five hours in total although it is possible that it may be extended or shortened depending on the weather.
3. Visit the Palais du Tau
The Palais du Tau is an archiepiscopal palace within the city of Reims. Its importance has to do with the French monarchy and together with the basilica of Saint-Remi and the cathedral of the city were named World Heritage Site by Unesco. So in a way it is one of the most important buildings in French history, as well as in the history of Catholicism.
This palace functioned as a residence where the kings stayed just before their official consecration and that means that it was the place where the person dressed and prepared before leaving for the cathedral. For almost 800 years, this site featured royal or imperial banquets, as the first one occurred in the year 990 and the last one in 1825.
It is definitely a place you cannot miss during your visit to this city. Especially considering that today there is a museum with a permanent exhibition in which monarchic jewels that belonged even to a king as old as Charlemagne are exhibited.
Likewise, you have to know that it is a site that is part of the attractions of the tourist pass of the city of Reims and, therefore, it is a service that you should invest in if you want to save money throughout your trip.
4. Enjoy an electric bike ride through the region's countryside
Reims is distinguished for being a city full of natural spaces, which is logical knowing that the fields for the production of champagne are its main tourist attraction. For this reason, one of the best things to do in this city is to enjoy a ride through its streets and its surroundings while pedaling an electric bike.
Of the experience you have to know that it is usually organized for small groups of people. It is also common to include the accompaniment of one or two guides specialized in the history of the Champagne region. In fact, different villages outside the city are usually visited, which means that it is a tour of both the city center of Reims and the nearby communities.
As it is a sporting activity, it is very entertaining for family groups and it is even common that lunch and wine tasting are offered in some part of the itinerary. At least in the guided excursions. The best thing about it is that the experience takes you specifically to the places you should see on a three-day visit to Reims. As such, it may be a more favorable investment than starting out pedaling on your own on the region's roads.
Details of interest:
- Price: if you decide to go for the guided tour, you have to know that it usually costs about 170 euros per person. But this includes both the wine tasting and the payment of the guide and lunch, if it is included. Renting an electric bike per hour in the city should be around 5 to 10 euros approximately.
- Duration: an excursion like this one usually lasts seven hours, but you should keep in mind that it covers a large part of the area around Reims, which is part of the historic Champagne region. This region has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
5. Visit the Reims Cathedral
The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims is another of the wonders of this city that you cannot miss no matter how short or long your trip is. It is one of the main catholic churches in the world and it is definitely one of the most representative temples of Gothic architecture in France. For these reasons, it is advisable that you know how to visit the cathedral of Notre Dame in Reims, either with a guided tour or on your own.
You should keep in mind that locating it within the urban landscape of this town is not complicated, since it is the tallest building in the city and for several centuries it was also the tallest building in this section of France. You should also keep in mind that it is a very old building dating from the eleventh century and, therefore, predates cathedrals such as those of the city of Strasbourg or Amiens.
If you are interested in a guided tour, you should know that the cathedral itself offers them for free and, if you need to book them, you should do so through its website. You should also keep in mind that it is open every day from 7:30 in the morning and that the entrance is completely free so you can spend as much time as you want exploring its architectural and artistic details.
6. Go to the Porte Mars and learn about its history
Porte Mars translates to Mars Gate and basically consists of an ancient Gallo-Roman style triumphal arch that was the gateway to the city of Reims and dates back to the 3rd century. It was built at the time when the Roman Empire was extending into this part of Europe and for many historians it is one of the most impressive monuments of what is considered to be the ancient age. That while, at the same time, it is the widest triumphal arch built during Roman times.
In fact, it is the oldest one still standing, at least of those located north of the Alps and all these reasons make it a site worth visiting in the city of Reims. You have to know that it is in a square bearing the same name and is part of a trail of public parks that deserve to be toured for its beauty and for being totally free entertainment.
You should also keep in mind that the train station is right next to this part of the city and, therefore, it is highly recommended that you go to see this arch as soon as you arrive in the city. At least in case this is your means of transportation.
7. Sit down for a drink or a bite to eat at the Place Royale
Despite the fact that Reims is a significantly small city in which there are not many squares, there is still a space that you should not miss and to which you should dedicate several hours to capture its true essence. This is the Place Royale and is basically the most representative square of the city that is located in what is approximately the geographical center of this community.
It is quite close to the cathedral and therefore for centuries or at least since the reconstruction of the city after World War II is the meeting point for both the older population and local youth. At the same time, the area around the square is full of commercial establishments, by Reims standards.
As the square is decorated during the end of the year festivities, then you have to know that taking a stroll around this place is also part of the best things to do in Reims during Christmas.
8. Go to the Musée Automobile Reims Champagne
One of the best automobile museums oriented to vintage cars is located in the city of Reims and its name is Musée Automobile Reims Champagne. The place consists of an extensive hangar that has a great variety in both motorcycles and cars and it has automobiles that date directly from the creation of the vehicle to the present times.
Bicycles and other types of means of transportation are also exhibited and the museum also stands out for having 7000 miniature pieces of automobiles that were created during the first half of the 20th century. You should know that the museum is open every day of the year except Tuesdays, January 1 and December 25. The hours change during the high summer season, but in general it is usually open from 10 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m. with a short break at noon.
It is a museum where you have to pay admission because it is actually a private institution. However, you should know that children under the age of six get in free of charge. You should also keep in mind that it is located in a residential neighborhood of the city and is not exactly within the historic center of Reims.
Details of interest:
- Price: admission costs about €10 per person although children under 26 pay about €7.5 approximately.
9. Opt for a private tour of the city
On the other hand, there is the fact that Reims is not such a large city and, as such, most people tend to spend only a couple of hours visiting it. Especially if they have no intention of touring the surrounding vineyards and the headquarters of companies such as Möet Chandon or Veuve Clicquot. Therefore, one of the best things to do in the city may be to opt for paying for a private tour to see most of its attractions in a fast and safe way in which you will not miss any important detail.
This type of experience is usually reserved for family groups of a maximum of 10 people and this means that the guide is basically there for you and your companions. So this plan is one of the best things to do in the city and is definitely a good investment of your time and money. At least if Reims is a place that catches your attention and you have a couple of hours to wander around.
Details of interest:
- Prices: the price of this type of tour is usually around 250 euros, although that price is divided between the number of participants which should not exceed 8 to 10 people.
- Duration: the duration of this type of tour is usually two hours and this is more than enough to see the main buildings and monuments in a small city.
10. Tour of the Musée du Vin de Champagne et d'Archéologie Régionale
In the city of Épernay, a couple of kilometers south of Reims, is the Musée du Vin de Champagne et d'Archéologie Régionale. This site is an institution dedicated to the archeological and sociological study of the Champagne region. For this reason, it is considered one of the best museums you could visit during a trip in this part of France.
At the same time, the site where it is located is another marvel for the region because the Perrier Castle is one of the most beautiful residences in the area and has a very significant historical importance, which makes it a place not to be missed by architecture lovers, as well as by those who will spend a lot of time in this part of France and need to occupy their hours in the surroundings of Reims.
So taking a bus from the Reims city station or driving to this site via the D951 highway is a recommended plan, especially if you are interested in learning a little more about the history of the settlement and social formation of this part of France.
Details of interest:
- Price: tickets to this museum cost approximately nine euros per person although on the first Sunday of each month all visitors are allowed free admission.