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Basel to Paris: Alsace, Reims or both on way?

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Feb 12th, 2013, 11:22 AM
  #1
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Basel to Paris: Alsace, Reims or both on way?

Hello! I am traveling to Basel for business mid-March and will stay on for three or four nights afterward to tour some of France before flying back to the US from Paris. Unfortunately DH can't take time off then so I will be traveling solo, which I am not adverse to (BTW I am mid-40's and would say I am an "intermediate level" traveler).

I have been to France before (twice to Paris and once to tour the Bordeaux region). So far I think my best options are to:
- Take the TGV from Basel to Paris and directly on to Reims for an overnight. I have researched train scheds and it looks like I could arrive in Reims by 2:00 at the earliest. If I did this I could have a late lunch, see the Cathedral and save the next day for visiting a few Champagne Houses (or visiting one Champagne House and then lunch/tasting in Epernay). I would then take the train to Paris arriving late afternoon/early evening where I would check in to a hotel for three nights before my flight home. This itinerary is easiest as it has the fewest number of hotels and does not require a car.
OR
- I could take the train from Basel to Alsace (probably Colmar) for one night and then continue on to Reims for the next night, which would cut my stay in Paris down to two nights. This itinerary adds a level of difficulty (extra hotel, two extra train transfers) but affords me more of France (and its wine!) to experience.

I'd appreciate your feedback on these options or other suggestions. I understand that the wine route in Alsace has many more quaint options than Colmar if I am willing to rent a car, but is it worth it to do this when I will be alone and my main intent will be to taste some wine? Would you recommend two nights in either Alsace or Reims instead of one in each? Is it worth the stop in Epernay to taste Champagne along the main street there or would Reins afford enough of the Champagne region experience?

One other thing I should add is that I may tack on a night at a ski resort in Switzerland for a day of snowboarding before my meeting in Basel (adding another hotel/transfer/more baggage) if the weather cooperates.

Thanks in advance for any feedback (and please let me know if you have any questions)! Once I've worked out my itinerary and booked my travel I'll have questions about accommodations and restaurants so feel free to offer those too!
kireland is offline  
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Feb 12th, 2013, 02:37 PM
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Well for me Alsace wine area has a fantastic range of wines often within the pocket of the average man. Champagne is relatively tasteless (relatively) and far more expensive. I have been tasting 20 wines a month for 30 years and when I see another Champagne coming I groan inside while my heart leaps when I see a "flute", so for me miss Reims.

Epernay's "Avenue de Champagne" is the most beautiful street in France according to Winston Churchill. I think it is best seen at night but you can find similar wines in Reims. If it were not for the trains I prefer Epernay but if you love Cathedrals then you have to go to Reims.
bilboburgler is offline  
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Feb 12th, 2013, 04:09 PM
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Strasbourg is an absolute must if you have never seen that part of France before. Obviously, you should also see as much of Alsace as possible.

Reims is perfectly fine, as are so many other places in France, but it is not "unique" in the way that Alsace is.
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Feb 12th, 2013, 05:35 PM
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Bilbo and Kerouac - thank you, very helpful posts! You have me thinking of taking a morning train from Basel to Strasbourg, touring some wineries before dinner and then an afternoon train from Strasbourg to Epernay the next day for an evening on the Avenue followed by a morning train to Paris the next day. My hesitation at two nighs in Alsace comes form my absolute adoration of Champagne!
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Feb 13th, 2013, 01:29 AM
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Kireland, the finer wines are from the Haut Rhin (the southerley half of the route d'alsace. You can catch a bus from Colmar station out to some of the villages, you can ride a bike or hire a car. If I had to give advice I would recommend not drinking and driving. This leaves tours (yuk) or a taxi/driver.

Best sites for me are Hugel, Bruno Sorg in Equisheim (old roman camp converted into walled village), Materne Haiglan ( a bit further south), Rene Mure (Roufach from memory) and Schlumberger in the most southerly village with a horrid name starting with G I'll let you look at maps.

If, on the other hand you want a good overview first try the coop at Turkheim as the place is pretty big and the info and saleswomen are pretty and pretty knowledgable then go onto the smaller ones I have suggested.
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