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natandjimtravelers May 16th, 2020 06:19 AM

Paris, Epernay, Beaune trip April 2021
Hello! My husband and I are tentatively planning a trip to France in April 2021, depending on the state of things. Our 20th wedding anniversary is this August, but of course we won't be traveling then. How does this look for a rough itinerary? We have been to Paris but have not explored the wine regions at all.

Day 1 Fly out of Boston
Days 2, 3, 4, & 5 Paris (day trip to Epernay on day 4)
Day 6 Beaune (explore town, not planning on having a car)
Day 7 Beaune (we plan to hire someone to take us on an all day private tour of nearby wineries this day)
Days 8 & 9 Paris
Day 10 Fly home to Boston

Some questions:

1. Can anyone recommend champagne houses in Epernay? We plan to visit and tour Moet et Chandon, but would love to taste and purchase (and possibly tour) at some smaller houses as well.
2. Can anyone recommend a good wine tour company that picks up guests in Beaune? We would like to taste and purchase wine but maybe also stop at one of the smaller villages?

Thank you!

Jean May 16th, 2020 08:15 AM

I'm not one for wine tours, so I don't know if your excursion from Beaune would take an entire day. Unless your return to Paris on Day 8 is in the late afternoon, you'd only have the afternoon/evening of Day 6 to explore Beaune. For me, I'd want an entire day at a minimum. Research sights in Beaune to see if only a half day would be enough for you.

Hotel Dieu
Wine Museum and Wine Market
Old Beaune ramparts
Dali Museum
Chateau Rochepot
Tapestries at the Basilica Notre Dame
Weekly town market if your timing is right

Jean May 16th, 2020 08:20 AM

Depending on which direction your wine tour from Beaune takes you, the village of Chateauneuf-en-Auxois is well-preserved.

natandjimtravelers May 16th, 2020 08:42 AM

Thanks so much Jean! We plan to take an early train from Paris to go to Beaune, so we will have most of the day to explore. We may also consider a half day wine tour as well. The full day options I have started looking at are 9-6 on average.

kerouac May 16th, 2020 09:14 AM

I don't understand why you would go as far as Epernay and then go back to Paris before going to Beaune.

Jean May 16th, 2020 09:33 AM

But, kerouac, wouldn't the journey from Epernay to Beaune take nearly half a day with multiple connections? It would be a very nice and fairly quick drive, but the OP will be going by train.

natandjimtravelers May 16th, 2020 09:38 AM

Is there a better order? Epernay didn’t look that far via train. At least it didn’t look like that to me. We don’t want to rent a car, but would consider it. Do you have any other suggestions?

Judy May 16th, 2020 10:30 AM

I would suggest going to Beaune on your day of arrival. We always try to go to our farthest destination first and work our way back. Saves a travel day later and, on arrival, we're already tired so choose to just soldier on. Also, we prefer not to split our Paris time.....less packing, unpacking etc

geetika May 16th, 2020 01:00 PM

I agree with Judy, go straight to Beaune on arrival, spend 3 nights there and then make your way back to Paris for the rest of your trip. You can do a day trip to Epernay at that time.You won’t need a car in Beaune, it’s a smallish town and easily walkable. I’d spend the first full day there, a must see is the stunning Hôtel Dieu, well worth a couple of hours.

The old ramparts make for an interesting walk, I also recommend a wine tasting at the Marché aux Vins, very close to Hôtel Dieu. The actual tasting takes place in the crypt of the Eglise des Cordeliers, very atmospheric.

Visites et dégustations ? Marché aux Vins

[email protected]

The second day you can take a tour outside of Beaune, maybe north towards the Côtes de Nuits, which boasts of some of the best wines ever... Nuits St Georges, Vosne Romanée, Clos de Vougeot, etc.

Maybe you could combine this with a half day in Dijon. This would be enough to walk around the old town and do the Owl Trail and visit the lovely old cathedral.

The local tourist office offers a variety of tours and you could contact them for information and suggestions. Maybe a private tour with driver/guide, I don’t think you want to be driving around, especially when you’re going to be wine tasting!

I know there’s a TGV between Paris and Dijon, you then take another train (TER?) to Beaune. Am wondering if you could spend the last night in Dijon and take the TGV back to Paris the next morning. Food for thought...

Macross May 16th, 2020 05:17 PM

We do that now also. Last trip we landed and took the train to Lille, time before we went to Reims. By the time we got our train it was time to check in or at least leave our suitcases and see a bit. We had an apartment in Lille and it was ready and seems the hotel in Reims was also. We do Paris on the end of the trip. Take the train back into Paris. We rented a car once but prefer the train. Reims was wonderful btw. We enjoyed the Caves and seeing the cathedrals. Enjoy planning.

janisj May 16th, 2020 05:30 PM

Originally Posted by Judy (Post 17106606)
I would suggest going to Beaune on your day of arrival. We always try to go to our farthest destination first and work our way back. Saves a travel day later and, on arrival, we're already tired so choose to just soldier on. Also, we prefer not to split our Paris time.....less packing, unpacking etc

Absolutely ditto ^^^

Don't split your Paris nights. Just builds in extra packing/moving/hotel stays. Since you need to be in Paris at the end of the trip to fly home, travel on to Beaune and then finish up with all your Paris nights together at the end.

bilboburgler May 17th, 2020 02:02 AM

Beaune first

Train Beaune to Epernay is a stonking 7hours plus going direct but through Paris is much easier, so go through Paris and take 1.5 hours.

Epernay is a nice little country town that happens to have a major wine industry based in it and I prefer it to Reims. However, for the tourist, Reims is a lovely day trip so don't ignore it. The main houses in Epernay are generally on the Avenue de Champagne which heads out from Tourist information towards the countryside. The railway station is a short (15 min?) walk from town through the shopping streets. TI can organise a bunch of things including visits, tours of the countryside. Office du Tourisme Epernay - Pays de Champagne | Tourisme à Epernay et ses alentours and they speak a host of languages including English. They also offer cycle hire if you want to head out to a smaller champagne house, pick up a sandwich (most bread shops will make to order), a small bottle, picnic, a sleep and back to town is not a bad way to enjoy Epernay.

The actual tours you get tend to be a video, a look at the kit and a taste of the cheapest wine. Not bad but not that exciting. If you are not picnicking I'd eat at one of the restaurants near TI and taste their house fizz instead.

Beaune is pretty well set up for the tourist and again their TI can arrange tours etc they can organise things for your wallet as well as your special interests. The underground tour at Beaune is ok, but on my few visits I found one or two of the bottles were off as I went for the first taste of the day and they had not protected the wine, aim for closer to midday.

natandjimtravelers May 17th, 2020 05:04 AM

Thx for all the advice! We will begin in Beaune! Is 3 hours a good amount of time between deplaning and getting on the train? It looks like the trains to Beaune leave from Gare de Lyon. We could Uber there from CDG. Or is it easier to take the train from CDG to Gare de Lyon (cheaper and avoids traffic)? We are planning on one carry on each and a back pack in terms of luggage.

Jean May 17th, 2020 08:08 AM

There are trains that go directly from CDG to Lyon (about 2 hours) without a connection in Paris, so if you were thinking of seeing Lyon you should go there first. Depending on your ETA at CDG, you could spend the night in Lyon and head to Beaune the next day. If you went from CDG to Lyon to Beaune, it would take 4 hours including the connection in Lyon.

natandjimtravelers May 17th, 2020 08:22 AM

We do not plan to see Lyon. I think it’s shorter to go into Paris and take the train from there. If we go from CDG to Gare de Lyon and take the TGV to Dijon and switch to a train to Beaune, it is about 3 hours total, if I’m doing my math right.

Jean May 17th, 2020 09:16 AM

It could be shorter in time but involves more steps. Taxi, train, train. Your choice, but I would prefer to skip the taxi leg and having to go into Paris esp. if doing this after an overnight flight. That's me.

Depending on when you land and reach Gare de Lyon, it could take longer overall. This is something you'd have to look into after you know your ETA at CDG.

natandjimtravelers May 17th, 2020 10:23 AM

Good point!

janisj May 17th, 2020 10:29 AM

IMO three hours is definitely not nearly enough between landing at CDG and catching a train from Gare de Lyon (trains from CDG go into Gare du Nord).

natandjimtravelers May 17th, 2020 10:46 AM

I think we have decided to take Jean's advice and go from CDG to Lyon to Beaune. As she pointed out, this route entails less steps for us to deal with after an overnight flight and in doing some research there are trains that go from CDG to Lyon in 2 hrs and from Lyon to Beaune in 1.5 hours.

I know the answer to this can obviously vary, but how much time should we allot in between landing and getting on a train with this new plan?

Jean May 17th, 2020 02:56 PM

I don't think there's any way to know the answer to that. What may have been the general experience pre-Covid may be entirely different in the post-Covid world. There could be cursory medical checks on arrival, the same before boarding the train... Who knows.

Even the luggage rules could change. At one point in April, no in-cabin luggage was allowed. I don't know if that rule has now been suspended, but there could be other restrictions. I would think more checked luggage means retrieving luggage will take longer.

So many unknowns....

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