Paris to Reims

Old Jan 2nd, 2005, 11:07 AM
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Paris to Reims

We are picking up a car in Paris and driving to Reims for three nights. What is there to see on the route from Paris to Reims? Any place to stop, sight see and have lunch?
What are the highlights of Reims...of course, I know the cathedral is not to be missed.
Also, which champagne houses have the best tours?
Any other things we should not miss in this area?
Thanks for any help.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2005, 02:01 PM
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Besides the splendid Nôtre-Dame Cathedral, Reims offers the exceptionally long St-Rémi Basilica, some 200 years older than the cathedral. One of the best ways to see Nôtre-Dame is to sit across from it on the plaza, perhaps sipping a glass of Champagne from the little shop that offers various marques and vintages.

Much of the old part of Reims was destroyed during the German occupation in World War II, unfortunately, leaving not of the original city to see. However, the excellent fine arts museum is well worth a visit.

We especially liked the tour of the Mumms Champagne cellars, but there are a good number from which to choose.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2005, 03:10 PM
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We enjoyed the tour at Tatinger. The tour guide was knowledgeable and personable, the glass of champagne at the end was delicious, the grounds were lovely (and the bathrooms were very nice, too. Pomery looked gorgeous, but they were closed for a jazz festival when we were there. Darn.

We also really enjoyed the champagne tasting menu at Les Vignerons (a charming restaurant)- the food was wonderful, and it was great to try lots of champagnes selected especially to complement each dish.

Be sure to look for the beautiful statue of JeanD'Arc at the cathedral.

We were also fascinated by the fact that everywhere we went for breakfast in Rheims we got a basket of mini-croissants instead of one large one. We never did find out if this was a city-specific or regional thing, but it was one of those enjoyable mysteries about travel that made us smile.

Have a great trip!
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Old Jan 2nd, 2005, 06:14 PM
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I didn't tour any champagne house so can't comment on them, but think the highlights are the cathedral and several fine museums, other than that. I really found the Recapitulation Museum quite fascinating (Eisenhower's headquarters and where the Germans surrendered), they had some good film clips I'd never seen.

You can get a lot of good information from the tourist office. The Fine Arts museum, which is decent, also has a fairly extensive selection of brochures, maps, etc., on the city.

I went by train so can't comment on places to stop en route, but my impression is that isn't exactly a scenic route. It isn't that far, you shouldn't need to stop much.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2005, 06:20 PM
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Stop at Epernay, where there are even more impressive champagne cellars and tours than at Reims -- particularly Moet.
And there are dozens of really wonderful places to have lunch in Epernay.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2005, 07:35 PM
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Is it the Moët et Chandon tour that ends with the Champagne fountain?
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Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 03:37 AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I understand there are some World War I and II sights in the area. Can anyone elaborate?
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Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 05:21 PM
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Agree with Christina about the Recapitulation Museum being worthwhile. It is near the train station.

Can also recommend the champagne house tour at Piper Heisdeck. You travel through the caves in an automatic car with comentary in the language of your choice. Particularly good for those who dislike climbing a llot of stairs.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 05:25 PM
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I'd suggest doing Vezelay on the way to Champagne if you havn't seen it - great old medieval-looking hill-draped village with famous basilica that once housed the faked bones of some Mary, Virgin Mary or maybe Mary Magdalen, Jesus's suspected wife - just a great scene right on your way. Buy Michelin maps at any cafe or petrol station and stick to the yellow-colored roads - wellpaved backroads with very little traffic that meanders thru lost-in-time villages - eschew roads in red, busy boisterous truck-filled thoroughfares that are no joy to take.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 05:42 PM
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I also highly recommend Piper Heidsieck tour. The gift shop was also very nice -- I still have a couple of bottles in my wine cellar.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 05:45 PM
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Vezelay to the south of Paris seems a little out of the way going to Reims which is east of Paris. It's about 2.5 hours from Paris to Vezelay then 3 hours from Vezeley to Reims.

Paris to Reims is about 1.5 hours. All of these are www.viamichelin.com times.

Outside Fere-en-Tardenois which is between Paris and Reims is an American Military Cemetery. They are sobering, somber and quite beautiful with their immaculate grounds, chapel and precision rows of headstones.

www.abmc.gov/oa.htm
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Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 05:51 PM
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No Vezelay not at all on this route. Sorry i was thinking i read you were going Dijon-Beaune and then to Reims - for some reason - maybe some other post - no not Vezelay. Actually I led bike trips for 10 years and we biked Reims-Paris. Actually you can drive the route we biked - a very nice route along the Marne River Valley, via Chateau-Thierry, where outside of town is a monumental WWI (?) WWII (?) US military memorail - actually deeded to US in perpetuity, high on a hill. But the Marne Valley is cute - lots of Champgane fabricators en route. And Epernay, yes more prestigious Champagne houses and tours than in Reims - Epernay nice town and the real Champagne center. Sorry about Vezelay mistake.
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 11:45 AM
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Yes, yes, yes...go to the cemetery and monument referred to above. Won't take much time, and very moving.
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