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reims and Epernay or Reims and Hautvillers?

reims and Epernay or Reims and Hautvillers?

Aug 31st, 2010, 05:57 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 19
reims and Epernay or Reims and Hautvillers?

We (husband and I) are going to France next week for 3 months. We are starting with 20 days in Paris and then slowly going around the country staying 3 or 5 days in different cities. Everything is organized and booked. However, I have a last minute doubt. While we are in Paris we would like to visit the Champagne area as a day trip. We want to see:

- Reims Cathedral,
- the town of Epernay
- the town of Hautvillers
- only one vineyard
- only one cellar house

We found a few day tours on the Internet. They will pick you up early morning from your hotel in Paris and take you back in the evening. They cost around 150 to 180 euros per person.

They all include Reims, but no one seems to do Epernay AND Hautvillers.

So should we do Reims and Epernay or Reims and Hautvillers?

Another option could be to hire a car and do it by ourselves, it would be a lot cheaper, but that creates the additional problem of parking and my husband not being able to enjoy as much of the scenery because he would be driving all the time (I don't drive).

I will truly appreciate your opinion. Thank you!
Silvia_B is offline  
Aug 31st, 2010, 07:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,913
IMO you only go to Epernay to do Champagne tours - same tours about and the same companies you will find in Reims. Though Epernay is the acclaimed most prestigious Champagne center to my knowledge the tours, thru caves are about the same in Reims and Epernay - saying that after doing tours in both towns several times.

Epernay the town is ordinaire IMO -nice but not nearly as interesting as Reims where the Champagne Houses are mostly a few miles removed from the Cathedral area and town center.

Hautvilliers may be hard to get to by public transports - i would rent a car and do a sweet drive along the Marne River, dotted by many small independent Champangeries, if you want to see all three or even Reims and Hautvillers, where Dom Perignon i believe gave birth to the first Champagne.

I'd do Remins and Hautvilliers and skip Epernay even if you rent a car.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 31st, 2010, 08:59 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 215
We were in Reims in June 2010 and loved the area. We used Paris Champagne Tours with Trong Nguyen as our tour guide. We first toured the Ruinart cellar, then off to Hautviller
to tour a small Champagne house and then to Epernay to visit another House.

I HIGHLY recommend using Trong for the day~wonderful experience!!!! I will definitely stay in Epernay rather than Reims on next visit. We personally enjoyed the smaller Champagne Houses outside of Reims~the countryside is absolutely stunning!!
plufmud is offline  
Sep 1st, 2010, 02:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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plufmud - what is in Hautvilliers to command a valulable part of a day trip to Champagne region? I was there long ago and it looked like just another quintessential tiny French Village - i did not see any Champange Houses like in Reims or epernay - i basically rode my bike thru and may have missed something

I know or believe Hautvilliers is the home or birthplace of Champagne but what is there of exception to draw today's tourists away from the likes of Epernay or Reims?
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 1st, 2010, 02:20 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 709
For 150 to 180 euros per person, I say do this on your own. The train to Reims/Epernay takes about 45 minutes and I believe I paid €50 for two of us roundtrip, and it's also €50 for two of us to tour the Veuve Cliquot champagne caves. I don't know how many cellars/wineries this tour includes and/or what the transportation looks like, but to me, if I'm paying that much for a day trip that close to Paris, it better be in a limo Taking the train also solves the problem of your husband not having to drive. Tickets can be booked here: www.voyages-sncf.com Good luck!
Kyliebaby3 is offline  
Sep 1st, 2010, 05:26 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 19
Thank you all for your replies.

plufmud: I did email Trong's company and I just received an email back from someone named Ingrid. She said that their tour only concentrates in Reims and do not visit Epernay or Hautvillers, so I will not book with them.

PalenQ: the reason I want to see Hautvillers is because is champagne and Dom Perignon's birthplace. He lies in the nave of the abbey-church.

Kyliebaby3: I am seriously considering your suggestion of taking the train, as I cannot find any tour company that will cover the 3 places. Still looking though...
Silvia_B is offline  
Sep 4th, 2010, 02:45 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 215

Trong drove us to Hautvillers where we visited the Abbey and also toured the Godme Champagne house with the owner taking us on a personal tour and wine tasting. This was a unique tour in contrast to the Ruinart cellars as it is a small familiy owned house and we cannot purchase that champagne in SC. She showed each step of the champagne making process in her cellar.

The plan was to take a 1-2 hour river cruise however there were not enough passengers on that particular day. The countryside is ABSOLUTELY beautiful in that area.

This was our day with Trong beginning at 8:30 and ending at our hotel around 7:00.

Ruinart Cellar tour and tasting
Toured Godme Cellars
Lunch in Epernay (3 course) which was included in price)
Toured Abby and walked some in the vineyards while Trong explained about the vines,care,harvest, etc.

Visited Bonneville House and walked aroung a bit with details of different houses and their history.

Trong picked us up at hotel with van and drove for the day with great explanations of the area, agriculture, and history.
We learned SO much more than just driving through the area on our own.

I would DEFINITELY do this tour again!!!
plufmud is offline  
Sep 4th, 2010, 02:59 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,411
Since Champagne only exists because of Birmingham bottle makers maybe you should go there as well

Seriously Epernay is a nice little town with some good visits and the Avencue de Champagne is worth walking down (in the evening) to see the lights

Reims centre has little to do with the wine as the houses are on the outskirts. Reims is well worth the visit in its own right.

If I had one day to do the two I'd take a tour, but since wine is my main hobbey I could not dream of only spending a day there (5 days plus, last year)
bilboburgler is online now  

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