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Reims as Day Trip from Paris (and other suggestions)

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Jul 17th, 2014, 02:48 AM
  #1
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Reims as Day Trip from Paris (and other suggestions)

We will be in Paris and Provence this fall. It is our 5th visit to Paris and this time we are looking for an easy day trip to get out of the city on one of our days there.

Our interests are food, wine, pretty scenery and a very walkable city/town center, easily accessible from the train station. We would travel in the morning and spend a day wandering around, visiting markets and stopping for a leisurely lunch. In Reims, that would of course include champagne!

Reims appeals as it is easy trip - about an hour by train - and it looks charming.

If anyone has suggestions for our day there, or an alternate suggestion based on what we are looking for, I would appreciate it!

We are not so much interested in the typical tourist "sites" but rather a day to soak up the local ambiance and have a great lunch.

TIA.
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Jul 17th, 2014, 04:38 AM
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You will find Epernay way smaller and no cathedral, but with the benefit that most of the grand houses are all next door to one another and the TI office is well places on the same street. If I had just a day, I'd do Epernay
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Jul 17th, 2014, 06:23 AM
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Reims is fascinating - Epernay is only wine houses - great if that is your sole criterium.

Reims has a famous exquisite cathedral - where kings of France were once crowned - and also things like the WW 2 Room - in a former school house right near the train station - the room where Allied big wigs plotted the final assault on Germany and Berlin - maps still on the wall - name placards still on the tables where they sat.

Most of the Champagne houses are a few kilometers south of the city center - many I think are closed for a few hours at noon for planning purposes.

Reims has a neat thriving town center (save on Sundays when Frence's mandatory store closing laws makes the center, like most French regional towns church-mouse quiet) - check out the old wrought-iron outdoor market redolent of Les Halles in Paris before that one was demolished long ago.

Reims seems to fit what you are looking for to a T.

Most of the famous Champagne Houses in Reims are also clustered together in one area, like Epernay - I think Epernay is considered to be more prestigious actually than those in Reims - the bubbly that is - but the tours are similar - most of the great houses have ones in Reims and Epernay too. How many wine houses can you visit in one day (without getting tipsy with the tastings at the end of the tours).
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Jul 17th, 2014, 06:31 AM
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Agree with P on the facts, though I remember walking for miles to get to the houses I wanted to in Reims. Reims also has an old Roman Forum (mainly built on with restaurants) and a Carnagie Library.

As P says stuff closes after lunch.

I still find Epernay more approachable and more a country town than the big city. This might give you a flavour http://www.mybikeguide.co.uk/Champagne_Cellars.php
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Jul 17th, 2014, 09:09 AM
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I agree with bilbo's take on Epernay - a nice smaller city with no major sights you 'have' to see - if just wanting the Champagne experience then yes everything is a short walk from the train station. Reims is a much more varied experience - even good if not into Champagne Tours.
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Jul 17th, 2014, 09:15 AM
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I am not interested in champagne at all, so didn't go to any champagne houses in Reims, there is plenty to do otherwise. I'm very interested in history, however, and really enjoyed visiting the museum there which was Eisenhower's WWII headquarters and where the Germans surrender (called Musee de la Reddition).
http://www.reims.fr/culture-patrimoi...tion--1999.htm

There are several good fine arts museums, and the cathedral, of course. I did walk around to most everything but I like to walk a lot, I think the Reddition museum is a bit aways from the main town area. I think I may have taken a bus upon arrival to the main center, then walked around from there and walked to the train station from the Reddition museum. The champagne houses are actually a bit out of the way there, as I recall, you may want to take a taxi to them.
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Jul 17th, 2014, 09:28 AM
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Thank you, all.

Reims sounds more like what we are looking for.

Will be contacting some of the champagne houses to make appointments for tastings.
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Jul 17th, 2014, 09:32 AM
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http://www.reims-tourism.com/Discove...ampagne-Houses

The tourist office' list of Champagne Houses in Reims - there is a map you can click on to find the location.
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Jul 17th, 2014, 10:14 AM
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http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...s-or-reims.cfm

Chartres and Reims are I think the two most popular day trips - here is a recent Fodor's discussion on merits of both.
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Jul 17th, 2014, 11:07 AM
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anyone who is an aviation history nut may be interested in trekking to the eastern outskirts of Reims, venue of numerous early circa 1910 aviation feats - there is a plaque there describing some startling flights done here.

http://www.retrograph.co.uk/downloads/1rgl041/

and you get a nifty view of Reims laid out below from there.
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Jul 17th, 2014, 12:40 PM
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PalenQ, wonderful info - thanks!
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Jul 17th, 2014, 07:49 PM
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Don't miss the Palais du Tau adjacent to the Reims cathedral. It contains the original statues from the exterior of the cathedral (copies now installed), tapestries, royal coronation attire, beautiful royal chapel. One room has a very interesting exhibit on the WWI bomb damage done to the cathedral.
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Jul 17th, 2014, 08:28 PM
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Riems is an easy high speed train ride from Gare d'L Est. Cathedral is beautiful and historic. It is where all of the French kings and queens were crowned. Some of the stained glass is800 years old and some of it was designed by Mark Chagal in 1974. Champagne houses -We visited Pommery and Veuve Cliquot which are right down the street from each other. Both have excellent tasting rooms. Tour of Veuve was good. They take you in to the limestone caves where the bottles are stored.
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Jul 18th, 2014, 09:49 AM
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Most trains from Paris-Est require a change of trains at Champagne-Ardenne TGV station, a few kms outside of Reims with a shuttle train from there into Reims proper - direct trains leave Paris most days at 7:58 and 10:58 with one returning at 17:15 - a bit easier and quicker, especially if you have luggage.
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Jul 18th, 2014, 10:36 AM
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Yes, I am looking at the 7:58 direct train and 17:15 return.
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Jul 18th, 2014, 02:34 PM
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We took direct TGV to Reims...got off and walked a few blocks to the WWII Surrender Museum-
then walked thru a park to lunch...then walked to G.H. Mumm for a champagne tour...then walked on to the cathedral and city center which took us right back to the train station & TGV
back to Paris....all in a day. EASY to do !
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Jul 18th, 2014, 04:53 PM
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Our train was direct and dropped us off at the station right in the middle of town.
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Jul 18th, 2014, 07:18 PM
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As far as food and restaurant dining goes, you can find everything in and around Reims, from delightful, delicious, high-end (Les Crayeres), to several bakeries in the town centre that sell all manner of breads, pastries, sandwiches, pies and tarts (sweet and savoury) to eat on the go.

However if you want a very nice mid-range place for lunch with very good food, I'd recommend Cafe du Palais, 14 Place Myron Herrick, 51100 Reims, France. +33 3 26 47 52 54
located in the town centre and not far from the cathedral.

I've eaten there many times and never had a bad meal. The interior is very Art Deco, colourful and cluttered and very French. It was packed at lunch every time and it's not a small place.
For dessert, try their 'baba au Rhum' which is soft and succulent as it should be, or my favourite, the trio of mini desserts using the pink 'Biscuits Rose' that are a speciality of Reims.
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Jul 19th, 2014, 06:33 AM
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Our train was direct and dropped us off at the station right in the middle of town>

Yes but only a few TGVs go directly into Reims - most of the rest of the links have you changing off the main TGV-Est line at Champagne-Ardenne TGV station and easily taking a shuttle train into the in-town Reims station. Not much of a hassle but if the odd trains that go direct fit with your schedule of course go for them.
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