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Grand Est Reims in the Champagne Region

The small city of Reims is known for being in the middle of the Champagne region. It’s also the home of a Notre Dame cathedral whose claim to fame is being larger than the one in Paris and also being where many French kings were crowned. There is a second church that deserves a visit for its amazing stained glass windows – the Basilica of Saint Remi.

Reims is easy to reach from Paris. It’s a one hour ride on a tgv from Gare de l'Est. The train arrives in the center of Reims and from there one can easily catch a taxi, or a bus to your hotel. Or you can choose to do as we did and take a 10 minute walk to the Les Telliers b&b. This is one of my favorite b&b’s that I have stayed at in France. The owners, Veronique and Renaud, are warm and friendly. Their home is perfect for a short stay. I travelled with my mom and we were able to reserve the family suite which consists of two bedrooms and a bathroom on the top floor. After spending a few days in Paris, we appreciated of the space and the low cost. We paid 101 euros a night, including an amazing breakfast.

The main draw of the area, is of course champagne. You can do a tour and tasting at some of the major houses in town such as Tatinger or Ruinart. We were tempted by these, but decided we wanted a chance to see the countryside where the grapes are grown. Veronique of Les Telliers sent me a list of small producers in the area which led me to Rachel from WB Champagnes. Rachel came to Reims from the UK to study French, ended up falling in love and marrying Alexis, the son of a local producer. They now run Wafflart Briet champagne along with their in-laws.

We chose to do a private day tour which included visiting their production area where we each had the opportunity to label our own bottle of champagne and learn about the champagne method. We visited some of their fields, where we learned that the government doesn’t allow any new fields to start growing grapes for champagne. Now we know what’s behind some of the high prices. We had a surprisingly gourmet 3 course lunch at a Le comptoir à bulles in the little village of Sacy, of course accompanied by champagne. We really enjoyed seeing the area and with Rachel picking us up and dropping us off, it was very easy.

In the town of Reims itself be sure to visit both the cathedral and the basilica. The cathedral is right in the center of town so it is walking distance from many hotels. If the weather is nice you can sit outside in the square, enjoying a glass of champagne. The Basilica is a bus or taxi ride away. I found the bus easy to use and the local TI will give detailed info on which bus to use. For me, the main draw of the basilica was the stained glass windows. There are some amazing rose windows as well as two sections whose original windows were destroyed during WWII and have been replaced with designs by the German artist Idi Knoebel and French artist Marc Chagall.

We happened to be in France for “La Fête de la Musique.” There were groups performing in the streets, at theaters and in several restaurants. We enjoyed a father & daughter who played guitar and sang a variety of French and American songs. They performed at Au bon Manger, a small deli with seating for about 10, where we enjoyed our dinner. Besides being a deli and natural wine store, they also serve a few cooked dishes. We were lucky enough to have duck confit with roasted potatoes and a fresh green salad.

Les Telliers B&B
WB Champagne
Au Bon Manger




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