Blog Tour – Roaming through France – Reims
A Day in Champagne
Happy August everyone! I hope you all enjoyed reading about my time in Paris and discovering everything you could do there. Today, I am so excited to talk about my next lovely French destination from my trip last month. *Hint, it has something to do with the bubbly we all love!
That’s right, it’s CHAMPAGNE! On our second full day in France, my friend Courtney and I took the train from Paris all the way east to the charming city of Colmar. Before I get into talking about Colmar (next blog post), I am excited to share some highlights of the lovely town we stopped in halfway on our journey – Reims!
The small and charming city of Reims is located in northeastern France and is considered the unofficial capital of the Champagne wine-growing region. (It is technically part of the French Grand Est. region.) Reims hosts many Champagne houses, has a beautiful cathedral as well as many historical and royal landmarks.
Today, discover everything you could see and do during your day in Reims:
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The primary way I traveled through France was by train. When it comes to public transportation in France, the country is very organized and makes it easy and stress free for all travelers. My friend Courtney and I traveled through a large chunk of the country for a full week and had multiple train stops to each destination. Because the train stations in France are small and easy to navigate, we had such a great and relaxing experience. (Yes, you heard that right!)
We got to Reims by picking up the TGV train at Paris EST and took it to Gare de Reims with a stop in Champagne-Ardenne. (I booked all of the my train tickets in advanced through Rail Europe.) Even though the trip was a little over an hour, it truly didn’t feel like it. The trains are so peaceful and relaxing, plus the views are amazing!
When you arrive in Reims, it is easy to navigate around the heart of the city by foot (which is what we mostly did), but there is also a tram (bus/metro) that you could take around the city. The bus/metro pass was around 4 euros for the day, which is pretty inexpensive! You could also rent a bike to get around the city for 20 euros per day. Since we were wearing cute dresses, we skipped out on the whole bike idea, but it sure sounded fun!
Where to Store Your Luggage:
Since Courtney and I stopped in Reims on our way to Colmar, we had our luggage with us. Now, you’re probably thinking, “how could they have enjoyed Reims when they had to haul their luggage around with them?” Well, that is where Nannybag comes to the rescue!
Nannybag allows travelers worldwide to store their luggage and bags in shops and hotels within various cities while they explore. Their services run 24/7 and all you have to do is go to the website, type which city you are going to for the day and how long you will be there. Nannybag will pull up a map with pinpoints on where you could drop your luggage off. It is fairy inexpensive to use Nannybag and it is insured against theft, loss and breakage.
When we first arrived in Reims, we dropped our baggage off at Hotel ibis Reims Centre that was located right next to the train station. The hotel staff had a room where they store and lock up all luggages. They will also provide you with a receipt just in case. In addition to Hotel ibis, there are also a few other locations to drop your luggage off in Reims; you just have to look at the map on Nannybag.
First Stop: CHAMPAGNE!
By using ** Trip Advisor, we found and booked a great Champagne tour through the famous Champagne Lanson. Even though there are quite a few Champagne houses in Reims, I am so happy we chose Champagne Lanson because the people were friendly, the caves (cellars) were magical, the history was interesting and the actual champagne was amazing! Because Champagne Lanson is a popular Champagne house, it is highly recommended that you book your tour in advance to ensure you get this memorable experience.
One of the unique aspects about Champagne Lanson is that it is the only “Grande Maison” in Reims to offer a Champagne experience to its visitors straight from the vine. All of the guided tours last around an hour and a half and are available in both English and French. As our sweet tour guide took us through the different stages of the Champagne production, I was absolutely in awe of everything I learned.
François Delamotte founded the Champagne house in 1760 and his vineyards in Cumières and Ay were one of the firsts to ever exist. In 1798, François’ son Nicolas-Louis Delamotte took it over from his father. Nicolas-Louis had been admitted as a knight of the Order of Malta, so he decided to use the Maltese Cross as the House’s emblem. Nowadays, it holds as the icon of the company.
Later on, Jean-Baptiste Lanson, began to play an important role in the management of the Champagne house. After Nicolas-Louis Delamotte’s death, Jean-Baptiste Lanson took over the House and renamed the business to Maison J-B Lanson et Compagnie.
Over the years, the House developed steadily and won admirers among some major Champagne connoisseurs and even royalty, including the crowned heads. Champagne Lanson has been the official supplier to the British court since 1900. (They have a Royal Warrant with the Queen of England!!!) The House also became the only Champagne of the principality of Monaco.
During the tour, we got to see the first fermentation building that consisted of numerous stainless steel tanks. After that, we made our way into another room with machinery for the reserved wine. The coolest part of the tour was walking through the caves, which means cellars in French. These eerie, but oh-so-fascinating caves used to be an old passage area during numerous French wars. It used to also be a hospital for wounded soldiers. In 1926, these underground tunnels became Champagne Lanson’s caves. Nowadays, over 20,000 bottles of Champagne are stored in there from centuries of production.
In addition to the actual bottles, you could also view some of the old equipment used to make the Champagne. It is amazing to see how much work is put into making this wonderful bubbly that we all love to consume on special occasions and even during a lovely brunch with friends.
We concluded this amazing Champagne tour with a tasting of Lanson’s best wines that range from prestige to non-vintage. We even had the opportunity to try a vintage wine, which was awesome! Click here to learn more about Champagne Lanson’s wonderful selection.
Wander through Reims Cathedral:
After our amazing Champagne tour at Champagne Lanson, Courtney and I went over to the heart of town to explore and admire the old-world beauty.
Our first stop was to the Cathedral of Notre-Dame at Reims. This Roman Catholic church was once destroyed by a fire in 1211, but was quickly replaced by a larger Gothic-style cathedral.
When we first approached the beautiful Cathedral, I was so amazed because this is the site that holds over 900 years worth of royal coronations of the kings of France. Some historical figures that have been to this church were Louis VIII in 1223 to Charles X in 1825 and it also held the crowning of Charles VII in 1429 in the presence of Joan of Arc. How cool?!
Another cool fact about the Reims Cathedral is that it was added as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991! I loved how beautiful it was and it was so relaxing to sit near it and relax while enjoying the views.
Admire the Palace of Tau:
Located next to the Reims Cathedral is the Episcopal Palace of Tau. One cool fact about this beautiful palace is that it is where the Cathedral’s treasury is kept.
Back in the day, the king would come to the Palace of Tau to don his robes. It was also the location of the post coronation banquet.
Visit Place Royale:
This wonderful place in Reims features a gorgeous palace built to honor King Louis XV. Situated in front of the palace is a statue of him dressed as a Roman Emperor. This is also a wonderful place to sit down and rest your feet. (I know I sure needed to; walking through cities could take a toll on your feet.)
Grab Glace (Ice Cream) and Stroll through La Porte de Mars:
During our day in Reims, it was very hot! After a fulfilling lunch in the heart of town, Courtney and I headed to La Porte de Mars in Place de la République to relax, enjoy the beauty and savor some delicious glace (ice cream that is similar to gelato) before we picked up our bags and hopped back on the train.
Thankfully, this little park is right near the train station, so it is the perfect place to visit right before you are about to leave. La Porte de Mars is one of the last of Roman history and architecture surviving in Reims. An interesting fact about this wonderful landmark is that it was built in the 200s and is the largest Roman arch in the world!
Enjoy Food and Coffee:
During my time in Reims, I utilized ** TripAdvisor to find some amazing local cuisine. I savored a delicious pasta dish with fresh salmon in a white wine sauce. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it to show you guys though (tear drop). Also, yes, I was that hungry LOL. In addition, you can find many adorable cafés throughout the city.
I hope you all enjoyed reading about my day in Reims and discovering what you could do in this wonderful city. If you are traveling throughout France, I highly recommend you visit Reims and pay a visit to a Champagne house. You will have an amazing time like I did, especially if you LOVE Champagne!
If you have any questions about my time in Reims or my trip to France in general, please feel free to email me at TAYLORL.DEER@gmail.com , contact me via social media or leave a comment below.
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