While in Paris we were thrilled to take a day trip to Champagne. We looked up many preset tours of champagne houses with transit and scheduled tastings included, but frankly that’s just not our style and many of them seem greatly overpriced. So instead, we set out to make our own tour de Champagne and here is how it went.
Everyone suggested we take the train because it’s a quick 1-hour ride and is highly comfortable. But upon research found out a round trip train ticket starts at about €65 a person OR the bus (which is slightly longer) is €10 – SOLD! Keep in mind some days have much higher prices and sell out quickly, so check ticket prices early and on multiple days to find deals. We suggest Omio, Trainline, and FlixBus. Unfortunately, the bus takes you about 2 miles away from the town of Reims but even with an Uber, we were still well under the train fare price.
We looked into multiple options for Champagne tours and landed on Taittinger for our guided tour for many reasons. It was only €21 opposed to up to €70 at Veuve Clicquot. Also Taittinger was one of the few houses without a tasting room so we wouldn’t be able to see the grounds by simply purchasing a glass of Champagne. We considered doing multiple tours but the reality is, we know how Champagne is made and even if you don’t, one tour will give you the overview. Champagne is made in a very consistent manner so each house will be giving a similar tour. After our tour we planned to do a walking tour of Reims and enjoy glasses at a few other houses and check out the grounds.
We opted for the basic tour along with a glass of NV Taittinger. The tour starts with a movie about the Taittinger brand and it’s origins before walking 12 meters underground. We saw bottles in various states of the process from aging, second fermentation, and riddling. Then, we ventured all the way down to 18 meters underground to see parts of the caves from 3rd Century, whoa. We ended the tour with a glass of non-vintage Champagne, and made our way to the next house.
Veuve is only about a 5 minute walk from Taittinger. They have a patio with their vintage Veuve Volkswagen parked outside and the decor is all the signature bright orange color. We brought a glass from the 2008 vintage – one brut and one rosé (€16 each).
We hadn’t planned on stopping by Pommery but walking by on our way to Ruinart, we were amazed! It looks straight out of Cinderella. We couldn’t resist. The inside was filled with art installations and a patio with views reminiscent of a classic fairy tale. We grabbed a glass of the 2006 rosé and brut (€18 each) and wandered about.
We realized that our bus was coming shortly to bring us back to Paris and this would be the end of our tour. To sum it up. We spent under €90 a person. Considering we got a tour, 3 glasses of champagne, and transit, it was a great deal. The next cheapest Champagne day we would find would have been over €150 a person. So we are calling it a win! Sante!