From history to architecture and, of course, Champagne, here is how to make the most of a weekend in Reims…

Champagne travel: Spend a weekend in Reims

Getting there: Eurostar goes from London to Paris in two and a half hours, then a short walk to Gare de l’Est to pick up a 45 minute train to Reims.

Fly from London to Paris Charles de Gaulle and Reims is 45 minutes drive.


History

The cultural must-see in Reims is of course, the Cathedral (pictured top). Originally built in the 13th century, it was where Clovis I was baptised, and then where many of the French Kings’ coronations happened, the final one being Charles X in 1825.

If possible, try and get a guided tour of the Cathedral; in more than 800 years it has survived fires, the First World War and more. This means that various parts have been recreated at different times in history, which a knowledgeable guide can point out to you.

They can also educate you on how it was originally painted, albeit the artwork has mostly faded now.

The stained glass windows range from different time eras, too; from the original windows to the most recent from 2011, when the 800th anniversary of the cathedral was celebrated.

2018 marks 100 years since the end of the First World War, which took a heavy toll on the Champagne region in particular, so look out for events in the city to mark the occasion.

Architecture

Reims is small enough for most people to explore on foot. Go for a wander and admire the many examples of Art Deco and Art Nouveau architecture throughout the city.

reims library

The Art Deco features in Reims library. Credit: Ellie Douglas/ Decanter

The Carnegie library (Bibliothèque Carnegie de Reims) is a prime example of the geometric shapes and flower motifs of Art Deco style.

Finish off your Art Deco walking tour with a visit to the Pâtisserie Waïda , a bakery and Salon de Thé, and stop for a pastry.



Champagne Houses

A trip to Reims wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a Champagne producer, but not all are open to the public, so do your research first  and book ahead, as our Champagne expert Tyson Stelzer recommends in this handy guide.

Some of the larger houses in Reims with visitor centres and tour include Pommery, Veuve Clicquot, Ruinart and Taittinger.

You can also find out more about Champagne tours and visits on the Reims tourism website.

Where to eat

It’ll come as no surprise that most restaurants have Champagne-heavy wine lists.

Cafe du Palais. Reims

Cafe du Palais. Reims. Credit: Ellie Douglas/ Decanter.For lunch with a classic French bistro atmosphere, head to Café du Palaisalso a favourite of Olivier Krug’s.

Another Art Deco site, the interior is busy with mirrors, paintings and statues, and a roaring lunchtime trade. Dishes are hearty – including a foie gras tagliatelle – and one could easily spent a whole afternoon there, with a few glasses of Champagne for company.

For a special dinner, and beautiful dishes, try the Michelin-starred Le Millénaire. They do a set menu for 37 euros, Sunday – Thursday, with a few choices per course, and of course, plenty of Champagnes to choose from.


Decanter.com was taken to Reims by the Champagne Bureau UK as part of a trip hosted by the Comité Champagne