I see myself driving a blush pink convertible, floppy hat with a blush pink or off-white scarf flapping into the sunset as I hold the steering wheel with one hand and toasting a glass of sparkling champagne in the other. Hollywood makes you believe that is THE way to enjoy champagne. However, it is not legal (always 2 hands on the wheel) and I don’t drink and drive. So, if you do want to explore the Champagne region in France, but keep things safe and bubbly fun, how do you go about that? Luckily for you: I have the answer and share with you the single perfect way to explore the Champagne region: with a champagne tour from Reims.
I was invited by A la Française! Champagne on their tour to explore the Champagne region on a day trip from Reims. As always, all opinions are my own.
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Sparkling Champagne Tour from Reims France to discover the Champagne Region
Champagne region France
Most people drink champagne on New Year’s Eve or on other festive occasions. But champagne is a wine for any occasion! The sparkling wine can only be called champagne when it is produced in the Champagne region in France and according to the rules and regulations of the champagne police.
Champagne is located in the northeast of France, ranging from the city of Reims to the center of the region Epernay and Troyes further south. Only grape farmers with a specific variety of grapes can sell their grapes to make champagne.
The champagne houses need to follow a long list of rules and regulations before they can call their product champagne and you can celebrate your wedding with a glass of champagne.
Reims is the capital of the region and easily accessible from the rest of France. Only 45 minutes by high-speed TGV train, Reims is a great base to explore the region and get a taste of champagne!
The city is known for its gothic cathedral, also called Notre Dame, just like the one in Paris. It offers a long list of champagne houses and you can buy and drink champagne (and other wines) almost at every bar and shop.
A day trip to Reims is cheap (train tickets go for €9 onwards) and the city offers a wide range of sights to see and champagne tours to take. You can visit several champagne houses in the city or hop from one bar to the next.
Champagne day trip from Reims
As Reims is so central and easily accessible from Paris, it makes perfect sense to head to Reims for some champagne tasting. But why stay in the city when you can go explore the whole region of Champagne and visit the actual vineyards and take the champagne where it was made?
If you have one day to spare, I highly recommend taking a champagne tour from Reims and visit nearby Epernay and explore the Champagne region.
A la Française! Champagne
With this idea in mind, I went to my good old friend the internet and looked around for tours of the Champagne region from Reims. One company really stood out and I knew I wanted to explore one of their tours!
A la Française! (translated as “French-style”) is a French-owned small tour company that offers wine tours in France! They originated in the Bordeaux area (where else?!) but joined forces with the Champagne region to become one big company, offering wine tours in France.
I only spent one day on their tour but it is easy to see that A la Française! can be characterized as young, forward-thinking, and customer-orientated people who go out of their way to make your day in the Champagne region unforgettable!
As they work with local tour guides, you know everyone is passionate about their home region and your tour money goes directly to the local community.
You get to drink champagne, explore a pretty part of France and be a sustainable tourist. Win-win if you ask me!
Video of the Champagne Tour from Reims
Curious what my tour was like? Then click the video below to watch my recap of the day. You can turn on the sound or keep it muted, whichever way you like. If you like my video’s, subscribe to my new YouTube channel.
The perfect way to explore the Champagne region from Reims
So back to that romanticized image of driving through vineyards while drinking champagne. Besides that it is illegal, it is also very impractical and unmanageable.
In my opinion, going on a tour of the Champagne region is the only way to really learn about champagne making, understanding the traditions and local life of a champagne family.
I don’t want to spill all the champagne and tell you exactly what we did on the tour and what we drank. Partly because there is no fun in knowing everything beforehand and mostly because after 3 glasses of champagne I was too giggly and had a bubbly head so I don’t remember.
But what I do remember about the tour were the things I liked about it. Here is my breakdown of the advantages of taking this Champagne tour:
Someone drives you around all-day
In my opinion, this is one of the biggest advantages. We jumped in a modern, air-conditioned van with enough space to store a few cases of champagne. You don’t need to worry about where you’re going, how to get there or breaking the law for DUI.
You’re not only exploring the city of Reims but also the countryside of Champagne
Although cities are exciting, I also love to explore the rural countryside. That is where the wine is grown and wine-makers live. Small French villages are highly appealing because of their shabby-chic appearances and Instagrammability.
The tour drives through some pretty amazing scenery
Sit back, relax and take in the rolling fields of grapes as you meander through the countryside. No worries about roundabouts, giving right of way, but just enjoy the scenery.
From Reims to Épernay, you’ll drive through the Montagne de Reims Natural Regional Park, a hilly and forest-like area which was really beautiful.
You get to visit some highlights of the Champagne region like Epernay
Reims is the biggest city in the region and very easily accessible. Smaller Epernay takes a bit more trouble to get to but I liked how it was included in the tour.
In Epernay, you’ll find all the big champagne houses, all on 1 street. Their famous mansions invite you for a glass of champagne tasting if you have the time.
You learn about Dom Perignon
Who doesn’t know Dom Perignon?
The famous champagne that is linked to many celebrities actually took the name from the famous French Benedictine monk contributed to the champagne we know today.
On the tour, we visited the small but super cute village of Hauptvillers where we visited the small abbey and the final resting place of this important champagne maker.
You get amazing views of the region of Champagne
From Hauptvillers (which means high-village), you go to a viewpoint with amazing views of the region. Rows and rows of grapevines and farmland, all lead the eyes to the river down below and the cute villages that dot the area.
You learn about the champagne making process
Of course, drinking champagne is half the joy. And you don’t need to know how they make it, to enjoy it.
But to me, learning these new things about artisan traditions and knowing where our food, and drinks, come from is also half the fun. I learned a lot on this tour about the champagne-making process and the time and dedication it takes to make excellent sparkly wines.
You are stimulated to awaken all your senses for the champagne tasting
Of course, you need to drink wine and champagne to get a good taste of the product. But smelling is also part of the tasting experience.
What I really liked about this champagne tour was that we were stimulated to use all our senses and we got to smell a bunch of different flavors and challenged to allocate it to the different champagnes.
There is champagne, lots and lots of it
You might wonder now if there was any champagne tasting. Heck yea!
After exploring the area and learning all kinds of details about champagne, it was time for some tasting. And lots and lots of it!
I’m not a heavy drinker and due to my always present fatigue, I get tipsy really really fast. After 3 or 4 glasses, I could clearly feel the impact of the alcohol.
If you wonder if this tour is worth your money, you get to taste 9 different champagnes, throughout the tour. All different kinds of brands and varieties, so don’t worry about that part! The champagne tour got you covered!
You get to taste a wide range of different champagnes
And you don’t get to drink only the cheap champagne either. We tasted a whole range of cru’s, grand-cru and also reservas. So no knock-off bubbly wine, this tour brings you the real deal of champagne tasting.
You can taste the lesser-known smaller champagne brands
If I’d go to a bar or restaurant and I would order a glass of champagne, I will probably go for a brand that I know. Right? Probably you would too.
The fun thing about the tour is that they visit local smaller wineries and winemakers and you get to taste a whole range of smaller champagne houses.
Actually, I had never heard of them (which is ok) but now I know for sure I got to taste a wide variety of champagne. And that is part of the fun!
You can probably get Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot, Taittinger, and Moët Chandon at home too but those smaller Champagne houses also have great champagnes which you get to taste on the tour!
You get an abundance of home-cooked French-style food in a rural village
After our first 3 glasses of champagne, I was getting quite tipsy. I absolutely loved the snacks we ate to clean our palette, but the lunch came just in time!
Accompanied by another 3 glasses of sparkling champagnes, we enjoyed a lovely home-cooked french style picnic lunch that I absolutely loved.
No heavy plates, but french and light meals that were really healthy. I must say, I especially liked the cheese board too. And bread. And the salad. And the pink champagne. You get it: I loved it!
You can interact with locals, the tour company and other travelers
Of course, you can rent a car or a taxi driver who drives you around the area, lets you explore and brings you home safely. But what I like about joining tours like this Champagne tour from Reims, is that you get to interact with like-minded other travelers.
Our tour group was a lot of fun. Our guide was really knowledgeable and shared a lot of information about life in Reims and the Champagne region.
At the local winemaker’s place, we got to interact with the local farmer and owner of the champagne house, which was really nice.
You get to visit an actual champagne-making house
After driving through the Champagne region, tasting the champagne, and eating, I got quite a good idea about life in the Champagne area. But I got even more inside information when we visited a local champagne maker’s house!
Build upon a hill, surrounded by Chardonnay grapes and an amazing view, we got a tour of the house, the champagne-making facilities, and the champagne and wine cellar. Seeing the machinery and all those bottles of wine, resting and waiting to become champagne was amazing.
There is more champagne tasting
On the second part of the tour, we got to taste more champagne! Woop Woop. As if I wasn’t drunk enough already? I guess the bubbles in my head faded a little bit, so there was room for more champagne.
At the last stop, we got to taste another 3 champagnes. They were quite different from the previous ones, bringing the grand total of glasses of champagne on this tour to 9!
Practical tips for your champagne tour from Reims
As you can read from the above, I really liked this champagne tour from Reims. If you’re visited France and want to learn more about champagne, or just need an excuse to taste a whole bunch of champagne, then I highly recommend this tour.
Below are some practical tips to help you choose the best Champagne tours.
Book a tour
As you can read, I really think the only way to see the region is to book a tour.
There are several tours. Some depart from Paris and bring you to Épernay and back, others start from Reims.
- Full-Day Champagne Tour from Paris
- Champagne Tour and Tastings from Reims
- Champagne Tastings and Lunch from Epernay
- Afternoon Champagne Tour from Reims
Go to Reims from Paris
Of course, you can do a day trip from Paris to the Champagne region and do a tour there. They will pick you up in Paris and drive you to the Champagne region and back. But the transport adds up quite quickly.
I’d recommend going to Reims by yourself and book a tour from there. The train from Paris to Reims is super easy, quick and cheap and you can do the exact same tour from Reims.
When you leave Paris in the morning, you can do a Champagne tour, like the one I did starts at 11 am and you have some time to explore the lovely city of Reims and its cathedral.
Family Friendly Champagne Tours
Children from the age of 18 are allowed to drink in France, so you can bring your teens on this tour too. If your children are younger than 18 and can’t drink champagne, then I still think the tour is fun.
The tour of the Champagne region, the information, and the smelling test are fun for kids too.
If you want a more active Champagne tour, there are cycling tours of the Champagne region (including tastings of course!) from Reims.
Of course, if you find champagne you really like, the best place to buy them is in the Champagne region!
On the tour, you get several opportunities to buy the champagnes you’ve tastes (and many more) if you’re interested. You can buy a bottle or per case of 6 if you like.
Discover Champagne Region from Reims
If you’re visiting Reims, either from Paris or as a destination on its own, I highly recommend a Champagne tour and champagne tasting of course! I hope I offered some more insights on what to expect about the tour and how much fun it is to experience one.
If you want to book the exact same tour as I did, you can find more details, information, and prices here.
Have you ever been to the Champagne region? Did you ever visit Reims? Do you like champagne and would like to taste more of it when you visit France? Then this tour is perfect for you! Leave a comment in the comment section below, I’d love to read it. Or share this with your friends on Facebook or pin it for later.