This itinerary is suitable for a day trip to the Champagne region and can be extended for a weekend trip as well. The itinerary needs access to a private vehicle which is ideal if you have a short time at hand. Regional trains can be used however may not be ideal for stopping at the smaller villages on the route.
Luxembourg – Reims – Verzenay – Epernay – Hautvillers – Luxembourg
This trip can also be done as a day / weekend trip from Paris as the high speed TGV takes about 40 mins to Reims. From Reims you can either opt for a self drive car rental or use the regional trains.
This trip can also be done from Brussels via a train or using the self drive option.
There are 3 main wine routes recommended of which I have created a version of the best possible route to maximize your day trip.
Stop 1: Reims
One of the first things to check off your list when in Reims is the beautiful Notre Dame cathedral, more so if you are majorly missing the Notre Dame in Paris. The cathedral has some beautiful installations of stained glass windows including one from Chagall which is worth stopping for.
Once done with the cathedral, if nothing else then do walk around the city centre. It almost feels like you are in Paris sans the crowds which I would say is an awesome combination. There is a statue of the Joan of Arc and also REIMS display for some great photo ops. Adjacent to the cathedral is the Palace of Tau which was once the residence of the Archbishops of Reims and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. It does come with a steep entrance fee of EUR 8 unless combined with a guided tour of the cathedral at EUR 11. If you have more time to spend in Reims and the Romans are calling you, then you can visit the Mars Gate, a Gallo-Roman triumphal arch and Gallo-Roman cryptoporticus.
There are also quite a few Champagne tours in Reims which you can do including the Pommery, G.H Mumm and Taittinger however I would recommend doing the Moet & Chandon luxury tour in Epernay.
Pro Tip: Most champagne tours need to be booked in advance. Check the Reims Official website for rates, schedules and to book tours. Apart from these more established wineries, it is also possible to book tours with local houses.
Stop 2: Verzenay
Verzenay is about 17 kms away from Reims and is one of those small villages along the Champagne route with local vineyards and rows and rows of rollings hills of grapevines. In Verzenay, the best views to be had are from the Lighthouse or Le Phare de Verzenay. There is also a wine museum on the premises, but do skip it and instead walk over to the nearest local winery just under the hill and sit back and taste their amazing products.
Stop 3: Epernay
The town of Epernay, 30 kms south of Verzenay is synonymous with some of the illustrious wine houses such as Moet & Chandon, Perrier Jouet and Pol Roger. If you are looking for a grand winery tour, then Moet & Chandon might be that interests you. But winery tour or not, do visit their showroom and get lost in the glittering champagnes ranging from few euros to a few thousands.
Walk down the famous Avenue de Champagne and imagine the millions of litres of some of the most expensive wine stored underneath you.
Stop 4: Hautvillers
The final stop of the day before heading back has to be the monastery where Dom Perignon lived and its in the small little village of Hautvillers, just 6 kms north of Epernay. Search for Hautvillers Abbey on Google Maps and follow directions. If you are feeling peckish after all that champagne tasting, there is an amazing restaurant just opposite the Abbey. Then just to wrap up the day, drive down to the ‘ Point de vue de Hautvillers’ to catch the golden sun setting over the mile long vineyards.
Hope you enjoyed this itinerary, and would help you travel your next trip to the amazing Champagne province of France.
Till then, Happy Travels!!