|Champagne Country Guide, France
|The climate of northern France is perfect for growing the grapes that make champagne, the world's most celebrated wine. You can visit it and taste the wine on a day-trip from Paris, but an excursion of several days is far better.
The winemaking region of Champagne, 144 km (90 miles) northeast of Paris, is a must visit for any wine-lover.
There's lots to learn about champagne, and here's some helpful information about this delicious drink.
Fast TGV trains from Paris's Gare de l'Est make it possible to reach Reims, the "capital" of the Champagne region, in as little as 45 minutes, so a day-trip excursion from Paris to the region is easily possible.
The best Champagne experience is strolling through the towns, visiting the great Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims, wandering among the vineyards, and touring one or more of the great champagne wineries with their kilometers of chalk caves lined with millions of bottles of bubbly wine.
The region offers dozens and dozens of wineries, far more than the few names that may be familiar to you from wine shop shelves and restaurant wine lists.
Many champagne wineries are small, family-run businesses with a limited production that never moves beyond the borders of France. Others are huge, and owned by great international holding companies. More...
Not all champagne wineries offer tours and tastings. Those that do tend to charge a fee for the tour, the amount usually depending upon the number of glasses of wine included in a tasting, and the quality of the wine in each glass. Tours are scheduled at set times, and may require advance reservations. Most tours are in French, with some in English and perhaps in other languages. More...
At least four trains per day speed between Paris's Gare de l'Est and the Gare de Reims (Centre) SNCF (in the town center) in 45 minutes to an hour. Many more intercity buses make the journey, departing Paris's Gare de Bercy, arriving at the Gare de Champagne-Ardenne TGV, 8 km (5 miles) southwest of Reims. The journey by bus costs much less than by train, but takes two to 2-1/2 hours each way. More...
To reach Épernay by train from Paris, one TER train goes directly between Paris's Gare de l'Est and the Gare d'Épernay in 1-1/4 hours, but the three other daily trains require one or two connections, take up to 1-3/4 hours, and cost more than the Paris-to-Reims fare.
There are no direct bus lines between Paris and Épernay. More...
Reims and Épernay are the centers of champagne winemaking, with most of the large wineries—and their tours—located in or near these two towns, many within walking distance of the center, so teose towns are the logical bases for your winery visits: