The Best of a Paris to Reims Day Trip by Train

Paris to Reims Day Trip: G.H. Mumm Champagne House
We embarked on a day trip from Paris Gare de l'Est train station to Reims in the Champagne region of France.  How long does it take to get from Paris to Reims? This Paris day trip takes about an hour on the high speed TGV train line. Frequent trains ply the route (at least once per hour during peak times). Read on to learn more about the journey and things to do in Reims in a day.

Museum of the Surrender 

Paris to Reims France: Museum of the Surrender
We walked quickly from the train station to the Museum of the Surrender (Musee de la Reddition) to get in a tour before they closed for lunch at noon.  It was in this building, a school turned into Eisenhower's Supreme Headquarters during World War II, that the Nazis unconditionally surrendered to end the war in Europe.  We marched up the stairs, past an American flag. We found our way to the War Room which was preserved as it was during WWII with maps on the wall and a table highlighting the positions of different parties during the surrender meeting. Casualties, supplies, and prisoners of war were manually tallied on the wall. Nazi prisoners of war were tallied on a giant swastika. A piece of an allied bomber was on display.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: If you are interested in World War II history, a road trip from Paris to Normandy is a must-do.

After our brief tour, we admired the Allied flags flying outside the museum. We headed into town past a stately French war memorial reflecting on how different this place must have been just 70 years ago.
Paris to Reims: War Memorial

Reims Outdoor Market

We spotted an outdoor market in Reims surrounding an airy domed structure. We stopped in for a peek and were delighted to find a huge French food market inside. Leafy greens and green onions looked appetizing. Huge displays of yellow flowers brightened the space. We spotted some fine local cheeses and picked up a brick of chaource for later. We also picked up a jar of homemade jam to take home. Food markets are one of our favorite diversions when visiting a new place.
Paris to Reims France: display of cheeses

Reims Cathedral

Reims Cathedral is the centerpiece of the town.  We made our way from the food market near the train station toward the cathedral. We made a few stops along the way including a visit to a local patisserie. We bought a bag of homemade pink champagne biscuits (Biscuit Rose de Reims). The sun finally came out which caused the victory fountain in the center of the city to sparkle. We ducked into a shopping arcade and were delighted to see an old fashioned carousel at the other end. Stately government buildings dotted the town.
Paris to Reims: Pink Champagne Biscuits
We finally arrived at the Reims Cathedral and admired the Gothic styling. Different animals served as water spouts along the front facade. We approached the imposing entrance and ducked inside out of the cold. The decor was much more plain on the inside except for the spectacular stained glass windows. A gorgeous window glittered above the door. Tall side panels depicted daily life in the region. Several of the windows were designed by Marc Chagall and pictured traditional scenes of the crucifixion. Outside once more, we checked out the gargoyles before moving on. What a spectacular building! We decided it was time to roll the dice and pick a new destination to visit in Reims.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: A visit to Reims and the Champagne region is the ultimate romantic day trip from Paris. Why not combine this day trip to Reims with a Valentine's Day weekend in Paris.

Champagne Tasting in Reims

I've been intrigued by Reims ever since I read The Widow Clicquot, a book about the audacious Barb-Nicole Clicquot who took over her husband's struggling wine business after he died and turned it into a global empire during the challenging times of the French Revolution.  It's an amazing story centered in Reims and a highly recommended quick read.
Paris to Reims: G.H. Mumm Champagne House fence
Unfortunately, Veuve Clicquot wine cellars were closed during our visit so we opted to tour G.H. Mumm instead. We entered the lobby of the building and were greeted by gold foil capped bottles in three sizes. Soon, we descended into the cellars on an English language guided tour. The old wooden barrels used to age the champagne have since been replaced by higher tech stainless steel but the traditional barrels still remain on display. We made our way past a seemingly endless row of stainless steel tanks. The caves were dimly lit with an ethereal green light.
Paris to Reims: Champagne in 3 sizes at G.H. Mumm

Before descending further into the cellars, we passed a statue paying homage to the art of wine-making. Bottles were stacked from floor to ceiling as the bubbly aged. A back-lit bottle hanging from the ceiling highlighted the yeast and sugar sediment required for formation of fine champagne but that presents a serious process challenge to remove.  The bottles are turned upside down at an angle and then turned by 90 degrees a day until the sediment falls to the cap.  The cap is removed and the pressure inside the bottle forces the sediment out.
Paris to Reims: G.H. Mumm Wine Cellar
We passed a dimly lit cellar only accessible by the lead wine-maker which contains G.H. Mumm vintages dating back more than 100 years. Riddling racks lined the corridor. The system of caves went on for miles. The tour ended with a mini-museum exhibit featuring champagne making tools and instruments over the years. When we surfaced again, we were taken to the tasting room.  The tour price varied depending on which tasting option was chosen.  Since we would likely only do this once, we decided to go for the fanciest and most expensive tasting.  We sampled a 2004 vintage, a Blanc de Blancs, and a Blanc de Noirs. It was definitely an educational and fun tour - the opportunity to sip champagne at the end didn't hurt the experience either!

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: The Best of a Paris to Reims Day Trip by Train
The Best of a Paris to Reims Day Trip by Train
Take the train from Paris to Reims for a day. Embark on a Paris to Reims day trip. Travel to Reims from Paris to taste champagne.
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
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