We just went on our first weekend getaway without the baby and explored the champagne region of France. Reims, France is an easy three hour drive from where we are in Germany and is so beautiful. My husband’s mother and cousin were in town to watch the baby and the pups, so we knew they were in good hands, and were able to truly enjoy all the champagne and French food we could get our hands on. It was the perfect 48 hours in Champagne! Read on if you are thinking of planning a visit.
Where We Stayed
Reims and Epernay are the two towns in the heart of Champagne. Reims has more of a city vibe, with walkable streets filled with shops, wine bars, and restaurants, huge parks and historic sites, and the Notre Dame de Reims Cathedral. Epernay has L’Avenue de Champagne which is lined with champagne houses.
We ended up staying in Reims, which was perfect for us because we like wandering around cities, and hopping around from wine bar to wine bar. La Caserne Chanzy is the hotel we stayed at and is directly across from the Reims Cathedral. Our breakfast views were amazing!
Where We Ate
Our first night, we wandered over to the Halles Boulingrin – the food hall in Reims. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, most of the stalls had already closed up for the day, but the building itself is so beautiful.
Across the street is the most fun wine bar, Le Clos. Fun vibes, outdoor seating, champagne and appetizers, Le Clos was simply perfect. One of the best wine bars I’ve been to in awhile!
We kept walking around the city – it’s so beautiful! – until we found Le Wine Bar by Le Vintage. Another great stop, they had outdoor seating, but we sat inside which had a cozy wine bar vibe. We had some wine and the mixed meat & cheese board and loved chatting with the owner.
Finally, we wandered back towards our hotel to find somewhere to eat dinner and watch the light show on the Cathedral. Bistro des Anges was perfect. We had a view of the Cathedral, and split the escargot and the onglet et frites (skirt steak & fries) – tres magnifique!
On Saturday after our full day champagne tour (see below), we treated ourselves to dinner at Le Millenaire. We are self-proclaimed foodies, so we do enjoy a fancy dinner every once in awhile, and the first time out without the baby seemed like the perfect occasion. We have eaten at a few Michelin starred restaurants in Europe, and a few have been just okay… but Le Millenaire definitely earned its star. Every dish was absolutely delicious, the service was great, and I am still drooling over the ricotta gnocchi and seafood.
Of course, you can’t visit France without a visit to a boulangerie (pastry shop), so we picked up a few treats from Boulangerie Frederic Hardy on our way out of town. The mint green facade and the line out the door drew us in, and it did not disappoint!
If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know that we did an ‘at home experience’ champagne tasting with Sparkling Tour Reims. We had such a great experience with their virtual packages during last year’s lockdown that we of course had to do an in person tour with them. It was perfect! The full day tour includes a visit to three champagne producers and 10 tastings, an explanation of the champagne making process, a view of vineyards and cellars, and a delicious three course lunch in Epernay. We just happened to be there during harvest time, so it was awesome to see the hustle and bustle of grape picking. At our last stop, we even got to see the crush process in the traditional press! We have had nothing but amazing experiences with Sparkling Tour Reims and cannot recommend them enough!