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Paris to Champagne Day Trip
The Champagne Wine Region is one of the most popular day trips from Paris. Click here for the list of best day trips from Paris
Champagne, in eastern France, is a wonderful region to explore on a day trip from Paris or, even better on a weekend getaway. Best known for its sparkling wine, the champagne, the Champagne region also has an interesting history and a beautiful heritage.
There’s the Reims Cathedral, the place chosen by the French Kings to be sacred under the eyes of the world and God. And there’s also the fair city of Troyes one of the most important trade centers in medieval times and with a wonderful medieval architecture.
There are many possible day trips from Paris to Champagne. For this day trip from Paris, we are going to focus on Champagne’s vineyards and its quaint villages. Then, we will go underground to explore the secrets of the champagne and of course do some tastings!
Here are some things to know before your Champagne day trip from Paris to make the trip a smooth and memorable one.
Champagne Day Trip Planning
Can I visit the region of Champagne from Paris on a day trip?
Yes, you can, but with a Champagne day trip from Paris, you will only have a glimpse of what the region has to offer.
This Champagne tour is focused on wine tourism only but there are other possible day trips from Paris to Champagne that do not involve champagne wine.
A day trip to Champagne from Paris usually takes 11 hours in total, along with traveling to and from Paris. This gives you enough time to explore Epernay, Hautvillers, do a champagne tour, and some purchases.
Best Time to Visit Champagne
Generally speaking, May to October is a good time to visit the region of Champagne. The harvest begins in late September and that’s when the champagne houses are at their busiest, both on the production side and the tourism side.
Avoid harvest time if you want to see the smaller, independent vineyards rather than just the big name brands.
We prefer to visit Champagne in the fall to see the rolling hills and the vines with the fall colors. The pictures in this article correspond to a day trip to Champagne from Paris that we did at the beginning of October.
Where to Go on a Champagne Day Trip from Paris?
For a wine tour to Champagne from Paris, we recommend going to Epernay, with a short visit to the village of Hautvillers. Epernay is the center of the region, home of the biggest champagne brands. Paris – Epernay by train is very easy and this is also a popular Champagne tour from Paris.
What to Pack for your Day Trip to Champagne from Paris
Wear good walking shoes (sneakers or flat shoes) to explore the villages and underground. A second layer (jacket or pullover) can be a good idea to visit the champagne cellars, usually colder than above the ground.
If you know already that you will end up buying champagne, bring a wine bag to ensure your wine makes it home.
Plan in Advance if you want to see the Big Name Brands
For your Paris to Champagne day trip, you don’t need much planning unless you want to visit some of the big brands. Book your Moët & Chandon or Mercier visit (or your Champagne tour including a visit to one of these brands) well in advance, especially if you want to visit on the weekend.
Other champagne brands like Champagne de Castellane do not require advance booking for their champagne tours. Pop up there as soon as you arrive at Epernay and buy a champagne tour for the day.
Best Ways to Visit Epernay in Champagne from Paris
Paris to Epernay by Car
Time needed: 1,5 hours (one way)
This is the most comfortable option for a day trip to Champagne from Paris and also the option that allows you to stop and enjoy the landscapes of Champagne whenever you want.
This is an easy, 141-kilometer scenic drive but finding a place to park in Epernay can be hard.
The downside of driving to Champagne from Paris is that car + champagne was never a good combination. Get a taste of champagne during lunch and buy your favorite bottles for when you are back at your hotel in Paris.
Guided Tours from Paris to Epernay in Champagne
Champagne tours from Paris to Epernay are the most comfortable way to visit the region plus you can drink that verre the plus without being a danger on the road for anyone.
The classic tours Paris – Epernay are not much different from what we did, and they all include a visit to Epernay, Hautvillers Abbey, and a champagne tour with tastings.
This champagne small-group tour with an English-speaking guide has always great reviews and it includes a visit to Reims Cathedral, where the French Kings were crowned (don’t miss the awesome stained glass windows by Marc Chagall behind the chorus!!!)
Train from Paris to Epernay
Time needed: 1,5 – 2 hours (depending on the train)
Trains Paris – Epernay leave from Paris Gare de l’Est. Whilst there are some direct trains Paris Epernay, most of the time you need to change trains at Reims.
Epernay train station is very central. From there, it is a 5-minute walk to Avenue de Champagne, Epernay’s main (and most famous) street.
From Epernay, you can take a taxi to Hautvillers to visit the village and the abbey where Dom Perignon is buried. This is a 6-min drive by taxi and it usually costs between 15 to 18€ one way.
About the Champagne Wine Region
The historical region of Champagne is located in the French region of Grand Est, close to Belgium and Luxembourg. Because it is close to Paris, less than a two-hour ride away, it is one of the most popular day trips from Paris.
The presence of vineyards in the region could be older than Roman times. As in all wine-growing regions, it is the monks who have contributed a lot to the work of the land and to the development and perfection of this wine.
Today, the wine region of Champagne is spread around 5 French departments and there are 5 main regions or zones: Montagne de Reims, Vallée de la Marne, Côte des Blancs, Côte de Sézanne and Côte des Bars. When yo visit Epernay, you are exploring the pinot-meunier focused region of the Vallée de la Marne.
The region of Champagne is France’s coldest winemaking region, often subject to violent weather conditions. These hazards have forced the winegrowers to adopt certain methods that would be considered doubtful in other French wine regions (but there it works!).
The mix of several wines to constitute a cuvée is also part of the history of Champagne. The dominant white grape is chardonnay whilst the dominant red grapes are pinot noir and pinot meunier. Other allowed grapes for champagne are arbane, petit meslier, pinot blanc, and pinot gris.
The Champagne region produces champagne wine which is the only sparkling wine that can use this name, made according to specific standards. They also produce good white wines, which tend to be lighter, crisper, and less fruity than other wine areas in France.
DID YOU KOW? The word champagne is the second most used French word worldwide!
Things to Do on a Day Trip to Champagne from Paris
1. Enjoy the Landscapes of Champagne
For us, the landscape of Champagne, with all those rolling hills and vineyards under the fall colors, was the highlight of this day trip. This time, we had our own car so we could stop where we wanted for some pictures.
We don’t recommend renting a car for only one day trip to Champagne. But if you are considering other day trips out of Paris less easy to reach by public transportation, then it is well worth to explore the region with your own car.
Another cool way to enjoy the landscapes of Champagne is to jump on a moored hot-air balloon for a 360º view of the vineyards. This is a new proposal in Epernay and we haven’t tried it (yet!). But we enjoyed a similar experience in Paris and we recommend it!
2. Visit Epernay
A visit to Epernay is a must of any wine trip to Champagne because this big town-small city is the center of the region.
Stroll along Avenue de Champagne and admire the beautiful private mansions of Moët et Chandon, Perrier Jouet, Pol Roger, or Mercier. YES, all the champagne big players are well set in Avenue de Champagne!
Often nicknamed the World’s Most Expensive Avenue, this is because below the ground kilometers and kilometers of bottles of the best champagne are waiting patiently to be uncorked one day.
Take the time to visit other sights in Epernay, like the beautiful park behind the Hôtel de Ville, also in Avenue de Champagne, or the Art Nouveau tower that belongs to the maison Champagne De Castellane. For those who want to go beyond the explanations of the classic champagne tours, Château Perrier hosts the Musée du Vin de Champagne.
3. Do a Champagne Tour
A champagne tour is another must of any Champagne trip. Even if you are not a champagne lover or don’t drink champagne, it is still an interesting tour to learn all about one of the most famous drinks in France and the whole world.
Most of the big names have their own champagne tour and they all have in common a visit to their cellars and a taste of champagne at the end of the tour (there’s also orange juice). If you want to visit maisons like Moët et Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, or Mercier, book in advance.
4. Visit Hautvillers and its Abbey
Hautvillers is a picturesque small town near Epernay that we recommend to visit during your day trip to Champagne from Paris.
First, Hautvillers is less touristy than Epernay and it has a much more local feeling. It is also a great place for champagne-hunting by visiting some small champagne producers, do some tastings, and shopping.
Most of all, Hautvillers is known for the picturesque Abbey of Saint-Pierre where Dom Perignon is buried. Dom Perignon (1638-1715) was a Benedictine monk in the Abbey of Hautvillers. He is credited with the famous champagne method, a revolutionary method for the time which transforms a still wine (without bubbles) into a sparkling wine.
Visitors can see the tomb of Dom Perignon, which is in front of the altar of the church. But the abbey now belongs to Moët et Chandon and it can only be visited during events organized by the brand or exclusive tours.
5. A Picnic with a View
Hautvillers is located on the top of a hill and it is a great place for a picnic or a drink with a view.
After the visit of the church, take rue de l’Eglise to the end and then turn left on rue de l’Aubrois and follow the walls surrounding the abbey. This is a pleasant walk that takes you to a small picnic area with a few tables and awesome views.
After lunch, do the full tour around the abbey to rue de Cumières. You can see the vineyards of Moët and Perrier and take more beautiful shots.
6. Wine Tasting and Shopping at the Small Producers
Not all the winegrowers have big names or big budgets for marketing but this does not mean that they don’t produce good champagnes. Quite the opposite!
Because they work on smaller parcels, at a human scale, the winegrowers are more successful in respecting the vines and therefore in harvesting grapes at the right maturity. They generally use less of the various chemicals that can be used in viticulture and produce vintages without makeup.
Be adventurous and go beyond the major marquees. Chat with the winegrowers, do some tastings. Only good surprises guaranteed.