Underrated city break destination
Top things to see and do in Reims if you only have a day
As the name suggests, let's talk about this city which is still to be discovered by many however it is such a nice place to visit that I had to write a blog post about it and hopefully get you inspired to visit one day.
Where is Reims?
It's a city located in a northeast of France and unofficially known as a capital of champagne making region. Multiple champagne making houses have their headquarters here and offer champagne tasting tours. Online you can find that it's named as a city of saints and kings due to it's cathedral which played immense role in France's monarch history.
You could say that Reims was one of those cities we knew nothing about before visiting and this has intrigued us to consider a trip. It came up on the map as we were looking for somewhere to stop over for a night en route London to Geneva and the quickest way was via Reims. After googling it up a little bit and reading the titles such as "the city of kings and champagne" it convinced me that it would make a good stop over.
Getting to Reims
We drove from London to Dover, then took a ferry to Calais, from Calais drove another 2h 40 min and reached Reims. This stretch of road from Calais to Reims was a pure joy to drive. Roads are really good unlike some of the highways in other countries in Europe but about those later. We passed amazing sceneries leaving behind little french market towns and vineyards but these beautiful roads didn't come free.
Duration of the trip : 6 hours
How much does it costs to go to Reims by car?
Ferry return journey 2 weeks booking in advance cost us £130 + road tolls in France £30 + diesel £50 = £210
Extra's: vip lounge access in the ferry £24 (unlimited coffee, tea, juices, fruits, pastries, macaroons).
Food on the good: average prices for a sandwich in petrol station in France 5-6 euros.
Geographically closest airport to Reims is Chalons Vatry however it's a small airport so you will most likely won't be able to find a direct flight. The best way would be to fly to Paris and then 1 hour train journey from Paris Gare de l'Est or drive. In that way, you will get to see two cities instead of one, only pros ;)
We suggest you should add Reims to your itinerary for a few days trip when you are visiting Paris. Fastest train from Paris Gare de l'Est only takes 46 minutes and for those of you who aren't fans of big cities but love architecture, history, food and champagne it's the perfect place to be.
How long we stayed in Reims?
We arrived at 7 pm and left the next day around 4 pm. Spent 6 -7 hours sightseeing.
It wasn't enough time to be honest.
How many days to stay in Reims?
2 full days would be ideal for doing the city tour/walk and visiting most the historical monuments and museums.
If you wanted to throw in a visit to one of the vineyards which will most likely take up most of your day, we would suggest adding one extra day.
Where to stay in Reims on a budget?
As much as we would love to, we can't recommend the "hotel" we stayed in. We stayed in "Best hotel Remotel" in Reims industrial park for £44 and price says it all. It was a s***t hole and without getting into too much detail we can't recommend enough to spend £20 - £30 more and get yourself something closer to the city centre (Ibis, Mercure or apartments). You won't regret it.
If you are budget traveler like us, you will still find reasonably priced hotels but definitely go for a better known company. We would suggest putting in google maps phrases like " hotels in reims" and the map will show you the hotels in relation to the city centre which is great for someone who doesn't know the city but wants to stay central and you can see prices straightaway. Very convenient.
Screenshot on 19th august 2019
Our must do's in Reims if you only have a day
1. Cathedrale Notre dame de Reims
As much as I love to be different with my blog posts and don't want to repeat the same information that's already available online, this one is a no brainer and has to be on top of any list. Prior to visiting we had heard that the cathedral of Reims is a contender to Notre Dame de Paris and we unfortunately have never been to the Paris one so given the opportunity we couldn't miss the chance to see it.
The Cathedral is so important in France's history because at more than 800 years old it's a surviving testament of the history of France's royalty. Almost every king of France was coronated here and resided in the Palace du Tau next doors which is now turned into a museum. Fascinating number of 2300 statues of various shapes and forms makes it a technical masterpiece of French Gothic style. Entry to the cathedral is free but you are encouraged to donate to keep this possible. Book your tour to the cathedral and explore other UNESCO monuments in Reims
2. Dinner at a family run restaurant "La Table Amoureuse"
If you are looking to experience the fancy dining for affordable prices in the Champagne region of France, I would absolutely recommend this restaurant. It's tucked away and not straightforward to find and decor is very simple (no dress code) but the food quality and the staff are just superb. It's worth every penny. To read my full review with everything we ate click here
3. Palace of Tau (Palais du Tau)
Adjoining to the cathedral it is impossible to miss this gothic beauty