If you are looking to travel to Champagne, you probably want to sketch out an itinerary. To help you plan your trip to the French Champagne region, I have come up with a great 3-day Itinerary to explore the home of one of the most famous French drinks. This itinerary offers something for everyone – from hidden gems, amazing food and Champagne tasting tours. This itinerary for the Champagne region is what I would personally do when I have 3 days in the region.
Table of Contents
Day 1: Dive into History and Culture
To start of our trip to the Champagne region, we will spend some time in Reims, Epernay and Ay en Champagne. Reims is an amazing city full of history and culture. You can visit the Reims Cathedral or one of the many great museums in the city. Additionally, Reims is also known for its amazing fine dining restaurants which we will have a look at later on.
First stop should be Reims Cathedral. Reims Cathedral is a beautiful Gothic cathedral that is formally known as the Notre-Dame de Reims. This Cathedral was where the French Kings were crowned from 1027 to 1825.
Archaeologists however found evidence of a church that stood here as far back as the 5th century. The Cathedral as we know it today was rebuilt after a fire in 1210. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and I would really recommend visiting this amazing Cathedral.
Tip: Take a look at the rose window. It is one of the largest in the world. I especially love it because it has so many colours. The other stained glass windows in the Cathedral tell biblical stories and the stories of local saints. You can also go up to the Royal Gallery.
Epernay and Ay en Champagne
After pottering around in Reims, head to Epernay and Ay en Champagne. Epernay is known as the ”Capital of Champagne”. This is where most of the big Champagne houses have headquarters on Avenue de Champagne. This amazing road is probably one of the highlights of any trip to the Champagne Region. Here you will find the beautiful stately homes of Champagne brands such as Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin.
If you are interested in history I would also recommend looking into the Musée du Vin de Champagne et d’Archéologie Régionale. This beautiful museum is located in the 19th-century Château Perrier.
Also stop off at Ay en Champagne. Ay is a gorgeous village and another important spot when you are looking for great Champagne tours and tastings.
Tip: You can get to Epernay by train from Reims but if you want to go to Ay I would recommend renting a car.
Where to stay in Champagne
If you are visiting the Champagne region for three days, there are a couple of amazing places where you can stay. I have written a complete article on the best hotels in the Champagne region which you can read here. For now I have chosen the 3 best hotels to stay at in the region – 1 hotel for every budget.
If you want to see more of my hotel recommendations – please see my article on the best hotels in the Champagne region.
B&B HÔTEL Châlons-En-Champagne
B&B Hotel Chalons-En-Champagne is a great place to stay for those looking for affordable hotels in the Champagne region. I would only recommend staying here if you have a car as it is located quite far from most of the Champagne houses and a couple of kilometres outside of Chalons-en-Champagne.
- Rating: 7.9/10
- Price: €52
If you are looking for a moderately priced place to stay but want to stay somewhere nice and unique, I would recommend choosing Chateau D’Etoges. This beautiful 17th century chateau is located close to Epernay and a lot of the vineyards. It is a great place to stay for those looking to do quite a few Champagne tastings.
- Rating: 8.8/10
- Price: €130
Domaine Les Crayères
If you don’t mind splashing out on an amazing stay in the Champagne region, choose Domaine Les Crayères. This gorgeous chateaux is located next to Vranken, Pommery which makes it a great hotel to stay if you are looking to visit some of the more exclusive Champagne houses in the area. The Chateau Hotel is set in no less than 17 acres of gorgeous parkland and is known for its Michelin Star fine dining restaurant.
- Rating: 9.5/10
- Price: €490
Where to eat in Champagne
To help you choose a great restaurant in this French wine region I have put together my three recommendations for restaurants in the Champagne Region. Just like with the hotels, I have chosen one restaurant for every budget. If you want more information on the best restaurants in the Champagne region, you can have a look here.
La Dame de Coeur (Reims)
If you are looking for a budget restaurant, I would recommend La Dame de Coeur in Reims. This restaurant offers quintessential French dishes. Have the Moules Frites when they are in season or the beef tartar in summer. The restaurant has a rustic decor but serves amazing food.
- Cuisine: French
- Price Range: Up to €15
Another great restaurant to look out for is L’Alambic. This restaurant in Reims also offers traditional French Cuisine. It is located in an authentic Champagne cellar and its menu is a blend of classic and inventive regional dishes. The restaurant is very popular so I would recommend calling up and reserving a table if you want to visit.
- Cuisine: Traditional French
- Price Range: €14 – €35
Le Millénaire (Reims)
If you are looking for a Michelin-rated restaurant in the Champagne Region you can head to Le Millénaire. This contemporary restaurant has Carte Blanche menus which offer an incredible dining experience. The restaurant is a must visit for everyone who is into fine dining.
- Cuisine: Modern French
- Price Range: €48 – €150
Day 2: Explore the Essence of Champagne
Day number two in the Champagne Region is all about tasting Champagne. This day you should visit the world-renowned Champagne houses and delve deep into the heart of this sparkling region. These are my recommendations of your second day in the Champagne region.
Go on a Champagne Tour
To help you choose a champagne tour, here are the best ones I found!
If you want to browse through some more amazing tours, have a look at my recommendations in this article.
1. Champagne, Epernay, and Family-Run Wineries Tour
💰 Price: €115 per person
If you are looking for a great tour of the Champagne region, the Champagne, Epernay, and Family-run wineries tour will take you to everything you need to see. This half-day tour offers an intimate experience with a small group of up to 8 participants. You will visit the Avenue de Champagne and have six tastings at two family-run wineries.
Why it’s great: Enjoy tastings at two family-run wineries, visit the historical village of Hautvillers, and soak up breathtaking UNESCO Vineyard views.
2. Gold Champagne Experience with 12 Tastings
💰 Price: €300 per person
If you are looking for a full-day experience with more tastings, try the Gold Champagne Experience with 12 Tastings. This tour takes you to some of the most famous vineyards and villages in the Champagne region. The tour also includes 12 tastings: 9 Champagnes and 3 local spirits. Another great reason why I recommend this tour is because they only take up to 8 people making this a rather small tour – which is great!
Why it’s great: This tour includes 12 tastings. You will also visit the Church of Dom Perignon in Hautvillers and pass through the Avenue de Champane.
3. Private morning Tour: The Connaisseurs with 9 tastings
💰 Price: €265 per person
If you would rather go on a private tour of the Champagne region, you can book the The Connaisseurs with 9 tastings tours. This tour will take you past Grand Cru Vineyards and lets you visit Hautvillers. You will also be able to taste 6 different champagnes and 3 local spirits.
Why it’s great: Explore the Côte des Blancs’ Grand Cru vineyards, visit Hautvillers, the birthplace of Champagne, and enjoy nine unique tastings, including six Champagnes and three local spirits.
What to Expect on a Champagne Tour:
Not sure whether or not a Champagne tour is for you? This is what you can expect when going on a tour in the Champagne region of France.
- Champagne Houses Visit: Learn about the history and production of champagne and taste some of the world’s best champagnes.
- Champagne Cellars Tour: Understand the different stages of the champagne production process and see the thousands of bottles stored.
- Champagne Tasting: Appreciate the different flavours and aromas of various champagnes.
- Vineyards Visit: Learn about the different types of grapes used in champagne production.
- Lunch or Dinner: Experience the flavours of champagne paired with food.
- Local Village Visit: Understand the culture and history of the Champagne region.
Avenue de Champagne
One of the most famous sights in the Champagne region is the Avenue de Champagne. This gorgeous street stands testament to the grandeur and the importance of the Champagne industry in the region. The street dates back to the 18th century and is home to some of the world’s most famous and most prestigious champagne houses.
The avenue de Champagne is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. It used to be called Avenue de Commerce but was renamed Avenue de Champagne in the early 19th Century to show off the wealth and the importance of this sparkling wine.
Avenue de Champagne is currently a very popular tourist destination. It is a must see if you are visiting the Champagne region. I would recommend getting out of the car here and walking around, admiring the beautiful manor houses and small chateaux.
Champagne Houses to look out for on the Avenue de Champagne
- Moët & Chandon: Beyond its grand façade lies a world of luxury. The cellars here are a labyrinth of history, stretching over 28 kilometres. It’s not just a champagne house; it’s an institution.
- Perrier-Jouët: A house that feels like it’s been plucked straight out of a fairy tale. Known for its enchanting Art Nouveau style, stepping inside is like entering a world where every corner tells a story of elegance and finesse.
- Pol Roger: This house boasts a rich history and is often associated with Sir Winston Churchill, who was a great fan of their champagnes. The house’s prestige cuvée is even named “Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill” in his honour.
- Mercier: Founded in 1858, Mercier is known for its user-friendly and accessible champagnes. A visit here is incomplete without a tour of their impressive cellars, which you can explore in a small train, making the experience truly unique.
- Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin: One of the most recognizable names in the world of champagne, Veuve Clicquot is synonymous with excellence. The house is renowned for its pioneering spirit, credited to Madame Clicquot, who introduced several innovative techniques still used today.
Did you know?
- The Avenue de Champagne was once called the Avenue de Commerce? It was renamed in 1843, a nod to the avenue’s sparkling legacy.
- The avenue isn’t just about the grand houses. Look closely, and you’ll find plaques detailing the history of the region, offering snippets of stories that have shaped the world of champagne.
- The Avenue de Champagne’s cellars hold over 200 million bottles of champagne, making it one of the most affluent streets in the world. Some even say that there’s more value in the bottles stored beneath the avenue than there is in the gold reserve at Fort Knox!
Another stop you should not miss when visiting the Champagne Region is Hautvillers. This little village is where Dom Pérignon worked in perfecting Champagne. Dom Pérignon is a Benedictine monk from the 17th century who developed some groundbreaking techniques that until the day of today are used in the production of Champagne.
I would recommend taking at least 20 to 30 minutes to walk through the little village. It is very picturesque with beautiful little houses. There is also a little chapel where you can visit the grave of Dom Pérignon.
Champagne Houses in Hautvillers
If you are visiting Hautvillers, you might want to look out for some of the smaller, boutique houses this village has to offer. The Champagne houses in Hautvillers I would recommend are:
- Champagne G. Tribaut
- Champagne Clément Bliard et Fils
- Champagne Marion-Bosser
Things to Do in Hautvillers
Not completely convinced of visiting Hautvillers? I have put together a list of some of the other things to do in Hautvillers you might be interested in.
- Abbaye Saint-Pierre d’Hautvillers: Pay your respects to the legendary Dom Pérignon. This historic abbey is not only an architectural marvel but also the final resting place of the monk who revolutionised champagne.
- Tasting Journey: Embark on a sensory adventure at the Dom Pérignon champagne house. Alternatively, explore the smaller family-owned establishments that dot the village, each offering its unique flavours and tales.
- Musée du Champagne et d’Archéologie Régionale: Dive deep into the history of champagne and the region. This museum showcases intriguing artefacts and spans the champagne production timeline, offering insights into the drink’s storied past.
- Village Stroll: Meander through the village streets, taking in the architectural gems that narrate tales of yesteryears.
- Local Cafés and Restaurants: After a day of exploration, what better way to unwind than with a glass of champagne at a local café or restaurant? Soak in the tranquil vibe of the village as you relish every sip.
Day 3 – Nature, vineyards, and hidden gems
The last day of your trip to the Champagne Region should be about the beautiful vistas, lush vineyards, and visiting some of the hidden gems the region has to offer.
Take a Vineyard tour
One of the experience I would highly recommend is taking a vineyard tour. A vineyard tour is different from a cellar tour where with a cellar tour you learn about the production, the storage and the classification of the Champagne where at a vineyard tour you learn all about the terroir and the different grapes.
The vineyards of the Champagne region are also incredibly beautiful with rolling hills and villages dotted in-between the vines. Lots of tours include tastings and lunch so you can have a last little sip of some amazing Champagne!
Some of the best vineyard tours in the region:
- Gourmet walk in the heart of the vineyards with Champagne tasting near Epernay
- Champagne Lamiable: Stroll and taste in the Grand Cru Champagne vineyard
- Epernay and Vineyards with Champagne Tasting
Visit some hidden gems in the Champagne region
The Champagne region has some amazing hidden gems to explore. Here I have picked out some of the most interesting hidden gems in the Champagne region.
Musée du Vin de Champagne et d’Archéologie Régionale d’Épernay
I have talked about this museum before in this article but it truly is a hidden gem. This museum shows off the region’s cultural and historical heritage. There are roughly four themes: Geology-Paleontology, Archaeology, Champagne and the Belle Epoque of the 19th century.
In this museum you can find more than 2000 objects that represent the vibrant history of the Champagne region. It gives you an interesting insight into the importance of the Champagne region- even way before they discovered the sparkling wine!
Lac du Der-Chantecoq
If you are a lover of nature you might be interested in visiting the Lac du Der-Chantecoq. It is one of the largest man-made lakes in Europe. You can bike around the lake and it is a well-known place for bird-watching. It is especially known as a place where common cranes gather.
Around the lake you will also find some unique timber-framed churches and you can explore the local heritage at the village-museum.
Nearby you will also find some nice villages: Saint-Dizier and Vitry-le-François.
Visit Chateau de Sedan
Chateau de Sedan is one of the largest fortresses in Europe. This amazing castle offers visitors an amazing journey back in time. The fortress is now a museum where you can experience animations and even an escape game where you need to look for a legendary sword that is hidden in the cellars of the castle.
This is an amazing little stop for visitors with children. They even host special events such as Le Chateau des Sorciers – the Castle of Wizards, which is all about magic and magical creatures.
Travel Tips and Recommendations
Before travelling to the Champagne region, you might want to read up on some of my personal travel tips and recommendations.
How to get to the Champagne region
There are quite a few ways you can get to the Champagne region from Paris. One of the easiest ways to get to the Champagne region is by train. There is a direct fast train from Paris to Reims and Chalons en Champagne. If you want to head to Epernay, you can take the train to Reims and then switch trains. You can buy train tickets via Omio.
You can also take the bus to Reims. This is the cheapest option but can take quite a while as traffic in Paris is often awful. Check out bus tickets via Omio.
Last but not least you can also rent a car and drive down to the Champagne Region. This is the choice I would personally recommend because it means you have more freedom during your stay. You can visit more villages and take scenic drives through the countryside. I would recommend renting a car via Rentalcars.com.
Best time to visit the Champagne region
I would recommend visiting the Champagne region from April to October. The Champagne region is in the North of France and winter and early spring can be pretty cold and wet. As the cellars are often quite cold you will want to visit when the weather is nice.
It is also nicer to visit the Champagne houses and vineyards when the sun is shining.
If you visit in late autumn you will hit harvest season which can be very interesting. It is a time when the vineyards are buzzing with activity and there is often a lot to do in the villages.
What to pack when travelling to the Champagne region
If you are travelling to the Champagne region, there are a few things you might want to consider packing.
- Comfortable yet professional shoes. When visiting large or expensive champagne houses, you probably won’t want to wear sneakers or sport shoes. Instead wear comfortable yet professional looking shoes so you can be smartly dressed while wearing comfortable shoes for walking in the cellars.
- A cardigan or something to layer up with. The cellars themselves are pretty cold. Even when it is nice and warm outside, you will want to layer up.
- Insect Repellant. When you are visiting the vineyards, it is a great idea to pack some insect repellant. There will be quite a few mosquitos – especially at the end of summer, start of autumn.
Frequently Asked Questions
Need some more information before heading off to the Champagne region? Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
How do I get around the Champagne region?
You can get around the Champagne region by train, car, local bus, and tour. I would recommend renting a car or going on a tour. The train will only take you to Reims, Chalons-en-Champagne or Epernay, and the local bus takes a long time and only has a couple of buses a day.
Is there a dress code for Champagne tours or visiting vineyards?
Although there is no formal dress code, I would advise you to choose a smart casual style. Don’t wear things like shorts, flip-flops, tank tops or sports shoes. Don’t wear clothing that is too revealing either. Try and opt for a polo or a shirt, chinos and a pair of comfortable smart casual shoes for men and a nice tea dress or long trousers and a top for women.
Can I buy Champagne directly from the vineyards?
Yes! You can buy Champagne directly from the vineyards and producers. Especially when buying from a little family-owned or boutique Champagne house this will even mean you can get your Champagne cheaper than in the shop!
Is it necessary to book tours in advance?
When visiting smaller or boutique producers it is not always necessary to book tours in advance. If you want to visit the larger, more famous houses, however, I would recommend booking in advance or booking an organised tour.
Are there any local customs or etiquettes I should be aware of?
Yes. There are a few local customs and etiquettes you should be aware of. Especially for our American friends.
- French people will greet you by shaking hands when you are a stranger or by giving you three kisses on the cheek when you are a friend.
- The French are also known for their table manners. You should always eat with a knife and fork. Do not cut up your food first to then start eating it with your fork alone.
- Tipping is not customary. If you decide to tip, a few euro is more than enough.
How many days are ideal for a complete Champagne region experience?
I would say that three days is the perfect amount to see the Champagne Region. However, there are some great tours you can take from Paris that allow you to have a great experience in one day. If you have the time – stay a little longer!
Lieze Neven is a globetrotting travel writer and expat currently based in Nepal. With a passion for exploration, she has lived in Dubai, the UK, and Belgium, alongside her international teacher husband. Her parents live in France and she tries to visit Paris at least once a year. Together, they travel the world looking for the best hotels, experiences and food locations have to offer!