The Champagne Region is more than Castles and tasting sessions. There is so much to see and do in the Champagne region. From the historic city of Reims to the rolling hills and beautiful vineyards of the Marne Valley, the Champagne Region offers a truly unique blend of typical French culture and nature.
When visiting this charming French wine region, you can explore the many vineyards and you can even visit the cellars of some of the world’s most renowned Champagne houses. But did you know that the region also offers some amazing opportunities to sample the local cuisine, with restaurants and markets serving regional specialties such as andouillette and Champagne-infused sauces? To help you plan out a perfect trip to the Champagne region, I have put together a list of the best things to do!
If you are looking for an itinerary for the Champagne region, you can read my 1 day Champagne region itinerary.
Table of Contents
Explore Historic Landmarks in Reims
If you are travelling to Champagne and are interested in history, there are quite a few amazing places and historic landmarks I would recommend you to visit.
Visit the Reims Cathedral: Reims Cathedral is one of the most important Cathedrals in France. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is where all French Kings were crowned. I would advise you to visit the notre-dame de Reims itself and to have a look at the gorgeous stained glass windows. If you do not have the time to pop in, you can also check out the intricate carvings on the facade of the Cathedral.
Tour the Palace of Tau: if you are into history and love museums you NEED to visit the gorgeous Palace de Tau. This used to be the residence of the archbishops of Reims. Today this beautiful building houses a collection of exquisite and impressive religious artifacts and treasures that span the history of France.
See the Porte Mars: another historical landmark I would recommend having a look at is the Porte de Mars or ”the Gate of Mars”. This beuatiful triumphal arch dates back to theRomans. It is a 3rd century arch and it stands testament to the rich history of this wine region.
Experience the Best Champagne Tastings at Champagne Houses
A trip to the Champagne Region would obviously not be complete without some Champagne tastings. You can choose between tasting Champagne at some more boutique houses or at the famous ones. As most people prefer to visit the famous Champagne houses, I have listed the three most famous Champagne houses to visit. If you want to explore more tastings, you can always read my article on the best Champagne tours in Champagne.
You can always check out my article on the best Champagne tours in the region. If you are coming down for a day trip from Paris, here are the best Champagne tours from Paris.
Visit the Moët & Chandon Champagne House: visiting Moet et Chandon is one of the most popular things to do in the Champagne region. This famous Champagne house offers both tours and tastings, and there is also a museum that showcases the history of the brand. I would definately recommend going champagne tasting at Moet et Chandon. You can book a tasting via speciality wine tour website Rue des vignerons.
Explore the Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne House: I have always found Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin an incredibly interesting Champagne house. It was founded in 1772 and is known as the Champagne House (well, it was actually Madame Clicquot herself) that invented the riddling table – which is still used to make Champagne today! I would recommend touring their beautiful cellars! You can book a tour and a tasting at Veuve Clicquot via this link.
Taste the Bollinger Champagne at the House of Bollinger: Last but not least you can also check out Bollinger. Of the three champagnes this is definately my favourite when it comes to taste. Bollinger is a family-owned Champagen house that has been producing exceptional Champagnes since 1829.
Discover the Natural Beauty and vineyards of Champagne
Champagne is more than just rolling hills with vineyards and farmland, this French wine country is also known for its stunning natural scenery. To help you on your way, here are a few places of outstanding natural beauty in Champagne you can explore.
Hike through the Montagne de Reims Regional Natural Park: The Montagne de Reims Regional National Park is the national park where most of the beautiful vineyards can be found. There are lots of walking trails and bike paths to explore. Honestly – I only drove through here but the views were absolutely stunning! More information and free tourist guides van be found on the Chalons tourism website.
Explore the Marne Valley: The Marne Valley is another dotted with charming villages and beautiful rolling hilles. The Marne valley equally has lots of walking trails and bike paths. If you had to choose between hiking/biking Montagne de Reims and Marne Valley, I would still recommend choosing Montagne de Reims.
Visit the Faux de Verzy forest: Another great place to visit in the Champagne region if you are into natural beautfy is the Faux de Verzy Forest. This ancient forest between Reims and Chalons en Champagne is one of the most beautiful forests to be found in Champagne. Look out for the twisted beech trees and the gorgeous cannopees.
Best things to do in Champagne Region: Indulge in Local Cuisine
With great sparkling wine goes amazing food. The Champagne Region is also known for its amazing food. One of the best things to do in the Champagne region is try its amazing food!
Try the traditional dish of Boudin Blanc: Boudin Blanc is a white sausage that is very popular in the North of France and the French-speaking part of Belgium. The sausage is eaten cold and can come in many different tastes sich as leek and onion. I myself am a massive fan of Boudin Blanc and it is one of the things I always eat when going back to Belgium or travelling to the North of France. You will be able to buy Boudin Blanc in most supermarkets, traiteurs and butchers.
Savor the local cheese, Langres: France is obviously known for its amazing cheeses. The local cheese of the Champagne region is the Langres. This great cheese is soft and creamy in the inside. It is quite a stinky cheese but it is incredibly nice!
Enjoy a meal at the Michelin-starred Le Parc restaurant: Apart from local delicacies there are also amazing restaurants in the Champagne Region. You can eat in the michelin star restaurant Le Parc. It is located in the gorgeous castle Les Crayeres in the centre of Reims, which I have also mentioned in my article on the best castle hotels of the Champagne Region.
If you want to learn more about food in the Champagne region you can find out more in my article on the best restaurants in the Champagne region.
Attend Festivals and Events in Champagne-Ardenne
The region is home to a handful of great local festivals where you can experience the local culture, eat some amazing local food and taste the best Champagne.
Celebrate the Fêtes Henri IV in Ay: Ay was the favourite residence of Henri IV. Now they have an annual festival that celebrates the history of the region with parades, concerts and fireworks. In the US they would call it a rennaissance fair. There are lots of people dressed up in medieval clothes. Be sure to collect the special Champagne capsule they make every year for the festival! The festival takes place during the first weekend of July and is also known for its Champagne tasting!
Attend the Reims Jazz Festival: If you are more into music you can also head to the Reims Jazz Festival. The festival itself is called Sunnyside festival and takes place in mid-October.
Top things to do near Avenue de Champagne
Although the Avenue de Champagne is a famous landmark in the Champagne region, there are some amazing things to do near the Avenue de Champagne you should not miss.
Visit the prestigious Champagne houses: Avenue de Champagne is home to some of the best Champagne houses in the world. Don’t miss out on visiting names such as Moët & Chandon, Dom Pérignon, and Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin. You can easily book a tour via Rue des Vignerons!
Visit the Notre-Dame d’Épernay Abbey: When taking a trip to the region of Epernay, the Notre Dame d’Epernay is one of the must-see attraction. From here you have an amazing view of the Champagne vineyards and Reims, the capital of Champagne. The abbey itself was founded in the 12th century. Here you can see a variety of architectural styles such as githic, renaissance and Baroque. You will also be able to visit the museum connected to the abbey which houses a beautiful collection of religious art and artifacts.
Visit the Musée du Vin de Champagne et d’Archéologie Régionale: this museum is located on the avenue of the champagne and allows you to learn about champagne and the history of the champagne-ardenne region. Not only is some of the beautiful decor of the museum still intact, you can also learn about the champagne production processes.
Shop for Souvenirs to buy when you visit the Champagne Region
After drinking plenty of Champagne you might want to take home some souvenirs. To help you choose some champagne souvenirs I have listed osuvenirs you might want to consider.
A bottle of Champagne: One of the best things to bring back home after visiting some of the best champagne houses is obviously a bottle of Champagne. Do have a look at the alcohol import laws of your country before packing champagne bottles into your luggage to see how many you can take home with you.
Champagne truffles and Champagne biscuits: The champagne truffles and champagne biscuits are very famous in the champagne region. I would especially recommend trying the biscuits as they are sweet yet very delicate with a taste of roses. They are an iconic Champagne region snack!
Champagne mustard: Last but not least I would also recommend the Champagne mustard. This is dijon mustard made with Champagne. I took home a couple of pots myself and I already have ordered some back to my parents to pick up at Christmas because I am absolutely obsessed!
What things to do on a day trip for that typical Champagne Experience
Visit some of the best towns in the Champagne region: the Champagne region is known for having some amazing and beautiful towns such as Hautvillers and Ay en Champagne. If you want to find out more about what towns to visit in the Champagne region you can have a look at my article here.
Go on a Champagne tasting: when taking a trip to the Champagne region you should definately book a champagne tasting or a tour of some champagne cellars. Moët & Chandon has no less than 110 km of underground cellars! It is one of the best tourist attractions in the Champagne region. If you want a single tasting you can check the site of Rue des Vignerons. They are specialised in wine experiences in France. If you want a tour, check out my article on the best Champagne tours.
Visit some vineyards: another thing that should be on your champagne itinerary is a visit to some of the vineyards across the region. There are lots of vineyards to visit. No matter which one you choose to visit, it is best to book a tour in the autumn, spring or summer. Don’t forget to get a glass of wine at the end in a champagne bar!
Final Tips for Your Trip to Champagne
Before you head to the Champagne region, here are some tips and tricks you might want to keep in mind!
Best Time to Visit Champagne
You will probably want to know what the best time is to visit the Champagne region. It’s best to visit late spring to early autumn. Shoulder seasons are April and October. The weather is still nice in shoulder seasons but the prices are lower. Offseason is from November to March but I would not recommend visiting it then.
- Peak season: May to September
- Shoulder season: April and October
- Offseason: November to March
How to Get to Champagne
There are quite a few ways you can get to the Champagne region from Paris. You can go by train, bus and car. Which are best will depend on where you are trying to get to. That is why I have written articles for every location on how to get there from Paris.
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!