Lovers of sparkling wine who want to drink champagne in France must add Reims to their itinerary, the once-capital of the historic Champagne province. It's a charming town with a medieval flare, although most visitors come to tour the network of underground caves where the champagne is stored and aged until ready to drink. Just a short train or bus ride outside of Paris, Reims is close enough that you could make this a day trip during your trip to the French capital.
The train is the fastest way to get there, with direct service to Reims in just 45 minutes. If you want to save money, the bus takes a bit longer but should only set you back a couple of euros. Driving is also an option, but Paris traffic makes it less-than-ideal unless you plan on road-tripping to other parts of France as well.
How to Get from Paris to Reims
|Train||45 minutes||from $17||Arriving on a time crunch|
|Bus||3 hours, 10 minutes||from $1||Traveling on a budget|
|Car||1 hour, 45 minutes||90 miles (144 kilometers)||Exploring the area|
The easiest way to get to Reims is on the high-speed train, which gets you into the city center in only 45 minutes. Tickets can be purchased through France's national rail service, SNCF, and there are several daily trains to the region. All trains to Reims leave from Gare de Est station in Paris and arrive at either Reims or Champagne-Ardenne. The latter is the main station for the region, but it's located about five miles outside of Reims and you'll need to take a tram to reach the city center. If you want to skip the hassle of taking the tram, choose the Gare de Reims (sometimes called Reims Ville) station, which is walking distance from the city's main sites.
Trains are priced based on demand, so tickets get more expensive as seats sell out and the travel date gets closer. For the best deals, book your tickets as far in advance as possible.
Even though the train is fast and affordable, it's difficult to pass up the laughably cheap prices of taking the bus. Seats on Blablabus are priced as low as one euro, which is about a dollar. Even tickets bought for a same-day trip should only be a few dollars, at most. It's a very affordable trip for travelers visiting Paris who want to escape the big city for a day or two and visit one of the neighboring areas.
Buses leave from Bercy-Seine station in Paris, which is located near the Bercy metro station (lines 6 or 14), and drop off in Reims at the Champagne-Ardenne train station just outside of the city. The total trip takes about two to three hours depending on the time of day that you leave.
The bus may be insanely cheap, but the trip takes two to three times longer than the train. If you buy your train tickets early enough to get a low price, it may be worth paying a few extra dollars in order to cut down the travel time and enjoy more of your trip in the city rather than on a bus.
You can also rent a car for getting to Reims, but trying to maneuver in Paris traffic may not be worth it. You can get to Reims in under two hours in perfect conditions, but if you're driving during rush hour on this popular commuter route expect to be behind the wheel for much longer. It's also relatively expensive, and you'll pay more just in tolls driving to Reims than you would spend on either a bus or train ticket—not to mention the additional costs of renting a car and gas. To avoid any unnecessary headaches, if you're just planning to visit Reims then the train and bus are your best options.
However, if you're planning to explore more of France and Reims is just one of your stops, then renting a car makes a lot more sense. From Reims, you can easily continue on to other nearby small towns such as Troyes or even venture further to other popular spots like Lyon or Strasbourg.
What to See in Reims
Reims is most well known for producing champagne, and this is the place to learn how it's made and try it. Most of the top houses have guided visits of their cellars, many of which are underground and dug into the rock, creating a vast subterranean network underneath the city. Apart from drinking, Reims also has a long history and is also famous for its magnificent cathedral where, by tradition, French kings were once crowned. Also visit the splendid Bishop's Palace, the Palais du Tau, and the house where Germany surrendered unconditionally to General Eisenhower, ending World War II in Europe.