Let’s take a day trip from Paris, shall we?
Although Paris gets millions of visitors a year, only a tiny percentage of them visit Champagne, the region responsible for, you guessed it, champagne!
Why You Should Take a Champagne Tour
Mr. P and I aren’t tour people. We like to do things on our own and only ever book a tour when we know it will get us an experience we can’t get ourselves. Champagne is one of those places.
You can take the train to Champagne and visit some of the large champagne houses. It’s like going to Napa and tasting only at the big box wineries. Champagne is very insular, so if you want to go inside a mom-and-pop operation, you need to be on a tour.
If we have to take a tour, we research it like crazy so we’re not in one that screams “hi, we’re in a tour group!!!”
We Recommend Paris Champagne Tours
We booked a day trip through Paris Champagne Tours our first time in France back in 2010. It was just fabulous and went way beyond our expectations.
Since then, I’ve recommended them to friends and coworkers. No one has come back disappointed — everyone loves it!
It’s a little pricey: 175€ per person as of this writing. Trust me, it’s worth it. There are cheaper options out there but you will get a better experience with this company.
Why we Love Paris Champagne Tours
Small groups. You aren’t with a busload of people. They keep groups to 7 people max. When we went, it was Mr. P and I plus two other couples.
Pickup and drop off at your hotel. The guide will drive to your hotel and pick you up. Most of the cheaper options we researched required you to meet somewhere in Paris very early in the morning. A Champagne tour is a long day and it really helps to get door-to-door service.
Snacks in the car. Our guide had English newspapers, coffee, juice, and croissants for us during the car ride out.
Lunch is included. The price includes a multi-course lunch in Reims.
Tasting fees and tours included. All tasting fees are included plus a cave tour at one of the larger houses.
Visiting a small producer. This is the best part of the trip. You get to visit a very small champagne operation that you simply wouldn’t see if you DIY-ed it. Tasting there isn’t like wine tasting where you get a small pour. Our host opened several bottles and we drank as much as we wanted!
The best champagne you’ve ever had. The small producer we visited served us the best champagne we’ve ever tasted. Plus, it wasn’t that expensive so Mr. P and I were furiously checking customs rules to see how much we could carry home (more on that later today).
Tour of Reims Cathedral. After lunch, the guide takes you on a tour of the Reims Cathedral, where all French Kings were crowned. Outside, you can visit the statue of Joan of Arc.
Knowledgeable guides. We stopped first to look at the grapes and learn what makes the land so special for making champagne, then we visited champagne houses and learned how champagne is made. We learned a lot about World War I history — you drive by battlefields on your way to Reims.
This is not like wine tasting. And I mean that in a good way. It isn’t about driving around, jumping out to taste, and then moving onto the next place. While this totally includes champagne tasting, it’s a much bigger experience and you learn quite a lot about the industry, history, and the area.
No fee to reserve. Simply book your date and you pay by credit card at the end of the day.
If You Go
If you go, make sure to tell them I sent you! You will visit the smaller house in the morning and the larger ones after lunch. Buy all of your champagne at the smaller place in the morning — it will be an unbelievable deal! You must buy what you want there: the smaller places generally do not sell their champagne outside the property. You won’t find it back in Paris.
This may sound like an infomercial. I’m not getting compensated to endorse this company, I just think they’re awesome. I’ve given this recommendation so many times I finally decided to write it down. If you’re spending several days in Paris, take a day out to do a Champagne tour!
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