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Latest update: 18 June 2024

In Reims in France, you can see many sights in a short time. And that’s a good thing because that leaves a lot of time for outdoor cafés and champagne! So, what to do in Reims?

Reims in the Champagne region

Reims is in the north of the Champagne region in France. If you go by car from The Netherlands, count on a drive of about five hours from Utrecht. Or fly to Paris, for example, and rent a car through Discover Cars or Rental Cars in Reims.

Some people call Reims the capital of the Champagne region; others swear it is Épernay. Well, for sure, Reims is a bit bigger than Épernay; it feels much more urban – although it’s still relatively small. Most sights in Reims can be reached on foot.

How much time do you need in Reims?

The blog’s title already gives it away: I advise you to go to Reims for two days. Of course, you can stay even longer if you’re in for day trips in the Champagne region. But if you mainly spend your time in the city, two nights is perfect. You’ll cover all the sights of Reims in that time. So now let’s explore all the things you can do in Reims!

Notre-Dame of Reims (with or without the light show)

One of the main things to do in Reims is a cathedral visit. It’s immense. The exterior alone is super impressive. Inside, my neck hurts from staring up at the enormous stained glass windows. Wow. There is also a beautiful organ and a statue of Jeanne D’arc. You know, that 17-year-old girl who was quite active in the Hundred Years War between England and France. She ensured, among other things, that the road to Reims was cleared so that Charles VII could be crowned in the cathedral of Reims. In total, no fewer than 33 kings were crowned in the Notre-Dame de Reims!

You can rent an audio guide at the tourist office around the corner (or book a tour with a guide online in advance) to discover everything there is to see in Notre-Dame de Reims. You can easily overlook something in the enormous building while you marvel at all the splendor.

Those looking for a workout can climb the church tower. 250 steps – don’t say I didn’t warn you. You can buy a ticket at Palais du Tau, right next to the cathedral. The view must be fantastic, but unfortunately, the tower was not accessible during my visit.

In the evenings, a light show can be seen on the facade of the cathedral. The show lasts about half an hour. In the summer months, you can see a light show at the church. Just check what time it starts; you can check that here. The times vary because it has to be dark enough for the lights to impress. It’s supposedly excellent, but at the end of September, it intervened with dinner time. Food was my priority, so I skipped the show.

Google Maps location

Palais du Tau

The Palais du Tau is on the Unesco World Heritage List, just like the cathedral, by the way. It was the residence of the Archbishop in the 17th and 18th centuries, and princes slept there before being crowned. Now, it is a museum where you can mainly see tapestries and objects used at the coronations. A visit is free with the Reims City Pass.

Google Maps location

Cathedral and Palais du Tau

Champagne tasting and tour at G.H. Mumm

Bubbles!!! When in Reims, you actually owe it to yourself to visit a champagne house. I choose Maison G.H. Mumm. It turns out to be one of the largest champagne houses in Reims. A guided tour with a glass of champagne costs €28 per person.

It’s my first ever visit to a champagne house, and it’s incredibly informative. I learn about the different grape varieties, grand crus and premier crus, and the entire production process. The lime cellars of Mumm store 25 million bottles of champagne. The cellars are no less than 25 kilometers long. To me, it’s very insightful to see what the entire process entails, and it explains the price too.

Would you also like to visit the champagne house G.H. Mumm? Book online.

Other champagne houses in Reims:

Place Drouet d’Erlon and the Fontaine Subé

Place Drouet d’Erlon is a long street full of restaurants and bars. On sunny days the street is full of outdoor seating. It’s a bit too en masse if you ask me. In the middle of the street, you will find a large fountain. This is the Fontaine Subé, and it is over a hundred years old.

Google Maps location

Cafe Le Lion is on the corner of the fountain. Praised on several blogs because of the coffee, but I don’t think it’s very drinkable. Now, in my opinion, the French make terrible cappuccinos anyway, so maybe I’m not a good indicator. This is good advice though: Amorino (Google Maps location). Buy a stunning-looking en tasty-flavored ice cream in the shape of a flower. If you want, you get to pick a different flavor for each petal. Then, add a macaron on top, take a picture, and enjoy!

Amorino ice cream Reims

Place du Forum: cryptoportique and outdoor cafés

On the large square Place du Forum, you will find a forum and a cryptoportique. In plain English: a central market square and an arcade, but centuries old. It’s a relic from Roman times, and it’s a bit weirdly situated in the middle of the square, half above and half underground. In the summer months, you can visit it in the afternoon. You can then access the gallery. Sometimes an open-air concert is held at the Forum in the evenings.

There are also a few cozy outside cafes on the square. It is more characteristic and friendly than the terraces on the Place Drouet d’Erlon. Le General, Edgar Bistrot or Bistrot du Forum? All fine, just choose a nice sunny spot and order a glass of champagne or an ice-cold beer.

Google Maps location

Porte de Mars in Reims

Dive even further into Roman times and visit the Porte de Mars – you can only admire it from the sidewalk, so it’s free. It was the largest arch of the Roman Empire.

Google Maps location

Porte de Mars landmark Reims: a gate with 3 arches

Foujita Chapelle in Reims

The small chapel is located on the grounds of the Mumm champagne house. The Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix is ​​also called the Foujita Chapel because the Japanese painter Leonardo Foujita designed the chapel. That explains all the Japanese details. Leonardo Foujita and his wife are buried at the chapel. With an entrance ticket to the Foujita Chapel, you can also enter the Musée des Beaux-Arts.

Google Maps location

Tip! Are you staying in the Champagne region a bit longer? Discover what to do and what to see in Châlons-en-Champagne, Troyes, and Épernay.

Museums in Reims

Would you like to visit a museum in Reims? Then try:

The pink biscuits from Fossier

In Reims, they have pink biscuits from Fossier. In terms of taste, they can best be compared to a ladyfinger. They mainly look nice, and they have been around since the 18th century. You can buy the pink Fossier cookies at almost any souvenir shop and even in the supermarket. If you like, you can also take a tour of the biscuit factory. Make a reservation; you can do that here.

Hôtel de Ville, aka: the town hall

The Hôtel de Ville is located on the Place Royal. It is the town hall of Reims. It is not an attraction that you have to dwell on for hours, but it is a beautiful building. The Place Royal itself is spacious with beautiful arched galleries.

Hôtel de Ville Reims: the town hall with "Reims" in front of it in large blue letters

Carnegie Library in Reims

Because this library is located right next to Notre Dame, why not have a look, right? But there isn’t too much to it. The part where people are studying is beautiful, but it feels awkward to take the time to admire the space and take pictures. The room with all the card trays is wonderfully old-fashioned.

Google Maps location

Reims City Pass

If you plan to visit many sights, participate in activities and see champagne houses, then it might be a good idea to purchase a Reims City Pass. It allows you to use public transport for free, you get a discount on entrance fees and tours and sometimes even free drinks at restaurants. So calculate for yourself if it’s a good deal. Buy it with the links below from GetYourGuide or from Viator.

Top restaurants and bars in Reims

Wine bar Le Clos

Around the market hall are several lovely places for a snack and a drink. For example, go to wine bar Le Clos for a good glass of wine or champagne in the evening. Take a seat at the street side or discover the inner garden, including an outdoor bar and street art.

Google Maps location

Restaurant Le Bocal in Reims

I have a fantastic lunch at Le Bocal. It is a simple, well-priced fish restaurant where the waiter explains the menu very friendly and clearly. Oysters, salmon tartare, langoustines, and of course, a glass of Champagne. No one can ruin my day after this!

Google Maps location

Wine Bar BibiViNo

I can’t believe my luck at wine bar BiBiVino either because the owner enjoys giving extensive advice about the wine. In English, thankfully. Unfortunately, you can’t get anything to eat here. But it’s a great place for some people-watching and champagne sipping.

Google Maps location

Wine bar Aux 3 P’tits Bouchons in Reims

Wine bar Aux 3 P’tits Bouchons is located in a somewhat remote street. The staff doesn’t really speak English very well, but ordering a glass of wine with some snacks is fine. It’s a bit on the pricey side, but the snacks are delicious.

Google Maps location

Staying in Reims

The prices for hotel rooms and apartments in Reims are not too bad. Count on €50 – €60 per night for a simple apartment (at Appart’City or Residhome) and a good hotel room at €80 (for example at Ibis). My choice is an apartment within walking distance of the center. It is on the second floor and is very spacious, except for the shower, where I can hardly turn my butt. The apartment is clean, nicely decorated, and there is even a washing machine. Convinced? Book this apartment on Airbnb.

More inspiration for travel in France?

  • Accommodation. All-time favorites: Booking.com and Campspace for unique camping spots. Rather stay in a hostel? Check out Hostelworld.
  • Activities. You book the best tours and activities with GetYourGuide and Viator. You can find other good options at WithLocals. Check out Freetour and GuruWalk for ‘free’ walking tours, and for bike tours, try Baja Bikes. If you’re into wine: check out all the wine-related activities at Rue des Vignerons.
  • Attractions and museums. Book museum and attraction tickets with Tiqets and get a 5% discount with this code: KIMOPREIS22.
  • Car rental. Want to compare prices? Check out Discover Cars and Rental Cars.
  • Flights. Definitely compare prices! Try Skyscanner and Kiwi.
  • Money. Your debit and credit cards may not be accepted everywhere. When you travel, you could opt for a Revolut card as an additional card. 
  • Package deals. Rather go on a catered trip? Maybe Expedia or CheapOair has a good option.
  • SIM card. Beware of unexpectedly high calling and internet costs. Buy a local SIM card when you arrive, or arrange one online via Airalo.
  • Train and bus. Travel by train to France with NS International, or plan your trip via Trainline. Or find deals on trains and busses in France via Busbud, Omio, or 12Go.
  • Travel guides. I love the practical travel guides from Lonely Planet, buy them at Amazon.
  • Yoga retreat. And what about a yoga retreat in France?

Some of the links on this site are affiliate links. If you buy something through these links, I might receive a small commission.

First published: October 2020. Updated since!

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