Enjoying a wine break, a wine bar tour or an exclusive wine tasting in Paris as part of my Right Foot, Left Foot and Culinary Touring can serve as a fine introduction to the wine regions of France for those with no time for an excursion out of the city. But there’s nothing like discovering the vineyards themselves, meeting welcoming producers, savoring a fine lunch, and exploring nearby sights, towns and villages, all of which are possible on an easy-going daytrip.
The major wine region that’s closest to Paris is the champagne winegrowing region. The vineyards begin around Chateau-Thierry, just 60 miles northeast of Paris, while the heart of the wine region (Epernay, Reims and the Mountain of Reims) is another 30 miles on. That makes for an easy daytrip for the joy of champagne discoveries.
Even if you’ve got your heart set on visiting the producer of your favorite big-brand champagne, visiting a small producer or two will help you better understand the variety of champagnes beyond the branding. Indeed, champagne is a sparkling wine with more variety than most people imagine, with various percentage combinations of the region’s three major grapes (chardonnay, pinot noir, pinot meunier), varying quality within each varietal, and various levels of added sugar. Read some of these articles of mine for about champagne and other wine touring in France.
I hook up with some sparkling professionals to offer travelers the opportunity to get intimate with bubbly through personalized encounters with small producers and insightful tastings.
For a daytrip, there are two champagne-growing areas to visit, each allowing fascinating introduction or deeper explorations into the sparkling wine of champagne.
- The Reims-Epernay zone, the heart of the region and home to many of the major champagne houses. If interested, you’ll have the opportunity to see on a daytrip than vineyards alone: the cathedral of Reims and the room where the armistice of WWII was signed.
- Chateau-Thierry and surroundings. If interested, you’ll have the opportunity on this daytrip of seeing an important American World War I sight and cemetery.
I always speak by phone with travelers before designing a daytrip, so I’ll be able to explain to you the advantages of one approach or one zone over another for your travel party.