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Fancy soaking up some beautiful sights and scenery of France without having to drive all the way south? No problem.
Here’s a 4-day Champagne road trip to take in your stride, allowing you a few days to unwind and enjoy a slower pace of life.
The Champagne is a historical region in Eastern France, today part of the French region Grand Est. The region is well known for its rolling hills, historical sites, and sparkling wine with the same name.
This Paris to Champagne road trip, 4 days, covers two French departments (Marne and Aube) and will take you through some of the main sights the Champagne region has to offer. This Champagne itinerary by car is a good combination of sightseeing, beautiful landscapes, and (of course) champagne.
This road trip to Champagne from Paris is one of the most beautiful road trips in France. Click here for the best French road trips.
The Champagne Wine Region
The region of Champagne might just be one of France’s most famous wine regions, if not even the world. While many vineyards in the world produce sparkling wine, it can only be labeled as ‘champagne‘ if it was produced in this region.
The Champagne vineyard is spread over five French departments: Aisne, Aube, Marne, Haute Marne et Seine-et-Marne (the latest is part of Ile-de-France), with limestone and marl soils. The climate is oceanic with continental influences.
While the most famous wine of Champagne is champagne itself, you can actually also find reds, whites, and rosés in the Champagne region as well. The main grape varieties in the Champagne wine region are the chardonnay for the whites and the pinot-noir or pinot meunier for the reds.
The region of Champagne is one of the northernmost vineyards in France. As a result, it has always been subject to violent climatic conditions – waves of frost, hail, and epidemics of all kinds. These hazards have forced the winegrowers to adopt certain methods that would be considered dubious in other French wine regions: if there is a wine in France where ‘anything goes,’ it is champagne.
Blend several wines from different vintages, mix white wine with red wine to obtain a rosé wine, add sugar to a cuvée to improve the taste, and look for the standardization of a taste or a style to please the greatest number of people is also part of the history of Champagne. But the world loves it, so it works!
Did you know that ‘champagne’ is the second most used French word around the world? Previously reserved for a certain elite, this famous French drink is today a synonym for party, celebration, and joie de vivre everywhere.
TIP: If you plan to bring a few bottles home (who could resist?!), make sure you pack your wine properly so it arrives safely home!
Road Trip Champagne Overview
- Start: Paris
- Finish: Paris
- Duration: 4 days
- Suggested Route: Paris – Reims – Epernay – Troyes – Provins – Paris
- Total distance: 453 km, 6 hours drive in total
- Regions covered: Grand Est, Ile-de-France
- Best for: sightseeing, medieval towns, and champagne.
Road Trip to Champagne Region Map
4-Day Road Trip Paris to Champagne Itinerary
The starting point of this itinerary is Paris. If this is your first time in Paris, check out this article to decide how many days to stay in Paris. This Paris trip planner will help you to decide where to stay, and what to do. If you need to hire a car, wait until the end of your stay in Paris to pick up your rental car. Click here for our best tips for renting a car in France.
Day 1 | Paris – Reims
Stop at La Ferté sous Jouarre (optional)
The Paris to Champagne drive via the A4 highway is very straightforward, and it only takes 1.5 hours. On the way, history buffs may want to do a short stop at La Ferté sous Jouarre. This small town, and more precisely its abbey, hosts two wonderful Merovingian crypts from the 7th century.
These underground crypts, listed as Historical Monuments, contain the tombs of the abbey’s first abbots and abbesses. The architecture and decoration of the crypt and tombs combine influences from several eras, Merovingian and Carolingian, and also from several origins, European and Mediterranean.
One of the tombs has a Christ Pantocrator in a mandorla surrounded by the creatures of the tetramorph in excellent condition, the oldest recorded in the history of art!
The crypts are open from Tuesday to Saturday (10 am to 12.30 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm) and Sunday (2 pm to 5 pm).
Day in Reims
Day 1 of this road trip to Champagne from Paris visits Reims. The capital of Champagne, with many historical gems to visit, is undeniably an important place for French history.
Reims is famous for its magnificent cathedral Notre Dame de Reims, which is one of the best Gothic Cathedrals in France. From King Clovis to the French Revolution, all the Capetian Kings of France (with few exceptions) were crowned in the Reims Cathedral. The Cathedral’s main facade is one of the most beautiful in France, and apart from the famous smiling angel, it is also known for its impressive Galerie des Rois de France (French Kings’ Gallery), best admired at sunset. Inside, don’t miss the stained glass windows behind the choir, by March Chagall; they are stunning!
After visiting Notre Dame de Reims, stroll around the city. The list of fun things to do in Reims includes:
- Palais de Tau
- Saint-Remi Church
- Musée des Beaux-Arts
- Champagne Tasting
- Art-Déco architecture
- Taste the rose biscuits
If you go for a champagne tasting, which we recommend!, check out this article on the best champagne houses in Reims.
For your night in Reims, we recommend the Domaine Les Crayères, a mythical property in the city nestled in a seven hectares park, 300m from the Pommery Champagne House. Inaugurated by the Marquise de Polignac, this wonderful villa belonged to her descendants until 1978.
If you prefer to stay in the Champagne countryside, far from the city’s hustle and bustle, book at Le Clos des Terres Soudées for a total Champagne experience. Located in the heart of vineyards, this is a beautiful wine-growing family house in Vrigny, less than 10 km from Reims. Upon request and free of charge, it is possible to visit the property’s wine cellar.
Day 2 | Reims – Epernay
Morning in Epernay
Day 2 of this road trip Champagne, France, explores the town of Epernay and its surroundings. Epernay is best known as the main ‘warehouse’ for champagne wines.
Stroll along Avenue de Champagne, home to the Hotel de Ville and many villas belonging to rich wine merchants (Moët et Chandon, Perrier Jouet, Pol Roger, or Mercier). Known as the ‘World’s Most Expensive Avenue,’ thousands of bottles of the best champagne wines are kept in large cellars built below the grounds of Avenue de Champagne!
Epernay is also an excellent place for taking a champagne tour. These tours are a good opportunity to learn more about the champagne-making process, and they usually include champagne tastings. If you want to visit one of the most famous Maisons, book well in advance (we recommend the champagne tour at Mercier).
Afternoon at Hautvillers
After visiting Epernay, head to Hautvillers, a small town with a more local feeling. Most of all, Hautvillers is known for the picturesque Abbey of Saint-Pierre, where Dom Perignon is buried. Dom Perignon (1638-1715) was a Benedictine monk in this abbey, credited with the revolutionary champagne method, which transforms a still wine (without bubbles) into sparkling wine.
Visitors can see Dom Perignon’s tomb, which is in front of the church’s altar, stroll around the town –surrounded by some of the most famous vineyards –, and visit some small champagne producers for some tastings and shopping.
GOOD TO KNOW: Despite the monopoly of certain Maisons and the land price that continues to rise, some independent winegrowers in the Champagne wine region still resist and succeed in producing excellent ‘auteur champagnes.’
By working the land on smaller areas, on a human scale, the winegrowers can respect the vines and, therefore, collect grapes at the right maturity. They generally make less use of the various chemical substances that can be used in viticulture and produce great vintages without makeup.
Day 3 | Troyes
After a good breakfast on the terrace of Château De Rilly, the next stop of this road trip Champagne France is Troyes, in the south of Champagne.
Troyes was one of France’s most important fair towns during medieval times, a center for hosiery and cloth making. The medieval town hosted two huge annual fairs that brought artisans and merchants from all over Europe.
In 1524 a terrible fire destroyed much of the town, and Troyes had to be fully rebuilt. Much of what you see today is from that period of total reconstruction (16th century); that’s why there’s a level of architectural harmony difficult to find anywhere else in France.
A stroll around the Old Town, steeped in history and with beautiful half-timbered houses, reveals the town’s commercial past. The list of fun things to do in Troyes includes:
- Regional Art Museum and Textile-Hosiery Museum at Hotel de Vauluisant
- Museum of Tools and Trades (Maison de l’Outil et de la Pensée Ouvrière)
- Troyes Cathedral, one of the most beautiful cathedrals in all of France
- Sainte Madeleine Church (12th-13th century)
- Basilique Saint-Urbain
- Enjoy Troyes’ café culture
After exploring Troyes, drive west to Provins, where you will spend one night. For your stay in Provins, book at Demeure des Vieux Bains, a stunning historical property with comfortable rooms and beautiful gardens to relax at the end of the day.
Thanks to its strategic location and the counts’ protection, Provins became one of the most important international fair towns in Europe during the 11th and 13th centuries. Still today, Provins hosts the best medieval fair in Europe (Les Médiévales de Provins), which occurs every year in June. If you visit Provins in December, don’t miss the medieval market, one of France’s best Christmas markets.
Provins’ top attraction is its underground city (Les Souterrains de Provins), a vast network of underground tunnels and passages from the 13th century that connected the houses of medieval Provins. Today, it is possible to visit part of these tunnels on a guided tour.
Visit the town and enjoy a stroll around the ramparts before driving back to Paris.
So, what are you waiting for? Book this trip Paris to Champagne by car today!