1. Champagne tastes great 365 days a year
As the cellars are kept at a constant 11°c all year, a tour at one of the city’s “Grande Maison” is a perfect winter activity. Pommery offers Engligh language tours daily throughout the winter whilst Tattinger and Mumm are open weekdays. Pommery even offer a different champagne blend for each season, their blanc de noir ‘Wintertime’ is a favourite of mine. Booking is not essential but I’d recommend doing so if possible.
2. Christmas market and lights
From 18th November to Christmas Eve over 100 chalet stalls set up in the city centre for the Christmas market. Don’t forget to try the vin chaud (like mulled wine).
And beyond the city, the wine villages have a different charm during winter as they twinkle with christmas lights, and the hillsides covered in sleeping vines look great in the early morning sun.
3. Enjoy Michelin starred dining
Reims is blessed with fabulous restaurants including Le Millénaire (*), Le Foch (*), Le Parc Les Crayeres (**) and L’Assiette Champenoise (***). Often fully booked weeks in advance during the busy summer season, demand eases off over winter as you’re only competing with locals for a table.
4. Stock up with bargain bubbly for your Christmas or NYE party
If you’re hosting a bash, instead of nipping down to Tesco or Majestic, why not buy direct from the producer? From the smaller houses a good quality bottle will cost between €15 and €20, and you’ll have a great story to tell when your guests compliment you on the yummy champagne.
5. Break the journey to/from the Alps
At around 6 hours drive from the Alps ski fields and only 2.5 hours from Calais, Reims is the perfect overnight stop off. Arrive in the late afternoon to toast the end of a great holiday at a champagne house, before heading for the Eurotunnel/Ferry the next morning.