1. Stock up with bargain bubbly for your Christmas or New Year’s 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 producers 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.
2. Christmas market and lights
From 23rd November to 27 December 140 chalet stalls are set up in the cathedral square for the Marche de Noel. Open from 10am to 8.30pm the stalls offer artisan products and festive treats.
Throughout December the cathedral’s spectacular ‘son et luminere’ show is on every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night (check the tourist office website for times). Lasting about 15 minutes, the front facade of the cathedral is used as a canvas, so grab a glass of vin chaud (like mulled wine) from one of the stalls and find a spot to perch and enjoy the spectacle.
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. And dining at these restaurants can be more affordable than you think……
4. 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.
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.