When we made it to Reims after leaving Belgium, we had only one thing on our mind. Champagne. Which I know, I know, is a no-brainer since Reims is located in the heart of the Champagne region. We were both in awe of just how many champagne houses there were around. In awe, yes, but by no means complaining!
It would have been a crime to come this area without going on a few tours and tasting, so we booked a visit to the Ruinart champagne house. You know, I’ll go ahead and confess. I don’t think I had ever tasted real champagne before this trip. Of course I’ve had my share of prosecco, and my favorite bottle of “champs” is RSVP from Trader Joe’s, but never the real made-from-France-legit-champagne stuff. So, I was especially excited as this would be a true treat.
While we didn’t realize it before the tour, we later found out that Ruinart is actually the oldest established house, producing champagne since 1729! Not only were the grounds beautiful, but the tour was just fantastic. And so interesting. I had no idea how intense the process was for making champagne, but now I understand why the prices are so high. These bottles are a true work of art that takes years to make. Yes, years!
My absolute favorite part of the tour — besides the tasting! — was visiting the underground caves and cellars. Some went as far as 40 meters underground! It was insane. We also got to see all the champagne in the making. Bottles on top of bottles stacked up lining entire walls. There was literally champagne everywhere!
Check out the picture below. When I saw this, my jaw completely dropped. Champagne bottles stacked (perfectly) all the way to the top of the cave. Can you just imagine all that bottle popping!?
If you are ever in this area, I would highly recommend this tour. While we only had the time — and budget — to tour one champagne house, I have no doubt Ruinart was the right choice. What I loved most was how small the groups are. There is a maximum of 10 people, so the group keeps that intimate feel. Not to mention the tasting portion is very generous!
Once our tour was complete, we spent a couple of hours roaming around the town of Reims. Ah, this area was just a dream. It had all the beautiful architecture of Paris, but without all the noise. No clusters of crowds whatsoever. The streets were quiet and for the most part, pretty empty. It felt so peaceful. And my favorite part — it was screaming charm! Cobblestone streets. Narrow alleyways. Colorful doors. My heart was in love.
And then there was the Notre Dame Cathedral of Reims. What a masterpiece of Gothic architecture! My gaze was immediately drawn to the amount of detail this cathedral had. It was overwhelmingly beautiful.
Just check out the statues carved into the stone…
We were able to climb the 250 steps to the top for a tour of the cathedral towers. Again, if you are ever in the area, I would highly recommend this! This one-hour tour was extremely fascinating and well worth the six euros.
Not to mention the stunning views you will have once you reach the top!
So much mesmerizing architecture right at your fingertips.
And then there is the inside of the cathedral, which is just as captivating as the outside. If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself walking at the slowest pace your feet can move, with your mouth open and head up, just gazing at everything above you. The illuminating rainbow of stained glass. The flamboyant Gothic organ case. The soaring stone columns. It is all so, so breathtaking.
Ah, Reims. Thank you for being so beautiful. I can only hope we can meet again one day. Please don’t ever change!