Reims in 2 Days: everything you need to know

48 hours is enough time to get around Reims. I invite you to discover the best things to see and do in this city during a two-day visit.

Keyvis Montilva

Keyvis Montilva

8 min read

Reims in 2 Days: everything you need to know

Reims Monument | ©Sandra Cohen-Rose

One of the great things about touring the small towns of north-eastern France is that most of the historic buildings and tourist attractions can be seen in a relatively short time. A two-day trip to Reims will give you a chance to see the city and its surroundings.

Day 1: Explore the sights of Reims

Porte Mars| ©Hélène Baudart
Porte Mars| ©Hélène Baudart

The first day of your visit to the city of Reims should be spent exploring the city's main tourist attractions. Although it is a small city, it is true that it has some very important buildings, including some Unesco World Heritage Sites.

For this reason, the list of sites I have planned for you to visit during your first 24 hours in Reims follows a logistical plan that will not waste time or money on unnecessary transport, which is often the case if you go from one end to the other without any logical sense.

Start the day at the Porte Mars

The Porte Mars is one of the most interesting tourist attractions in the city of Reims and, at the same time, it stands out because it is completely free to enjoy. It is a Roman triumphal arch, the widest of its kind and the oldest Roman construction north of the Alps still standing.

For many years it served as the gateway to the city, and today this honourable mention is still maintained by the fact that it is located right next to the city's train station. For this reason, it will be the first place you will see if you arrive by train.

You should also bear in mind that this triumphal arch is part of a public park that stands out for its beauty and its extension, and walking before or after touring the Porte Mars is a fun idea. You should also be aware that this site is part of the private tours organised by some guides in the city of Reims.

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Have breakfast at the Place Royale

The Place Royale is located a couple of streets away from the Porte Mars and, all year round, functions as an epicentre of city life in the centre of Reims. It is known for its Christmas decorations and its gastronomic offer.

So if you haven't had breakfast when you arrive in Reims, I recommend that you do so in any of the cafés located in this square or in the nearby streets. Especially because the walk from the Porte Mars to this place will help you discover the beauty that characterises the buildings of this city, which are a mixture of medieval tendencies with post-war modernity.

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See the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Reims and the Palsais du Tau

Reims Cathedral| ©GaudiumPress Imágenes
Reims Cathedral| ©GaudiumPress Imágenes

Reims is a small city and most of the tourist attractions are within walking distance. Therefore, after having breakfast around the Place Royal, it is recommended that you go to the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Reims, the most important historical monument of the city located one street away from the famous square.

To understand how to visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Reims, you should know that the entrance is free and it is open from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm. If you want to enjoy a quiet tour, I recommend that you do so outside mass hours and I advise you to pay equal attention to its interior and exterior, as it is one of the greatest architectural jewels of French Gothic architecture.

On the other hand, right next to the Cathedral, you will find the Palais du Tau, the building where the French monarchs dressed before the coronation which took place in the neighbouring Cathedral. For this reason, both buildings have been declared World Heritage Sites by Unesco. The visit to both sites will take you no more than two hours, although you should know that there is a museum in the palace and you have to pay the entrance fee, which costs about €8.

Book a private tour of Reims

Walk south to the Sciences Po campus

Although Reims is a relatively small city, it is a university destination. It has to do with the fact that not only is the local university located there, but there is also a campus for the Faculty of Sciences Po, one of the most important political science universities in the world.

So touring the facilities of this university campus is a recommendable plan both on a short trip and during a three-day visit to the city of Reims. Above all, because walking around these facilities is completely free and it is an architectural marvel that perfectly preserves several buildings from the medieval and post-Renaissance periods combined with modern buildings.

You should also bear in mind that this university campus is halfway to the next stop on your itinerary. Therefore, it is recommended that you reach this site via a walk along the famous Rue du Barbâtre, where you will also find different alternatives to eat at a very good price, something logical because it is a university district.

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Get to Saint-Remi Basilica

Another important tourist attraction in the city of Reims is the Basilica of Saint-Remi, which together with the Cathedral and the Tau Palace have been declared World Heritage Sites by Unesco. Since 553 it has preserved the relics of Saint Remigius, bishop of the city who according to Catholic beliefs converted Clovis, the first king of the Franks to unify the French territory as it is conceived today.

This building throughout its more than 1,000 years of history has evolved from a small chapel to a significantly large church combining different architectural styles including Romanesque and Gothic. In addition, its historical importance is linked to figures such as Charlemagne and events of the French Revolution.

It is open every day from Monday to Sunday, from 11am to 6.30pm. On weekends, however, visiting hours are extended to 7pm. The basilica functions as a museum and therefore the approximate price of an entrance ticket is around €3 per person.

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End the day with a stroll in the Parc de Champagne

When you've had your fill of wandering the streets and historic buildings of central and southern Reims, you can take advantage of the proximity to one of the city's most beautiful urban parks to unwind and wait for the sunset. I'm talking about the Parc de Champagne, an ideal place where you can stroll, enjoy the falling leaves in autumn or the good weather on summer evenings and nights.

Access is free and the park is very safe. Public green spaces abound in this part of Reims and if walking to the Parc de Champagne isn't something you're interested in, you can cross the lock bridge number 10 to get directly to the Coulée Verte, another public park that stretches along the banks of the river and is much closer to the Basilica of Saint-Remi.

Depending on where you're staying, you can choose where to dine, although my recommendation is that if you're staying in the centre you should walk to the Pont de Venise. You'll be spoilt for choice with French, African, Moroccan and Algerian food.

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Day 2: Be amazed by the beauty of the region

Fontaine de la Solidarité| ©Tourisme Champagne
Fontaine de la Solidarité| ©Tourisme Champagne

The other main asset of the city of Reims has to do with its privileged location within the Champagne region. This part of France is known worldwide for being the place where this type of sparkling wine of indisputable quality is produced and which has made this area of the country a Unesco World Heritage Site. So the second day I have oriented it so that you can explore the beauty of the surrounding countryside. There are two alternatives as well as an urban entertainment plan.

Do some shopping and have breakfast around the Fontaine de la Solidarité

The surroundings of this small square in the city centre of Reims are known for the fact that most of the commercial establishments are located there. Also, several restaurants are located in this perimeter of four or five streets. Therefore, wandering around this area at breakfast time is a good way to start your second day. Especially if you're interested in popping into a shop or two to do some shopping before continuing your itinerary.

This is one of the most recommended areas to visit during the month of December and is definitely one of the best things to do in Reims during Christmas, as it is a shopping and consumer-oriented area and many shops are decorated with lights and decorations.

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Join a tour of the champagne production fields

The first alternative if you are thinking of taking part in one of the best day tours from Reims would be a minibus tour that takes you through different cellars belonging to champagne-producing families. This alternative is highly recommended for the fact that you can learn about the cultural traditions related to the world of wine directly from its protagonists.

This is a very complete activity in which you will be accompanied by a guide. You'll also be able to do different tastings at the different wineries. In fact, it is common to book the tour to the Epernay region, the capital of champagne production in this region. As for the duration of the tour, you should know that it lasts four and a half hours. An excellent way to explore most of this region without worrying about additional expenses and with complete peace of mind.

  • Price: a tour like this usually costs around €124 per person.

Book a tour of the Epernay region

Opt for a bike tour

Reims wine cellar| ©Jaime
Reims wine cellar| ©Jaime

At the same time there is the fact that you can enjoy the Champagne region' s wine country in a slightly more active way if you book a champagne tour by electric bike. You will enjoy five family winery tastings along with a typical French lunch.

Of these tours you should know that part of the tour is combined by minibus, as the full tour lasts seven hours including visits to restaurants, wineries and grape harvest fields. This is an activity available for the whole family, although it is important that the person is of a suitable height and weight to pedal an electric bicycle.

  • Price: The average price for this type of tour is around €188 per person.

Book a champagne tour on an electric bike

Return to the centre of Reims for a farewell dinner.

After you have enjoyed the guided tour and the best things to see and do in Reims during these 48 hours, end your trip in the city centre with a farewell dinner before continuing your journey to other regions of France or returning home. There are an infinite number of restaurants where you could go to enjoy the best of the varied gastronomic offerings. Here are two examples:

  • Le Tablier de Reims stands out as a recommendable alternative because its menu is focused on traditional French food.
  • The Bistró des Anges is also an excellent option, especially because of its proximity to the Cathedral Square.

Book a private tour of Reims