Reims or Epernay for kid friendly day trip


I will be visiting Paris in April with my wife and 7 & 9 year old kids.

We were thinking of driving to Reims or Epernay Sunday April 7th morning and returning in the evening or night. We have French friends living in Paris they offered to take us (drive us) there for the day.

Between Reims and Epernay is one of them more kid friendly?

Appreciate any info, ideas or suggestions.


Neither are really kid friendly. Reims has the cathedral for a non-wine oriented activity, but that doesn’t seem like something the kids would really be interested in.

I talked to a champange buyer for a US wine shop. He makes several trips a year there for the last 20 years. He said kids or not, avoid Reims at all costs. Its hard to get in and out of, very congested and all the vinyards and action is south of there anyway. He said hands down go to Epernay. This comment was had nothing to do with kids being with us or not.

We are visiting in March for 4 nights. Based on what we’ve read, our understanding is Reims is a bustling city and can be difficult to traverse. Also, there are only a handful of Champagne Houses in Reims, though they are major ones, whereas there are dozens in Epernay and a lot of them have tasting rooms open to the public. We have a 6 month old and have decided to stay in Epernay as our home base.

All that said, you could also visit one of the villages, where you might get a little more personalized service and a better feel for the “French countryside” that is Champagne. If you like Blanc de Blanc, check out Le Mesnil - there are lots of houses there. Or you can visit Ay in the Grande Vallee. If you want to visit the Montagne de Reims, you could visit Bouzy or Ambonnay - both places with a fair number of houses.

Safest bet to not need appointments, though, is Epernay.

I was just in Reims. The Cathedral is lovely, but small. It’s a 20m activity. Other than that, we toured a couple Champagne houses. I don’t think it’s a great place for kids.

Personally. I’d stay in Paris unless it’s a long trip.

so the Paris trip is we arrive in Paris on a Sunday night and depart Tuesday (9 days later). So we really have Monday to Monday to do things. My friend who lives in Paris works during the week so I was thinking on Sunday to make a day trip to Epernay. Get an early start, have a tour late morning, then have lunch, then another tour in the afternoon. If time for a third tour and or dinner then drive back to Paris Sunday evening/night.

Or I could skip it and just spend more time in Paris.

Decent length. Check out tours that have something fun. Taittinger used to take you through the cellars on a little train.

I don’t think of Reims as being particularly congested. Certainly not on a Sunday but check places are open. Many will be closed.

We did Reims as a day trip and it was both easy to do and plenty of time (for me). I disagree strongly with Corey about the cathedral being a 20 minute diversion (it is one of the most important historic and artistic buildings in Europe) but I do agree that there isn’t much there to enchant 7 or 9 year old kids. In fact, I am not sure there is really much in the city to recommend the trip for them particularly (although t be frank I did not research the matter, and there may well be)

Two can’t-miss things that you’d probably want to miss given the children are (a) lunch at Le Parc in Les Crayeres and (b) shopping at Caves du Forum, which has champagnes by the score that I’ve never see in the states. Although each was a highlight of my trip there, I am not sure how much real pleasure you would derive from either under the circumstances.

Caves au Forum would be closed on a Sunday though…

Good point

In true Berserker form (“no really, do this instead!”) I’d recommend scratching it and heading to the D-Day beaches instead. Tons of kid-friendly stuff to do there, including playing on the guns at Longues sur Mer, jumping around in the landing vehicles at Utah beach or checking out the museum at Caen (big airplanes inside). Of course, better for an overnight, as my kids don’t enjoy 3-4 hour drives, but I digress.

If you forced me to pick between the actual options you’re presenting, probably Reims. The cathedral is worth 30 mins, but the number of times I heard “really, another cathedral / chateau” from my kids was numbing after the first week of living there :smiley:

I’d then go hit Taittinger and bring them on the cellar tour → Besuche in Reims | Champagne Taittinger There are supposed to be more kid-friendly tours, but the caves at Taittinger are pretty cool. I did not have my kids at the time, so call and confirm they can go (I’m almost positive they can).

Would also check out the local market, but that’s more because I’m a foodie :smiley:

And for that last sell…

Agree with Andrew. Also consider taking the RER to Versailles and take a Fat Tire Bike Tour there.

Nothing kids like more than a day spent watching their parents drink wine. I mean, most of us have dragged kids to wineries at some point in our travels, but I have never been to a kid friendly winery.

Howard et al. may be right that a Champagne day trip may not be a lot of fun for the kids. How about checking out a castle in the Loire instead: Home

Another agreement with Andrew’s suggestion. Go somewhere exciting for the kids and find a decent wine shop on the way. Treat yourself to a nice bottle (or more) and drink one of those good bottles when back after the day trip and you can put your feet up and enjoy it.

p.s. FWIW we have been to Rheims (but still can’t be sure on the pronunciation!) and enjoyed it for a brief stay. Ate well in a place on a pedestrianised street that ought to have been a tourist trap, yet their steak tartare aux fine herbes remains an unsurpassed example (for us) of steak tartare / carne cruda.

Parking was a little difficult, and it did feel a little rough around the edges (we were a little worried about leaving our car with all the stuff in it), but nonetheless it was fine.

Thanks for for the tips everyone.

It sounds like a Champagne day trip with my 7 & 9 year old kids is not practical.

I have thought about renting a car mid week and taking the wife and my two kids to the Loire and getting an airbnb for the night and checking out some of the Castles there. Not sure how bored the kids would be with that.

We are planning to take the RER to Versailles for a day trip.

Normandy is a possibility or maybe we will just spend the entire week in Paris.

If you go the Loire route, I’d stop at the cathedral in Chartres on the way (read the article about the West Point guy that saved it). Amboise is a must hit for the kids - Clos Luce (Da Vinci’s chateau) is super kid-friendly with a bunch of hands-on exhibits and a small playground in the gardens, with the main chateau (Da Vinci buried there) a walk down the road. We grabbed a VRBO there, as there’s a nice downtown area and Chenonceau is 20-30 min drive.

Other Loire note - Chateau d’Usse was pretty much a miss for us. Looks great from the outside and if you’re Sleeping Beauty fans, you’ll recognize it immediately… but they’ve low-budgeted a Disney experience and it was as hokey/kitsch as it gets (in my opinion). Not sure I’d invest the drive time if we were doing it again.

Another consideration would be hitting up Disneyland Paris while you’re there (now that you have me thinking about d’Usse). Super easy to get to via RER. I don’t remember anything that different about the experience, but it’s a cool conversation drop - sure I’ve been to Disneyland… IN PARIS. That said, I choose the Loire :slight_smile:

Might be worth your while to skim my Adventures in Paris thread, as I was dragging four kids (14, 10, 5, 5) pretty much everywhere across France!