Epernay vs Reims: Where to Stay in Champagne

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by Neota Langley

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Picture the rolling hills of the Champagne region, sprawling vineyards and grand chateaus. Whether you are planning a day trip from nearby Paris, dedicating your holiday to this varied region or simply passing through as part of a French road trip, you will surely need to consider the differences between Epernay vs Reims, particularly if you’re looking for somewhere to stay.

Both are often referred to as the ‘Capital of Champagne’, so deciding between these two historic cities is a common conundrum. 

In general, choose Epernay if you’re interested in a solely wine-focused trip with an emphasis on visiting the world-class Champagne houses. On the other hand, Reims is a great option for those looking for a big city with more on offer beyond the wine.


Blending history, charm and luxury, Epernay is a relatively small town with much to give. Home to the world-famous Avenue de Champagne with 70 miles of underground cellars, Epernay is a must-visit destination for wine enthusiasts, but with beautiful countryside and top restaurants, there is more than meets the eye in this charming town. 

Town of Epernay
Town of Epernay


When deciding between the two hearts of the Champagne region, accessibility is an important consideration, especially if you are planning an Epernay or Reims day trip and have limited time. 

The nearest international airport is Paris Charles de Gaulle. From there, you can take a train or rent a car to reach Epernay, which is approximately a 1.5-hour drive away. 

Epernay is on the mainline railway, so if you are relying on public transport, the train service is more straightforward than the local buses. Direct trains run from Paris Gare de l’Est, Reims or even as far away as Strasbourg. The train station is located in the city centre within easy walking distance of the top sites of the town. You can view schedules here.

There are several options for full-day trips dedicated to Champagne cellar tours and tastings passing through Epernay and Reims with organised tour companies such as this full-day tour or this private tour.

This may be the perfect option if you want to sample plenty of wine without having to worry about public transport timetables or designated drivers. 

If you have decided to hire a car to explore the area, reaching Epernay is easy. If you’re driving from Paris, take the A4 eastbound towards Reims and then continue on the N51 to Epernay. The journey usually takes around 1.5 to 2 hours. If you are staying in Paris, try to avoid driving during rush hour, as navigating the city in heavy traffic can be tricky. You can view car rental options here.

There is a large car park between Champagne Avenue and the town centre. Parking is paid per hour, but it is not unreasonable considering the proximity to the centre. If you prefer to travel on a budget, there is free on-street parking just outside the main town. 

Streets of Epernay
Streets of Epernay


Considering both cities are at the heart of the luxurious Champagne wine region, you may assume there is a luxury price tag to match. Although it would be easy to go all out on bottles of the finest Champagne, high-class hotels and private tours, visiting on a budget is possible, and it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to miss out.

Activities in Epernay are primarily focused around the famous champagne houses, but step away from the world-famous names such as Moët & Chandon and Dom Pérignon, and you will find hundreds of smaller houses offering tours and tastings to suit all budgets.

To save money on individual tours, consider joining a guided group tour. Several family-run vineyards on the outskirts of the town itself offer free tours with the idea that following the tasting, you will purchase a bottle or two to take home. 

There are a variety of restaurants available in Epernay, from fine dining to rustic French home cooking. It is a similar story when it comes to accommodation. You will find a wide range of options, from budget-friendly B&Bs to luxury spa hotels. 

As it is a much smaller town than Reims, staying in Epernay can be slightly cheaper, and you will find that you will save money on souvenirs here too. The price difference is barely noticeable, and with enough pre-planning, it shouldn’t be the deciding factor when it comes to Epernay or Reims. 

Exploring a champagne winery in Epernay
Exploring a champagne winery in Epernay

Things to do in Epernay

It’s no secret that things to do in Epernay revolve around the town’s production of Champagne. The iconic Champagne Avenue is one of the most famous boulevards in the world, home to Moët & Chandon, Perrier-Jouët, Boizel, de Venoge, Vranken, Pol Roger, Mercier and G.H. Martel – to name a few.

There are 70 miles of cellars to discover below the streets, so you could easily spend an entire day visiting Champagne houses. If you only want to visit one, the Mecier tour is captivating and unique, with their little underground train that weaves through the cellars.

You can also book a champagne workshop or go on a private tour with a guide to learn more about the process.

The town centre is separate from Champagne Avenue, with a rabbit warren of historic buildings, stores selling local produce and bustling squares where you can bask in the sunshine at an authentic French cafe.

The cuisine in Epernay tends to be very traditional, including dishes such as Coq au Vin (chicken braised in red wine), Escargots de Bourgogne (Burgundy snails), and Boeuf Bourguignon (beef stewed in red wine).

The surrounding countryside is like a real-life painting, with dappled sunlight shining through rows of grape vines. There are plenty of footpaths and bike trails to discover in the hills around the town itself, so make sure to pack comfy shoes. You will also find the smaller, family-run Champagne maisons on the outskirts. 

Keep in mind that the smaller houses particularly all tend to shut down during the harvest season in late summer/early autumn, so make sure to plan accordingly.

Based at the start of Champagne Avenue, in the corner of the car park, you can’t miss the gigantic tethered hot air balloon. Ascend 150m into the air for a unique experience and beautiful 360 views of the vineyards and the Marne Valley from above. It is an excellent way to see the region.

Wine enthusiasts among you will have a day jam-packed with winery tours, tastings and history, but if the bubbles of Champagne don’t take your fancy, you will find there is much more on offer in the larger city of Reims. 

Vineyards near Eperany
Vineyards near Eperany

Where to Stay in Epernay

B&B Hotel Epernay – This 3-star bed and breakfast is the perfect choice for mid-range visitors to Epernay. They have cosy rooms to choose from, breakfast available in the mornings and a great location for exploring the town and the greater Champagne region.

Les Suites du 33 – For those looking for a bit of luxury, this chic and modern hotel is a great choice. Located in the centre of Epernay, they have lovely rooms on offer along with plenty of plush amenities for guests to enjoy.

Villa des Arts – If you’d like your own self-catering space while exploring the Champagne region, then these apartments in Epernay are a great choice. They come fully furnished with everything you may need and are well located for exploring both the town itself and the greater region.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Epernay hotels!

Enter Epernay


Steeped in rich history and renowned for its majestic cathedral Reims is a much larger city than Epernay. With its captivating architecture, vibrant culture, and Champagne heritage, this bustling city has plenty to offer, whether you are a wine enthusiast or not. 


Whether you decide on Reims or Epernay, your travel plans will look very similar. 

As with Epernay, the nearest airport to Reims is Paris Charles de Gaulle. From there, you can either take a train, local bus or hire a car to reach Reims.

If you are taking a day trip from Paris, Reims is slightly closer. This means it is quicker and ever so slightly cheaper to reach Reims than it is to get to Epernay. 

They are both on the same railway line, with direct trains from Paris and several smaller towns and villages in the surrounding area. The regular trains take 2 hrs, but there is now a much faster TGV service that takes just 45 minutes. You can view schedules here.

Unlike Epernay, there is a direct bus service taking just under 2 hours from Paris to Reims, so if the train timetable doesn’t suit you, there is always the option to take the bus. 

There are several organised day trips on offer from Paris such as this full-day tour itself if you would prefer to sit back, relax and enjoy plenty of Champagne without having to plan your day or have a designated driver. 

If you decide to hire a car for your trip, Reims is easily reachable by road. You can take the A4 from Paris or Metz or, if you are travelling from the North, the A26 takes you from Calais directly to Reims.

These are both toll roads, so if you want to save some pennies and take the scenic route – opt for the national roads by turning off tolled roads on your navigational system. 

Tram on streets of Reims
Tram on streets of Reims


Reims is a varied city, with plenty of options for accommodation, activities and restaurants to suit every budget. Overall, there is not a huge disparity in cost between the two destinations. 

There is more to do in Reims, so it can be easier to spend money on activities, but if you are conscious of your budget, this needn’t be a deciding factor. 

Tours and tastings at the iconic Champagne houses vary in cost, depending on whether you want a private tour or are happy in a group and how many bottles of the sparkling elixir you want to take away with you. If you don’t have a particular house you want to visit, opting for a smaller, family-run producer will save you money, and often these tours are more immersive.  

The museums and galleries are very affordable, with some offering free entry. Admission rarely costs any more than €5, but if you want to pack your stay full of culture, it is an additional cost to bear in mind. 

Cafes and restaurants in Reims tend to match the prices of those in Epernay but watch out for tourist traps in the city centre as their prices tend to be inflated.

There are several one and even two Michelin-starred restaurants in Reims if you are a foodie or want to celebrate a special occasion, but if you are watching the pounds, there are plenty of budget-friendly options dotted around the city too. 

Centre of Reims
Centre of Reims

Things to do in Reims

Reims is the larger city, so there is certainly more on offer here when it comes to activities. Epernay is charming and is the more peaceful of the two, but aside from the Champagne houses and walks out in the hills, there is not a lot else to do. Reims is a bustling university town with galleries, historical landmarks, museums and parks. 

Delve into Reims’ rich heritage by exploring its many historical landmarks. Visit the stunning stained glass windows at the Reims Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and the site of many coronations for French kings throughout history.

Discover the Palais du Tau, a former archbishop’s palace which has been transformed into a museum showcasing artefacts from coronation ceremonies. Uncover the city’s fascinating history at the Musée de la Reddition, the painstakingly preserved room where the Germans surrendered in World War II.

The Musée des Beaux-Arts presents an impressive collection of artworks to entertain the art enthusiast, including masterpieces by renowned artists like Renoir, Monet, and Picasso.

Sample the famous Champagne produced in the region by visiting prestigious houses like Taittinger and Veuve Clicquot.

You could take an hour-long tour with a tasting dedicated to the house of your choice or join an organised full-day tour to visit several different houses to learn about the champagne-making process and enjoy tastings of the world-famous bubbles. 

There are several must-try Reims specialities on offer at local cafes, boulangeries and restaurants, including Pâté de Reims, Biscuits Roses de Reims and Reims Ham, typically marinated in a mixture of herbs and Champagne.

Heading into the city centre, the bustling Halles du Boulingrin is a covered market worth a visit, especially if you want to discover tasty local specialities such as cheese and saucisson, perfect for a picnic in the park. Or, wander the streets around the Place Drouet d’Erlon, lined with bustling cafes and shops or take in the lively Place du Forum. 

If you are looking for the perfect spot to take a break from the vibrant city centre, take a stroll around the Parc de Champagne. A serene oasis, perfect for a picnic surrounded by lush greenery with the rolling vineyards in the distance. 

Notre Dame de Reims
Notre Dame de Reims

Where to Stay in Reims

Hôtel Azur – Located in the centre of Reims, this hip hotel is perfect for mid-range visitors basing themselves in this city. They have several modern rooms on offer, a great location in the city along with free parking and breakfast each morning.

Grand Hôtel Des Templiers – This opulent hotel is perfect for those looking for a luxurious stay while visiting the Champagne region. Centrally located in Reims, they have an array of plush rooms to choose from and plenty of great amenities for guests.

Appartement Premium – If you’re looking for a self-catering option in Reims, then these apartments are an excellent option. They all come fully furnished and equipped with all the essentials and they are well-located for exploring all the area has to offer.

CIS de Champagne – Budget and solo visitors to the Champagne will love this hostel in Reims. Located in the centre of the city, they have a range of both dorms and private rooms to choose from along with good common areas and self-catering facilities.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Reims hotels!

Vineyards in Reims
Vineyards in Reims

Epernay or Reims: The Verdict

Although they may seem similar at first, there are a few key differences between these two destinations at the heart of the Champagne region. 

Epernay has an old-world feel about it, it may be smaller than nearby Reims, but it is a bucket list destination where Champagne is concerned. If you are travelling to experience the cellar tours and tastings alone, Epernay is the ultimate destination.

It is a much quieter town, so if you are hoping to spend an extended period in this region, basing yourself in Epernay and taking a day trip to Reims may be the perfect option. 

Alternatively, if you want to base yourself surrounded by the hustle and bustle, book your accommodation in Reims and head out to Epernay for a day trip. If you are travelling in a group or with family, Reims certainly has more on offer to suit everyone besides Champagne tastings.

There are museums, galleries, a water park and even a chocolate factory, making Reims a popular destination for those travelling with children. 

Since the Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon pioneered the champagne-making process in the 17th century, people have been enamoured by this sparkling wine to this very day. Both Reims and Epernay are perfect places to sample this fantastic wine in absolutely beautiful locations with a lot to offer.

With all the facts laid out, if you are still considering Reims vs Epernay, there may be an easier solution. Ultimately, these destinations are neighbours, and with only 18 miles between them, it is easy enough to visit both if you have the time.

Are you visiting the Champagne region? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments!

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Neota Langley

Neota is a writer for The World Was Here First. Born and bred in Cornwall, she can usually be found with hiking boots on, ready to embark on an adventure. For the last 6 years, she has travelled throughout Europe in her self-built campervan with her trusty canine companion, Ivy. She loves exploring France, the Nordics and spending time in Alpine destinations.

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