Reims has lots of Champagne Houses you can visit, is an easy 90 minute or less train ride from Paris, you can walk around easily and there are places to stay, eat, nightlife, and more to see than just Champagne Houses, and you do not need a car.
These are just a few reasons why Reims is a great place to start or go to if you only have a short time in Champagne. You can even easily take a day trip from Paris where you are driven and guided effortlessly. if you lookup "Champagne Tour from Paris" or ask for recommendations, for example at your hotel in Paris, you should find several.
We emphasize Champagne Houses below that you can visit and that are fun to visit. Policies can and do change, and for example, Louis Roederer now says "visits to our cellars are reserved for professionals".
Reims also has the many of the most important Champagne Houses as the list below shows. Many were carved and dug into the deep Chalk deposits of the area by the Romans 2000 years ago and are extremely impressive. There are also chalk cellars in the rest of Champagne, but they are far more modern.
Some places will charge a fee, definitely make reservations, and remember that most are well equipped to receive visitors like you.
Warning, especially to stupid Americans like me: I don't care how little or how much time you have, 2 or 3 houses a day is enough. Resist the temptation to try cram more in.
* - Top picks for cellar tours.
4 boulevard Henry Vasnier
Very impressive Gallo-Roman cellars and very modern winery. A top pick for certain!
34 boulevard Lundy
A co-op well set up for visitors. They also own Château Cantegrive in Bordeaux, so you may get a chance to try their wines also.
66 rue de Courlancy
Lanson has always been very popular in England, and this is an ultra modern and impressive winery. Check out the video below. A very informative tour, available in French, English, and German, Mondays to Friday except in August when they are closed.
34 Rue du Champ de Mars
One of the largest Champagne Houses. It is an easy tour to book, even sometimes if you just show up, and different tastings are available at the end of the tours.
67 rue Jacquart
A small co-op, with Greco-Roman cellars which are always impressive.
12 Allee Du Vignoble
A great tour, kind of a Disneyland version of Champagne, with lots of people on package tours. Small go karts take you through the cellars, and the tasting room is pretty wild, resembling a funky bar complete with neon lights. Most people love this tour, include Champagne heads like us.
5 place Géneral Gouraud
Pommery is one of the most impressive houses in all of Champagne with incredible Gallo-Roman cellars. They even have a vineyard in Reims, the only house to have one, 19 hectares, and they are on a large piece of land in the south of Reims. French, English, German, Italian and Spanish language tours available. You start by going down a 101 step stair cut into the 25 million bottle cellars comprised of 120 old Roman chalk mines linked together.
7 rue Savoy
Everyone seems to comment on the stacks of Cristal. They have bottles of Champagne back to the 1920s (and I'd love to taste some!). You seem to need to know someone to get in here ("visits to our cellars are reserved for professionals"), but they are so well known I include them here. Plus I consider Cristal to be one of the top Champagnes!
4 rue des Crayères
These Gallo-Roman cellars are an officially designated French National Monument and worth getting an appointment to see.
9 Place Saint-Nicaise
French and English language tours available, which start with an informative short video. A great tour of their impressive Gallo-Roman cellars, which wander for kilometers under Reims. Some of the cellars are of old Roman construction and some of more modern Benedictine Monk construction from the 13th century.
The video below is really a collage of pictures, some nice but ordinary, some very interesting.
1 place des Droits de l'Homme
You know the drill, impressive Gallo-Roman cellars . . .
By now, a few of you may wonder exactly what "Gallo-Roman" means. According to Wikipedia, "Gallo-Roman describes the Romanized culture of Gaul under the rule of the Roman Empire."
So, here is what to keep in mind for the Champagne Houses of Reims. They are impressive, you almost always need reservations, it's cold down there, and these are the oldest and most impressive cellars in all of Champagne.
And honestly, after you've seen a few they all start to look the same. A couple a day for 3 to 4 days is more than enough for most Champagne aficionados, but one or two are not enough! I may eventually see most of them, over the course of multiple trips of course.
* - Top picks for cellar tours.