Don't miss this sparkling pre-Christmas break to Reims, supposed home to the very first French Christmas celebration, in AD496, and now home to one of Europe's largest - and most spectacular - Christmas markets. You'll also have a chance to enjoy a guided tour and free bubbly tasting at a famous champagne house, and take in another of the region's magical Christmas markets, the 'Christmas Town' in historic Arras.
Departing the local area early this morning, journey to the Channel port for the crossing to Northern France and the onward journey to the hotel, where you should arrive by early evening.
After breakfast, take our included transfer to the centre of Reims, or join the optional excursion to visit the G.H. Mumm Champagne House - famous for the 'red ribbon' on its Cordon Rouge bottles. The mysteries and traditions of over two hundred years of champagne-making in one of the world's foremost wine-producing regions will be demonstrated during an hour-long guided walking tour of the cellars, after which there will - of course - be an opportunity to taste and buy some bubbly!
Spend the rest of the day exploring Reims's wonderful Christmas Village, situated in front of the magnificent 13th-century cathedral and home to over 130 traditional wooden chalets selling Yuletide gifts and traditional decorations. You'll also find a gourmet food market offering a vast array of gastronomic specialities and tasty regional produce. Don't miss the cathedral's spectacular interior, with its stained glass windows and statues, and as darkness falls, look out for a magnificent sound and light show.
After the opportunity to enjoy an early evening meal (payable locally) transfer back to the hotel.
Bidding "au revoir" to the hotel you'll head north, breaking the journey in Arras, where an enchanting Christmas Town adorns the city's main square. Wander the carefully selected wooden stalls, where the tempting aromas of traditional sausages and freshly made crepes and waffles hang in the air. Perhaps visit the nearby, 18th-century cathedral or the Gothic-style Hotel de Ville, with its spiral staircase leading to the heady heights of its historic belfry.
After time for lunch, we'll return to the Channel port and cross back to the UK, arriving back in the local area during the mid-to-late evening.