Facts: did you know?
- Which grapes are used in the Champagne blend? A great combination of Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay but it can also be only one or two grapes, according to the area and the process.
- What is the Champagne appellation? It’s what makes Champagne so special, a unique terroir and the exclusivity of production within the appellation.
- How many Champagne producers are there? About 20,000 vine growers but only 5,000 of whom make their own Champagne.
- Who is the largest Champagne producer? Moët & Chandon by a long way with 26 million bottles produced every year.
Where to go / What to see?
- Reims is the biggest city in the Champagne region and is home to 3 major UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the sumptuous Notre-Dame cathedral, jewel of the Gothic architecture.
- Épernay, also referred as the capital of Champagne thanks to its magnificent Avenue (the Champs-Elysées of Champagne) where the “big” producers have their wineries. The town offers everything a wine and food lover could have expected: beautiful wineries and fine gastronomy all around.
- Hautvillers is a quaint village on the hill, not far away from Épernay, where Dom Pérignon’s tomb has been kept for over two centuries in a “simple” church. Several Champagne producers are based there and offer visits and tastings.
Where to stay?
- Château d’Etoges – from 119€/night. In the heart of the Champagne countryside, this listed historic chateau built in the 17th century sits in the middle of a large park.
- Hôtel Jean Moët & Spa – from 140€/night. Built in the 18th century, this 4-star hotel is steeped in tradition but offers modern facilities in the heart of Epernay. The spa and the champagne bar are often the key factors for deciding to stay there. Relax and enjoy nearby tastings in the famous houses of Champagne.
- Le Clos des Terres Soudées – from 180€/night – is a charming and cosy B&B located in Vrigny, a few miles away from Reims. The Coulon family treats its guests as members of their own family. The on-site winery is a must for whomever spends its first weekend in Champagne (i.e. tastings with no pressure and great explanations about the champagne making process).
Where to eat?
- Our favourite: the brasserie Jardin des Crayères located near the “Parc de Champagne” in Reims. In a luxurious environment with a mix of modern and sober design, the restaurant offers an unpretentious French cuisine. If you wish to feel like a King, the two Michelin-starred restaurant Le Parc des Crayères next door, will leave you speechless.
- A must for Champagne lovers: the Bistro le 7 in the heart of Epernay. Their Champagne list is one of the best in town putting forward smaller producers. The cuisine remains simple but fresh and tasty. Again, next door is their one Michelin-starred restaurant, Les Berceaux, where the cuisine, wine selection and service are combined to perfection. Do not hesitate to ask for a table near the chimney!
- Within a Champagne house: the restaurant Les Avisés nestled in a XIX century mansion in Avize. With a young and dynamic Chef, food and wine menus are above expectations. Moreover, the on-site winery Jacques Selosse combines intimacy and high-quality Champagne in a family environment.
Photo credits: Les Crayères / Ragnar Fridrikson @ Les Berceaux / Pierre G on Google @ Les Avisés
Where to taste?
- Champagne Roger Coulon is a boutique winery in Vrigny, located in La Montagne de Reims. Eric and Isabelle bear with passion the emblem of Champagne and keep the tradition on. They organise wine tastings and show their guests around the winery explaining the process and secrets of their bubbles.
- Champagne Cattier is a family-run winery which can be found easily in Chigny les Roses, on the road between Reims and Epernay. Champagne Cattier’s cellars are amongst the deepest cellars in Champagne (30m), providing ideal conditions for ageing with a low and constant temperature. Their unique tasting pairs iconic and original cuvees to widen the discovery.
Join our Tours
- Full-day wine tours in the vineyards – from 290€ pp: Visit a world-famous Champagne House, such as Moet & Chandon, Veuve Cliquot or Mumm. Walk through endless galleries and enjoy a Champagne tasting. For lunch, settle at the table of a family-run intimate winery, where you will enjoy a delicious gourmet French lunch, paired with 3 different Champagnes from the house, as well as a local wine specialty, the “Ratafia Champenois!”
- 3-day harvest tour in Champagne – from 585€ pp: Sébastien also offers a harvest experience mid-September for Champagne lovers. The tour combines discovery and learning and nearly covers all the places to see and visit.