Discover Champagne, Visit Champagne

Champagne, the historic region of northeastern France, is world-renowned for its eponymous sparkling wine, a true symbol of festivity and luxury. Divided into five main wine-growing areas - Montagne de Reims, Côte des Blancs, Vallée de la Marne, Côte de Sézanne and Aube - it offers a territory rich in diversity, where each glass of champagne tells its ownstory, testifying to the unique know-how inherited from past generations. This distinctive manufacturing process involves a second fermentation in the bottle, giving this beverage its characteristic bubbles. Whether you're a fan of Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs or Rosé Champagne, Champagne promises unforgettable discoveries.

To visit Champagne is to immerse yourself in a region where cultural heritage blends harmoniously with nature. From tastings at renowned wine producers such as Dom Pérignon in Epernay, to picnics in verdant vineyards offering breathtaking views. A weekend in Champagne France is also an opportunity to recharge your batteries in luxurious spas, while being guided by Michelin recommendations for an unforgettable gastronomic experience. So, whether you're passionate about vineyards and history, or simply looking for a weekend getaway, Champagne is a destination that combines luxury, culture and nature.

The history of Champagne

The Champagne wine region has a rich history, marked by innovations and traditions that have shaped the world of sparkling wine as we know it today.

Origins and development

The creation of the Champagne winegrowing region is attributed to the abbeys of Saint-Pierre-aux-Monts in Châlons-en-Champagne and Saint-Pierre d'Hautvillers, establishing a winegrowing heritage as far back as the Middle Ages.

The invention of the méthode Champenoise by monks in the 17th century, notably Dom Pierre Pérignon, revolutionized sparkling wine production. This method involved a second fermentation in the bottle, creating the characteristic bubbles of champagne.

In the 18th century, the use of the cork stopper and the invention of a more resistant bottle preserved the wine's effervescence, contributing to its worldwide renown.

Protection and recognition

The phylloxera crisis at the end of the 19th century led to the restructuring of the region, with the formation of groups of winegrowers and Champagne houses to overcome the ordeal.

The Champagne appellation was officially recognized in 1935, establishing strict rules concerning the region and production method to protect the integrity and quality of Champagne.

In 2015, the Champagne wine region was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, underlining its historical and cultural significance.

These historical elements underline not only the importance of the Champagne region in the history of wine, but also its ongoing commitment to excellence and sustainability.

Discovering the Champagne Houses

Epernay is often considered the ideal starting point for exploring theAvenue de Champagne, home to many famous champagne brands. Guided tours of the Avenue de Champagne are available, offering an immersion into the heart of this famous avenue. For an authentic experience, champagne cellar tours are a must to discover the traditional champagne-making process. Champagne houses not to be missed include Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Mumm, where tours and tastings are organized.

Iconic Champagne houses to visit:

1 Moët & Chandon: With 28 km of cellars, this house offers an immersive tour of the brand's history and tradition.

2 Veuve Clicquot the house of Barbe Nicole Ponsardin, famous for its yellow label, offers a tour that tells the story of Barbe Nicole Ponsardin, the first woman to run a champagne house.

3 Mumm: Famous for its Cordon Rouge, the visit includes an olfactory experience and a small museum revealing the history and know-how of the house .

For those seeking a more intimate experience, visits to independent wineries such as Champagne Joseph Desruets and Champagne Julien Chopin offer a unique perspective on Champagne production, highlighting the craftsmanship and passion of the winemakers. Whether you opt for a major Champagne house or an independent winery, visiting Champagne offers a fascinating dive into the world of sparkling wine, combining history, culture and exquisite tasting.

Must-see activities in Champagne

The Champagne region offers a multitude of must-do activities for visitors, from wine tourism to nature escapades:

Wine tourism and tastings :

1 Champagne tasting workshops: Learn about the different types of champagne and refine your palate

2 Champagne cellar tours: Epernay, nicknamed the "Capital of Champagne", offers captivating cellar tours and a variety of tastings .

3 Unique producer experiences:

- Sabrez le Champagne! at Maison de Champagne Pol Couronne to learn the art of sabrage.

- En vélo avec la Maison Veuve Clicquot offers a bicycle tour of the vineyards.

- L'instant de grâce at Champagne Taittinger includes a presentation of the house, a tour of the cellars, and an explanation of champagne production

Nature et Découverte :

1 Hot-air balloon rides: For a breathtaking view of the vineyards and the region

2 Hikes in the Montagne de Reims Regional Nature Park: Trails through forests and vineyards for nature lovers .

3 Picnics in the vineyards: An idyllic way to enjoy the Champagne landscape.

Nature et Découverte :

1 Reims and its UNESCO sites: Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Palais du Tau, witnesses to France's royal history .

2 La Fête Johannique in Reims: Celebrations with parades, concerts and fireworks, in honor of Joan of Arc .

2 The Pressoria Museum in Epernay: explore the history and production of champagne .

These activities offer visitors a rich and varied experience, combining gustatory pleasure, visual wonder and cultural enrichment.

Nature et Paysages Champenois

Champagne, with its varied landscapes and natural attractions, invites you to travel and discover. Here's a glimpse of its natural treasures:

Natural Parks and Landscapes :

1 Montagne de Reims: Classified as a Regional Nature Park in 1976, it offers a mix of vineyards, forests, farmland, valleys and waterways, promising unforgettable hikes and breathtaking panoramas.

2 Vallée de la Marne and Vallée du Surmelin: These valleys are characterized by their picturesque landscapes combining water, forests and vineyards, as well as their authentic villages, offering an immersion in Champagne heritage .

2 Les Marais de Saint Gond: A unique landscape with a wealth of flora and fauna, ideal for nature lovers.

Lakes and Forests :

1 Lac du Der: A popular spot for birdwatching, especially migrating sandhill cranes, and water sports. The surrounding area is known for its hedged farmland and ponds, enriching the visitor experience.

1 Forêt de Verzy: Home to over 800 scythes and unique twisted oak trees, this forest in the Montagne de Reims is a must-see for nature lovers and photographers alike.

Champagne, located in northeastern France, is distinguished by its five main valleys, each offering unique characteristics that add to the region's charm. Whether it's wine tourism or the discovery of natural landscapes, Champagne will appeal to all travelers.

Gastronomy and Champagne

The art of Champagne food pairing is a rich tradition that magnifies the Champagne culinary experience. Here are a few tips for choosing the ideal Champagne to accompany various dishes:

For aperitifs and light starters:

- Champagnes made from white grapes, such as Chardonnay, offer ideal freshness for aperitifs and light starters, thanks to their high acidity and aromas of white flowers and citrus fruit.

- Recommended pairings: fresh seafood, sushi bar and lightly flavored starters.

For the Main Courses :

Blanc de noirs and blended Champagnes, made from Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier, lend themselves well to richer, more structured dishes.

Suggested pairings: foie gras, grilled seafood, shellfish in sauce, white or red meats, game and mushroom dishes.

Cheese and Desserts :

Cheeses: Champagnes go wonderfully well with many cheeses, especially cooked cheese dishes and soft cheeses.

Desserts: The challenge of pairing with desserts can be met by rosé Champagnes, which go well with fruit-based desserts.

By respecting the ideal serving temperature (10-11°C for aperitifs and 12-13°C for main courses) and choosing the right glass (prefer a tulip-shaped glass), these pairings will enhance both the dish and the Champagne.

Where to stay in Champagne?

For those planning a stay in Champagne, the choice of accommodation is paramount to a complete and memorable experience. Here is a varied selection of options to suit all tastes and budgets:

Luxury Hotels and Châteaux :

1 Le Clos, Champagne: 4-star hotel with unique vineyard setting, 12 rooms and gourmet restaurant .From €160 per night.

2 Château de Sacy, Champagne: Luxury hotel in a historic château, offering 12 suites, gourmet restaurant, pool and spa .From €250 per night.

3 Le Royal Champagne: Luxury hotel in Champillon overlooking the vineyards of famous houses such as Moët & Chandon, 47 rooms and suites .

Guest houses and B&Bs :

- Domaine Sacret, Champagne: Guest house in a charming village, 5 spacious rooms with private bathroom and a large garden. From €90 per night.

- La Maison de Rhodes, Champagne: B&B in a renovated 17th-century house, offering 5 uniquely decorated rooms and a garden. From €120 per night.

- Chambres d'hôtes du Champagne Voirin Jumel: Family-run guesthouse in Cramant, offering an authentic champagne experience.

These accommodation options, ranging from luxurious hotels and chateaux to intimate guest houses and B&Bs, offer an ideal base from which to explore the richness of the Champagne region, whether for wine tourism, discovering natural landscapes or local gastronomy.

Practical tips for visiting Champagne

To ensure a memorable visit to the Champagne region, here are a few practical tips to keep in mind:

Planning your visit :

1 Timing: Visiting Champagne during the months of October and November, after the grape harvest, is ideal for a more authentic experience.

2 Booking tastings: Appointments are required for tastings, even at the major houses .

3 Using public transport: The region is easily accessible by train from Paris in less than two hours, so take the TGV Est to Reims in just 45 minutes .

Discoveries and Experiences :

- Must-see sights: Don't miss Reims for its Gothic cathedral, the Palais du Tau, and the Basilique Saint-Remi, all UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

- Exploring the Champagne Houses: Iconic houses such as Veuve Clicquot and Champagne Taittinger offer tours of their chalk pits and modern facilities, promising an immersion into the world of champagne.

Additional tips:

- On-site transportation: Since public transportation options are limited and cab fares can be high, consider booking a tour with transportation included for a hassle-free exploration of the region.

- Variety of experiences: For a deeper understanding of the region, we recommend visiting at least two different types of champagne cellars and considering being accompanied by a local guide.


How can I explore the Champagne region?

To explore Champagne, take the Route Touristique du Champagne, a perfectly signposted itinerary that takes you through vineyards and picturesque hillsides, dotted with traditional villages, castles and churches.

Which are the most prestigious champagne cellars to visit?

The Maison Ruinart offers an unforgettable visit where you can discover the secrets of champagne making, the different vintages and its historic cellars filled with bottles of champagne. The only one of its kind, the Maison Ruinart cellar has been listed as a historic site since 1931.

When is the best time to visit the Champagne Route?

When is the best time to visit the Champagne Route?

Which champagne houses do you recommend visiting in Reims?

In Reims, for a complete tasting and discovery experience, consider a visit to the Pommery cellars. It's also advisable to plan a visit to the Taittinger cellars or the Veuve-Clicquot Champagne cellars to enrich your experience.