Champagne is a great destination for a 2-3 day break from the city. It’s around 3 hour drive from Paris or a 45min TGV from Paris to Reims. I suggest renting a car as the wineries are far apart and the drive through the countryside is beautiful.
There are thousands of champagne makers in the region, it is impossible to know them all. Most of the big names will have cellar tours followed by champagne tasting. Each cellar is different so even if you are hearing the champagne making process repeatedly, you will enjoy visiting the different caves. Most tours are in French, but a couple of English tours a day so plan ahead to maximize the number of tours you can join. For the smaller houses, they usually only have champagne tasting which is around €5-10 per glass, and it is waived if you buy some bottles.
We only had enough time to visit three big houses and we enjoyed all 3 for different reasons. Moët & Chandon had the most impressive caves and we found Mumm to have the most informative tour among the three. I’ve read that there is an exclusive Dom Pérignon tour within Moët but did not manage to find where I could book it.
Moët & Chandon 20 Avenue de Champagne, Epernay
Taittinger 9 Place Saint-Nicaise, 51100 Rheims
G. H. Mumm 34 Rue du Champ de Mars, 51100 Rheims
Places to visit
It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is very impressing as you walk towards it from the square. Similar architecture to Paris’s Notre-Dame. Free enterance
1. Le Grand Cerf
We had lunch at this 1 star after our 3 hour drive from Paris, it was one of the villages closer to the highway so it was a good pit stop to rest. The quality of the produce shine through each dish and though nothing fancy it was definitely good value. The dining room is surrounded with almost full length windows with garden view. There is also a terrace should you choose to dine outdoors.
Lunch was 5 courses at €37
50, Route Nationale 51 Montchenot, 51500
2. Hotel La Briqueterie
The 1 star restaurant in Hotel La Briqueterie is pretty old school in the furnishing and service. Food wise it was ok, nothing stellar. We found the service lacking at some parts of the dinner. Best table in the restaurant is by the window that overlooks the gardens and fountains.
Dinner was 8 courses at €110
4 Route de Sézanne 51530 Vinay
Where we stayed
Le Manoir Des Charmes
Prices are abit silly in the Champagne region and we struggled to find something that wasn’t too expensive and conveniently located. We found this small bed and breakfast in a charming refurbished cottage and is run by a very friendly couple who spoke enough English. We took the Paradis room which had a big terrace that has a view of the Moët vineyards in the distant hills. Located in Ay, it was in a very quiet small village and a short drive away from Epernay or Rheims.
€145 per night inclusive of breakfast.
83 Boulevard Charles de Gaulle, 51160 Ay