Champagne is probably the most famous wine in the world. It’s the wine that people have turned to for almost 300 years to celebrate and to create the special moments in their lives. And yet the Champagne region remains relatively undiscovered… That’s good news for anyone who does come here; you’ll be amazed and delighted by all there is to see, do and of course taste in Champagne.  Situated about 100 kilometres slightly north east of Paris, Champagne produces about 300 million bottles of its eponymous wine each year. The foundations for its fame and fortune were laid down by pioneering entrepreneurs in the 18th and 19th centuries who travelled the world promoting their products...
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Champagne is probably the most famous wine in the world. It’s the wine that people have turned to for almost 300 years to celebrate and to create the special moments in their lives. And yet the Champagne region remains relatively undiscovered…

That’s good news for anyone who does come here; you’ll be amazed and delighted by all there is to see, do and of course taste in Champagne. 

Situated about 100 kilometres slightly north east of Paris, Champagne produces about 300 million bottles of its eponymous wine each year. The foundations for its fame and fortune were laid down by pioneering entrepreneurs in the 18th and 19th centuries who travelled the world promoting their products and developing them into households names.  The very mention of these evokes elegance and opulence: Bollinger, Veuve Clicquot, Pommery, Moët & Chandon, to name but a few.

Before them came the monk Dom Pérignon, the cellar master at the Abbey of Hautvillers who put in place some of the wine-making techniques whose influence can still be detected today. You can visit his tomb in the church in the village where he lived and produced some of the earliest Champagne techniques.

Nowadays thousands of lesser-known champagne houses, some small, and some not so small, also contribute to the production of what Guy de Maupassant called The Wine of Kings and The King of Wines. The demand for Champagne continues to grow and its popularity makes the region better known and its champagnes more desired around the world.

Whether you’re a champagne enthusiast or simply enjoy the goods things in life, a visit to champagne is a ‘MUST’. This experience will leave your heart and tongue tingling with delight.

WHEN TO GO AND FOR HOW LONG?

There’s beauty in the Champagne countryside at any time of year, yet the vineyards are at their most attractive between May and October. Do try to stay for at least two days and three nights so as to discover the many aspects of this famous region.

WHERE TO GO

Champagne is divided into four main sub-regions, three of which are close to the two largest towns of Reims and Epernay in which most of the famous international champagne houses are to be found.

  • Moët & Chandon, Pol Roger and Perrier Jouêt are in Epernay where you’ll find all these magnificent properties and more lining the world-famous Avenue De Champagne. Here you’ll be able to see what is reputedly the most expensive real estate in the world, not so much because of the sumptuous buildings as for the millions of bottles of champagne ageing in cellars under your feet as you stroll along the avenue.
  • Veuve Cliquot, Mumm, Pommery, Lanson and Roederer, plus many more, are located in Reims, a much larger town than Epernay. Reims is beautiful and has a rich history going back to Roman times, also boasting three Unesco World Heritage sites: The Cathedral, The Palais du Tau and the Basilique de St. Rémi. The vineyards are never far away. Nearest to Reims is La Montagne de Reims, most famous for its fine Pinot Noir grapes, whilst just south of Epernay you’ll find La Côte des Blancs where lovers of elegant Blanc de Blancs champagnes will be in their own personal heaven.
  • Third is the delightful Vallée de La Marne, extending west from Epernay towards Paris, where the Pinot Meunier grape reigns supreme.
  • The fourth region, La Côte des Bar (sometimes called the Aube region) is some 100 kilometres to the south of Reims, near to the town of Troyes. Less well-known, but home to some excellent champagnes as well as the famous Rosé de Ricey wine, La Côte des Bar deserves a separate visit if you have time.
  • As well as vineyards there is much more magnificent countryside in Champagne including the Parc Naturel de la Montage de Reims where you can walk, run or mountain bike for miles in fabulous woodland and see some of the world’s rarest trees: Les Faux de Verzy.

DON'T MISS

  • For real champagne lovers, April is becoming the month to do some serious tasting. Four separate tasting events, featuring close to 100 small champagne makers, take place in mid-April. It is the perfect opportunity to discover some lesser-known brands and taste for yourself how wonderful they can be.
  • If your interests extend beyond champagne then the Flàneries Musicales de Reims are for you. In this series of concerts held in June and July every year, you can enjoy listening to world famous performers and up-and-coming musicians across the whole spectrum of musical genres. Many concerts are free too.
  • One of the most magical events of the year is the Habits de Lumières in Epernay in early December. The name means ‘Dressed in Lights’ and all the champagne houses on each side of the Avenue de Champagne are lit up with candles and fairy lights. Meanwhile up and down the avenue there are parades, live bands, champagne bars and eateries galore and to crown the festivities the evening culminates in a superb firework display.
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