If you’re a Champagne lover, you won’t want to miss the chance to visit the region where all those bubbles are produced, using the traditional méthode champenoise.
A day or two in the Champagne region, visiting the Champagne houses in both Reims and Epernay, France, will give you an even greater appreciation for the bubbly, while learning the process from the winemakers themselves, and seeing the incredible wine caves that exist deep under the cities.
» Visiting soon? Check out our France travel guide. You might be interested in visiting the gorgeous town of Annecy, France for amazing food, as well as the Savoie wine region and these three jaw-dropping destinations in the French Alps.
How to Visit the Champagne Region
The best way to discover the region is by driving The Champagne Trail, which covers over 250 miles that wind through rolling hills, along vineyard covered valleys and past quaint little villages. All along the way you can stop to visit the growers and winemakers, to taste Champagne, and to learn as much as you like about the tradition.
There are two main cities in the Champagne region to visit, and the Champagne trail will take you between the two within just a 30 minute drive. In Reims, you can visit world-famous Champagne houses, such as Veuve Clicquot, Pommery, and Taittinger.
In Epernay, you can spend some time walking along the Avenue de Champagne, popping in at tasting rooms along the way. The easiest way to get to the Champagne region is by car from Paris. If you’re already visiting, you can rent a car in Paris and take a day or overnight trip to Champagne.
You can take the train from Paris to Reims, but it’s not very easy to get around to the Champagne houses without a car, and you’ll definitely need a car to visit the countryside or to go into Epernay. Below you’ll find all you need to know to plan a road trip in the Champagne region, for wine tours and tasting.
⇒ Interested in the other fantastic wine regions of Europe? Check out our guide.
Self-Guided or Group/Private Wine Tour
The first consideration you’ll probably be making is whether you want to do a self-guided or a group/private guided wine tour. If you don’t have a designated driver, or don’t wish to spit the wine instead of drinking it, you will need to take a tour or hire a driver.
There are many to choose from. You can go on a group tour, which are plentiful, often including up to 10 people and are on a pre-planned route that you can’t decide on. Tours typically go to great wineries and there’s a lot of information given, many include lunch – plus you don’t have to take care of a single detail.
Below are two group tours we recommend:
- Small Group Full Day Tour – Your go to three different Champagne houses, where you’ll try a variety of champagnes. There’s also an included three-course lunch along the way. (8 hours) BOOK HERE
- Reims Afternoon Tour to Epernay – Visit the UNESCO-listed Champagne Avenue in Epernay, the historic village of Hautvillers, and visit two Champagne houses for tastings. (4.5 hours) BOOK HERE
If you don’t want to go along with a bunch of other people and you’d like to have some say in the schedule, then a private tour is the way to go.
- First Visit – Explanation of the manufacturing process plus cave visit followed by a tasting of 3 Champagnes.
- Visit Hautvillers, the village where Dom Pérignon created Champagne.
- 3-Course Restaurant Lunch
- Second Visit – Visit the cave followed by a tasting of 3 Champagnes
- Third Visit – Visit a “Grand Cru” cellar with a tasting of 3 Champagnes
Tour is 8 hours, 2 people minimum.
I usually prefer to do self-guided touring when I visit wine regions because it gives me the greatest flexibility and I actually really like researching and choosing the wineries I want to go to.
While there is a little more work involved because you have to set up all the tours yourself, there are tools that will help make this super easy. The one I use is called Rue des Vignerons. It’s a French website that makes booking wine appointments super easy.
The site has 450 wineries and distilleries, both family-owned and famous houses, that includes 1,500 bookable experiences, including tastings, tours, workshops, and meals. You can book online up to 30 minutes before and your appointment is confirmed instantly. This is the website I used to book all of my Bordeaux tasting appointments.
In our descriptions below, I will give you links directly to Rue des Vignerons for each winery so you can easily book it.
Champagne Houses to Visit in Reims
Location: 1 Place des Droits de l’Homme, 51100 Reims, France
Season: Closed end of December to mid-March
You’ve likely already heard of this Champagne brand, as it’s one of the most popular Champagnes being sold around the world. The underground cellars of Veuve Clicquot are one of the main highlights of a visit. It has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
They’ve been making wine since 1772, then bought the underground quarry in 1909, and turned it into a wine cellar. You will learn all about the fascinating history – including the cellars being used as a shelter during the war – on a guided tour.
When you purchase tickets for your visit, it can include a tour and a few different types of tasting options. Click here to see them all. Prices range from 35€-250€ depending on the tour your book.
Jeanne Pommery built this incredible Elizabethan-style mansion in the 19th century. If you’re looking for an experience you won’t forget, a stop at Pommery is absolutely necessary.
You won’t believe your eyes when you see the estate. Inside the estate, which you’ll see on a guided tour, are ancient Roman caves, chalk caves that are accessed by an impressive staircase, and tasting rooms that look more like art galleries.
It’s one of the largest Champagne house, making around 500,000 cases a year. There are a few differnt tours you can take at Pommery. Be sure to book in advance. The tours are given in English, French, and German. Prices range from 22€-35€.
Location: Place General Gouraud, 51100, Reims, France
Hours: Early April to mid-November: every day 9:30am-7pm. Mid-November to late March: every day 10am-6pm
Another Champagne house with an impressive chalk cave that has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, Taittinger will stun you from the moment you arrive at the impressive entrance gates.
Unfortunately, their main location is currently closed, but you can still visit Demeure des Comtes de Champagne in the center of Reims and try the tasting experience called “À la table de Thibaud IV”.
The experience is meant to showcase the life of Thibaud the fourth, King of Navarre, who was also a poet, while tasting the two signature cuvées of the House: the Brut Réserve and the Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs.
It’s a mix of audio and tasting and is offered in English and French. The price is 60€ and it lasts about 1 hour.
Location: À la table de Thibaud IV – Champagne Taittinger, 20 rue de Tambour, 51100 Reims
Champagne Vranken à la Villa Demoiselle
Dating from the early 1900s, the Villa Demoiselle is an architectural gem on the property of Pommery. It was reborn in 2008 with a new splendor thanks to the passion of its owners Paul-François and Nathalie Vranken.
There are two tours available. One is a self-guided tour and the other is a guided tour.
The Henry Vasnier tour follows the dream of Henry Vasnier, creative visionary and great patron of the city of Reims. This self-guided tour takes you on a visit to the Pommery cellars and the discovery of Emile Gallé’s masterpieces in the Villa Demoiselle.
The self-guided tour comes with a downloadable digital and audio tour. Both tours end with a tasting of two emblematic cuvées of Domaine Pommery and the Ville Demoiselle: Pommery Brut Royal and Demoiselle Tête de Cuvée. 42€ and 52€
The House Mumm started in 1827 in the historic birthplace of the Champagne, Reims. This almost bicentenary estate opens the doors of its cellars where about 25 million bottles rest peacefully in the cellars.
The Mumm family, whose lineage includes barons and knights, dates back to the 12th century. They were originally wine merchants based in Cologne, Germany, but expanded into France when they saw potential for the region and expansion of their business. They’ve been going strong ever since.
Today Mumm is spread across nearly 25 kilometers in the heart of Reims. Visitors can explore the long history of this cellar and learn about the process they’ve followed for centuries.
There are three visit types: The Cordon Rouge Mumm experience, the discovery experience, and the 100% Grand Cru experience. The visit will end at one of the most beautiful museum about champagne. Afterward, you will have the opportunity to taste their Champagnes.
Location: G.H. Mumm, 29 Rue du Champ de Mars, 51100 Reims, France
Hours: Daily 10am-1pm and 2pm-5:30 or 6pm, seasonally. Tours in French and English until 5:30pm
Boutique available during opening hours
Champagne G.H. Martel & Co
Located within a 5-minute drive of Veuve Clicquot and Taitttinger is G.H. Martel & Co. This Champagne house offers wine tasting and tours to their medieval chalk caves, which were dug between the 4th and 15th centuries, at a depth of 22 meters.
Along the tour, they have a collection of winemaking tools and machinery to see. The tour also includes a film of the Champagne house and winemaking process and an eco museum.
If you don’t have the time for a full tour, you can stop into the wine shop for a tasting at any time. There are a few Champagne flights to choose from ranging from 12-20€.
Location: 17 rue des Creneaux, 51100, Reims, France
Hours: Daily 10am-1pm and 2pm-7pm. Tours in French and English until 5:30pm
Champagne House to Visit in Hautvillers
Located about 30-minutes south of Reims on the way to Epernay, you’ll come upon the small town of Hautvillers. It is in Hautvillers that the monk Dom Perignon began the process of making Champagne in the 18th century.
You can visit the Saint-Pierre Abbey of Hautvillers where he lived and see his gravesite inside the abbey. Being the actual birthplace of Champagne, you can also find many tasting rooms and see the beautiful vineyards stretching across the surrounding mountains.
In 1871, Eugène Mercier started an innovative project to build cellars at the winery. He told the architects to “count by kilometers and not by meters,”. A few years later, a whopping 18 kilometers of cellars were open to the visitors. Come and discover the Maison Mercier and some of those cellars on the train.
Champagne Nicolas feuillatte
Nicolas Feuillatte is the youngest of the great Champagne wineries and brings together more than 4,500 growers from every corner of the Champagne appellation. Stop by for a guided tasting of either 1, 2, or 3 of their Champagnes, or sign up for a blind tasting for fun!
Since the beginning of the 20th century, the Bosser family has been cultivating its vineyards in Hautvillers, the cradle of Champagne, and since 1933, it has been producing its own champagne. Jean-Philippe Bosser is the 4th generation of a family of winegrowers, he succeeded his grandfather and his father, and since the 1970’s he has been running the family estate in the heart of the historic hillsides of Champagne. You can sign up for a tasting or a tour and tasting.
Champagne House to Visit in Epernay
We highly recommend you drive all the way into Epernay and spend at least a day walking along the Champagne de Avenue, where you’ll find nearly a dozen Champagne Houses to visit.
We really like that it’s possible to walk between each of them, because the tastings are full glass pours. You’ll want to have time to enjoy it, rather than skipping quickly between them.
Moet & Chandon
One of the most well-known Champagne houses in the world is Moet & Chandon. In Epernay, they also have one of the largest Champagne houses. It’s impressive to look at, even from the outside.
If you take a tour, you’ll have a chance to visit their cellars and see a bit of the over 28km worth of underground cave system they have.
You’ll learn the history of the family, the Champagne and the area from the guide as you walk along. The tour ends with a tasting. You can choose between a Signature Tour, Imperial Tour or Grand Vintage Tour. Prices range from 40-75€.
Location: 20 Avenue de Champagne, 51200 Épernay
Hours: Sunday to Wednesday 9:30-11:30 and 2pm-4:30pm
Email: Contact form
Champagne Collard-Picard was founded in 1996 by Olivier Collard and Caroline Collard-Picard. It is a privately owned grower-producer Champagne house. They have both a cellar and a shop. To visit the cellar, you must make an advanced appointment for a visit and private tasting with Mr. Collard.
You can stop in at the stop on the Avenue de Champagne during opening hours for a tasting of their classic, prestige, and exceptional lines, as well as the Coteaux Champenois Rouge. Our favorite is their Premier Cru Rose Champagne, using the “de Saignee” vinification technique.
Location: 15 Avenue de Champagne, 51200 Épernay
Hours: Everyday 10 or 10:30-5:30 (open until 7pm Saturdays)
Champagne de Castellane
You’ll see the giant tower of Castellane the moment you enter town. This is one of the larger Champagne brands, so you can expect there to be a full and large tour group. When you arrive, you can visit the museum of winemaking and climb the tower.
The tour lasts around 45 minutes and goes through the winemaking process, into the underground cellar and back to the bar where you’ll try a few different Champagnes.
Location: 63 Avenue de Champagne, 51200 Épernay
Hours: Every day from 10am-noon and 2pm-6pm
How to Get Around
The best way to get around the region is by car, so be sure to book a rental car in Paris and drive yourself along the Champagne Trail. It’s about 1 hour 45 minutes from Paris to Reims, then another 40-minute drive between Reims and Epernay on good roads that are well marked.
It’s usually wise to create a road trip map and book appointments with producers in advance, but you’ll also see signs along the way directing you to producers that are open for tastings. It’s possible to stop at these spots along the way, without an appointment. Within Reims, it’s easiest to get between the Champagne house by car.
The distances between are typically about a 5-minute drive. In Hautville, you can park your car at the carpark area and walk to everything from there. In Epernay, you can park your car near the Avenue de Champagne and walk to many Champagne houses and tasting rooms.
Where to Stay in the Champagne Region
In Reims If you’re staying overnight in Reims, you’ll quickly learn that there isn’t a huge selection of hotels. We stayed at Best Western Premier Hotel de la Paix. If you’re looking for a more luxury stay, try the Chateau Les Crayeres.
In Epernay I loved Epernay so much that I wanted to stay a few days longer than we’d planned. If you have the time, I highly recommend staying for a day or two. We found Le Suites du 33 to be the perfect place to stay. It’s located at 33 Avenue de Champagne, so it’s within easy walking distance of everything. There’s also a tasting bar for Champagne de Venoge that you won’t want to miss.
With so many Champagne houses to visit in Reims, Epernay and in between, you’ll definitely want to make a road trip to the area from Paris. It’s easy to get to and fun to explore. We’re sure you’ll find many Champagnes you love along the way.
Be Prepared For Travel
Planning is the most important part of any successful trip. Do it the easy way:
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- Find and book the best hotel (our favorite booking site is Expedia)
- Research flight options (our favorite tool is Skyscanner)
- Book a tour (we always use Viator to find the best tours)
- Rent a car through Discover Cars (they search the best deals for you!)
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Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited 70+ countries.
2 thoughts on “Wine-Lovers’ Guide to the Champagne Region in France”
Where do I buy your book
Once a year we vist the family domain of Roger-Constant Lemaire, 15 minutes from Epernay.
They produce great rewarded sustainable champagnes without malo-lactic fermentation. For more information: www.champagne-lemaire.fr