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The Champagne Region Guide France

Bonjour! Voici, le guide ultime du Champagne, the best tips for a lovely weekend in the Champagne region in France.



Boutique Hotels Champagne region France


Wine & Spa Boutique Hotel Loisium Champagne


The 4-star LOISIUM Wine & Spa Hotel Champagne is located in Mutigny, Champagne. For those who want real luxury in the Champagne region. With 101 rooms, it might feel a bit massive and crowded. However, there is a spa and wellness centre with sauna, hammam and swimming pool that make up for it.


Boutique Hotel Les Chambres du Champagne Collery


We had a lovely stay at Boutique Hotel Champagne Collery in the cute village Aÿ-Champagne. From the beginning of the driveway you can see the beautiful hotel. With 4 rooms and a small cottage, it is nice and quiet to stay here. We chose the room Le Jardin because of the very nice view over the garden. On the terrace, where you can still enjoy the last rays of the sun in the evening, you will of course drink a glass of champagne. The next morning, a delicious breakfast awaits you.


Read about our stay at Boutique Hotel Les Chambres du Champagne Collery.



Bed and Breakfasts Champagne region France


Domaine Rennepont en Champagne Rennepont, Frankrijk


Recommended a few times, and also a wedding venue, Domaine Rennepont en Champagne also offers a Bed and Breakfast. The main building contains several mini-suites with private bathrooms, spacious double rooms with shared bathrooms, a gîte for up to 6 people and 5 campervan pitches in a large orchard. A total of 20 people (excluding the campervan pitches) can enjoy this lovely domain. Larger groups are also welcome here.


Airbnbs Champagne region France



The airbnb Reims Cathedral Hyper Centre is located in the centre of Reims, only a few steps away from the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Maison des Vinophiles. The flat has a friendly and bright living space and is nicely decorated. Perfect for exploring the Champagne region. With less than 10 reviews, this is an undiscovered gem.


Villages Champagne region France


The village Aÿ is a picturesque village in the Champagne region of France, renowned for its prestigious vineyards producing some of the finest Champagne wines. With its charming streets and historic wine houses, Ay offers a quintessential experience of the Champagne region and culture. The beautiful boutique hotel Champagne Collery is located here.


For lunch and/or dinner, go to Restaurant Avarum (highly recommended!), Rôtisserie Henry IV (with a nice outdoor terrace) or traiteur La Frigousse (to take away or eat in, also with an outdoor terrace in front of a nice little square).


The museum Pressoria - Voyage sensoriel au coeur du Champagne is a perfect Sunday morning activity, offering a sensory journey through the world of Champagne. Look, feel, smell and listen. Of course, you finish with tasting, two delicious glasses of champagne.

Do you want to discover the Champagne region by bike? You can rent bikes at Pedal 'n' Pop.



Champagne houses Aÿ Champagne


  • Champagne Henri Giraud - This Champagne house was founded in 1625 and is well known in the region. Book a tour. Be sure to have a resarvation. Nice option for Sunday mornings.

  • Champagne Bollinger

  • Champagne Gatinois


Bouzy is a small French village for a quick stop. We went to Bouzy for one mission. Visiting champagne house Baron d'Auvergne. There we had a really lovely morning.


Champagne houses Bouzy


  • Champagne Andre Clouet - Small and traditional. Not open on all days. You can also email Andre Clouet to pass on your purchases.

  • Champagne Brice - A small champagne house that was on our list to visit, but was unfortunately closed on Saturday.

  • Champagne Baron d'Auvergne - Big favourite. Here we bought a lot of Champagne and enjoyed a delicious tasting with support from Nathalie.

  • Champagne Tornay - A bigger house, professional. We have not been, but it was recommended.



Côte des Blancs regio Champagne region


Not a village but a region: The Côte des Blancs region. Here, more than 95% of the vineyards are dedicated to a single grape variety: the chardonnay to make the famous Blanc de Blancs. Let that be exactly my favourite ;-)


The Côte des Blancs region stretches some 20 kilometres of very chalky soil and includes several villages: Avize, Bergères-lès-Vertus, Chouilly, Cramant, Cuis, Grauves, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Oger, Oiry, Vertus.


We visited the champagne villages Cramant and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. Chouilly was also high on our list but unfortunaltey we did not have enough time.


Champagne houses Côte des Blancs


  • Champagne Diebolt - Vallois in Cramant - This house was recommended to us at breakfast in the hotel. A small family champagne house which also supplies champagne to well-known restaurants in Antwerp.

  • Champagne Pierre Moncuit in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger - This house was also recommended to us during breakfast at the hotel. Here we bought delicious Blanc de Blancs champagne. A small family house.


Chouilly - One of the Côte des Blancs villages in the Champagne Region, a Blanc de blancs grand cru village.


Châlons-en-Champagne is a smaller village east of Épernay, known for its flowery surroundings and rivers. Châlons-en-Champagne is sometimes called Little Venice. Visit the impressive Saint-Etienne cathedral. In the city park Le Petit Jard, you can enjoy a stroll through the botanical garden. Perhaps also fun is a boat trip on the Marne.


Épernay - the capital of the Champagne region . Épernay is fun, but oh so touristy! Of course, the famous Avenue de Champagne is not to be missed. Here you will find the large and world-famous Champagne houses that really put the region on the map.

Did you know that the Avenue de Champagne is the most expensive street in the world? That's because 110km of Champagne is stored underground. For us, it was all too crowded and touristy. So we only looked around here but did not visit any Champagne houses.


Drink a glass of champagne and nibble from a cheese board at #Brut - Bar Avenue de Champagne. In the evening, have a nice dinner at restaurant Sacré Bistro. There is a little warning for both though, lots of tourists and Dutch people. For us, that detracted a little from the atmosphere.



Champagne houses Epernay


  • Champagne De Venoge - Recommended. Located on the Avenue de Champagne. Medium-sized house and good quality. This is where you drink a glass of Champagne on the terrace.

  • Very well-known Champagne houses located in Epernay: Mercier (with a train experience), Moët & Chandon and Perrier-Jouët.

Hautvillers


The picturesque village of Hautvillers is located between the famous champagne towns of Reims and Épernay. This picturesque village is characterised by narrow streets, rolling hills and several Champagne houses with iron signboards. Hautvillers is known as the birthplace of champagne, where the monk Dom Pérignon lived in the abbey of Saint-Pierre d'Hautvillers (where you can visit his grave). He played an important role in the development of the sparkling wine. Also for the list is Bistro Brasserie Au 36.


Champagne houses Hautvillers


  • Champagne Joseph Desruets - a small family house where we bought a Champagne Nature. Here you pay 15 euros for a tasting with three glasses. You get 5 euros discount if you buy champagne.



  • Champagne G. Tribaut - Only 200 metres away from Joseph Desruets. A medium-sized house with stunning views over the valley. Here you can do a tasting but also just one glass.



Reims


Reims is in the heart of the Champagne region. Here you will find a number of large commercial champagne houses such as Piper-Heidsieck, Pommery, Ruinart, Taittinger and Veuve Clicquot. The centre of Reims also has a rich history with beautiful UNESCO World Heritage buildings such as the Cathedral Notre-Dame, Basilica Saint-Remie and the Palais du Tau. The famous Rêve de couleurs (3D light show) takes place during the summer months at 11pm in the evening at the Notre-Dame Cathedral. A wonderful 25-minute show with most beautiful light projections. Highly recommended.


We had a lovely lunch in Reims at the French restaurant L'Epicerie Au Bon Manger.



Before exploring the rest of Champagne Region, pay a visit to the Reims tourist office. There you can pick up a map with an overview of all the sights and champagne houses in Reims. And a map to drive the Route du Champagne. A fun (car) route that winds right through all the villages and vineyards.


Very famous Champagne houses located in Reims are: Piper-Heidsieck, Pommery, Ruinart, Taittinger and Veuve Clicquot.


Troyes 


The mid-century town of Troyes dates back to Roman times. While strolling through the city, you will come across numerous historical buildings, such as the Gothic Cathédrale Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul and old half-timbered houses. If you have time, visit the Musée d'Art Moderne.


Champagne houses Champagne region


Wow, there are so many champagne houses. Where to start? In my opinion, there is no right or wrong but it's all about what you enjoy drinking.


Champagne is made from three grape varieties: chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. And can be bought from 100% one grape to a blend of the three grapes. Chardonnay adds elegance and acidity, Pinot Noir provides body and structure, and Pinot Meunier offers fruitiness and freshness.


  • Blanc de Blancs: Made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes; typically lighter and more elegant.

  • Blanc de Noirs: Made from Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier grapes; tends to be richer and more robust.

  • Rosé Champagne: Incorporates a small amount of red wine or skin contact with red grapes; offers fruitier and more complex flavors.


Champagne dryness levels are determined by the amount of sugar added during the dosage stage ranging from Brut Nature (no added sugar) to Doux (the sweetest).

Brut Nature (0-3 grams of sugar per liter), Extra Brut (0-6 grams), Brut (0-12 grams), Extra-Sec (12-17 grams), Sec (17-32 grams), Demi-Sec (32-50 grams), and Doux (50+ grams).


Than you have different quality, for example the:


  • Prestige Cuvées: Highest quality, made from the best grapes and often from premier or grand cru vineyards; aged longer for complexity.

  • Vintage Champagne: Produced from grapes of a single exceptional year; reflects the unique characteristics of that harvest.


In Champagne, vineyard classifications are crucial in determining the quality and prestige of the wine, for example the best three include:

  • Grand Cru: Represents the highest quality vineyards in Champagne. Only 17 villages (out of 320) have this designation. Grapes from these vineyards command the highest prices and are often used in the finest cuvées.

  • Premier Cru: Denotes vineyards of very high quality but slightly below Grand Cru. There are 42 villages with this classification. Premier Cru grapes are also used in high-quality champagnes.

  • Cru: The general term "Cru" simply means "growth" and refers to the vineyards or villages where the grapes are grown. All vineyards in Champagne are classified as either Grand Cru, Premier Cru, or "Autre Cru" (other growths).


The five champagne houses we visited:


  • Champagne Baron d'Auvergne in Bouzy - Groot favoriet. Hier hebben we veel gekocht en een heerlijke proeverij gehad van Nathalie.

  • Champagne Joseph Desruets Hautvillers - a small family house where we bought a Champagne Nature. Here you pay 15 euros for a tasting with three glasses. You get 5 euros discount if you buy champagne.

  • Champagne G. Tribaut - Only 200 metres away from Joseph Desruets. A medium-sized house with stunning views over the valley. Here you can do a tasting but also just one glass.

  • Champagne Diebolt - Vallois in Cramant - This house was recommended to us at breakfast in the hotel. A small family champagne house which also supplies champagne to well-known restaurants in Antwerp.

  • Champagne Pierre Moncuit in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger - This house was also recommended to us during breakfast at the hotel. Here we bought delicious Blanc de Blancs champagne. A small family house.


Restaurants Champagne region


Restaurants Reims


Read the Best Restaurants in Reims for a more comprehensive overview. I recommend making reservations for each of the restaurants. Also pay close attention to opening hours.


Restaurant L'Epicerie Au Bon Manger - What a lovely French deli-style restaurant and wine shop. Small an cozy. We enjoyed a delicious lunch at Au Bon Manger. Think French wine, freshly baked baguette with foie gras and le canard as a main course.


Restaurants Le Bocal, l’Etal de la poissonnerie des halles - At the back of a fish shop, you'll find the seafood restaurant Le Bocal in Reims. Fresh oily fish and oysters, a good match with champagne.


Restaurant / Brasserie Du Boulingrin - Brasserie du Boulingrin is a well-known restaurant in Reims. Here you will find traditional French dishes in a cosy art-deco atmosphere. Located in a beautiful building in the historic Boulingrin district, opposite the halls. A popular place to enjoy good food and champagne.


Restaurant Le Clos Reims - Le Clos is a fun champagne and wine bar, that is located in a courtyard in the centre of Reims. With a nice festival atmosphere.


Restaurant Excelsoir Reims - Excelsoir is beautiful brasserie/restaurant with a menu of seasonal produce and year-round seafood. Housed in an art-deco-style mansion. A nice classic Sunday lunch option.


Cafe Le Marché - Cafe Brasserie Le Marché gives you a fun French experience. Great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. With terrace, what more could you want.


Perchinger Bar - Not a restaurant, but a lovely champagne bar in a treehouse. With stunning views. Located 15 minutes from Reims in the Verzy forest. Also open on Sundays.


Restaurants in Épernay


Lees de beste restaurants in Epernay voor een uitgebreider overzicht.


Restaurant Sacré Bistro in Epernay is een populair restaurantje. Zorg dan ook dat je ruim van tevoren reserveert. Zowel leuk voor lunch of om in de avond te eten. Vraag of je een plekje beneden in het restaurant kan krijgen. Wij hebben hier heerlijk gegeten (maar wel tussen veel Nederlanders en dat was wat jammer).


Restaurants in Ay-Champagne

Wijnbar La Frigousse - A cosy little joint in Ay's village square. At this champagne / wine shop / caterer you get delicious things for a picnic. We went for lunch on the terrace outside.



Restaurant Avarum - What a nice and cosy restaurant in Ay. We enjoyed a delicious three-course menu at restaurant Avarum. Highly recommended. Booking is a must.



Restaurant Rotisserie Henri IV - Was also on our list. A nice brasserie/restaurant for a chicken on a rotating spit (rotisserie). With a nice outdoor terrace. Again, make a reservation.


Practical Tips


Tours and champagne tastings - Our number one tip: Plan your trip to Champagne! Make sure you know which Champagne houses are open when and until what time. Book a tour in advance. For a tasting, always call. The nicest restaurants for lunch and dinner also booked up quickly, so make sure you have a reservation. A little less spontaneous all around, but at least you'll make sure you get the most out of your (weekend) trip.


What to do on Sundays in the Champagne region? On Sundays, many (smaller) champagne houses and restaurants are closed. Do you wtill want to do something before getting in the car driving back to the Netherlands? In Epernay, there are still champagne houses that are open. Champagne house Henri Giraud in Ay also offers guided tours on Sunday mornings (Do make a reservations). The museum Museum Pressoria - Voyage sensoriel au coeur du Champagne is open. You can also have lunch at restaurant Avarum in Ay or restaurant Excelsoir in Reims. The Perchinger bar is also open on Sundays.



The Côte des Blancs in the Champagne region - The Côte des Blancs is a famous wine region in the Champagne, where almost only Champagne is made from the Chardonnay grape. These champagnes have freshness, elegance and mineral characteristics, which is due to the chalky soils. Among others, we visited the grand cru villages of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Cramant.


Route du Champagne en Fête - In 2024, the 'Route du Champagne en fête' will celebrate its 27th edition on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July in the Côte des Bar, in the picturesque French villages of Plaines Saint-Lange, Courteron, Gyé-sur-Seine, Neuville-sur-Seine and Buxeuil, located in the Aube department. Can't wait.


Route Touristique du Champagne - Pick up a map at the Office du Tourisme in Reims. This route takes you through quaint villages and rolling vineyards. Along the way you have many champagne houses where you can stop for tours and tastings. Just be sure to book in advance. It's a great way to get to know the Champagne region and its rich history.


Rent a bike - Want to explore the Champagne region by bike? You can rent bikes at Pedal 'n' Pop. Just think beforehand if you want to stock up on a lot of champagne, because with boxes it does get a bit tricky cycling ;-)


3 days in the Champagne Region


Our itinerary for 3 days in the Champagne region.


Day 1 - We arrived around 13pm inReims arnd had lunch at restaurant l'Epicerie Au Bon de Manger. In the afternoon, we visited the charming French village Hautvillers and the champagne houses Joseph Desruets and G. Tribaut. By 5.30pm we arrived at our boutique hotel Champagne Collery in Ay, where we enjoyed a delicious glass of vintage champagne and nibbled from a cheese board.


Day 2 - In the morning, we visited the village of Bouzy and the Baron d'Auvergne . Then we returned to the village square of Ay for a nice lunch at La Frigousse. In the afternoon, we visited two champagne houses in the Côte des Blancs region in the small French villages of Cramant and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger: Diebolt - Vallois and Pierre Moncuit. In the late afternoon, we arrived in Epernay, walked along Avenue de Champagne, had drinks at Bar Brut and dinner at Restaurant Sacré Bistro.


Day 3 - In the morning, we visited the Museum Pressoria - Voyage Sensoriel au Coeur du Champagne in Ay. Then we had lunch at Restaurant Avarum, and in the afternoon, it was time to drive back home.


Frequently asked questions about the Campagne


Where is the Champagne region located?

Located in the north-eastern part of France, the Champagne region is officially in the Grand Est region, also known as Champagne Ardennes. The centre of the Champagne region is about 150 kilometres east of Paris.


Which regions does the Champagne region consist of?

The Champagne region consists of the following five regions: Montagne de Reims, Vallée de la Marne, Côte des Blangs, Côte de Sezanne, and Côte des Bar en Champagne.


How long is the drive to the Champagne region?

From the Netherlands, it's about a 4-5 hour drive to the Champagne region, depending on where you live.


When is the best time to visit the Champagne region?

The best period to visit the Champagne region is from May to September. From May, you can see the grapes growing. Harvest time is from late August/September to early October.




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