Living in the Netherlands, the Champagne Regions only a 5 hour drive away. Nevertheless, when not living in the Netherlands but planning on visiting Europe or France, this is definitely something to put on your list, especially when you are into a good champagne. The fields themselves and the nature around are pretty to drive or stroll around and with quite some quite villages you can easily spend a couple of days here. Visit different champagne houses to learn everything about the heritage and making of champagne and of course to enjoy the different types and tastes. Be prepared for a bubbly weekend in the Champagne Region!
Have you heard of Reims? Reims is the largest city in the area and famous for the Notre Dame Cathedral. However, the range of the Champagne Region is larger than just Reims. One of the most famous places in the area is called Epernay, slightly south of Reims. The area goes even a little bit more south towards Bar-sur-Seine. On of the things I would recommend is to rent a car, or arrive by car in the area and just drive around the different champagne fields to discover the nature and to be able to drive towards cute champagne houses.
One of the things to take in to account, is that some prior research might come in handy. We found out that many champagne houses are closed over the weekend. Especially at smaller champagne houses, you might let them know that you are planning on visiting. Because of this and our limited time (we just headed there for the weekend), we decided to mainly focus on the champagne houses in Epernay, also because we could walk and that allowed us to all sip champagne.
Avenue de Champagne, the main area of Epernay and the perfect was to try different houses and champagnes without putting in too much effort. In Epernay, you’ll find the famous Moet & Chandon – which we of course quickly visited. However, we were way more font of visiting some of the smaller houses and cosy places located at Avenue de Champagne.
A couple of our favorite places below:
Collard Piccard – A relaxed place with a small but sunny terrace. We enjoyed a bottle of the rose champagne over there. Not our main favourite though.
Leclerc Briant (LB) – I loved this place. The personel was nice, the champagnes were good and the terrace is lovely. Definitely a recommendation. They open a little bit later during the day. I even bought one of their champagnes to bring home!
L’Ecuri – This is more a bar & shop where where you can order and buy several champagnes and some snacks.
Saint Germaine – My favorite! This little place was located towards the end of the street. The house is a little bit smaller (for the Avenue de Champagne at least), so not too many bottles are produced on a daily basis. However, the taste was great and the vibe (a terrace in front of the house) was wonderful. I also brought a bottle home from this house.
We decided that we wanted to do one champagne tour to learn a little bit more about the history. Because of the size of the house and the cellars, we did like to do this at a larger brand, so we choose a tour at Mercier. There is a little train that takes you through the wine cellars and explains about the history. Afterwards – depending on the tour you bought – there is a chance to taste some of the different champagnes and to have a look at the fields outside. The experience might not be the most unique on and is more touristy. Prices are between €18 and €28 depending on the amount of glasses afterwards.
Before we drove home on Sunday, we walked around Hautevillers. One of the cute villages in the neighbourhood with the opportunity to also have a peak at the fields. The main reason to visit Hautevillers was to visit Au36 which is a champagne tasting location also famous for lunch. We ate a delicious rose cake over there! Also in Hautevillers you’ll run into quite some champagne houses.
As we only had one full day to discover the area, we weren’t able to visit all great locations and houses the bubbly Champagne Region has to offer.
Of course, we did some research prior to the trip and received recommendations while we were there. The places below, I haven’t visited myself but according to friends and locals, they are worth visiting.
Visit Troyes – Troyes is one of the cutest and prettiest villages in the area to stroll around and sip wine on a terrace.
Champagne LeGras Et Haas – This was one of the houses we wanted to visit, but was closed in the weekend and a bit further out.
Champagne Lucien Leblond – Also a smaller house, where you would definitely have to call when you are passing by.
Perchingbar – A tree champagne bar. Bring some money, dress up fancy and enjoy the changing champagne menu.
Le Clos – Looking for something else than just champagne and ready for a nice platter and glass of wine. This place in Reims might be what you’re looking for.
First of all, I would definitely recommend staying in Epernay. The city is located in the middle of the bubbly Champagne Region and is the perfect base including having many champagne houses on it’s own. If you are looking for something that tends a little bit more towards a city trip and you don’t want to focus solely on sipping champagne, then Reims might be the better option for you.
I visited with a group of 5 girls and we did stay in Gite “le millésime” – which was a perfect apartment in Epernay for a great price! We paid €300 for 2 nights, which is only €30 p.p.p.n. Great deal! If you are interested in the apartment, you can find it here.