Set along the Marne river amid the vine-clad hills of the Champagne region, the historic town of Epernay is proud of its title as the Champagne Capital of France. Home to many of the region’s most prestigious champagne houses, Epernay is a must for wine lovers looking to sample France’s finest. The Basics
Epernay makes a strategic starting point for exploring the Champagne region, and taking a tour is the most convenient option, allowing you to enjoy Champagne tasting without having to worry about driving. Tasting tours typically visit one of the top Champagne houses, such as Moët & Chandon or Mercier, as well as one or more of the region’s smaller wineries or cooperatives, and include guided Champagne tastings. Many tours also include a Champagne lunch, a visit to nearby Reims, or a stop in the village of Hautvillers, the former home of Champagne maverick Dom Pérignon.
Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- For a more personalized Champagne-tasting experience, opt for a small-group or private tour.
- At less than two hours from the capital, many visitors opt to explore Epernay on a day tour from Paris.
- The historic center of Epernay is easy to get around on foot, but there is also an extensive tram system.
- With a wide selection of restaurants, Epernay is also a great destination for foodies—pair your Champagne with some Brie, which comes from a town just outside Epernay.
Epernay is located in northeastern France, around 18 miles (30 kilometers) south of Reims or about a 30-minute drive. From Paris, it’s just under a 2-hour drive or a 1-hour-15-minute journey by high-speed TGV, leaving from the Gare de l’Est.
When to Get There
The most popular time to visit Epernay is during the summer months of July and August, when it’s recommended to book accommodation and tours well in advance. Champagne-house visits and tastings are possible year-round, but it’s best to double-check opening times in low season. Another atmospheric time to visit is over the festive season, when a Christmas Champagne Market is held in town and the Habits de Lumière lights festival brings spectacular illuminations.
Avenue de Champagne
Epernay’s Avenue de Champagne is the city’s star attraction—about a half-mile (1-kilometer) stretch of luxurious mansions and home to the headquarters of some of France’s most prestigious Champagne houses. Some 90 million bottles of Champagne are reportedly stored in the cellars beneath the street, earning it a reputation as the “most expensive street in the world.” Moët & Chandon, Mercier, and Perrier-Jouët are among the most renowned, all of which are open for visits and tastings.