Champagne is serious business in France and can only come from the very distinct Champagne region in the north of the country; everything else can be called sparkling wine, cava, prosecco, sekt, ect. The most spectacular part of the harvest in this region is the 18th Century tradition of manually picking the crops and hand spinning the bottles still remains today. There are four different routes in the Champagne area to choose. We did some research and decided to drive the Montagne de Reims route starting in the Champagne capital of Reims and heading towards Epernay as there was a nice mix of large and smaller champagne houses to explore.
2 – 3 DAYS
at a glance…
Pick a home base city, it is easy to do any of the four routes in one day
Visit in May and June for those looking to skip the crowds
Visit in August and September for those looking for grapes ready to harvest
We suggest selecting a few bigger houses to tour as well as a few smaller houses to get a well rounded experience. You can also stop by any house for just a tasting and skip the tour.The main houses in Reims are Vranken Pommery, Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot , G.H. Mumm, and Champagne Jacquart. The main houses to see in Épernay are Moët et Chandon and Champagne Mercier. Our first stop in Reims was the G.H. Mumm champagne house for a tour of the cellars and tasting.
Continue along the Montage de Reims route stopping in Verzenay, Bouzy and the quaint Mareuil-sur-Ay. The landscape is stunning, and the crowds in June are to a very minimum. You will likely have the streets to yourself in these small towns, but be aware that some restaurants may be closed because it is off-season.
Our last stop in Epernay was too the small champagne house of Champagne De Gallais where you can enjoy a tasting overlooking their gorgeous vineyards, take a tour of their family owned cellars and a gorgeous castle on the grounds.
Where to stay:
There are plenty of quaint Chateaus and B&B’s to stay along the wine route. If you want to stay in the capital of the Champagne region, right in the center of Reims you can find the Hôtel Cecyl Reims Centre which has reasonable prices and a quirky feel.
Where to Eat:
Le Bocal, 27 rue de Mars, 51100 Reims
Check out this fresh seafood restaurant in Reims where the fresh deliveries dictate the menu which is written on the wall in chalk and all the fish is on display so you can sea what you are eating.