Latest update: 26 July 2021
Beneath the streets of Épernay is a 110 km tunnel system of champagne cellars. More than 200 million champagne bottles are ripening here. But what to do in Épernay in between the bubbles?
What to do in Epernay – 10 tips!
Épernay is the self-proclaimed capital of the Champagne region. Not surprising in itself, if you consider that the Avenue de Champagne is located in the town. However, Épernay is relatively small, and in a morning or afternoon, you will have ticked off most of the sights. But, of course, you can enjoy yourself much longer if you visit the champagne houses and restaurants! I have 10 great tips for sights and restaurants for you.
Strolling on the Avenue de Champagne
Right in the center of Épernay, you will find the Avenue de Champagne. It is a long, wide street with sidewalks at least as wide. You can marvel at huge villas and mansions on both sides, and of course, visit champagne houses and champagne boutiques. It is mainly the large champagne houses that you will find here: Moët & Chandon and Mercier. To be honest: I don’t find the Avenue de Champagne very attractive. In my mind, it was a beautiful avenue with all kinds of small-scale champagne producers where I could taste champagne. Exactly the opposite is true. But then again, while you’re here anyway, you might as well take a stroll along the Avenue de Champagne.
360° view from a “moored” hot air balloon
Le Ballon d’Epernay is a giant hot air balloon that you can enter but cannot actually fly with it. The hot air balloon is simply moored on the ground and only goes straight up for a while for you to enjoy the view. At the top, at 150 meters, you have a view over Épernay and the surrounding vineyards. You can even have a glass of champagne in the hot air balloon. You will find Le Ballon d’Epernay at the beginning of the Avenue de Champagne. Book your ticket online in advance.
L’Hôtel de Ville with garden
The town hall (nope, it’s not a hotel) also has a spot on the Avenue de Champagne. It is a gorgeous stately building with a beautiful garden. The garden is freely accessible. Many people take a short walk here, drink a cup of coffee on a bench or sit here sketching and painting. A huge monument has been erected for victims of the First and Second World War at the entrance. Pretty impressive.
Le Portail Saint-Martin
This gate of Saint Martin is a remnant of the old Notre Dame and pretty much the oldest historical monument in the city. Because there is nothing left of the old Notre Dame, it now stands alone in a square. Nice for a quick stop and photo.
Champagne walk (15 km)
If you’re ready for some exercise, this champagne walk in Épernay and the surrounding area is fun to do. This is the route that leads you along the vineyards, but also a few highlights of Épernay.
The main church of Épernay is the Eglise Notre-Dame, mainly famed for its stained glass. Apart from that, the church is quite soberly decorated. The church was built on the site of a former monastery. It was built in 1897; in 1922, the church was restored because of damage by bombings. The church is free to visit.
Visiting Champagne houses
You will find champagne houses on the Avenue de Champagne. Still, I checked out to the nearby village of Pierry for champagne tours. I can highly recommend the tour at Vollereaux. The guide speaks good English, and for only €16, you get a tour, and you can try three glasses of champagne. Good deal! You can already book your tour online. Through the owner of our fine studio in Épernay, I also ended up at Vincent D’Astrée for a tour. Although the method of making champagne is the same everywhere, it was interesting to do two tours. Vincent D’Astrée is a cooperative of champagne producers, so the process and operations are different from Vollereaux.
Champagne houses in Épernay
- Moët & Chandon
- Charles Mignon
- De Venoge
- Michel Gonet
- Alfred Gratien
- De Castellane
- Le Clerc Briant
Restaurant tip: La Table Kobus
Ok, don’t be put off by the horribly ugly website or the interior (old-fashioned brasserie-style, they call it) because what you get on your plate at La Table Kobus is beautiful. Tasty works of art. And very affordable! Because pictures say more than a thousand words: voilà ↓↓↓ Reservations are recommended during the busy summer period.
Eating tarts: Pastry Florence & Vincent Dallet
Love eating works of art? Then be sure to pop into Pastry Florence & Vincent Dallet. Here you will find beautiful pastries, tarts, cakes, chocolate and more. On the pricey side, but very tasty.
Staying overnight in Épernay: Sparkling Life
I was super happy with Nicolas’ studio in the center. Sparkling Life is just new (2020), and you can choose the studio or the apartment. For the two of you, the studio is perfect to spend a night. It is freshly decorated with lovely champagne details, such as the head of the bed made out of a champagne rack. The owner also has plenty of tips to make your stay as pleasant as possible, including a champagne tour at the Vincent D’Astrée champagne house. You can park nearby, if you are lucky, in the free parking lot. You can book at Booking.com
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