Located in the Marne department of Northern France, this charming town is a sanctuary for the world’s most notable and famous champagne houses. It is less than two hours from Paris, and while it can easily be seen on a day trip, you might want to consider spending a few days here to explore the region.
Epernay is home to the UNESCO-listed Avenue de Champagne, a road full of unique champagne houses, wine bars, and wine boutiques. You’ll find champagne houses like Champagne Mercier, Moët & Chandon, and Comtesse Lafond all along the same street.
While the region is most famous for producing that famous bubbly, there’s plenty to see and do for non-drinkers. Nearby, Montagne de Reims Natural Regional Park has miles of stunning hiking trails and bike paths. Château Perrier houses a museum not only dedicated to wine but also to the geology and archaeology of the region.
No matter your fancy, Epernay is sure to please. Now, let’s get into all the fun and best things to do in Epernay!
|Most significant landmark||Avenue de Champagne|
|Best park||Montagne de Reims Natural Regional Park|
|Best free activity||Strolling down Avenue de Champagne|
|Best activity for kids||Balloon d’Epernay|
|Best activity for adults||Touring Moët & Chandon|
|Best food||Sacré Bistro|
|Best place to stay||La Cave de l’Avenue|
Fun & Best Things to Do in Epernay, France
1. Château Perrier
Address: 13 Av. de Champagne, 51200 Épernay, France
The 19th-century Château Perrier is a historical monument and one of the most beautiful buildings in Epernay. It currently serves as a museum of the Champagne region covering wine, archaeology, and geology. The museum is just outside the city center on the famed Avenue de Champagne.
Château Perrier was the first of its architectural design in the region, inspired by the Palais du Luxembourg, the Palais des Tuileries, and the Louvre in Paris. It was built to house the mansion and wine cellars of Charles Perrier, the director of Perrier-Jouët Champagne House at that time.
Today, visitors can enjoy over 2,000 artifacts in the museum’s permanent collection, along with temporary exhibitions and cultural events. Permanent exhibits tell the story of the Champagne region, from when the soil formed to today’s robust champagne industry.
Across the street, visitors can also enjoy the Perrier-Jouët wine bar and a champagne boutique. To complete the experience, stay nearby at Champagne André Bergère, a charming bed and breakfast located near all of Epernay’s most famous champagne houses.
2. View the Avenue de Champagne from a Tethered Balloon
Address: Esplanade Charles De Gaulle, 51200 Épernay, France
Looking for a new perspective to enjoy the Avenue de Champagne from? Check out Balloon d’Epernay, a tethered balloon set high above the city. While it looks similar to a hot air balloon, this balloon instead uses helium and a hydroelectric hoist to bring guests almost 500 feet into the air.
From this perspective, guests get panoramic views of the Avenue de Champagne, the surrounding champagne vineyards, and many of Empernay’s top attractions and landmarks, including Portail Saint-Martin, City Hall, the Gabrielle Dorziat Theatre, and the Tour de Castellane.
Each ride lasts around 12 minutes, and the balloon can hold up to 29 people at a time. The ticket is quite affordable and can be purchased with or without a champagne tasting. Those who feel more comfortable with their feet on solid ground can instead enjoy a virtual reality flight.
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3. Montagne de Reims Natural Regional Park
Address: Chemin de Nanteuil, 51480 Pourcy, France
Located between the towns of Epernay and Reims, Montagne de Reims Natural Regional Park is the perfect place to work off all the delicious food and sparkling wine that you’ll be enjoying in the surrounding region. The park is home to over 240 miles of hiking trails, many of which are suitable for all ages.
Along with these hiking trails and walking paths, there are also six mountain biking trails for those who crave more adrenaline. The park is home to 36 mammal species and countless varieties of fish, birds, and insects, some of which are protected.
40 sites throughout the park are marked as points of interest for ecology, fauna, and flora. One of the most interesting areas of the park is the “faux de Verzy,” which holds the largest concentration of twisted beech trees in Europe. There are more than 800 trees in this section alone!
4. Champagne Mercier
Address: 68 Av. de Champagne, 51200 Épernay, France
Just when you thought champagne tours couldn’t get any better, Champagne Mercier comes along to change the game. Why walk around a champagne house’s subterranean cellars when you could train through them instead? That’s right – a tour of Champagne Mercier includes a train ride through its more than 11 miles of wine cellars.
There are six tour options when visiting Champagne Mercier (don’t worry, all include the fun train ride!). There are three guided tour options and three audio guide options. The main difference is in the tasting you would like, along with an opportunity to tour the actual vineyards in addition to the wine cellars.
Throughout the tour, visitors will learn all about champagne making and the long history behind this wine house. Eugène Mercier was only 20 years old when he founded this wine house and was one of the first to make champagne accessible to all – not only a treat for the rich and elite!
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5. Moët & Chandon
Address: 20 Av. de Champagne, 51200 Épernay, France
When thinking about champagne, one of the most famous brands that comes to mind is Moët & Chandon. The elegant champagne house is located on Epernay’s famous Avenue de Champagne and should be at the top of the list to visit for champagne connoisseurs.
Moët & Chandon is home to Champagne’s largest wine cellars and is the largest champagne house in the world. The cellars remain at a constant temperature of between 10 and 12ºC (50 and 53.6ºF), which makes it the perfect place to store maturing bottles.
This guided tour will take you to three of Epernay’s most famous champagne houses, including Moët & Chandon.
On the tour, you’ll also stop by Champagne de Castellane, which boasts the highest tower in Epernay and is nicknamed “the most mysterious champagne in the world” as they will reveal very few secrets about how their champagne is made. Stay close to Moët at La Cave de l’Avenue, located next to the tourist office.
6. Reims Cathedral
Address: Place du Cardinal Luçon, 51100 Reims, France
A day trip to Reims is the perfect way to enjoy a day in Champagne. Reims Cathedral was built in 1275 and significantly sticks out in the city. Its stunning Gothic architecture is an absolute wonder and earned the cathedral its spot on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Reims Cathedral has been one of the most significant churches in France for centuries. French kings have held their coronations here for over 1,000 years!
This cathedral is larger and older than its sister cathedral, the Notre Dame of Paris, so it’s unquestionably a must-see when visiting the region. Guided tours are available and highly recommended; there’s so much history to the cathedral’s tapestries and stained glass windows.
7. Abbaye Saint-Pierre d’Hautvillers
Address: 21 Rue de l’Abbaye, 51160 Hautvillers, France
Dom Perignon is credited with pioneering the champagne industry as he discovered new techniques to perfect the champagne-making process. Because of this, the abbey is part of the
“hillsides, houses, and cellars” of Champagne, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The abbey is just one stop on this private tour of Champagne. Other stops include the famous Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards, especially around the Côte des Blancs area. You can even see the vineyards where Dom Perignon conducted his now-famous experiments.
8. Portail Saint-Martin
Address: Pl. Hugues Plomb, 51200 Épernay, France
Portail Saint-Martin is the oldest monument in Epernay and one of the most beautiful. It was once the entrance of the Saint-Martin Church, which was severely damaged during both the First World War and the Second World War and eventually demolished.
The church was classified as a historical monument in 1908, but after its demolition, the remaining structure was moved to Place Hugues Plomb. Portail Saint-Martin is decorated with intricate details depicting all kinds of plants and animals.
Nearby, Sacré Bistro serves up some awesome French food and (expectedly) has a large champagne and drink list. The menu features high-quality ingredients, and there is a highly knowledgeable sommelier to assist with drink pairings.
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9. Tour the Champagne Region in a Vintage Car
I can’t imagine anything more perfect than driving through the French countryside in a vintage car, stopping at the most picturesque champagne vineyards, and learning secrets from the top champagne producers. That’s where My Vintage Tour Company comes in!
This tour company provides an amazing guided tour of the region you’ll never forget. You’ll learn everything you need to know about the champagne-making process, followed by three tastings.
The most exciting part of the tour is ending it off with a champagne sabrage! If you’ve ever wanted to see someone (who actually knows what they’re doing) saber a bottle of champagne, this tour is for you.
10. Go Snorkeling in Marcilly-sur-Seine
The Champagne region also has a ton of fun to offer non-drinkers as well. Just an hour away from Epernay in Marcilly-sur-Seine, visitors can enjoy snorkeling in the Seine. Yep, that’s the same river that flows through the City of Love!
This town loves its water sports and has a canoe and kayaking club. The dive center offers snorkeling for all ages.
This small-group guided tour of the Seine will take you to different locations throughout the river as you learn about the native plants and animals that call this area home. All equipment will be provided, and the expert guide will help guests to identify different animal species they may come across.
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11. Jardin Botanique de la Presle
Address: La Presle, 51480 Nanteuil-la-Forêt, France
The Jardin Botanique de la Presle is a beautiful botanical garden in the heart of the Marne Department. It is located just 20 minutes outside of Epernay and is a beautiful stop between wineries in the Champagne region.
The botanical garden actually started off as a private nursery of a couple with a passion for horticulture. Some of the first plants were mock orange and honeysuckle, but the collection of plants here has greatly expanded to include plants from Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains, Eastern Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, and the Balkans.
The garden also hosts many beautiful species of bees and butterflies. The garden can be visited on your own or as part of a guided tour.
12. Château Comtesse Lafond
Address: 79 Av. de Champagne, 51200 Épernay, France
One of the most stunning chateaus along the Avenue de Champagne in Epernay is Château Comtesse Lafond. This gorgeous castle-like building is one of the main sights in the city and is renowned for its lovely original architecture.
This champagne house offers three kinds of visits. If you are low on time, you can try a glass (or two or three) of their champagne in the showroom while you learn its history from a professional sommelier. You can also sample some vintage champagne and still wine in the house’s cool cellars or learn the unique art of sabrage.
This chateau is open to visitors everyday of the week. This house also has vineyards all over France and allows visitors to taste wines from many different regions.
13. Veuve Clicquot
Address: 1 Rue Albert Thomas, 51100 Reims, France
Veuve Clicquot is one of the most recognizable champagne brands worldwide. It represents celebration, opulence, and an all-around good time.
The Clicquot champagne house was established in 1772 and passed down through the generations. Upon her husband’s death, the house was taken over by Madame Clicquot, making her one of the first businesswomen of her time. The house was acquired by Louis Vuitton in 1986.
Veuve Clicquot offers many tour options, including a tasting, cellar tour, food experience, and more. You can also check out this private tour, which takes you on a day trip to Reims Cathedral and Veuve Clicquot from Epernay.
Is Epernay Worth Visiting?
While Epernay is undoubtedly a great place to visit for champagne lovers, it also offers much to see and do for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs. The region is filled with beautiful chateaus, wonderful hiking trails, and endless vineyards to explore.
Where is the Champagne Region of France?
Champagne is in the north-east region of France. It is comprised of four departments: l’Aube, les Ardennes, la Marne, and la Haute-Marne.