The Avenue de Champagne in Epernay is one of the most expensive streets in the world.
At only one kilometre long, this famous Avenue is lined with grand mansions and the headquarters of many legendary Champagne houses including Pol Roger, Mercier and Moët & Chandon. It doesn’t take long to walk its hallowed paving stones but it’s a wander that’s well worth taking… and tasting.
Several of the Champagne houses in the Avenue offer tours and tasting opportunities and Moët & Chandon is one of the best (in my opinion). In the entrance to their building is a statue of the famous Dom Perignon, the monk who is credited with inventing Champagne and who worked at an Abbey not far from these offices. The cellars are amongst the most interesting and opulent, there’s even a barrel given to Monsieur Moet by the Emperor Napoleon in 1810. Apparently Napoleon used to have barrels of Moet Champagne carried around with him on campaign and quaff a glass or several before battles. As for the shop, well glitzy doesn’t come near describing it.
Underneath the buildings in this street are a rather mind boggling 110km of cellars where more than 200 million bottles of Champagne are stored in constant temperature and darkness, ready to be released to an adoring public.
The cellars have been there for hundreds of years, underneath the homes of the wine and Champagne producers who flocked to this avenue to be close to the vineyards and utilise the cool tunnels. Known as Rue du Commerce it changed its name to Avenue de Champagne in 1925.
It’s a pleasant walk up and down offering glimpses into swish courtyards and glamorous buildings like miniature palaces. There are glorious views over the surrounding vineyards of the Mountains of Reims. But, the real attractions are the Champagne houses and the chance to taste the stars where they’re created.
How to get there
It’s an easy trip from Paris by train, with a direct service of just over an hour (details Voyages-Sncf.com)
More on Champagne
The Champagne growers town you can taste
Les Riceys – off the beaten track in Champagne
Champagne Drappier and the biggest bottle of Champagne in the world
Following in the footsteps of Renoir in Champagne
For tour details and lots of info see the Epernay Tourist Office website | Champagne-Ardenne Tourism