Reims may be the capital of Champagne but to the locals of Epernay, their town is the capital of Champagne the drink.
The famous Avenue du Champagne is lined with splendiferous Champagne houses but let’s face it, no visit here is complete without a tour at the Moët et Chandon Champagne house.
Pretty much everyone stops in the front courtyard of Moët’s seriously impressive offices to take a selfie with a statue of the most famous Champagne maker ever. Dom Perignon was a monk who is credited with “inventing” Champagne and who is said to have uttered the immortal words to his brethren on drinking the fizzy wine “come quickly, I am tasting the stars”. The stained glass entrance to those hallowed cellars is memorable. The shop is very bling bling as they say in France – and utterly gorgeous!
Raise a glass in Epernay
C.Comme, 8 rue Gambetta, is a terrific wine bar and Champagne growers’ association representing dozens of artisan growers in the region. The cellar is really informative and fun with photos of the growers and details about where the grapes are grown. This is a great place for a tasting and if you rustle up an appetite, the cosy bistro has a great ambience. As a contrast to the splendour of Moët, C.Comme is charmingly authentic and you’re likely to meet a grower in the bar. Having learned about how different Champagne tastes when it has more or less of a specific grape, I loved that at C.Comme it was easy to see where the grapes were grown and what amount was in the bottle.
Great place to stay in Epernay
Next door to C.Comme is the boutique 4 Star Hotel Jean Moet , 7 Rue Jean Moët. It has a direct door to C.Comme to make life very easy indeed for guests! The hotel is charming, elegant, friendly and perfectly located just a few minutes’ walk from the station and the Avenue de Champagne.
Chic Eats in Epernay
For an atmospheric meal and a place that locals love, try La Cave a Champagne, 16 rue Gambetta. They have different menus but for me, the menu terroir that Chef Ocio makes is just about perfect with a home cooked feel that’s not fussy but simply delicious.
The fabulous Le Theatre restaurant is one of the oldest in Epernay. It’s chic, welcoming and wow – the menu is fabulous. Full on old-school typically French brasserie style, glamorous and totally lush.
Things to do in Epernay
Take a Champagne vineyard tour and tasting – head to the tourist office for details.
Enjoy a delicious gateau, fans of macarons will be in 7th Heaven at Patisserie Vincent Dallet (4 rue du Capitaine Deullin).
How to get to Epernay
The train journey is simple and takes from one hour 11 minutes from Paris to Epernay. Book tickets via voyages-sncf.com (they have a handy app for mobile users).
Find more information about the region at: www.tourisme-champagne-ardenne.com
Guide to Reims – what to do and see in the bubbly city
Day trip from Paris to Reims
Avenue de Champagne Epernay
Reasons to love France – Champagne
Hautvillers – in the footsteps of Dom Perignon
The Champagne growers’ town you can taste – Rilly-La-Montagne