What to know when you visit Champagne

We were lucky to join some friends who visit the Champagne region for over 15 years. They have the knowledge of how to arrange it, where to sleep, eat, … For once I didn’t investigate anything and just followed. We had a great schedule and we targeted to visit 2 big famous champagne houses and 6 smaller champagne farmers. A great mix ranging from very basic to extreme luxurious. I advise you to make upfront appointments with the farmers to make sure they are at home and have time for you. You might also plan your visits wisely so you keep your travel time under control. Some are located in Epernay and some are located in Reims.


It’s hard to visit Bollinger as they are mostly not open for public, but we were lucky to obtain a free private guided tour. Together with our friends we were welcomed by our guide for a tour and degustations which took around 1 hour 30 minutes. All buildings in the surrounding are owned by the Bollinger organisation. It’s still fully family owned, which is rare for the bigger ones. They also produce about half of their champagne via barrels and the other half in regular inox tanks. Another interesting fun fact is that Bollinger is already 40 years the and one and only champagne of James Bond. There is no official contract, only a gentlemans agreement which maintains this. 

Moët & Chandon

Located on the Avenue de Champagne you have the world famous champagne house Moët & Chandon which is co-located with Dom Perignon. The house, the shop, everything reflects a luxurious appearance. Located beteen 10 and 30 meters underground there are around 28 km of tunnels which have a constant temperature between 10° and 12° celcius, which is perfect to store the bottles for a long time. We followed the iconic tour (26 €) through the cellars which ended with a tasting of Moët Impérial. 

The shop
The shop
Big bottles
Big bottles

Smaller champagne farmers

We visited 6 smaller champagne farmers. They ranged from a few thousand of bottles to multiple thousands of bottles. Every visit has the same pattern. You are guided to a tasting room and are offered to taste a few champagnes. Mostly we tasted 3 or 4 champagnes. You can discuss with the host which champagnes to taste. Depending of your history they might present more expensive bottles to taste. If it’s your first visit, they might stick to the cheaper bottles, which is understandable.

While tasting the host will explain what kind of grapes or specialties the champagne has. At the end you get an order form on which you can write the number of bottles you want to buy. Once you have paid, they will box your champagne and bring it to your car. We bought quite some boxes as we also bought champagne for some friends and colleagues. It helps to build a relation with the farmer. In short, the more you buy, the better you will be threated. 

Where to sleep?

B&B Hotel Epernay

This budget hotel is located just outside the city center, is easy reachable and has a big secured car parking. Although the gate stayed open all night during our visit. The hotel rooms are spatious, have a decent bed and a good shower. Nevertheless we didn’t spent much time in the hotel. The optional breakfast costs 8.5 euro per person which is a good deal. You have pastries, bread, toast, cereals, yoghurt, juices and coffee. All what you need to start a busy day. 

The hotel is on walking distance from the centre and it will take you roughly 15 minutes by foot to reach the main area where you can find bars and restaurants. You can easily leave your car at the hotel and like that you don’t need a designated driver. 

Where to eat?

Le Theatre

Great restaurant in a magnificient building with ceilings which are probably 3 to 4 meters heigh. It’s the perfect location to have a fancy dinner with friends at the end of the day exploring champagne. The food was delicious and the price was affordable. 

Why not?

The restaurant recently relocated and friends of us knew it from the old location. We had a great experience. Friendly staff, good food and a vibrant atmosphere. On Saturday evening you can’t take the menu and have to select a la carte dishes. 

Le Sardaigne

We visited this place on Saturday noon for a quick lunch. We advise to make a reservation as the place was quite crowded. It’s a basic restaurant with friendly staff and all our dishes were tasty. From here you are on walking distance from the Avenue de Champagne. 

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