Category Archives: Ay

Champagne – a guide to the region

In France’s Champagne the world’s greatest sparkling wine is produced. The region is made up of roughly 34,000 hectares of vineyards spread across 319 villages, or “crus”.  If you pass through the region we would recommend you to take brake in either Reims, Epernay or Ay.

Reims, the center of the champagne district is easily accesses for most visitors to France. It is approximately 90 minutes by car from Paris (if you take the motorway) and about three hours from the channel (for visitors from UK). For visitors from Scandinavia it’s about 8 hours of driving from the Kiel ferries. So if you arrive to Kiel in the morning you can be sipping a glass of bubbly in the evening. In Reims you find champagne brands as Mumm, Veuve Clicquot, Krug, Piper-Heidsieck and Louis Roederer. Most of them are open for visitors with guided tours and tastings.

The little town of Epernay is also a good starting point for tours around the champagne region. In Epernay you have a good selection of nice restaurants and bars to visit. Especially recommended is the Avenue de Champagne where some of the largest Champagne houses are represented (De Venoge, Perrier-Jouët, Mercier och Moët et Chandon. There are also several wine cellars worth a visit here, located in in historic “crayeres” (chalk pit cellars) – one of the most popular is Cave Mercier (see map).

Ay is another great destination for champagne tourists. It’s only about 4 kilometers northeast of Epernay and 30 kilometers south of Reims. In this small town (just over 4000 inhabitants) there are almost 20 champagne houses located here (most notable Ayala, Bollinger and Deutz). Ay is by many recommended as the nicest place to visit (not as large as Reims and not as Industrial as Epernay).

Best champagne houses to visit in in Champagne

All champagne houses are almost per definition great wine makers. So instead of suggesting “great champagne” we try to suggest “great experience” – meaning more than just buying a bottle of champagne (including tasting (dégustation), nice scenery, guided tours, restaurants and accommodation). 

 

View Champagne houses in Reims, Épernay and Ay in a larger map

Below you find more detailed maps of champagne houses in Reims, Epernay and Ay.

A selection of champagne houses in Reims

  • Champagne Henriot
  • Champagne Jacquart
  • Champagne Krug
  • Champagne Lanson
  • Champagne Piper-Heidsieck
  • G.H. Mumm
  • Louis Roederer Champagne
  • Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin

View Reims Champagne houses in a larger map

A selection of champagne houses in Epernay

  • Champagne de Venoge
  • Champagne Moët et Chandon
  • Champagne Perrier-Jouët
  • Champagne Pol Roger
  • Mercier Champagne

View Épernay Champagne houses in a larger map

A selection of champagne houses in Ay

  • Champagne Ayala & Co
  • Champagne Brun Roger
  • Champagne Deutz
  • Champagne Grilliat Alain
  • Champagne Michel Gentilhomme
  • Champagne Moët et Chandon
  • Champagne Nadège Richard-Fliniauxmore
  • Champagne Pascal Henin

View Ay Champagne houses in a larger map

Where To Stay in the Champagne region

I have composed a small collection of ten recommended places to stay in when visiting the Champagne region. The source for these recommendations is based on an extensive research among discussion forums, travel agencies and of course my own investigations. If you would have something to add, please make a comment below. I have divided the accommodation in three (Luxury, Normal hotel and Bed & Breakfasts)

View Accommodation Champagne in a larger map

Luxury accommodation in Champagne

http://partners.hotels.com:80/xmldealsfeed/1/1634279/HCOM_FR-fr_FR/YmY9MTtuZD01MDtuZHBoPS0xO3NyPTM0NQ../result.html?userGroup=Trade_Doubler&linkType=TRADITIONAL&linkRegion=NO_REGION&a=2254330&g=19815458&p=20134

Château Les Crayères (Reims)

The best address in town is Gerard Boyer’s three-Michelin starred restaurant and **** hotel. As the Michelin Red Guide says, expect to pay dearly for the privilege! Set in several acres of pretty grounds, this property is not central. It’s located just outside the Pommery & Greno estate, but if you can afford to stay here, what’s a taxi fare?  This place is Ranked #1 of 55 hotels in Reims by tripadvisor. Approximate price for one room one night: €400-700.

Le Royal Champagne Hotel

Set amid lush vineyards that extend as far as the eye can see, Royal Champagne is a former coach house. Once one of Napoleon’s favorite stopovers, it is the ideal base from which to explore the glorious Champagne maisons. This place is Ranked #6 of 15 hotels in Epernay by tripadvisor. Approximate price for one room one night: €200-500.

Hotel accommodation in Champagne

Hotel de la Paix (Reims)

Located in the heart of Reims in an exceptional setting. Just a stone’s throw away from the cathedral, this hotel with its resolutely contemporary style is also situated near the conference centre and the TGV train station. Approximate price for one room one night: €120-150.

Grand Hotel Du Nord (Reims)

The Grand Hotel du Nord is ideally located close to all amenities and to the ancient city, where guests can see Vesoul’s famous Motte chapel. The whole area is steeped in history. Approximate price for one room one night: €60-80.

Suite Novotel Reims Centre (Reims)

Located in the heart of Rheims, this 4-star hotel is just a 5 minute walk from the Reims Centre train station & the conference center. The Notre Dame de Reims cathedral and Champagne houses are just waiting to be discovered. Approximate price for one room one night: €140-170.

Hotel de Champagne (Épernay)

The Best Western hotel de Champagne benefits from an ideal location in the heart of the capital of the Champagne producing area, between the city centre and the Avenue de Champagne, where the most prestigious Champagne cellars are open to guided visits. Situated in the heart of Epernay the hotel is very close (500 meters) to the town center and the Avenue of Champagne (Moët & Chandon, Perrier-Jouët). Approximate price for one room one night: €100-130.

ibis Château-Thierry

Located in the heart of Champagne, just 20 metres from Château-Thierry, ibis Château-Thierry offers a terrace with River Marne views, garden, bar and restaurant. The champagne cellars are just 1 km away. This hotel has family rooms (Composed of 2 rooms). Approximate price for one room one night: €100-130.

Bed & Breakfasts accommodation in Champagne

These places are often a bit smaller, but often with comfort and experience that exceed many hotels. Here you can get a closer experience to the region and even stay on the vineyard.

Chateau de la Marjolaine

This bed and breakfast castle sits in the Champenois vineyards, just a one-hour drive from Paris. It offers elegant guest rooms with views of the large garden and the ponds. Approximate price for one room one night: €130-180.

La Villa Champagne Ployez-Jacquemart

Built in 1930, this winery offers B&B accommodation 12 km from the Abbey of Saint-Remi. Lovely location and excellent accommodation, with tours of the champagne manufacture and bottling facility plus tasting available for guests. This hotel has family rooms (suite consists of 2 interconnecting rooms).  Approximate price for one room one night: €120-190

Le Clos Margot

This is a lovely modern hotel in the Champagne region. Choose from one of 5 independent and individually decorated rooms at Le Clos Margot. It sits between Chalons-en-Champagne and Epernay just outside the centre of Vertus. This hotel has family rooms (30 square metres). Approximate price for one room one night: €110-170.

Les Grappes d’Or at Champange Eric Isselee

Eric Isselee rent out rooms with splendid views of his vineyards in the village of Cramant. Constant supply of the house champagne in the fridge (reasonable priced). Double room from €50 including French breakfast. No luxury but definitely worth the money. The vineyards of Eric Isselée are located in an area designated as Grand Cru. Because of this outstanding location, the domaine focuses on Blanc de Blancs (Chardonnay dominated) blends with tremendous results.

Please add your experience of the champagne region

What would your recommend to other people that travel the region in search for culinary experiences. What is your 1) favourite champagne house to visit 2) favourite restaurant in the area 3) favourite hotel accommodation? Please make a comment below and help other travellers enjoy the champagne region even more.