Épernay and its region
Welcome to the capital of Champagne
Champagne wine trail
The beating heart of the Champagne region
An invitation to discover Champagne in all its diversity: vines, gardens, emblematic Houses, monuments, wine cellars, and much more besides…
From Épernay and its iconic Avenue de Champagne all the way to Villenauxe-la-Grande, once a thriving centre for ceramic production, via myriad viewpoints overlooking rows upon rows of vines stretching to the horizon, a multifaceted tour of Champagne, the wine and the region, awaits.
The Champagne wine trails are a great way to get to know our region. Take your time meandering along them, one day won't be long enough! If you’d like to take advantage of the things to see and do along them, why not plan a trip over several days and book accommodation nearby? If you’re short of time, you can also select the activities that appeal to you the most to make your stay in Champagne a memorable one!
A trail through the Champagne culture heartlands
Set off for a trip through the Champagne heartlands, in which you will be able to get a true feel for the place, from its distinctive landscapes to its historic landmarks. Remember to stop off at some of the Champagne Growers and Houses along the way! They will be delighted to welcome you, show you round their vineyard and wine cellar, give you some of their cuvée wines to taste and above all share their passion with you.
Our trip begins in Épernay. This town nestling amidst vineyards is steeped in Champagne culture. As you stroll down Avenue de Champagne, you can't help but gaze in admiration at the elegant iconic Houses that gracefully line it one after the other. In the midst of them stands Château Perrier, which houses the Champagne Wine and Regional Archaeology Museum. Within the walls of this magnificent residence set in the midst of tree-filled grounds, nothing less than a journey back in time awaits you: you’ll learn all about the region’s archaeological history, as well as the story of Champagne’s wines.
All along the trail, the Champagne wine region beckons you in deeper for an engaging encounter with the Champagne producers themselves. Through these encounters, you’ll learn about a family history and know-how that is passed down the generations to perpetuate the techniques for making the world’s most famous wine.
Head to the village of Chouilly to see a Garden of Vines. Designed as an open-air museum, it presents the vine in all its forms: left to itself and pruned in compliance with the various types of pruning authorised in Champagne, with and without supports, etc. And there’s no lack of information on hand, so visitors can learn everything there is to know about this wonderful and ever-fascinating plant.
It’s now time to head to our next destination. Pierry is just round the corner and its Château is well worth a visit! This stately 18th century estate has a rich and fascinating history. Take a trip back through time in the Kings’ Gallery, which exhibits portraits of the Kings of France and the dynasties of Champagne. At intervals through the summer months, the Château organises a Champagne picnic in its lovely English garden. Why not treat yourselves! If you have time, a refreshing country walk in the Hors du Rû garden is also heartily recommended while you’re in Pierry!
A few minutes further along the trail is Chavot-Courcourt. Located just outside the village, make your way to Saint-Martin Church. Surrounded by vines on the hilltop, you can't miss it! The views are absolutely breathtaking from here - especially at sunset. You can see right across the vines which stretch as far as the eye can see.
The hillside villages
Champagne’s topography is altogether distinctive, shaped by sloping hillsides. This means there are viewpoints galore for fans of sweeping vistas to enjoy! The villages of Grauves, Morangis and Monthelon are perfect examples. Nestling amidst hillsides, you’ll be spoilt for choice as to which way you decide to climb for gorgeous views over the surrounding scenery below. Why not also make a trip to the village of Cramant where unrestricted views await over the vineyards from the panoramic look-out point. Bring a picnic to tuck into under the pergolas or relax on the sun loungers overlooking the endless rows of vines.
Let’s head to Le Mesnil-sur-Oger now, a key destination in the Côte des Blancs growing area. You’ll find the Clos Saint-Vincent vineyard here. In this leafy setting, you’ll be able to wander in the garden of aromas in search of the Champagne grape varieties. Stop for a moment to admire the views over the historic Clos du Mesnil, where a large picnic table has been installed. Once you’ve recharged your batteries, you can set back out along the trail again.
Next stop: Le Mont Aimé. At the end of a steep narrow track, so brace yourselves! From the top, cast your eyes over the Champagne plains and Côte des Blancs growing area, with its recognisable chalky soils. If you haven't yet stopped for lunch, this is a perfect spot for a picnic. There are even tables available to use!
Or you could eat in a restaurant if that’s more your scene than a picnic. Carry on as far as Château d’Étoges, a majestic estate set within peaceful natural surroundings. You have a choice between either its brasserie L’Atelier, or its fining dining restaurant L’Orangerie.
A dozen or so miles south-east lies Sézanne: that’s our next destination. This pretty village is home to the Couvent des Récollets, which was built from 1619. There is something quite delightful about its architecture which is graced with three buildings from different periods. Have a look inside the chapel to admire the bright and colourful paintings by Frère Luc, a 17th century monk and painter. A treasure-trove of other places to visit can be found in Sézanne too, including its moors and pastures popular with nature lovers. Go for a leisurely stroll along its narrow streets and "malls", typical picturesque alleys. In Rue de la Juiverie you’ll find a remarkable sundial which has adorned the front of a fine old townhouse since 1783.
We have almost reached the end of the trail. Our last stop is Villenauxe-la-Grande. Clay is found in abundance in this region, and the village’s miners extracted it from their soil for 150 years. The village thus grew to become a thriving centre for ceramic production and now accommodates the Écomusée de la Mine d'Argile et de la Céramique. Find out about this time-honoured tradition and, while you’re here, why not pick up some pieces of locally crafted ceramic ware to take home with you.
That marks the end of this trail through the Champagne heartlands. What a wonderful blend of nature, landscape, culture and history to get a true feel for the place!
During Champagne tastings, remember to drink in moderation. Breathalysers and spittoons are available: feel free to ask for them.
See the trail in pictures
Cycling getaway across Champagne’s hillsides
A unique sporty getaway to discover the stunning landscapes that the Champagne region has to offer.