24 Hours of Luxury in Champagne, France

..The Region's Best Tastings, Tables & More

When planning a luxury vacation in France that includes a stop in the acclaimed Champagne region, it can be challenging to decide what to focus on when your time is limited. This is especially true if you’re visiting for only the day from the French capital. Once you’ve experienced some of the best things to do in Paris, your attentions may naturally turn to the charms of Champagne– and plotting a day or weekend stay there. But some careful planning and an expert guide are both in order if you’re looking for truly exceptional tastings of the pale golden, lightly effeverscent white wine. After all, contrary to popular belief, mediocre champagne does exist.

Luckily, we’ve taken some of the guesswork out of the equation, offering suggestions on which houses to beeline to for tastings, as well as cultural activities, gastronomic tables and high-end lodgings to enjoy in celebrated champagne-making cities including Reims. From houses with global renown such as Taittinger, Roederer, Dom Perignon and Krug, to exceptional but lesser-known producers, read on to learn more about some of France’s best champagne makers. Then, after narrowing your choices a bit, embark on a luxurious 24 hours of tasting and cultural experiences– preferably accompanied by an expert travel curator who will open the region’s exclusive places, experiences, and vintage bottles for you.

The most prestigious houses in Champagne reserve secrets for those those lucky enough to experience them. We pride ourselves on opening their mysteries to you in our bespoke tours of the region and its best houses.

Reims, The Champagne Portal-City

The true gateway to Champagne and its many cultural and gastronomic riches, Reims is the natural starting point for a one-day (or more extensive) tour of the region. Situated only about an hour from Paris, the city makes a convenient and fascinating hub, or a place to enjoy a full, luxurious day of tastings, gastronomic experiences, and culture, followed by an indulgent overnight stay.

Tastings and cellar visits 

You are spoiled for choice in Reims, since most of the ultra-prestigious grandes maisons de champagnes (grand champagne houses) count breathtaking family domains complete with tasting rooms and extensive cellars in the old city. From Taittinger to Krug, Roederer to Veuve-Cliquot, Pommery and Bollinger (of James Bond fame), all of the champagnes from these hallowed makers are excellent to truly outstanding. There are generally opportunities to taste some of their more unusual or prized varieties onsite, including vintages from the aforementioned houses and a Pinot Noir champagne from Lanson, a royal libation of choice since the nineteenth century.

Choosing where to focus your time and taste buds will depend largely on your available time and personal tastes. We especially recommend a visit to the cellars and tasting room at Taittinger, one of France’s oldest champagne producers whose family history stretches back to the 17th century. Originally from Austria, the family was initially composed of weavers in the Lorraine region before moving to Champagne, where they began making the luxurious sparkling wine in the early 20th century. Taittinger is one of the only “grandes maisons” in Champagne to have retained its independence, as it is still family-owned and run. Boasting 288 hectares of vineyards in the region, the quality of their champagnes remains exceptional. They have also been recognised for their environmentally friendly production practices.

Read related: These Are The World’s 10 Most Expensive Bottles of Wine

Also not to miss are the exceptional crayeres, or chalk quarry networks, that run for kilometres beneath the city of Reims, and supply ample storage and vinification space for many of the most acclaimed champagne houses. They provide the ideal temperature and humidity levels for the coveted sparkling white. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, these crayeres can notably be accessed from the site known as the “Saint-Nicaise hill”, around which many champagne houses have their properties and cellars. You can access them from several producers’ cellars, including Vrankem Pommery, Charles Heidsieck, and G.H. Martel; the longest chalk quarries belong to the Veuve-Cliquot domain, while the tallest (at 50 ft high) can be found in the cellars of Ruinart.

Cultural Highlights & Medieval Wonders

A visit to Reims would not be complete without taking in the splendour and awesome beauty of the Notre-Dame Cathedral, a gothic marvel rivalling the cathedral of the same name in Paris. The medieval construction is complemented by modern, and sublime, stained glass windows from French painter Marc Chagall— details that will stun and please anyone interested in modern art and architecture.

Other highlights in the city include the ancient Gallo-Roman “Mars Gate”, built in the 3rd century AD.

Gastronomic Discoveries & Luxurious Stays

One can’t survive on champagne alone, unfortunately, but luckily Reims is home to some of France’s finest tables. We especially recommend taking a short drive outside the city to Tinqueux, and Arnaud Lallement’s 3-Michelin star restaurant, L’Assiette Champenoise. Here, extraordinary and inventive French seasonal menus are paired with fine wines, including some exceptional champagnes. You can also stay overnight at the charming onsite hotel, boasting luxurious suites and a heated pool.

For a truly exclusive stay in Reims, the Domaine Les Crayeres is a 5-star hotel built in a former chateau, whose ultra-prestigious suites and gastronomic restaurant featuring some 600 different champagne labels offer countless ways to enjoy the riches and history of the region.

Cellars in Champagne House Taittinger
Taittinger Cellars
The Notre-Dame Cathedral
Les Crayères castle in Champagne
Relais & Châteaux les Crayères

A Whirl Through Epernay

For many champagne aficionados, it is the charming town of Épernay, and not Reims, that is the reigning wine capital of the region. Moet & Chandon boasts an enormous cellar here, with tastings of its signature champagnes as well as the world-famous Dom Perignon (the latter is generally only possible through private tours– contact us to arrange one).

Read related: How Ice Champagne is Taking French Vintnering by Storm 

Mercier is more coveted still, drawing thousands of tourists each year to its prized cellars in Epernay for tastings and tours through their chalky, incredibly deep underground caves. The house is famed for its eccentric founder, Eugene Mercier, who in 1900 lugged some 250,000 bottles of his champagne to Paris in 1900 in a misguided attempt to draw attention away from the opening of the Eiffel Tower! Today, it’s widely considered one of the region’s most prestigious makers of the effervescent wine.

Champagne Dom Perignon
Dom Pérignon Champagne

Domaine Selosse: For Remarkable Champagne & Cuisine

Another destination in Champagne we highly recommend is the domaine Jacques Selosse, an extraordinary site in the town of Avize between Reims and Châlons-en-Champagne that produces some of the region’s most lauded, and expensive, champagnes. The domain, on which is situated a Neoclassical mansion, has been producing wines since the early 19th century; today, Corinne and Anselme Selosse oversee the production of some of the most-prized varieties of champagne, including Cramant, Avize, Oger and Le Mesnil sur Oger. They produce over 50,000 bottles per year on their chardonnay vineyards.

Read related: The Top Luxury Wine-Tasting Destinations in Bordeaux

In addition to the exceptional champagne on offer here, the Domaine Selosse also boasts a wonderful gastronomic restaurant and the charming Hotel les Avises guest house,  meaning you might opt to enjoy a gourmet dinner and luxurious stay here after a day exploring Reims and/or Epernay. The hotel’s 10 intimate rooms offer the perfect setting for discovering the gorgeous environs, and for sampling gourmet French cuisine and wines.

The champagnes selosse
Domaine Selosse Champagne

Ready for your own bespoke & ultra-exclusive Champagne tour?

There are so many more wonderful places to explore in Champagne, including small and exceptional producers whose cellars are accessible mostly through private and exclusive tours, such as Veuve-Fourny and Vilmart. This is why a bespoke tour of the region is the best way to make the most of all it has to offer: get in touch with us to start building one straight away. Your personally tailored and entirely private tour will include an exclusive look at some of the most closely-guarded secrets of Champagne, from encounters with small, elite family producers to private gastronomic dining in some of the region’s most prestigious private residences– accompanied, of course, by fine champagnes.

A glass of champagne
Champagne Tasting

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