Wine lovers wanting to visit Champagne in 2021 can start planning now with an intimate and exciting list of recommendations. Our 5-5-5 guide for visiting Champagne lists 5 places to stay, 5 places to eat, and 5 champagnes to taste. Simple, easy, foolproof.
5 Places to Stay
"Start the day with a smile and finish it with champagne." – Unknown.
- La Demeure des Sacres, Reims. Centrally located, this luxury boutique hotel is a restored art-deco mansion. The two rooms and two suites include breakfast. Relax in the lounge or garden.
- L’Assiette Champenoise, Tinqueux. A romantic environment with luxury accommodations and a famous restaurant. What’s not to love?
- Hôtel Villa Eugène, Epernay. Upscale accommodations in a traditional style located on the Avenue de Champagne. The villa, once owned by the Mercier champagne family, has beautiful grounds and a pool.
- Hôtel Le Clos Raymi, Épernay. Unusual and off-beat rooms in a 19th century mansion with breakfast and a nice garden.
- Chateau De Rilly - Les Collectionneurs, Rilly-la-Montagne. Nature lovers will enjoy staying in the Montagne de Reims Regional Natural Park surrounded by vineyards. Convenient to the train line, the Chateau is owned by an Italian wine family.
5 Places to Eat
“Why do I drink champagne for breakfast? Doesn’t everyone?” –Noel Coward
- L’Épicerie Au Bon Manger, Reims. Small grocery/deli run by Aline and Eric Serva. Buy champagne from small producers, pick up a quick breakfast, picnic items, or cheeses and charcuterie.
- Hôtel & Restaurant Les Avisés, Avize. Treat yourself to the pairing of local, seasonal dishes with the exceptional biodynamic champagnes of Domaine Jacques Selosse. Meals are prix-fixe, upscale bistro fare at lunch and gastronomic fare at dinner.
- Le Bocal, Reims. Located near the local fish market (Poissonnerie des Halles), this small casual café serves the freshest seafood. Order oysters with your champagne.
- Restaurant Jérome Feck, Châlons-en-Champagne. Jérome Feck turned from firefighting to cooking and opened his eponymous restaurant in the well-respected Hôtel d’Angleterre.
- Glu Pot, Reims. English pub converted to wine and cocktail bar. Stays open late (hard to find in Champagne) so you can drink all night and chow down on the late-night menu.
Consider: Le Parc Les Crayeres, Le Foch, Café du Palais, or La Grand Café in Reims, or Chez Ali in Épernay (Moroccan.)
5 Champagne Houses
“Too much of anything is bad, but too much champagne is just right.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Philipponnat Champagne, Mareuil-sur-Ay. The view from the Clos des Goisses vineyard is astounding. Walking alongside the stone wall atop the hill, you feel separated from reality. The vineyard, planted to 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, produces a fresh, full-bodied, and long-lived champagne. Watch impish Charles Philipponnat saber a bottle.
- Louis Roederer Champagne, Reims. “Cristal”- once the fav of the Hip-Hop crowd and Russian royalty. Unassuming Chef de Cave Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon’s knowledge and heart make him a towering figure. The house of Roederer reveres nature and the land, and Lecaillon is the evangelist. Listening to him discuss his life’s passion will make you a believer.
- Champagne Drappier, Urville. You must visit the Aube region of Champagne. Michael Drappier uses organic principles and natural winemaking (low dosage, limited sulfites) to craft his Pinot Noir-focused champagnes. He also cultivates the lesser-known grape varieties: Arbane, Petit Meslier, and Blanc Vrai.
- Champagne Charles Heidsieck, Reims. Champagne Charlie’s history is reason enough to drink this champagne. Spanning from regal Russia to the U.S. Civil War, Charlie became famous. Heidsieck’s house style of biscuity richness results from high percentages (up to 40%) of reserve wines.
- Ruinart Champagne, Reims. Walk the chalk cellars of Champagne’s oldest house, founded in 1729. Famous for Chardonnay, the Blanc de Blanc comes in a unique clear bottle. Tasting this wine from the smallest to the largest bottles is a singular experience.
Consider: Ayala, Delamotte, Gosset, Pierre Paillard, De Venoge, Duval-Leroy.
5 Bonus Ideas
“Champagne makes you feel like it’s Sunday and there are better days around the corner.” –Marlene Dietrich
- The seven women of Les Fa'Bulleuses de Champagne promote their values: Sharing, Sparkling, Passion, Spontaneity, Femininity, Epicurean, Elegance. “Bulles” is French for bubbles, so drink up.
- Sip champagne in a tree at Perching Bar in Verzy while gazing over the Montagne de Reims Regional Natural Park.
- Learn about grower champagne at the C Comme tasting room in Épernay. Taste everything and buy your favorites on-site from the “cave” underneath.
- In Épernay, visit the 200 million bottles of champagne stored in the Crayères (chalk caves.) Then walk down the Avenue de Champagne to see many of the most famous champagne houses.
- Champagne and puppets! Puppeteers come from around the world to attend The World Puppet Festival in beautiful Charleville-Mézières.
Consider: The train from Reims to Épernay on the “Ligne des Bulles,” the Bubbles Line, or visit the bar Tresors de Champagne in Reims for custom flights of family-owned champagnes.
“Tiny bubbles in the wine, make me feel happy, make me feel fine.” Don Ho, Hawaiian Singer
We hope you have tiny bubbles in your wine to welcome the new year, 2021!
Learn more about online wine tasting at Big Hammer Wines.