This is a common question from our wine-loving friends traveling to France. If you’re taking a trip, you may be wondering how much a bottle of champagne costs in France, and how that compares to prices at home.
So, Is Champagne Cheaper in France?
Here’s the good news:
Champagne is cheaper in France compared to the US or UK in almost all cases. However, French wines including champagne can definitely get expensive, even in France. Buying wine in the French market is cheaper mainly because there are fewer added costs like international shipping, import taxes, and duties.
A decent bottle of non vintage champagnes can often be found for 20-30 Euros in France, though of course if you want to buy rare vintage champagnes they can cost thousands of dollars just like elsewhere around the world.
Below, we’re going to talk about the varying costs of French champagnes, what makes one expensive, and why it can be a great idea to buy some bottles while you are in France.
Key Factors in Champagne Cost in France vs. Other Countries
In general, French wines can be expensive. But it really depends on the brand and the type of champagne.
If you are from the United States, for example, champagne purchased from domestic markets is subjected to a range of additional costs. Here are some of those cost components:
- Logistics and insurance costs for getting the wine to the USA (usually on a refrigerated shipping container)
- Federal wine import customs fees, taxes and duties
- Individual state wine import taxes and duties, plus sales tax or value-added-tax
- Cost to deliver the parcel to your doorstep (or to a retail store near you)
- Cost to warehouse the wine prior to distribution or shipping
- Wine distributor and retail markups (the US has a multi-tier system meaning usually sales must go from the wine producer, to a wine distributor, to a wine retailer
And we all know that France is home to many of the biggest champagne producers in the world. They have the largest domestic market for wines so there is a tight competition to attract buyers. One the 250 kilometers of cellar walls around Reims alone, there are about 200 million bottles of champagnes in store.
That is one of the reasons why the champagne prices even in the large French supermarkets are relatively low. Most retailers also offer a wide range of champagne products at competitive prices.
So, in the grand scheme of things, yes, buying sparkling wines directly from the very land that grew them is still relatively inexpensive.
The best part about buying champagne in France is that you also have the opportunity to get them cheaper from the vineyards around the Champagne region of France. You may also get the chance to taste the sparkling wine first before buying it in a bottle.
How Much Does Champagne Cost in France?
Like anywhere, wine prices in France vary per brand, quality, and type. On average, you can normally buy a good bottle of champagne in Paris for around 30 to 200 euros.
A standard bottle of sparkling wine from Veuve Clicquot, Moët & Chandon, and Dom Pérignon can cost anywhere between 45 to 200 euros. Taittinger, Jacquart, and Lanson are typically priced around 28 to 35 euros. Even if you don’t buy directly from the wine producers, you’ll still get them from retailers at reasonable prices.
One good example would be Veuve Clicquot’s yellow label, which is a solid, classic champagne and often available both in France and around the world.
Champagne Price Comparison: France vs. USA
Price of Vueve Cliquot in French online wine shop: 45 EUR (around 49 USD)
Price of Vueve Cliquot in a USA online wine shop: 60 USD
In Galleries Lafayette in Paris, for example, you’ll find Heidsieck & Co “Monopole” and Nicolas Feuillatte champagne for around 21 euros. For cheaper champagne brands like Château du Bois de la Garde, you can have a taste of their wines for as low as 6 euros.
However, keep in mind that most inexpensive champagnes are non-vintages (NV). Expensive champagne is often vintage and can sell for thousands. For example, Salon Cuvee ‘S’ Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Brut is priced at almost 1,000 euros.
Why Is French Champagne Expensive?
French champagne is expensive for a variety of reasons. For one, sparkling wines can legally be labeled as champagne if they come from the Champagne region of northern France.
Blame it on the harsh climate in the Champagne region, which also results in higher production costs. Its harsh environment makes it challenging for the producers to grow the fruits they use to make the wines. It’s a cool climate growing region, and spring and fall present significant frost risk to the vineyards.
Champagne grapes such as Pinot Noir are also notoriously hard to farm, especially in these tough growing conditions. This makes it more expensive to farm compared to many other major wine growing regions.
Is It Better to Purchase Champagne in France?
While it can still be expensive, you’re buying your champagne much closer to the source. You can even purchase champagne directly from the major houses in Reims and Épernay and it will still usually be cheaper than buying them in the USA or England.
Purchasing champagne from the Houses will often give you the best deals. This also allows you to explore their scenic vineyards.
Also, stores in France are more French wine-focused. The country simply has a vast market for champagne and other French wines. This shouldn’t be surprising given that French wine accounts for 9 out of every 10 bottles consumed in France.
Is Champagne Cheaper in France Than UK?
Yes, champagne is usually cheaper in France than UK due to the factors discussed above such as taxes and shipping. However, since there is a big market for champagne in the UK, major chains can use their buying power to achieve good pricing resulting in a smaller difference in price.
Another reason why it is better to buy champagne in Champagne France than in the UK is the additional expenses that stores need to cover. In France, you’ll often find small family-run stores will have fewer staff that are very knowledgeable about wine.
Cost of Champagne Prices in French Restaurants
If you’re planning to buy a bottle of champagne with dinner in France, you can usually expect to pay around 50 to 60 Euros and up. A glass of non vintage champagne from the house wine list in a restaurant will typically go for around 6 to 11 Euros, though it can certainly go higher for fine wines in high end restaurants.
Other Sparkling Wine in France
If you’re on a tight budget and can’t spring for champagne, consider other French sparkling wines such as Cremant de Loire. You can find some great wines and they are almost always more affordable than champagne.
France is the place to shop for the best champagne in the world. It’s home to some of the most renowned champagne brands, thus making buying wines in the country a wonderful experience. The French market for champagne is huge, so you’ll find a wide range of well priced wines at competitive prices and without the added cost of import duties and overseas shipping.
One tip from wine connoisseurs who have brought back bubbly bottles from France is to find a small local shop that doesn’t need to spend a lot on marketing. Make sure to compare prices, and if you can, visit the vineyards and buy from producers directly. Cheers to finding a deal on some bottles to enjoy!