If you find yourself on a holiday in France, taking a detour to visit the Champagne region of France shouldn’t be missed. At the center of the region is the town of Épernay. Because of this, many ask, “Is Epernay worth a visit?”
Épernay is a must-visit destination for anyone who’s a fan of the bubbly champagne beverage or its history. Various champagne houses offer champagne tasting and cellar tour services. Museums in the city center both the history of the region and champagne itself.
Whether a place is worth visiting is for the individual to decide based on their tastes and preferences.
Is Epernay Worth a Visit?
The historical Champagne wine region of France is a hotspot for tourists. It’s especially sought-after for fans of the bubbly and fizzy celebratory drink that is champagne.
Champagne follows one golden rule to be considered true champagne: it must be produced within France’s Champagne region.
Any sparkling wine made outside this region is only sparkling wine. All champagne is sparkling wine but not all sparkling wine is champagne.
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier are the principal grapes grown in the region and used in the production of Champagne.
If you’re a true-blooded champagne enthusiast, a champagne tour right at the famous Champagne region is truly a dream come true.
When you’re planning a trip to the Champagne wine region, the town of Épernay (along with the city of Reims) always comes up as a must-visit destination.
For a lot of travelers, this could raise the question, “Is Épernay worth visiting?”.
Yes, Epernay, France is a visit-worthy town. Situated right at the heart of the Champagne wine region, it is a must-visit place not only for champagne enthusiasts but also for history buffs.
Because Épernay is a small French town, many are still hesitant to make a stop. The town proves time and time again why they get many visitors all year round. Spoiler alert: it’s more than just the champagne.
The Best Things to Do in Epernay
The town of Épernay is a worthy stop to make during your French holiday. To make sure you make the most out of your visit, make sure to put these must-do activities on your list:
Stroll along the Avenue de Champagne and visit champagne houses
As the unofficial “Capital of Champagne”, Épernay is home to the L’Avenue de Champagne or the Champagne Avenue. The avenue is the town’s most famous street and is home to a long stretch of world-renowned Champagne houses and manufacturers.
Some of the famous champagne houses you can find along the stretch of 1 km of street on both sides of the famous Avenue de Champagne are Moët & Chandon, Mercier, and De Castellane among many more.
Below ground, there is a 100 km stretch of chalk cellars housing millions of aging champagne. Because of this, the residents believe it is the most expensive avenue in the world, worth more than the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
The long stretch of avenue above ground and the cellars underground were both inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2015. This is in recognition of its importance to the development of champagne that the world knows and enjoys today.
Champagne tasting and champagne house tours
A stroll along the Avenue de Champagne will lead you to several champagne houses – both big and small producers. Many of them will showcase their champagne selections while some will also walk you through their champagne-making process.
Some champagne houses offer free champagne tastings while for some you will have to pay for tasting champagne varieties. The price can range from €10 to €20.
Wine cellar tour
Many champagne houses offer champagne cellar tours. These champagne tours will take you underground so you can see aging bottles of champagne in champagne cellars before they’re ready to be sold in markets.
These tours are typically about an hour to two hours and almost always include tasting two to three of their champagnes.
Visit the Église Notre-Dame Church
The church is one of the highest points in the town. It boasts of exceptional architecture and beautiful stained glass windows. It’s also home to works of art like paintings and sculptures.
View the town from a hot air balloon
You can see the town from a bird’s eye view up in a hot air balloon in the town center. This is known as the Le Ballon d’Epernay in the local French language and gives guests a panoramic view of the town.
The balloon is tethered to the ground through a cable and goes up to 150 m up in the air.
Climb Mount Bernon for an extended view of the town
Climbing Mount Vernon will give you a panoramic and full view of the town as well. Surrounded by trees, this is a great walk and a great place to have scenic picnics.
Visit the Tower of Champagne de Castellane
An eye-catching feature in the town’s skyline is the Tower of Castellane. It’s also the highest structure standing at 66 m tall.
Take a tour of the Museum of Champagne, Wine, and Regional Archaeology
A day tour at the Museum of Champagne, Wine, and Regional Archaeology will open your eyes to the history of champagne and how the French started making it.
Don’t forget the Portail Saint-Martin
The gate of Saint-Martin is one of the oldest structures in Épernay and was once the entrance to the church of Saint-Martin.
The rest of the church has since been destroyed but the gate still stands strong and can be visited for free.
Visit the Chateau Perrier
The Chateau Perrier is a museum that sits right at the heart of Épernay. Inside, you will learn about the history of the town, the Champagne wine region, and the bubbly drink itself.
Make a stop at the nearby town of Hautvillers
Only ten minutes away from Épernay is the town of Hautvillers. It is believed that Dom Perignon, who made contributions to the modern methods of making champagne, lived the rest of his life and died here. You can visit the grave where the Benedictine monk is buried.
The town is also home to smaller Champagne houses that offer tastings as well.
Touring the Champagne region of France is a must if you’re a fan of the bubbly drink. Many do wonder, “Is Epernay worth a visit?”.
Épernay is most definitely worth a visit if you’re a champagne connoisseur and a history buff rolled in one. The town boasts various champagne-tasting tours and champagne houses to visit. At the center of the town are museums that present the history of the region and the bubbly drink.
Of course, whether a place is worth visiting or not would depend on personal preference and interests.