Nestled between picturesque rolling hills, Épernay is a small, charming town that packs many of the most historic buildings and breathtaking sceneries in the Champagne region of France. And not to mention, it’s where you’ll find some of the best champagne bars as it’s home to the prestigious Maisons.
Visit Avenue de Champagne. Champagne Houses such as Moët & Chandon, Pol Roger, and Perrier-Jouët are a must-see. Épernay is a quaint town so you’ll also find historic sites including the Tower of Castellane, the Église Notre Dame, the majestic Château Perrier, and more.
Whichever way you go, there are interesting places in Épernay. But before you book that flight, you must first figure out where to stay and when is the best time to visit.
Below, we’ve listed down the best sights to see in Épernay. We’ve also put together some practical tips to help you prepare for your visit to this cute French city.
Things To See in Épernay
Épernay is accessible by public transportation from Paris. It’s a small town and easy to get around on foot. If you’re planning to explore the city soon, here are some of the best places to see.
Avenue De Champagne
Épernay is home to historic landmarks, like the famous Avenue De Champagne. This iconic street and UNESCO World Heritage Site attracts half a million visitors every year, and it’s easy to tell why.
Along the streets, you’ll find some of the most prestigious Champagne Houses in the world. Champagne lovers visit Épernay to explore Maisons Moët & Chandon, Pol Roger, Perrier-Jouët, Vranken, G.H. Martel, and more. They’re easily walkable. You can walk from one House to another in just minutes!
Avenue de Champagne is also the main artery of Épernay, a treasure trove of 100 km of cellars where 200 million bottles are tucked. You’ll find the most precious nectar here.
Museum of Champagne, Wine, & Regional Archaeology
Ever wonder how Champagne Houses make the best French wines? It’s in the terroir. As you explore the Avenue de Champagne, you can stop by this museum. Here, you can learn more about what makes their soil so unique. You’ll discover the history of each Champagne House, artifacts, and different farming equipment.
To add to the fun, you can do modern and interactive scenography. The museum has more than 2,000 exhibits, including ones on the 19th century and Belle Époque. But it is also small so it shouldn’t take you long hours to explore it.
If you see this magnificent and historic façade, that’s the Château Perrier. It also houses the Museum of Champagne, Wine, & Regional Archaeology, but there’s so much more to see here.
It boasts an Eclectic architectural style and is surrounded by a beautiful landscape. The structure was designed in the French Renaissance and Louis XIII style in the mid-19th-century. It’s beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. As soon as you enter the Château Perrier, you’ll be greeted with parquet floors.
Épernay is hilly. When it’s sunny, you’ll love the vineyards. You can explore the lush sceneries with a bike, or you can walk Mount Bernon from the city center. Or, you can do a hot-air balloon/captive ride at 150 meters and you’ll get a beautiful aerial view of the vineyards and the Avenue de Champagne.
Tower of Castellane
Still located along the Avenue de Champagne, this tower highlights the skyline of Épernay. The Champagne de Castellane was built between 1903 and 1905 and the tower stands at 217-feet high. It’s the highest point in Épernay.
Its striking architecture is a work of art by Marius Toudoire, the same French architect who designed the Paris-Gare-de-Lyon train station. Just be ready to climb 237 steps to reach the top of the tower and soak up the view!
The Église Notre Dame
Just like the iconic Cathédrale Notre-Dame in Reims, the Église Notre Dame (Church of Our Lady) is a must-see. The church was constructed in the 19th century, though it looks much older. The magnificent Catholic church has stained windows. It also has highly detailed Roman and neo-Gothic architectural elements that are hard to resist.
The Shalmanzar or Salmanzar theater is a place if you’re into artistic stuff. It’s a wonderful place to see if you want to break away from the bubbles for a minute. Here, you can watch musical performances and local artistic productions. Just make sure to book early so you don’t miss out.
Portail Saint Martin
FYI, as charming as this town is, Épernay has gone through various attacks. But the city knows how to get back up, through the rubbles of its ruins. A prime example is this little portal of Saint Martin.
It was built in 1540 and used to be part and the only vestige of an old church, which served as a portal to an aisle. However, in 1909, it was destroyed. The portal was attributed to sculptor Pierre Jacques and was categorized as a Historic Monument in 1908.
Town Hall’s Gardens
Épernay has a wealth of sites to see, and even the town hall’s architecture and lush surroundings will have your eyes hovering, non-stop. The Hôtel Particulier Auban-Moët was built in the 19th century, and now houses the Épernay Municipal Council.
It has extensive, 7.4-acre gardens, which serve as a peaceful sanctuary in the bustling Champagne region. You can find a variety of trees and flowers here, as well as sculptures. The lovely fountain in the center has a bronze statue of a woman, surrounded by a circular pool and flower beds.
Find your own spot in the gardens and have some coffee!
If you have more spare time during a day tour, you may want to visit nearby Hautvillers. It’s a 30-minute ride by bike from Épernay. If you want to get there quickly, you can do a 10-minute drive by car.
Here, you can visit the grave of Dom Pérignon, one of the pioneers in the champagne-making process, which is situated in the Abbaye Saint-Pierre d’Hautvillers.
Tips for Visiting Épernay
There are things you need to know before your visit.
Book Cellar Tours and Tastings
Épernay is one of the best cities in France for cellar tours and champagne tastings. If you want to make the most of your visit, go to big Champagne Houses like Moët et Chandon. Get a chance to meet the winegrowers, explore hundreds of kilometers of cellars under Épernay, and have a glass or two for champagne tasting.
Make sure to book ahead. Some Houses may only allow guided champagne tours on certain days. So check for available slots on your preferred day of visit.
Best Time To Visit Épernay
May through October tend to be the best months to go, though April is also great. A bit chilly but you’ll get a decent sun and great for walking around and visiting the cellars. April is also the time when the champagne vineyards come to life.
Come summer, which falls in June through August, you can expect everything to be green and serene. If you want to witness the harvest season, go in August or early September. Also, avoid French public holidays as the town and Champagne sites can get bustling.
Where To Stay in Épernay
There are affordable flats and apartments you can rent in Épernay. You may book with these properties:
If you prefer to stay in downtown Épernay, Hôtel Jean Moët is also a good budget-friendly hotel option.
Is Epernay Worth a Visit?
Whether for a day tour or a three-day trip, visiting Epernay is worth it. The town is home to emblematic places such as Avenue de Champagne, cellars, the best Champagne Houses, and breathtaking vineyards. You can visit the city on your own or on a guided tour.
How Do I Spend a Day in Epernay?
Épernay is a pretty small city, smaller than Reims. It should be easy to explore the major sites in a single-day tour. You can visit famous Champagne Houses, cellars, vineyards, and museums. While you’re there, you can also go to the captive balloon and explore restaurants around.
Is Epernay Walkable? Can you walk to Champagne Houses in Epernay?
Once you get to Épernay from Paris, you should be able to explore the small city on foot. Walking around Épernay is also a great way to enjoy the scenic panoramic views. The town offers different natural and urban places to see.
In Avenue de Champagne, especially, there are many Champagne Houses for you to visit. You can walk between each Champagne House and it usually takes only less than 20 minutes to get from one to the other.
What’s Your Favorite Spot?
While Épernay isn’t at all as glitzy and glamorous as Paris, this old-fashioned city boasts many of the most beautiful places to see in France. From the artfully built structures to historical sites to world-renowned Champagne Houses to scenic rolling hills, it’s a must-visit town.
What’s your favorite spot?
Pack your things and let us know and we’ll be happy to help. See you there!