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Picture incredible neo-Classical architecture along a lovely street on your way to drink the world’s best beverage: Champagne. While many people make a stop in Reims during their time in Champagne, you definitely need to discover the best things to do in Epernay!
Epernay is home to the famous Avenue de Champagne, which is where many notable Champagne houses are located. This street alone can fill up an entire day and is a huge reason people visit this town in the Grand Est part of France. However, there are quite a few Epernay attractions to fill up a weekend here!
If you’re planning to visit Champagne to sip this lovely sparkling wine, then you’ll want to spend time enjoying the things to do in Epernay during your stay.
17 Best Things to Do in Epernay, France
From wine tastings to more active pursuits, these are hands-down the top Epernay things to do!
1. Avenue de Champagne
I mentioned this at the very beginning of this post, but it is certainly well worth seeing. Chances are that if you plan to go Champagne tasting in Epernay, you’ll stumble upon this street.
Many Champagne houses, including Moet & Chandon, are located on this famed avenue. There is also a wine museum, wine shops, and hotels located along the street as well.
And you cannot forget the luxurious neo-Classical architecture of these famed Champagne houses. Both the street above and the cellars below are considered UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Either way, you’d be remiss if you didn’t spend some time exploring the Avenue de Champagne during your time in Epernay.
2. Museum of Champagne, Wine, & Regional Archaeology
13, Avenue de Champagne, 51200 Epernay
As I mentioned above, the Avenue de Champagne is home to a wine museum called the Museum of Champagne, Wine, & Regional Archaeology.
If you want to learn more about what makes the soil unique in the area for growing the grapes for Champagne, the history of the beverage and wine houses, and even old farming implements, this is a great museum to check out during your visit to Epernay.
This museum is pretty small, so it doesn’t take too long to visit either to get a better understanding of the area. I really enjoyed visiting and also getting to see the fun Champagne ads from the past.
The museum is also located in a historic building, called the Chateau Perrier.
Museum Ticket Price: €9.50 for adults, and it is free on the first Sunday of the month.
Museum Hours: Open Wednesday-Monday. From April 1-October 31, it is open from 10 am-7 pm, and from November 1-March 31, it is open from 1:30-6 pm. On weekends during the winter it is open from 10 am-6 pm.
3. Champagne Tasting is One of the Best Things to Do in Epernay
The biggest reason most people visit the region of Champagne is for Champagne tasting. While Reims is home to many big names in the industry such as Pommery, Veuve Cliquot, and Mumm, Epernay is home to many amazing Champagne houses, several of which are located on Avenue de Champagne.
A tasting typically takes between 30 minutes to an hour or so and you try around 2-3 different Champagnes.
Tastings can range in price from €15-€40+ depending on the number of tastings, quality of the wine, vintage, etc. Yes, it is definitely more expensive than when I went wine tasting in the Luberon, but Champagne certainly has earned its reputation.
Note that you should book tastings in advance, as many Champagne houses either require reservations or can only accommodate so many people at once. If you cannot book directly on the Champagne House’s website, I like to use Champagne-booking.com.
Some great places to have a tasting include Champagne Esterlin, Champagne de Venoge, and Alfred Gratien.
4. Champagne Cellar Tours & Tastings in Epernay
Aside from having a tasting at a Champagne house, you can also book cellar tours. These definitely should be booked in advance, and they almost always come with a tasting of 2-3 wines.
Explore deep underground tunnels where wines are kept for aging and learn more about how each house creates its delightfully bubbly wines.
Tours typically last around 1.5 hours-2 hours and cost around €30-60+ depending on the house and number of tastings.
Some popular tours include Moet & Chandon, Chateau Comtesse Lafond, and Alfred Gratien.
5. Visit Moet & Chandon
20 avenue de Champagne, 51200 Epernay
I mentioned Moet & Chandon above, but it is definitely worth visiting! This is a must-see cellar tour if you can. Moet & Chandon is the largest Champagne producer in the world, and they offer many tours and tastings including a Signature Tour, Moet Collection, The Imperial Moment, and even a Grand Vintage.
These range in time from 1.5 hours-2 hours and can cost from €40-180.
I single this one out because it is a unique experience, and they have the largest cellars in the region.
6. Have Lunch at a Champagne House
Whether you want some light bites at Chateau de Venoge, or you’d prefer a heartier meal in between Champagne tours in Epernay at the Perrier-Jouet’s Cellier Belle Epoque, you’ll definitely want to get lunch at a Champagne house that has food.
First of all, you get to enjoy a delicious lunch with local flavors. But most importantly, you can have your meal with a glass of their wine, so it is almost like getting another tasting during your lunch!
7. Stay at a Champagne House Hotel
Want to really enjoy the best things to do in Epernay? Then you’ll want to make your stay complete with an overnight or two at a Champagne House hotel.
We stayed in Les Suites du 33 at Chateau de Venoge during our time in Epernay and it was 100% worth it! It included breakfast and a free glass of Champagne upon arrival.
Plus, it was located right on Avenue de Champagne and was easy walking distance to all of our tours and tastings.
8. Learning the Art of Sabrage is One of the Best Things to Do in Epernay
79 Av. de Champagne, 51200 Épernay
I’m sure you’ve heard of people opening a bottle of Champagne with a saber. Well, in Epernay, you can have this experience for yourself at Champagne Comtesse Lafond.
During your visit, you get to taste 3 of their cuvees in different parts of the estate, ending with you sabering your own bottle.
It costs €60 per person.
9. Champagne De Castellane
63 Av. de Champagne, 51200 Épernay
One of the things you’ll notice in the skyline of Epernay is the tower at Champagne de Castellane.
It is certainly eye-catching, and to visit, you’ll definitely want to book a tour. They offer tours of the cellar or tours with the cellar and tower. Both include Champagne tastings and a visit to their museum.
The cellar and tower tour lasts about 1.5 hours and costs €30 per person.
10. Enjoy a Ride On the Ballon d’Epernay
Esplanade Charles De Gaulle, 51200 Épernay
Most of what I’ve discussed above takes place on the Avenue de Champagne itself. Now, it is time to explore more of the city, as there is definitely more to see and do in Epernay than just the Avenue de Champagne.
For a truly romantic thing to do in Epernay, consider riding the Ballon d’Epernay. This balloon flies 150 meters in the air and shows you the most breathtaking views of the Montagne de Reims, Marne Valley, and more!
Enjoy a bird’s eye view of the vineyards and city below!
Opening Times: Ballon d’Epernay is open 7 days a week until October 29. It is open on Tuesday-Thursday from 10 am-6 pm, Friday-Sunday from 10 am-7 pm, and Monday from 10 am-1 pm and 2-6 pm.
Price: €14 for adults and €10 extra for a glass of Champagne, €7 for children, and free for children under 3.
11. Visit the Eglise Notre Dame
Pl. Pierre Mendès France, 51200 Épernay
Churches across France are always lovely to visit. The Eglise Notre Dame in Epernay is no exception. With its lovely art, architecture, and stained glass windows, you will definitely enjoy popping in for a quick visit.
12. The Shalmanazar
1 Rue du Theater, 51200 Epernay
Even I can admit after spending some time in Champagne you want to take a bit of a break from the bubbles. You can still enjoy the culture in the area at the Salmanazar Theatre.
This theatre hosts anything from musical performances to local theatre productions and more! Check here for the latest shows and tickets.
13. Spot the Portail Saint-Martin
This charming little portal was built in 1540 and was part of the Notre Dame that was destroyed in 1909.
Now it stands proudly in the city with flowers around it.
14. Go Hiking Around Epernay
There are actually quite a few hiking trails in Champagne to enjoy. If you want to get a little exercise between all that Champagne, then you can go for stunning hikes around the mountains, vineyards, and more!
There are many that start near Epernay and make for a lovely day of exploring the nature of the area!
Check out this great hiking map here!
15. Take a Bike Tour
You can also rent a bike and explore the region! Enjoy the beauty of Champagne and its vineyards on a bike ride around the countryside.
And if you would like to go on a guided bike tour of vineyards and Champagne towns, definitely check out this one that includes a tasting, lunch, and stops in traditional wine-growing towns.
16. Visit Nearby Hautvillers
Just a quick 10-minute drive or 30-minute bike ride will take you to the nearby charming town of Hautvillers.
It is here that you can enjoy tastings at smaller Champagne houses, and pay a visit to the Abbaye Saint-Pierre d’Hautvillers. This is where the grave of Dom Perignon is located.
Dom Perignon was one of the pioneers in the Champagne making process and really helped it to become the drink it is today.
17. Take a Day Trip From Epernay
Once you’ve explored all the best things to do in Epernay, why not take a day trip? A great idea includes visiting the beautiful town of Reims and exploring both the history and Champagne houses here.
You could also take a tour of the countryside for more Champagne tasting. And lastly, you could even head to Paris for the day, as it is about an hour and a half away via train. Explore Paris in a day and head back to the more quiet Epernay.
When to Visit Epernay
Epernay is a dreamy town to visit! This place does tend to have chilly winters, so May through October is a better time to visit for better weather in general.
However, the summertime is also a super popular time to visit. I actually came in April and really enjoyed it! The weather was slightly chilly but perfect for walking around and tasting Champagne! Plus, there weren’t crowds yet. September can be a fun time too in order to see the harvest!
I will say that January is likely not a great time to visit, as many things shut down during that time.
How to Get to Epernay and Get Around
Getting to Epernay is fairly easy, as it is connected to many cities via train. You can even take a direct train from Paris. It is less than an hour and a half from Paris to Epernay via train.
You can also take the bus from Reims to get to Epernay. I highly recommend visiting both cities if you can to really get a feel for the region.
And once you’re in Epernay, it is a very walkable town, especially as many of the Epernay things to do are located along Avenue de Champagne.
These are the 17 best things to do in Epernay, France to have the best weekend in Champagne! Whether you want to go for a hike or sip Champagne, you can’t go wrong with time spent here.
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