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Epernay France Northern France Épernay

Épernay France


Épernay

Épernay is located amid rolling hills and vineyards, 26km south of Reims and a generally more appealing town. From Épernay you can visit the local vineyards and villages, or tour the famous maisons in town and try some champagne en route. There are millions of bottles of champagne in underground cellars in Épernay all ageing and waiting to be popped.

The avenue de Champagne is lined with mansions and runs to the east of town, away from place de la République. At number 18 is the famous Moet et Chandon, where you can take a tour of the cellars, ending with a liberal dégustation (tasting) of champagne, for €7. At number 70, the Mercier maison visit and dégustation costs €6 and you can see the cellar where they held a car rally in 1950 without any breakages.

The tourist office is at 7 avenue de Champagne (03 26 53 33 00). It takes five minutes to walk from the gare SNCF to the place de la République down rue Jean Moet. The gare routière is further into town on the corner of rue Dr Verron and Dr Rousseau. Some say that Reims is better value for money in terms of accommodation, but Épernay has a good selection as well. Clos Raymi, 3 rue Joseph de Venoge (03 26 51 00 58) used to belong to the Chandon family and is a sophisticated, red brick hotel with rooms from €125 150. Les Berceaux at 13 rue des Berceaux (03 26 55 28 84) has a very good restaurant and rooms from €55 70, or the Hotel St Pierre, 1 rue Jeanne d'Arc (03 26 54 40 80), is in a turn of the century mansion and has rooms for under €30.

Eating out in Epernay can be pricey, but Les Berceaux offers great value for money with menus from €29 (03 26 55 28 84) and a wine bar. The rue Gambetta has several cheaper alternatives from pizza and pasta at Le Messina (number 17) to Tunisian food at Le Bel Azur (number 33). Or, if you really want to splash out on something special, the Royal Champagne, 5km out of town on the N2051 to Champillon (03 26 52 87 11) has a dégustation menu for €95, lunch menus in the week from €25 or evening menus from €55. It also serves as a luxury hotel with rooms from €150 that have views of the vineyard.