For Champagne lovers that haven’t yet had the pleasure of visiting France, Épernay and Reims would be (and were) the first stops I would make!
Both Épernay and Reims, (as I’m sure you may have already guessed) are situated in the Marne Valley in Northern France’s Champagne region.
But what to do & see?


Couple inside the Museum of Champagne Wine and Regional Archaeology looking at displayMusée du Vin de Champagne et d’Archéologie Régionale

Also known as the Museum of Champagne Wine and Regional Archaeology, the museum has been set up inside ‘Chateau Perrier’.
It was used simultaneously as a luxurious reception venue and the residence of Charles Perrier (Director of the Perrier-Jouët Champagne House) but also as a Champagne production location, due to Chateau’s cellars being directly connected to the railway line.

The Museum was built by Épernay architect Pierre Eugène Cordier over 5 years, during 1852 – 1857, taking inspiration from the eclectic styles of other famous buildings, such as the Palais du Luxembourg and Tuileries Palace.
The Chateau Perrier’s sculpted, decorative features draw on the styles of centuries past, while the stunning interiors and marquetry (marqueterie) wooden floors were created by the same skilled artisans, who previously worked on the Garnier Opera House, Paris City Hall and the Louvre.

Museum of Champagne Wine and Regional Archaeology FloorplanOnce completed, the building was a symbol for the influence and global renown that Champagne enjoyed worldwide!
Nearly a century later in 1943, the building was acquired by Épernay City Council and converted into a museum, but by 1998 the Chateau Perrier would have to be closed and refurbished as the building had gone into disrepair.
Once repairs were complete, the building was recognised as a place of significant cultural heritage by the French Ministry for Culture, and the Museum re opened in 2020.

The Museum itself is dedicated to the Champagne regions rich cultural heritage

It has 4 main collections
1. Geology-Palaeontology : the formation of the countryside and the chalky Champagne subsoil
2. Archaeology : traces left behind by humans in Champagne
3. Champagne wine : creation and history of wine in Champagne
4. Patrons and explorers of the 19th century and the Belle Époque
With thousands of objects on display, you will find it as fascinating as it is beautiful!

Abbaye d’Hautvillers with a view of the grounds and pondAbbaye Saint-Pierre d’Hautvillers

Some refer to the Hautvillers Abbey as the ‘Birthplace of Champagne’, which isn’t far from the truth!

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Hautvillers Abbey played a pivotal role in the development of Champagne. It was from grapes grown on these historic hillsides under the direction of the abbey’s winery that, between 1660 and 1700, the wine evolved from still to sparkling.
In 1823, Pierre Gabriel Chandon (son-in-law of Jean-Rémy Moët) purchased the abbey and restored its vineyard estate.
Now the property of Moët & Chandon, it is most famous today for the work of its cellar master, Dom Pérignon, who perfected his craft for almost half a century and made a significant contribution to the development of Champagne.
It was within these walls that the hard work and patient research undertaken by Pierre Pérignon (1638-1715), better known as Dom Pérignon, was to transform the whole culture of wine at the Abbey, from vineyard management to wine production.
On his death, Dom Pérignon was laid to rest in the choir of the former abbey church, now the parish church of Saint-Sindulphe, which was listed as a historic monument in 1923.
His work continues to inspire the Moët & Chandon brand of vintage Champagne, which bears his name.

Avenue de Champagne in Epernay France

Avenue de Champagne

This is perhaps the most well known place to visit when in Épernay.
At just over 1 km, this famous street was located on one of the major trade routes between Germany and France. Perhaps that’s why it used to be referred to as ‘Avenue de Commerce’
The Avenue is lined on both sides by magnificent private dwellings, lovingly constructed over many centuries by the Champagne Houses.
Some were originally built as a Head Office, others as the private home of the proprietor. Trop Belle!
The late 17 th Century marked the construction of magnificent cellars, which by the end of the 18th Century made this avenue the address of choice for pioneering Épernay Champagne producers.
(Location Location Location!)
The Avenue de Champagne is now a (UNESCO) World Heritage site, listed under the heading Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars or “Coteaux, Maisons et Caves de Champagne”


Les Halles du Boulingrin in Reims, France with fresh local produce and residents of ReimsLes Halles du Boulingrin

This popular market, built in the 1920s, was a symbol of Reims resurfacing from the destruction of World War I.
Built in an Art Deco style in 1929, it became the main food market for the city of Reims.
However several decades later in 1988,it was closed down for a large scale restoration project, which was completed in September 2012.

It functions as a multi purpose building, hosting both food and flower markets, where you can find fresh local produce, fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese, fish and other local specialties. Delicieux!
It also provides a space for sporting and cultural events on its mezzanine level.

The Perching bar in Reims in the Marne Valley's Regional National Park of the Montagne de Reims
Perching Bar

Situated at the highest point of Marne, the Perching Bar has a beautiful vantage point, with stunning views of the Regional National Park of the Montagne de Reims.
To get into the bar, you need to travel over several suspended bridges!
The overall design of the bar, as quoted on their website as being ….“Imagined by the architect Germain Morisseau, this unusual place is the first establishment open to the public in the trees….worthy of the adventures of the famous Indiana Jones.”

The bar is powered entirely by solar energy, to keep with its ‘eco’ design and  it’s only open Wednesday – Sunday, so that there is plenty of time to recharge their batteries.
So its best to book before you get there!
Tip: Look through their gorgeous Instagram to see more glorious photos


Exterior of Musée des Beaux Artes or Museum of Fine Arts in Reims, France

Musée de Beaux Artes

In case you needed an art fix, Reim’s Musée de Beaux Artes (also known as the Museum of Fine Arts) is a great place to stop.
There are sculptures and paintings by well known artists including Monet, Rodin, Renoir, Gaugin, Bonnard, Delacroix, among many others.

The collections in the Musée des Beaux Artes house work from the majority of the European artistic movements, starting from the 16th century.
There are paintings, sculptures, watercolours, furniture, engravings- the majority that are shown are from France, but Italy, Holland, Germany and Flanders ( Northern region of Belgium) are also represented.

There is so much more to see & do..
On my upcoming Bespoke Tour of Champagne in July 2024, we will handpick a selection to visit (as well as the Maisons!)
Stay Tuned or contact me for more details