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A guide to some of the best Champagne houses in France

Located northeast of Paris, the region of Champagne is where the world-famous French bubbles are produced. It’s a territory rich in beautiful landscapes and scenic routes dotted with picturesque villages and splendid vineyards that provide the three grape varieties used in the production of Champagne: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.
The region’s main hubs are Reims and Épernay, both easily accessible from Paris in approximately one hour by train. Epernay’s key attraction is Avenue de Champagne, a mile-long road lined with gorgeous buildings that house luxurious hotels and grandiose Champagne houses, including Moët & Chandon and Perrier Jouët. Reims, on the other hand, is a lively university town with several UNESCO World Heritage sites to explore, such as the old Saint Remi Abbey and the Notre Dame Cathedral, where the coronation ceremony of French kings used to take place.

Here’s our guide to some of the best Champagne houses in France. Most are open to the public, while others offer private tours by appointment only.


Veuve Clicquot

 

1 rue Albert Thomas, Reims I +33 326 895390 I veuveclicquot.com 

With its iconic yellow label, Veuve Cliquot is surely one of the world’s most prominent Champagnes and one with a very interesting story too. The Champagne house was founded by Phillippe Clicquot-Muiron in 1772, but it was his wife, Madame Clicquot, who introduced major innovations in the wine-making industry. After taking the helm of the company when her husband died, she produced the first recorded vintage in the region and invented the riddling rack in an effort to make the Champagne production more efficient - a technique still in use among modern champagne makers.
Tours are available from April to October, Tuesday to Saturday, at the cost of €128 per person (min 2 persons) and include a tasting of four vintages.
 


Krug



5 rue Coquebert, Reims I krug.com

 
The prestigious Maison Krug was founded in 1843 by German immigrant Joseph Krug, who learned the job working as an accountant for Champagne producer Jacquesson et Fils before setting up his own company. He carefully noted all his ideas about creating great Champagne in a red leather notebook that continues to represent a source for tradition and excellence. Maison Krug’s flagship product is the exceptional multi-vintage Grande Cuvée, made with a complex blend of various base wines from different years.
Unfortunately, Krug is not open to the public; private tours may be only available by either appointment or invitation.

 

Moët & Chandon
 

20 Avenue de Champagne, Épernay I +33 326 512000 I moet.com

Moët & Chandon is the world’s best-selling Champagne brand, an icon of glamour and luxury. The Champagne house was established in 1743 by Claude Moët, one of the official wine suppliers of the royal court. The house’s loyal followers included Madame de Pompadour and Napoleon Bonaparte, who inspired the name of Moët & Chandon’s flagship Champagne, Moët Imperial. Their wine cellars are the most extensive in the region, with nearly 30 km of underground galleries where the precious bubbles are stored and aged.
Tours start at €25 per person for the cellars tour and a glass of Moët Impérial.  




Perrier-Jouët
 


28 Avenue de Champagne, Épernay I +33 326 533800 I perrier-jouet.com

Perrier-Jouët is one of France’s oldest Champagne houses, founded by Pierre-Nicolas Perrier and his wife Adèle Jouët in 1811. Located on the famous Avenue du Champagne in Épernay, their wines are made with Chardonnay grapes and distinctive floral notes and have been satisfying the palate of many illustrious customers throughout the centuries, including Napoleon III. What’s more, Perrier-Jouët has a strict connection to the world of art, as seen in the iconic Belle Epoque bottle designed in 1902 by famous artist Emile Galle and in the splendid Art Nouveau collection housed in the family private estate.
Sadly, Perrier-Jouët doesn’t offer tours to the public and private visits are generally available only for those in the industry.


 

Charles Heidsieck
 

1 rue de la Procession, Reims I charlesheidsieck.com

Charles Heidsieck founded his Champagne company in 1851, at the age of 29, and one year later he started an audacious marketing campaign in the United States, where his wine gained such a success that he started to be dubbed “Champagne Charlie”. Today Charles Heidsieck is one of the most popular Champagne brands in the industry and its award-winning wines are meticulously aged in a series of chalk cellars that date back to the 3rd century.
The Maison Charles Heidsieck doesn’t offer public tours; private tours may be only available by either appointment or invitation.
 

  
 


Bollinger
 

16 rue Jules Lobet, Ay I +33 326 533366 I champagne-bollinger.com

A favourite of James Bond (it’s been the spy saga’s official Champagne since the release of the movie Live and Let Die in 1973), Bollinger was established in 1829 in the village of Aÿ. The Maison owns over 170 hectares of vineyards, mostly Grand or Premier Cru, and is particularly renowned for the predominant use of Pinot Noir in its wines, which are aged for twice as long as it is normally required. What’s more, Bollinger produces most of the grapes used for its prestigious blends.
Maison Bollinger is open only to wine professionals and journalists, but the general public can send a request for a private tour via email.




Ruinart
 

4 rue des Crayéres, Reims I +33 326 775151 I ruinart.com 

It was 1729 when Nicolas Ruinart opened France’s very first champagne house in Reims after having heard of a new “wine with bubbles” from his uncle, the Benedictine monk Dom Thierry Ruinart. Today Maison Ruinart is a French excellence owned by the LVMH group. The visit to Ruinart’s cellars is particularly fascinating, as they sit in the crayères, chalk tunnels located at a depth of 38 metres underneath the Champagne hills, where constant darkness and humidity provide the ideal conditions to mature the wine.
Tours are available from Tuesday to Saturday at the price of €70 per person, booking is required. 
  



Billecart-Salmon
 

40 rue Carnot, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ I  champagne-billecart.fr

Billecart-Salmon is a family business with a rich history that spans seven generations. This Champagne house is particularly renowned for its iconic Brut Rosé, made with a blend of Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, and its distinctive vintages made exclusively from Pinot Noir grapes and produced in a limited series of individually numbered bottles. The family still lives in the same estate in Mareuil-Sur-Aÿ, a little village near Épernay, where everything started over 200 years. Here visitors can fully appreciate Billecart-Salmon’s love of the land and the values that they embody.
Guided tours are available by appointment only, from Monday to Friday.