Nestled in the picturesque champagne region of France, just a stone’s throw away from Paris, is the charming town of Epernay. It’s a must-visit destination for any wine enthusiast, as it is home to some of the world’s most prestigious champagne houses. Surrounded by rolling hills, ancient churches, and lush vineyards, Epernay provides a beautiful vista for drinking bubbles.
But how do you decide which of the great champagne houses in Epernay to visit? In this guide I’ll give you a quick overview of how to get to and get around Epernay and then we’ll get right into the top 13 Epernay champagne houses, what makes each one unique and your options for a champagne tasting. And I’ll give you my top three recommendations for the best champagne houses in Epernay.
Getting to Epernay and Getting Around
Table of Contents
- Getting to Epernay and Getting Around
- 13 Top Champagne Houses in Epernay
- My Top 3 Picks
- Champagne Houses on the famous Avenue de Champagne
- 1. Mercier
- 2. Villa Signolle
- 3. Moët & Chandon
- 4. Perrier-Jouet
- 5. Chateau Comtesse Lafond
- 6. Champagne de Venoge
- Champagne Houses in Epernay but not on Champagne Avenue
- 7. Jacquinot et Fils
- 8. Champagne de Castellane
- 9. Champagne Alfred Gratien
- Champagne Houses Around Epernay
- 10. Pressoria
- 11. Gaston Chiquet
- 12. Champagne Le Gallais
- 13. Lancelot Royer
- My Top Tips for Visiting Epernay:
Epernay train station is on the high-speed TGV train line to Paris and it takes just over one hour to get between the two. The largest town in Champagne, Reims, is on the same train line. Trains between Epernay and Reims run roughly once an hour and take about 20 minutes.
The train stations for both Epernay and Reims are only a short walk from the town centers, so train travel is a great option to get to and around Epernay.
There are some great hotels in Epernay but many people choose to stay in the larger Reims. There are lots of interesting things to do in Reims plus there are some good hotels. I have chosen to stay in Reims on both of my visits to Champagne and have then visited Epernay by train. This option worked well for me.
By car, Epernay is easily accessible via well-maintained highways. Take the A4 motorway from Paris east towards Reims, then exit onto the D951 road towards Epernay. Depending on traffic, the drive should take about an hour and a half. From Reims, it’s a quick 30-minute trip along the D951 as well.
I also used uber during my stay and I generally didn’t have to wait too long for rides. However, Uber availability and costs can fluctuate extensively.
Once you arrive in Epernay, getting around the city is a breeze. The town is relatively small, so walking is often the easiest way to move between champagne houses and cellar visits.
If it is a special occasion you might want to look at private tours like hiring your own guide/driver to take you around Epernay.
It is also very easy to visit Epernay as a day trip to Paris. Book your train tickets and champagne tastings or go on one of these organised day trips from Paris to Champagne.
13 Top Champagne Houses in Epernay
My Top 3 Picks
Champagne Houses on the famous Avenue de Champagne
Yes, believe it or not, there is an actual Avenue of champagne in Epernay, and the street is home to some of the most famous names in bubbles. The Avenue de Champagne begins in the heart of Epernay and his home to houses such as Moet, Pol Roger, Perrier Jouet and many more.
Unsurprisingly, it is a beautiful street and a lovely stroll experience. The architectural style of the houses on Champagne Avenue is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is also highly convenient as it means all of the champagne houses on Avenue de Champagne are within walking distance of each other and within walking distance of the center of Epernay and Epernay station.
I will divide this article into the champagne houses on the actual Avenue and then those houses that are in Epernay but may require some transport beyond your feet.
Champagne Mercier began producing champagne in 1858. The doors to its grand old cellars in Epernay swung open in 1869, and today, in my opinion, it is one of the best champagne-tasting experiences in the region. Here is why I liked it so much:
- the unique mini train that takes visitors through 18 kilometres of underground wine cellars
- the tunnels also feature sculptures by Gustave Navlet
- The giant Mercier Cask – this huge champagne barrel was drawn by 24 oxen from Epernay to Paris in 1889.
- In my opinion, this was one of the best value champagne tastings in Epernay.
- And of course I enjoyed the champagne!
There are two tasting options at Mercier:
- Mercier Duo: tour the cellars and taste two glasses of Mercier champagne with a sommelier.
- Golden Bubbles: As above but with three glasses of Mercier champagne.
Address: 68 Av. de Champagne, 51200 Épernay, France
Hours: Monday-Sunday 9:30-12, 2-430
2. Villa Signolle
The roots of Villa Signolle-Champagne Michel Gonet weave back to the 19th century. Villa Signolle made a name for itself with its outstanding Blanc de Blancs champagne. This means champagne that has been made with only white grapes eg no pinot noir.
I really enjoyed my tasting at Villa Signolle because it was more like visiting someone’s beautiful home than a tasting. The tasting room is actually one of the salons of their 19th-century villa or on the flowery terrace depending on the weather. This is a much more sedate and charming champagne-tasting experience.
- Taste three blends (including two blanc de blancs) in a 90 minute tasting
- Blind wine-tasting game. Taste six different cuvees and finish with a blind tasting of one of the six. Can your palate remember? 90 minute tasting.
Address: 37 Av. de Champagne, 51200 Épernay, France
Hours: Monday-Sunday 11-6:30
3. Moët & Chandon
In 1842, Moët uncorked its first-ever vintage of champagne wines and by the 1860s, their Brut Imperial was the toast of the town. With the largest patch of vines in Champagne and about 30 million bottles aging in 28 kilometers of cellars, Moet is of course arguably the most famous name in champagne with a rich history.
Unsurprisingly, Moet et Chandon offer some of the more expensive tasting options in Epernay. It is possible to visit the courtyard at Moet et Chandon and get a photo with a statue of Dom Perignon and not visit the most famous champagne house in the world, but how many times will you realistically be in Epernay?
- The Signature Experience: 90 minutes with an overview of Moet et Chandon from a house ambassador. Taste two champagnes and compare, including the house’s latest vintage (the second champagne will be non-vintage).
- Grand Vintage Tour: 90 minutes including a cellar tour and a tasting of two vintage champagnes in a private tasting lounge.
- A La Volee: This two hour tour offers a unique experience: tasting two vintage moet champagnes that have just been disgorged. A third glass of vintage champagne is included in the tour.
Address: 20 Av. de Champagne, 51200 Épernay, France
Hours: Mon-Sunday 9:30-6, close at 11:30 on Mondays
It seems appropriate that Perrrier-Jouet began in 1811 with a love affair between Pierre-Nicolas Perrier and Rose-Adélaïde Jouët. They are known for their slightly more floral, Chardonnay-led blends and, of course, their beautiful bottles.
If you visit Perrier-Jouet in summer, they often have a pop-up cafe in their beautiful courtyard, which is well worth visiting.
There are two tasting options:
- Art of Chardonnay: Taste two champagne blends in a one-hour tasting
- Art of Vintage: A guided tasting of the latest vintages from the house.
Address: 26 Av. de Champagne, 51200 Épernay, France
Hours: Thursday-Monday 11:30-8:30 (closed Tue & Wed)
5. Chateau Comtesse Lafond
Comtesse Lafond started this family-owned brand in the 1800s, and today, it is run by her great-great-grandchild, Baron de Ladoucette. This is one of the smaller producers in Epernay, which makes for a more personalised experience. It is also housed in a spectacular castle on Champagne Avenue.
This is also one of the only champagne houses in Epernay that offers a saber experience (the opportunity to learn and experience removing a champagne cork with a sword).
There are three options for tastings
- Taste 3 cuvees and take a tour of the chateau
- Taste 3 different champagnes in three different locations on the property and experience a sabrage of your own (the cork being removed from the champagne with a knife)
- Taste three different champagnes in the Comtess Lafond showroom.
Address: 79 Av. de Champagne, 51200 Épernay, France
Hours: Monday-Sunday 11-1, 2-6
6. Champagne de Venoge
Champagne de Venoge traces its origins to the ambition and vision of Henri-Marc de Venoge, who, in 1837, left his native Switzerland for the rolling hills of Champagne with the dream of creating his own eponymous champagne house.
The brand’s pioneering spirit was evidenced by Henri-Marc’s son, Joseph de Venoge, who would later introduce the notable “Cordon Bleu” label — a symbol of excellence that endures within the brand’s identity to this day.
The house was previously a 19th-century stable and is home to a champagne bar that can be visited at any time.
- Tasting of Cordon Bleu Brut and Princes (two glasses) (with and without cheese options) lasting 30 minutes.
- Princes tasting: 2 flutes from the Princes range (with and without a tuna and sardine platter) lasting 30 minutes.
Address: 33 Av. de Champagne, 51200 Épernay, France
Hours: Monday-Sunday 10-5 (hours may be extended in summer)
Champagne Houses in Epernay but not on Champagne Avenue
7. Jacquinot et Fils
The story of Jacquinot et Fils begins with Pierre Jacquinot, who, alongside his two sons, Jacques and Jean-Guy, officially established the brand in 1947 in the aftermath of World War II. However, the Jacquinot family’s roots in the Champagne region trace deeper, with their winemaking prowess honed over several generations, dating back to the 1920s when Pierre began selling his still wines from Epernay.
The house is home to one of the deepest cellars in Epernay, located 20 meters underground. This chalk cellar was dug by hand in 1873.
90 minute tour through the champagne-making process with a tasting of three non-vintage champagnes.
Address: 36 Rue Maurice Cerveaux, 51200 Épernay, France
Hours: Mon-Fri 8-5, Sat and Sun 1030-5
8. Champagne de Castellane
Champagne de Castellane was founded in 1895 by nobleman Viscount Florens de Castellane. The viscount, known for his flamboyance and an eye for branding, chose the red cross of Saint Andrew, a symbol of the ancient province of Champagne, as the emblem to adorn his bottles, ensuring that his champagnes would be instantly recognizable.
This Epernay Champagne house rapidly gained notoriety, not only for its exceptional bubbly but also for the iconic “Tower Castellane,” which was completed in 1905 and became a brand symbol. This remarkable structure, which soars above the vineyards of Épernay, offers panoramic views of the region and is one of the landmarks of Epernay.
- Cellar Tour with one glass of champagne over 60 minutes
- Cellar Tour and Tower (reservation necessary) Visit the famous Tower Castellane and enjoy two glasses of cuvee over 90 minutes
Address: 63 Av. de Champagne, 51200 Épernay, France
Hours: Monday-Sunday 10-12, 2-6
9. Champagne Alfred Gratien
Champagne Alfred Gratien was founded in 1864 when Alfred Gratien, at the age of 23, established his eponymous Champagne house in Épernay. The house is known for its dedication to aging its champagnes much longer than the minimum requirements, with non-vintage bottles resting on their lees for about three years, and vintage champagnes even longer, often reaching up to 10 years.
- Tour and Tasting Discovery includes two glasses of vintage champagne and takes 90 minutes
- Tour and Tasting L’Empreinte includes four glasses of champagne and takes 90 minutes
- The Alfred Gratien style is two glasses of cuvee and takes 30 minutes
- Champagne and Cheese workshop includes four tastings and four cheeses over 60 minutes
Address: 30 Rue Maurice Cerveaux, 51200 Épernay, France
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10-5 (closed Sunday and Monday)
Champagne Houses Around Epernay
Pressoria isn’t actually a champagne house. It is a sensory interpretation center housed in a former Pommery pressing center in the town of Ay near Epernay. If you want to understand more about the process of making champagne, this is a great option. It’s a full-on exploration of the region’s sparkling heritage—from the grand old presses to the intricate craft of fermentation.
In addition to an immersive tour through 10 rooms, you’ll be given a guided tasting of two glasses of champagne.
Address: 11 Bd Pierre Cheval, 51160 Aÿ-Champagne, France
Opening Hours: Friday-Wednesday 930-630 (Closed Thursdays)
11. Gaston Chiquet
Champagne Gaston Chiquet carved out its place in champagne history when Gaston Chiquet registered the brand in 1919, but the family’s roots in the vineyards of the Vallée de la Marne stretch back to as early as 1746.
It was Gaston, alongside his brothers Fernand and Marcel, who took the bold step of becoming one of the first growers in the region to produce their own champagne, setting a new precedent for what would become the esteemed Récoltant-Manipulant (RM), or Grower Champagne movement, where producers craft champagne solely from their own vineyards.
They own prime parcels in the villages of Dizy, Aÿ, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, and Hautvillers. Their champagnes have a particular emphasis on Pinot Meunier. Today, the tradition continues with the family’s eighth generation.
Taste two cuvees and one vintage champagne over one hour.
Address: 912 Avenue Gén Leclerc. 51530 Dizy
Hours: Mon-Sat 8-6 (closed Sundays)
12. Champagne Le Gallais
Back in 1927, Charlotte Morgain Le Gallais‘ grandad, Hachod Fringhian, got his hands on the Clos du Château de Boursault, a patch that once was part of Madame Veuve Clicquot’s empire. Fast forward through five generations and you’ve got Charlotte at the helm, overseeing seven unique plots that make up a slice of the family’s vineyards, all perched with a view over the Marne valley.
- Tour and Tasting Le Gallais Experience with three glasses of vintage champagne over 90 minutes.
- Tasting of Three Cuvees over 30 minutes
- Initiation to Sabrage where you learn to open your own bottle with a sword
Address: 2 Rue Gilbert Maurice, 51480 Boursault, France
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 930-530 (closed Sunday and Monday)
13. Lancelot Royer
The roots of Champagne P. Lancelot-Royer are deeply entrenched in the chalky soils of Cramant, a Grand Cru village in the Côte des Blancs known for producing some of the finest Chardonnay grapes in all of Champagne. The house was created in 1960 by Pierre Lancelot and then resumed by his daughter and her husband.
The tour and tasting includes two glasses of champagne over one hour.
Address: 540 Rue du Général de Gaulle, 51530 Cramant, France (About 20 km south of Epernay)
Hours: Monday-Sunday 10-12, 2-5 (Except Sunday when it is closed in the afternoon)
My Top Tips for Visiting Epernay:
- Book all of your tastings ahead of time particularly if you are visiting on a weekend or during the summer
- Check out my guide to Visiting Champagne France before your trip
- If you’re interested in staying in Epernay, check out my guide to the best hotels in Epernay.
- If it is a special occasion why not get your own private tour guide to take you around Epernay and the surrounding area?
- If you’re looking for some good French brasseries that won’t break the bank, I recommend L’Oben and Le P’tit Champenois. I have had excellent meals at both.
- There are several really cute wine bars in the heart of Epernay that offer wine tasting and opportunities to purchase champagne. I really liked La Fine Bulle.
- If you are thinking about staying in Reims you might want to read my guide on the top things to do in Reims, best champagne houses in Reims and my guide to the best hotels in Reims.
I covered all of the costs involved in putting together this guide to champagne houses in Epernay. However, this article does contain affiliate links. That means if you click through on some of the links and end up making a purchase I may receive a small commission.