What a street name! Photo Credit: DC BasketCases
Getting out of the city for the day is a great idea! You can leave your Paris apartment rental early in the morning, travel for an hour or so and be back by dinner. Many of our guests like to visit Épernay, the center of the Champagne region.
Épernay is 100 north-east of Paris. Renting a car is not ideal since you will probably be doing a lot of tasting! You can take a private car and driver but this proves to be very expensive. Insiders know that taking the short train ride from Gare de L’est to Reims or Épernay is the best way to travel. The ride is about 1-1 1/2 hours long. You can book your tickets with www.sncf.com and pick them up at any station.
What To Do:
Taste and buy champagne, of course! Two popular houses to visit are Pol Roger and Moet & Chandon but you can see an extensive list here. You can also opt for a more structured day and book a Champagne Tour with Viator. The minivan tour includes transportation from Paris to the region and an English speaking tour guide.
Where To Eat:
There are some great restaurants in Épernay and the Pol Roger website has a wonderful listing. There is one restaurant that seems to be on everyone’s list and that is La Cave a Champagne (16 rue Gambetta, 51200 Épernay, 08 73 20 05 31).
What to Buy:
Champagne! Buying bottles of champagne at the major houses can be pricey but they may also offer easy shipping and handling (peace of mind). Many blogs and books on the region recommend that you listen carefully to the tour guides and then go into one of the wine shops in the town and purchase your bottles there, perhaps from a lesser known company. Using all of the information that you learned on your tours will help you purchase good bottles.
What to Know:
Check with the champagne houses that you want to visit before you go. Some have no entrance fees and some charge a nominal fee. Also, depending on the time of year, they may be closed to tours because they are harvesting (September and October). Some houses require appointments. You can also visit our Épernay board on Pinterest to see some lovely pictures.
After spending the day in Épernay, it will be nice to be able to return to your Paris vacation rental, put your feet up and celebrate a fun day with a bottle of really good champagne. Cheers!