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A guide to Champagne

Updated: Sep 22, 2022

Explore Champagne, the renowned region of the bursting cork, and unearth its rich history and mysterious past. There is always something available to do at any time of the year.


Only the Champagne area in France is authorized to label its sparkling wine "champagne," since other regions cannot legally do so.


There are 30,000 hectares of vineyards in the Champagne area, which is located just 90 kilometers north of Paris. Every year, more than 320 million bottles of champagne are produced in Champagne.


It is rich in history and makes for an excellent spot for a revitalizing weekend getaway. Visitors will get the opportunity to learn the art that goes into the production of what, after 400 years, has become the most well-known and widespread emblem of celebration.


Reims


Your first stop should be in the city of Reims. Here, see the magnificent cathedral that dates back to the thirteenth century and was the site of the coronation of no less than 26 French monarchs. In the year 1429, the crowning of Charles VII took place in the cathedral where Joan of Arc was present.


Épernay and the avenue de Champagne


After that, go 26 kilometers further south to Épernay and then head straight to the Avenue de Champagne. Here, the majority of the major champagne producers have their headquarters in palaces that date back to the eighteenth century. These mansions are connected by more than 100 kilometers of subterranean tunnels, in which millions of bottles are kept.


A good number of these champagne houses provide tours that take place underground via these maze-like tunnels, which are filled with the aroma of mustiness and mystique. Moet & Chandon and Mercier are examples of businesses that do not need customers to make reservations in advance.


The first one has an extensive gift store, while the second one offers tours that involve a ride on a train. The tasting rooms are located upstairs, which is the primary attraction for most visitors during their hour-long stay.



Route Touristique de Champagne


You may, however, get a more personal feel for the whole operation by traveling along the Route Touristique de Champagne, which is well marked and encompasses more than 300 wine-producing communities in addition to over 15,000 farmers (of whom only 5,000 sell their products). It crisscrosses the five major districts: Montagne de Reims, Côte des Blancs, Vallée de la Marne, the Aube, and Côte de Sézanne.


Visit around harvest season, which begins the final week of September and continues until the end of the month, and you will see the once-quiet stone-built towns come to life. It is around this time that the air is thick with the scent of crushed grapes, and the rolling hills all of a sudden spring to life with people picking Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes.


If you wish to select them personally, numerous producers will let you spend the day in the vineyard, complete with a champagne breakfast and tours of their cellars. Some companies will even give you a bottle of champagne that was created from the grapes you selected two years later if you place an order with them.


Take the champagne method to get your bulk purchases. Visit the winemakers who grow the grapes and mix the wine themselves; the costs at these establishments are much more competitive. Keep an eye out for signs that read "sale by the bottle," since they are the locations from where you may purchase items directly.


But some businesses run a variety of courses on champagne that you can take if you want to understand a little bit more about the beverage. They might be as brief as two introductory seminars lasting an hour each, or as in-depth as two-day workshops. Up to twenty to thirty different kinds of wine may be sampled provided you make the appropriate arrangements.


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