Best champagne house tours in Reims and Epernay

Taking a cellar tour is a must-do of any visit to the region but which one?……  If you have a favourite champagne, definitely see if they offer visits.  You’ll get to see the cellars and learn about how champagne is produced on any of the tours, what makes each different is the history of the house and of course the tasting at the end!  You might think it’s best to try something new, but be aware that at the house you can enjoy their premium and vintage champagnes by the glass.  If you already like their non-vintage blend then your pretty certain to love these, and it is way easier to justify €10 or so for a glass than €80 for a bottle!

If your favourite house doesn’t take visitors (and sadly some of the big names don’t) then there’s a range of grande maison’s that do, eight in Reims and five in Epernay.  So here are my recommendations if you….

…don’t want to pre-book

Most houses offer a limited number of guided tours each day and these are popular, so in the summer season you really need to pre-book.  If you don’t want the hassle or your plans are fluid I’d suggest Tattinger if you’re in Reims and Mercier if you are visiting Epernay.  With Tattinger you can see how many places are available on today’s tours on their website and Mercier’s audio-guide led tours depart every 15 minutes.

MERCIER, Avenue de Champagne, Epernay    —    Tours from €16    —     Open everyday April – October, check online for hours during winter.  —     From 9 :30 am to 11 :30 am, from 2 :00 pm to 4 :30pm
TATTINGER, 9 place Saint Nicaise, Reims   —   Tours from €17   —   Open everyday April to October, weekdays only from November to March   —   First tour 9.45am, last tour 4.15pm

…if you are travelling by train

Reims is just 45 mins from Paris by train, but you need to pick the right house to avoid an expensive taxi ride or a 40 minute walk once you get here!   Mumm is a 15 minute walk from the train station and afterwards you can wander back towards the city centre through the Boulingrin quarter which has lots of great eating options clustered around the market hall.

Epernay is a much smaller city so all the champagne houses in town are a maximum of 20 minutes walk from the train station.

MUMM, 34 rue du Champs de Mars, Reims    —    Tours from €20    —    Open everyday March – October, check online for hours during winter.    —    From 09.30am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm (last tour 4.30pm).   Best to reserve ahead either online or by phone.

…are on a tight budget

The best value tours in town are at G H Martel and Charles de Casanove.  Whilst the price is only a few euros cheaper than the more famous brands, here your tour ends with a comparative tasting of 3 glasses, rather than the usual 1 glass of Brut.  Both houses produce high quality champagne and this is a great opportunity to try a Rose or Blanc de Noir as part of your tasting.

G. H. MARTEL, 17 Rue des Creneaux, Reims   —   Tours €15    —   Open everyday 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 7pm.   Booking advisable
CHARLES DE CAZANOVE, 8 place de la Replublique, Reims   —   Tours €14   —  Open daily 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 7pm.   Booking advisable

…are visiting during winter (ie. November – March)

Reims is a great choice for a winter city break – especially during December when the Marche de Noel is on – but be aware that some of the champagne houses close.  Open everyday throughout the year, Pommery (Reims) is your best option for a cellar tour.   I love this tour, the roman age chalk pits make cathedral-like cellar spaces and the modern art installations throughout add an extra dimension.

POMMERY, 5 Place General Gouraud, Reims    —    Tours from €20    —    Open everyday except 1 – 3 January, 7 – 8 March and 25 December.    —    From 10am to 6pm, typically four English language tours per day.  Best to book ahead either online or by phone.

…want to visit a small house without an appointment

Join the lovely Marie at Guy Charbaut for an extensive tour of the cellars and tasting – all for just €10.  Located in the premier cru village of Mareuil-sur-Ay (just 15 minutes drive from Epernay) this house produces around 80,000 bottles per year and grows the grapes on the same hillsides as the famous names of Philopponnat and Billecart Salmon.  Your guide speaks perfect English and at the end of the tour you’ll typically enjoy 4 to 5 tastings of their fantastic champagne.   Their group cellar tour departs at 10am, but if possible its polite to phone ahead, even if it’s on the day.

GUY CHARBAUT, 12 Rue du Pont, Mareuil-sur-Ay   —   Tour and tasting €10   —   Open Tuesday to Saturday   —   Tour at 10am

…want to see the vines aswell

Lanson is the only champagne house to have vines growing in the city so on this 1.5 hour tour you really do go from grapes to glass!  Whilst the man made caves are not as spectacular as Pommery or Veuve Cliqout, this interesting tour gives a much fuller picture of modern champagne production.  And as you have to pre-book you might land up effectively having a private tour by yourselves.

LANSON, 66 Rue de Courlancy, Reims   —   Tours from €18  —   Typically open Monday – Saturday   —   Booking essential.

…are travelling with children

Let’s face it, a champagne house tour is unlikely to be the highlight of any under 18’s holiday, but Mercier (Epernay) is a great choice for all the family.  Kids will enjoy riding on the mini-train through the cellars and the tour has lots of videos to watch.  As usual there’s a range of tasting options for Mum and Dad at the end and with tours departing every 15 minutes there’s no hanging around.  Under 10’s are free and children aged 11 – 18 are €8.

MERCIER, Avenue de Champagne, Epernay    —    Tours from €16    —     Open everyday April – October, check online for hours during winter.  —     From 9 :30 am to 11 :30 am, from 2 :00 pm to 4 :30pm

…want a tour in another language

All the big champagne houses offer guided tours in French and English, but if you prefer another language there are some options.  At Mercier, with it’s audiotour available in 10 languages (French, English, German, Dutch Spanish, Italian, Russian, Polish, Mandarin and Japanese), you’ll understand every word and get the most out of your visit.

Veuve Clicquot offer a great small group tour of their cellars and have guides who speak Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch and Russian.  Just specify your language choice when you book online.

MERCIER, Avenue de Champagne, Epernay    —    Tours from €16    —     Open everyday April – October, check online for hours during winter.  —     From 9 :30 am to 11 :30 am, from 2 :00 pm to 4 :30pm.  No need to book in advance
VEUVE CLICQUOT, 1 Place des droits de l’Homme, Reims   —   Tours from €25   —   Open Tuesday to Saturday, from April to November   —   Booking essential

…have difficulty with steps

By their nature the champagne cellars are underground and most tours will require you to negotiate 50+ steps.  Anyone with mobility difficulties is best off heading for Mercier (Epernay), where a glass lift whisks you down to the cellars and a mini-train limits the walking once you are down there.  For wheelchair users I’d recommend Charles Mignon  (Epernay), where the cellars are cut into the hillside, meaning everything is on one level.

MERCIER, Avenue de Champagne, Epernay    —    Tours from €16    —     Open everyday April – October, check online for hours during winter.  —     From 9 :30 am to 11 :30 am, from 2 :00 pm to 4 :30pm
CHARLES MIGNON, 6 rue Irene joliot Curie, Epernay   —   Tours from €9   —   Open Monday to Saturday    —   Reservation essential


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