Start off your 24 hours in Epernay with a wander down the cobbled ‘Avenue de Champagne’ – a DisneyLand for Adults. Big names such as Champagne Moët et Chandon, Pol Roger and Perrier-Jouet adorn the street with their impressive Champagne Houses, beautifully kept buildings and impressive gates. Many welcome you in to see the cellars, or to have a drink in their courtyards or simply marvel at the beauty.
As well as the various tasting houses you can take Le Ballon d’Epernay which floats high above Épernay. Attached to a cable but soaring to 150m into the sky you get excellent views of the town and its surrounding vineyards. You can even take a glass of Champagne with you to enjoy the views.
To break the day up, I recommend pottering up to Hautvilliers (by car or bike), which is a Premier Cru village a couple of miles north of Epernay and also the home of the famous monk, Dom Perignon, whose work in wine-making helped to develop champagne as we know it! Hautvilliers sits above Epernay and looks down over the commune and surrounding vineyards. Grab a bite to eat in the main square at Café d’Hautvillers whilst listening to some live music. There are a few shops which are easy places to idle away time and there is the Abbey of Saint-Pierre, where Dom Perignon is buried.
Fun Fact: The first vintage of Dom Pérignon was in 1921 and was only released for sale in 1936. The brand was subsequently given by Champagne Mercier to Moët in 1927 for a wedding between the two families!