ÉPERNAY AND THE VINEYARDS
From Épernay to Dormans, the pathway all along the Marne’s meanders offers an attractive approach to the vineyards.
CHAMPAGNE VINEYARDS AND LANDSCAPES
THROUGH VINEYARDS AND FORESTS, REMARKABLE PANORAMAS AND VANTAGE POINTS
At the foot of the Montagne de Reims Natural Park and on both sides of the Marne, the Champagne Vineyards cover a landscape that is stunning in every season for its variation in colours.
Two of the three areas are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites as part of the Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars: the historic vineyards at Hautvillers, Aÿ, and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, and the Avenue de Champagne, and the Fort Chabrol at Épernay, these places are sure to enchant you...
Come and uncover all of Champagne’s secrets, visit new cellars and taste the king of wines!
CAPITAL OF CHAMPAGNE
Don’t forget to explore its prestigious Avenue de Champagne: Mercier, Moët et Chandon, De castellane, Perrier-Jouët... These are just some of the 35 Champagne houses in Épernay, many of them enjoying worldwide renown.
But Épernay also turns heads when you realise that, under your very feet, there are 200 million jealously guarded bottles in 110 km of tunnels dug out of the chalk.
The “walk” in a tethered balloon
150 metres above the ground, will give you an unobstructed 360° over Épernay and the Champagne region vineyards.
LES HABITS DE LUMIÈRE
Every year, the capital of Champagne puts on its clothes of light the last weekend before the entry in the winter season.
For three days, the town of Epernay celebrates its cultural and gastronomic heritage in a festive atmosphere.
THE CRADLE OF CHAMPAGNE
The traditional and picturesque village of the Montagne de Reims Natural Park, right in the heart of the vineyards, Hautvillers owes its renown mainly to Dom Pérignon, the father of fundamental advances such as the blending of grapes from different terroirs.
An unmissable step in your trip to the Champagne region, Hautvillers offers many activities linked to champagne. Even though the Hautvillers Abbey is not open to the public, you can still explore the Saint Sindulphe church and Dom Pérignon’s tombstone.
Here you can admire the typical Champagne architecture and the lanes boasting 140 wrought-iron signs, showcasing the professions that will liven up your walk!
Once a fortified village, it has kept the outlines of its straight streets. A section of the former county court now acts as the Town hall that can be accessed via a magnificent staircase with Louis XIII style white stone balustrades.
Exploring this area won’t be complete without a visit to the colossal statue of Pope Urban II which, at 33 metres tall, towers over the Champagne region vineyards... The statue’s interior can only be visited in exceptional circumstances (90 steps wind up on the inside of the statue, reaching the armpits).
Pope Urban II, whose “civilian” name was Odo of Châtillon, preached for the first crusade to Jerusalem in 1095 and imposed two weekdays for the “Peace and Truce of God” in armed combat, the smallest breach of this observation at the time leading to excommunication.
The site also features a viewpoint indicator allowing you to take in the whole valley and to spot the 22 surrounding villages.
Maréchal Foch chose Dormans as a symmetrical point between the two battles of the Marne to erect, in 1920 in the parc du Château, one of the four national monuments to the War of 1914-1918.
This exceptional architectural complex encapsulates the magnitude of the Great War’s human sacrifice. The pathway encourages contemplation as you approach the crypt, the upper chapel, the cloister, the lanterns of the dead, and the ossuary.
The path around the château will lead you to a 25 hectare wooded park that hosts a conservatory orchard and a museum dedicated to champagne tools with its watermill featuring one of the biggest bucket wheels in France (8 m).
The belle époque
Oeuilly, the village “lost in time” and immersed in a peculiar atmosphere Frozen in time in the year 1900, these ecomuseums let you explore the inhabitants’ daily lives through three thematic spaces:
- Ancient tools used in vineyards and for wine-making, cooperage, and cylinders gathered around a vintage 1850 still can be seen in a small wine-making museum.
- A period classroom brings back memories: an odour of wax and ink, a blackboard, a gown, a dunce cap, and wooden desks: everything is here!
- The Champagne house including weathered furniture, alcove bed, bread oven, and tableware of yesteryear bring to mind a wine-making family living at the end of the 19th century
The ecomuseum sometimes features a “Dictée du Certificat d’Etudes” (Spelling Test)event... with feather pen: fun and laughter guaranteed!
WHAT DOES THE DUKE OF GUISE OWE TO THE TOWN OF DORMANS?
- A wife
- A scar
- The role of constable
His facial scar, that he suffered from a carbine round in 1575 in front of the château de Dormans. This earned him, like his father before him, the historic moniker of Henry the Scarface.
Epernay Tourism Office - Avenue de Champagne - + 33 3 26 53 33 00 - www.ot-epernay.fr
Hautvillers Tourism Office - Place de la République - +33 3 26 57 06 35 - www.tourisme-hautvillers.com
Paysages de la Champagne Tourism Office - www.tourisme-paysages-champagne.com
Châtillon-sur-Marne information office - 4 rue de l'Eglise - +33 3 26 58 32 86
Dormans information office - Château de Dormans - + 33 3 26 53 35 86
SELECTION OF GETAWAYS
Some suggestions for tours to explore Épernay and the Champagne vineyards, for a short walk or a long stay!
Avenue de Champagne
Avenue de Champagne is home to the prestigious houses which produce and trade in this world-famous wine. Many 19th-century Renaissance- and...
Bateau Champagne Vallée
Let yourself be gently rocked by the River Marne on board a paddle steamer with a panoramic view of the valley. The bar and the terrace are...
Mémorial National Dormans 1914-1918
Built in 1921, on a site that was chosen by Marshal Foch to commemorate the two Battles of the Marne, this memorial is a grouping...
Statue du Pape Urbain II
The colossal statue of Pope Urban II was erected in 1887 and is 25 metres high ; the viewpoint indicator allows visitors to locate the 22...
This museum has been set up in traditional buildings in the heart of a wine-producing village, situated between Epernay and Dormans which...
Rallye énigme insolite - Curiocity Hautvillers
Cap Enigme offers dynamic, original tours of the village. In order to solve the main riddle, stroll the streets and alleyways in search of...