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The romance of the fizzy elixir lends romance to the region. But originally the name was derived, less romantically, from 'Campania': land of plains. That's very much an understatement, this landscape isn't just plains. There are also undulating hillsides on which grow the perfectly romantic rows of vines; and rest the 300 charming Champagne villages. If you know which of these you want to stay in go straight to our guru's list. Otherwise here are some good reasons to visit, and some of the best places to stay in Champagne to enjoy them (if you'd prefer a holiday cottage or apartment, we recommend the selection with our online partner, booking.com).
The romance of the drink must come in part from the magical story of its 'invention' by Benedictine Monk, Dom Perignon. Sparkling wine starts life as still wine, in the case of Champagne, mostly thin, acidic blends of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grapes. Champagne is then fermented in the bottle. When the yeast breaks down the sugars produce the carbon dioxide sparkle. Many people will tell you that when you taste Champagne before the fermentation process has occurred you’ll be able to see why it’s so important to the region, so make sure you try some.
The Champagne Route is the most common way to traverse the region, taking quaffers and connoisseurs from one beautiful village to the next (don't miss Colombey Les Deux Eglises - close to the champagne route and once home of General de Gaulle). Many vineyards are passed along the way. Most of the big producers don't grow their own grapes, but the ones who do are obviously the most interesting to visit. It's worth remembering that much of the region's best bubbly is produced in the 5,000 or so small scale vignerons. So make sure you make time to visit some of them. Many are happy to welcome visitors.
Don't forget that this is a busy destination for all sorts of reasons, year round. So if you want to guarantee a bed in one of the best places to stay in Champagne, do yourself a favour and plan well ahead.
Premium champagne grapes are grown on the gentle slopes of the Montagne de Reims, where many of the big names in champagne are based. Including Pommery, Krug, Taittinger and Roederer.
Taittinger is one of the few major champagne houses you can tour without a booking. Once a church, the cellars of this 'house' go down several levels, to those cut into the chalk in Roman times. Don't be put off by the famous name, it's worth visiting Tattinger because it's one of the few champagne houses which still turns its bottles by hand.
- On the edge of the Montagne de Reims, Château de Rilly is one of the best places to stay in Champagne. It is beautiful, peaceful and surrounded by a reserve, and is perfectly located for taking in all that Reims has to offer.
- L'Assiette Champenoise is one of the best places to stay in Champagne for wine tasters. Several champagne 'caves' are within walking distance. The accommodation is modern and luxurious. And the restaurant has two Michelin stars, so it's also a top choice for foodies. Surprisingly it's also one of the best places to stay in Champagne for families, as lots of its rooms are large enough to accommodate an extra bed without needing a whole suite.
25kms south of Reims, Épernay is the true wine capital of Champagne. Situated in the heart of the vineyards, ninety per cent of this town's population work in wine. And Épernay has 37 Champagne houses - Reims has eight. Épernay is also one of the wealthiest towns in the Champagne region. Partly because this is where Moët et Chandon have their cellar. But many of the smaller producers within walking distance of Moët are also well worth a visit.
Épernay is also famous for the vast underground cellars lying directly below its streets. There are approximately 110kms worth, holding 200 million bottles of fizz.
- La Villa Eugene is one of the best places to stay in Champagne if you're looking for purist fizz and luxury. This charming house once belonged to the famous Mercier family - also famed for holding a car rally in the subterranean cellars under Épernay. It's also a perfect spot if you want to be within walking distance from as many champagne houses as possible.
Beautiful and unchanging Troyes is the second historic capital of the Champagne region, though, unlike Reims, it doesn't have any champagne houses. It does have some wonderful half-timbered medieval ones though - thought of as some of the best preserved in Europe. And some very fine Gothic architecture as well. It also has some excellent museums. And probably the most famous outlet mall in France.
- A fabulous half timbered townhouse, La Maison de Rhodes is one of the best places to stay in Champagne if you're here for the region's history as well as its wine. Once owned by the Knights of Malta it's hard to get more medieval wonderful than this 12th Century building. It's also a perfect choice if you're looking to get away from the main Champagne tourist drag.
For a holiday cottage
- If you're travelling in a group or with family, it's sometimes easier to book more flexible, self catering type accommodation. For a good selection we recommend our online partner, booking.com.
Best Hotels in Champagne
Le Marius 6 roomsLes Riceys, Champagne
A charming little hotel in the heart of the Champagne region. A traditional stone building with green shutters, beautiful rooms and family suites, and a large restaurant set in the original Champagne cellar. An authentic spot perfect for local exploring and lots of wine tasting.Local exploring - A perfect spot to explore the Champagne region from in authentic style.Wine tasting - Set in the heart of Champagne's vineyards.Local markets - Good for local colour.Great walks - Good for walkers.
La Closerie des Sacres 3 rooms from $84Lavannes, Champagne
These former stables provide an authentic French farmhouse feel with the comforts of a charming B&B. Breakfast is included and there are plenty of games and activities for kids on site. With access to the kitchen and BBQ, a perfect spot for families or groups to relax and explore the local area.Sights nearby - Explore the Champagne region just 30 mins awayLocal markets - Discover the local town of ReimsGreat walks - Parc de ChampagneFour poster beds - For romantics.Recommended by - Sawdays
La Grange du Relais 11 rooms from $78Colombey Les Deux Eglises
Quaint former coaching inn metres from the village of Colombey-les-deux-Eglises, just off the Champagne trail. Stone walls and wooden beams make for cosy traditional rooms, most of which overlook the pretty garden. Come for good French food, local exploring and welcoming hosts.Sights nearby - The town hosts a museum dedicated to Charles de Gaulle 500m from the innGreat walks - lots of local woodland to exploreLocal markets - Good for local colour.Full of character
La Petite Abbaye 5 rooms from $78Signy L'Abbaye, Champagne
Charming chambres d'hôtes in the centre of pretty Signy l'Abbaye, just right for a short break or as a base while exploring Champagne and the Ardennes. Four double rooms (only one en-suite) and a family suite sleeping five. Simple, traditional and very comfortable, with a gourmet breakfast included.Local exploring - It's a great base for exploring the area, whether you go north towards Belgium, or south for the ChampagneSights nearby - Reims with its grand cathedral is an hour away or visit the castle of Sedan one of Europe's largestGreat walks - Lovely walking countryKayaking - And canoeing close by
Villa Louis Victor 5 rooms from $84Epernay
A comfortable B&B in Dizy, near Epernay. The modern and simple rooms boast soft furnishings and tasteful decorations. In the heart of the Champagne region, the B&B is near many famous houses such as Moët et Chandon and De Castellane. An ideal resting place for a bubbly tour!Value chic - A very reasonably priced hotel offering tasteful decor, neutral tones and a hearty breakfast in the popular Champagne region.Sights nearby - Visit the Castellane Tower, less than two miles away.
Les Berceaux 28 rooms from $99Epernay
Family run hotel in Epernay, the heart of the Champagne region. The world's most famous champagne houses in the Avenue de Champagne are close by. Les Berceaux is all about the cuisine with two restaurants - the Michelin starred Michelon and the Bistrot 7.Restaurant - Hotel owner and chef Patrick Michelon and his dedicated team prepare an unforgettable menuRestaurant with rooms - The emphasis of this charming hotel is on the two restuarantsGood wine list - Superb wine list with champagne by the glass to sampleOwner managed
Hostellerie La Montagne 9 rooms from $118Colombey Les Deux Eglises
A charming restaurant with rooms in a pear tree garden. Traditional rooms have romantic wallpapers, fireplaces and antique furniture. Superb French cuisine, a garden and terrace in which to relax. Elegant, peaceful and enchanting.Local exploring - Many woods and forests nearby to enjoy a picnic, wine tasting and historic abbeysGreat walks - Through nearby Wood of the LuneSights nearby - Bayel, the town of crystal
Le Clos Margot 5 rooms from $103Vertus, Champagne
An excellent rural B&B within striking distance of the world's finest champagne producers. The minimalist elegant rooms are decorated with warm pastel colour schemes. Sample the local fizz with a tour of the owner's champagne produce, or spend the day walking in the beautiful surrounding scenery.Local exploring - Explore the fascinating champagne culture of the surrounding area and visit some of the world's most famous champagne houses.Families - With large rooms and plenty of rooms for running around, it's ideal for a family holiday to rural Burgundy.Local markets - Head down to Vertus, explore the local markets and pick up a few regional treats.Great walks - Make the most of the beautiful walks in the surrounding vineyards.
Chateau d'Etoges 28 rooms from $103Étoges, Champagne
A stately chateau surrounded by vineyards and parklands. Opulent bedrooms have four poster beds, fireplaces, parquet floors, and high ceilings. An excellent spa and wellness centre and Orangery restaurant. Fit for a King.Romantic BreakSights nearby - Good location for visits to the Champagne housesGreat walks - Lots of local hiking trailsRomantic - Good for couples.Recommended by - Sawdays
Le Parc du Chateau 5 rooms from $115Reims, Champagne
A stylish, contemporary guesthouse in rural Champagne. Rooms are sleek and comfortable with attached patios facing out onto parkland. Situated in the wine-making village of Hermonville, it's perfectly located for people looking to explore regions illustrious wine and champagne production.Country Escape - A quaint and charming Château in a small wine producing village surrounded by wooded parklands.Great walks - Excellent walking trails in the nearby Montagne de Reims Regional Park.Sights nearby - Church of Saint-Jacques is eight miles away.
Domaine de la Creuse 5 rooms from $120Champagne
A charming, beam-clad bed and breakfast with a large, tranquil garden. Bedrooms are very comfortable and stylishly decorated in pretty, neutral tones. Enjoy a delicious fresh continental breakfast and then explore the historic city of Troyes and the Champagne region.Sights nearby - The Forêt d'Orient Regional Park is a 20-minute drive awayFour poster beds - For romantics.
L'atelier de degustation 2 rooms from $125Vertus, Champagne
A contemporary hotel featuring just two rooms in the heart of the historic Vertus. Generously proportioned rooms mix traditional charm with contemporary style. Chic lounge areas feature glass fronted walls and minimalist style. Well located to explore the town and surrounding vineyards. Exclusive.Local exploring - Well located for exploring, either through the historic town or the surrounding vineyards.Sights nearby - History buffs must visit the pretty Saint Martin Church.
Domaine Chateau du Faucon 26 rooms from $138Donchery, Champagne
A fabulous chateau set in stunning parkland. Elegant rooms are individually styled with traditional fabrics and wallpaper yet the feel is still modern and clean. Excellent regional cuisine. Tennis courts and stables in the grounds. A romantic country retreat and great value.Country Escape - A chatueau befitting of a fairytale complete with horses trotting around the parkland.Romantic - Good for couples.Full of characterSpa
Chateau de Rilly 15 rooms from $141Rilly-la-Montagne, Champagne
An attractive chateau on the edge of a Nature Reserve and at the foot of the Montagne de Reims. Chic and spacious rooms in creams and yellows, excellent restaurant, and a spa with all the works. A luxurious spot.Cooking classes - Check for timings.Spa
La Villa Eugene 15 rooms from $156Epernay
A highly sophisticated and very luxurious city spot that once belonged to the Mercier family. Seamless bedrooms and suites decorated in chic creams with parquet floors and fireplaces. An elegant conservatory bar looks onto a pool and the gardens.City StyleSights nearby - Explore all the champagne housesSwimming Pool - Outdoor heated poolLocal markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - Sawdays
Les Bulles Dorees 4 rooms from $162Champagne
This quirky Champagne house features modern décor and elegant, spacious rooms. It has a beautiful garden with views of the surrounding champagne vineyards and it's only a few miles away from a variety of local sights. Free parking and wifi available.Foodies - Surrounded by champagne vineyards, it's perfect for learning more about the industry (or to simply have a few tasting sessions!)Sights nearby - Visit local champagne houses as well as Sainte-Clotilde Basilica and Vila DemoiselleGreat walks - Hike up La Montage de Reims or take a stroll through Parc Léo Lagrange
Domaine Sacret 4 rooms from $167Champagne
A chic guesthouse owned by a wine-growing family in central Ay. Individually styled rooms feature free standing baths, warm hues and antique furniture. A bar, complete with billiards table, for evenings spent sampling the regions finest champagne. Walking distance from restaurants. Fabulous.Romantic Break - An intimate guesthouse with champagne tasting, free standing baths and complete tranquility.Great walks - Take a relaxing stroll along the nearby river banks.Restrictions on children - An adult only property.Full of characterRecommended by - Sawdays
La Maison de Rhodes 11 rooms from $180Troyes, Champagne
A fabulous timber townhouse renovation, previously owned by the Knights of Malta. Sleek contemporary bedrooms and suites retain elements of the old for aesthetic effect. Wonderful organic restaurant and swimming pool in one of the gardens. A sophisticated hotel.Swimming Pool - Small outdoor PoolLocal markets - Good for local colour.Sights nearby - Well located for major sights.Recommended by - Sawdays
Le Clos des Terres Soudees 5 rooms from $183VRIGNY, Champagne
Exceptional boutique hotel. Just five discreetly modern bedrooms - high end design elements accompanied by classical furniture and antiques. An excellent restaurant serves gourmet cuisine and an extensive wine list. Romantic and indulgent.Romantic BreakLocal markets - Good for local colour.Sights nearby - Well located for major sights.
Chez Odette 9 rooms from $193Williers, Champagne
An extremely sleek boutique hotel. High design, all the mod cons, and real attention to detail. Bedrooms and suites with open fires, dark wood, and slate bathrooms. An excellent gourmet restaurant and terrace. Very sophisticated for a country escape.Designer - Uniquely designed interiors.Local markets - Good for local colour.Great walks - Good for walkers.Sights nearby - Well located for major sights.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, Tablet
Le Champ des Oiseaux 9 rooms from $197Troyes, Champagne
A beautiful 15th century medieval renovation in central Troyes. Stone and timber facade, leafy courtyard, light and airy interiors. Its gourmet restaurant is even more reason to stay here.Local markets - Good for local colour.Sights nearby - Well located for major sights.Recommended by - Sawdays
L'Assiette Champenoise 35 rooms from $204Tinqueux, Champagne
A traditional looking timbered house with uber modern interiors. Excellent restaurant serves gourmet cuisine and has an extensive wine list. Huge rooms and suites with private balconies and jacuzzi bath tubs.Foodies - Arnaud Lallement's cuisine has earned two michelin starsRestaurant - Two Michelin StarsPrivate Hot Tub - The terrace suite has a private double jacuzzi tubSwimming Pool - Indoor Pool
Hostellerie La Briqueterie 40 rooms from $219Epernay
Recently renovated country house hotel on a vineyard just a stone's throw from Epernay. Luxurious rooms are indivdually designed with interesting fabrics and bold wallpapers. Sit out on the terrace and enjoy views over gardens, fountains and pool, or head in for fabulously pampering spa treatments.Wine tasting - Explore the oldest and most prestigious Champagne houses 4km away in EpernayMeeting RoomSwimming Pool - Heated, indoorOpulentRecommended by - Relais & Chateaux
Hotel Restaurant Les Avises 10 rooms from $261Epernay (Champagne)
Located in Champagne, France's famous wine region, plus a famous restaurant headed by Michelin star awarded chef Rossillon, this property is a must for foodies. The chateau is 19th century with modern interiors. Rooms feature cow skin rugs, retro furnishings, original art and expansive bathrooms.Wine tasting - There is no better place to sample the golden, bubbly delights of the Champagne region!Sailing - Sailing on the Lac de Villegusien is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.Sights nearby - Reims Catherdral and the Abbey of Saint Remi not to be missed.Great walks - Through the Montagne De Reims Regional Nature Park.
Chateau Les Crayeres 20 rooms from $376Reims, Champagne
An exceptional Five Star chateau with a Michelin star chef and beautiful rooms. Luxury, romance, and the finest attention to detail throughout. Classical furniture and sumptuous fabrics. With 400 Champagne labels it's a very sophisticated hotel.Good wine list - 400 Champagne labels.Foodies - Michelin star chef.5* Luxury - Very high service standards.Four poster beds - For romantics.Recommended by - Relais & Chateaux, Fodors