This Summer I spent a long weekend in Champagne, France. In case you didn’t realise, Champagne is actually a place and a bottle of champagne can only be called champagne if it is specifically made in the region. In Champagne there are two places, Reims and Epernay; as we were only there a few days we focused on the champagne houses in Reims and visited three champagne houses. I can’t tell you which champagne house is best as I have only seen three, but I can tell you the pros and cons of each one I saw to help you decide! Phew.. that was a lot of ‘champagnes’ in one paragraph.
This was our first champagne house and the building is just breathtaking from outside. You pass through a beautiful gate down a winding driveway towards a stunning light blue castle.
We booked a self guided tour (an audio guide through an app) and booked for the earliest time slot. We arrived 15 minutes beforehand and were allowed in straight away. The beauty of this was, that we had the entire cellar to ourselves, which was great for taking photos and soaking up the atmosphere without anyone nearby. We were actually so alone down there that we started wondering if we were even allowed to be there. The cellars are filled with art exhibitions which is a bit random but fun nevertheless.
After you got treated to your first glass of champagne we were told (to our surprise) that our second glass was on the other side of the road in another beautiful house.
Overall we found we didn’t learn as much as with a proper guided tour, however we got all the photos in the cellar with no people in them and it was fun to go to a second place and try more champagne there. Pommery definitely has the prettiest building out of all the champagne houses.
After a quick lunch our next stop was at Taittinger, if you are wondering if you can manage two champagne houses in a day, you definitely can! Although the building wasn’t as pretty as Pommery, Taittinger’s champagne house was built on a monastry which made the history very interesting.
We had a guided tour and the tour guide was great, he was very informative but also had a great sense of humour.
Ps I totally loved all of the cute bags you got when you bought champagne at the houses, like this one above.
We went to Lanson the next day and out of all of three houses we saw, this was the cheapest one. Lanson is one of the oldest champagne houses and also the only house to have their own (small) vineyard on site which you also get to see as part of the tour. The tour guide was more serious and we did prefer Taittinger’s tour guide, however getting to see the vineyard and also the process of making the champagne was cool.
Here’s a tip: if you book the cheapest option (the guided tour is always the same, it just depends what champagne you get) you will get two glasses of champagne. However when you are there you can buy another glass for 10€ and it can be any of their champagne – which means you can try their most expensive champagne and it is still cheaper than buying the most expensive ticket (thank me later!).
So there you have it, all three champagne houses rounded up in a nutshell. You will also find that a lot of the guided tours are very similar and you will hear the same information again and again (eg. how champagne is made), but I guess it also helps you learn and retain the information.
Some also offer breakfasts or lunches (unfortunately they were all booked up by the time we looked) but I think they would also be interesting to do in such a beautiful setting. I hope this helped you decide a little bit easier what houses to see, I definitely plan to go back to see more!