Epernay, Capital of Champagne
Admire the rows of handsome mansions and neo-Classical villas on the Avenue de Champagne in Épernay, considered by many as the headquarters of champagne production and home to a fizzing concentration of maisons de champagne. Peek through wrought-iron gates at Moët’s private 19th-century Hôtel Chandon, built in pavilion style and set in landscaped gardens, and ogle at the spooky red-brick Château Perrier. Épernay is situated at the heart of Champagne’s vineyards and forests, bordered by the River Marne, and its Avenue de Champagne draws visitors from all over the world. More than 200 million bottles lie in a mind-boggling 110km of cellars beneath the buildings, belonging to De Castellane, Moët and Chandon, Mercier, Perrier-Jouët, Demoiselle, Comtesse Lafond, Boizel, Esterlin, De Venoge and Pol Roger. Before you leave, don’t forget to have your photo taken beside the giant cork and bottle-top on the roundabout.