When you go to Champagne, take this guide with you and get to know the most relevant addresses. We have done the hardest work to make the days you spend in and around Reims (Reims) memorable for you. We have selected accommodations characterized by privacy and contemporary interior design. We have recommended restaurants where you will want to return not only for the food, but also for the atmosphere. For the first time, we have listed all the best wine bars together, where you will find pearls from both grower* champagnes and big houses on the drinks menu.
The authors of this article, who visit Champagne several times a year, have personally checked each of the places and selected the most relevant addresses at the moment in order to give the traveler who appreciates both quality tourism and champagne the opportunity to get to know the essence of the region like a professional, even if it will be the first visit to Champagne .
Anda Kārkliņa, andasstuff.lv
Photo: Kristaps Kārklins, instagram.com/kristaps_karklins
When arriving at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, rent a car – it will be useful for getting to know the region. The journey to the capital of champagne, Reims, will take about 90 minutes. Reims can also be reached from Paris airport by high-speed train, which takes just 45 minutes. Whichever mode of transport you choose, you’ll find that Champagne is conveniently located, easily accessible, and on a freer day, it allows you to squeeze in a few hours or even a day in Paris.
Restaurants and Bistro’s
Start your Champagne experience with a quality meal. The French and gastronomy are inseparable, it is part of the art of enjoying life. In France, it is customary to have a light breakfast so that you can go to lunch around noon. Note that all restaurants are open from 12:00 to 14:00 and then closed until dinner, which is usually from 19.00 In order not to find yourself with a growling stomach after two a day, make reservations in time, as finding a place to have lunch at another time will be difficult.
Serving burgers named after French kings, Sacré Burger (24 rue de Tambour, Reims) is a popular stop in Reims. There is always an uplifting atmosphere here, the hipster waiters will recommend the best combination of champagne with a delicious burger – Krug is available by the glass, the cult champagne of Guillaume Selosse is also available here.
You should also plan Sacré Bistro (2 Place Auban Moët, Épernay), which today is the coolest and best place to eat in the city of Épernay – apart from burgers and salads, here for dinner you can taste modern dishes of classic French cuisine and, of course, an excellent champagne list, including the cult grower creations.
Gueuleton bistro (1 Place Martyrs de la Résistance, Reims) has its own meat cellar, here you must taste the special offer – meat matured in the cellar, which allows the steak to acquire a special juiciness during the aging process. The rustic interior reminds that the emphasis is on the food itself, snacks are served on wooden boards. Here, one of the organic champagnes can be perfectly matched to the food.
L’Epicerie Au Bon Manger
Walking around Reims, you will notice the towers of Reims Cathedrale Notre-Dame, endowed with Gothic features, from almost any point of view. A five-minute walk from the cathedral is the small family brasserie L’Epicerie Au Bon Manger (7 Rue Courmeaux, Reims), which is open all day – there is a delicatessen and the widest selection of grower champagnes, the winemakers themselves are also frequent guests here. Conversations at the few tables bubble up at lunch and dinner, here you must try a selection of regional cheeses and a meat plate, as well as the signature dessert – chocolate mousse. The owners of the brasserie are always on site and work behind the counter themselves, which is why this place is loved by both locals and guests of Champagne.
For a gourmet dinner in Reims, Japanese chef Kazuyuki Tanaka’s restaurant Racine (6 Place Godinot, Reims) is worth considering. A table must be reserved at least a week in advance – Racine recently received its second Michelin star, so the cult status of the place where French cuisine meets Asian flavors is very popular.
Another address for fine dining in Reims is L’Assiette Champenoise (40 Avenue Paul Vaillant-Couturier, Reims), a three-Michelin star restaurant run by chef Arnaud Lallement, where cooking is equated to an art form. Expensive, but unforgettable!
Brasserie le Jardin
More democratic and accessible is Brasserie le Jardin (7 Avenue du Général Giraud, Reims), surrounded by the seven hectares of gardens of the beautiful Hotel Le Domaine Les Crayères, a good place for a leisurely lunch or an elegant dinner. When dining in a brasserie, ask your waiter for a wine list from the adjacent Le Parc restaurant, where you’ll find the best prices on cult Burgundian wines from houses such as Coche-Dury and Raveneau.
Driving outside of Reims, the Côte des Blancs landscape with its majestic Chardonnay vines offers picturesque views. Plan a meal (and ideally an overnight stay) at Hotel Les Avisés (59 Rue de Cramant), owned by cult winemaker Anselme Selosse’s family, in the scenic village of Avize. It will also be the key to participate in the tasting, requesting it with the reservation. The nearby restaurant is under the virtuoso direction of Chef Stéphane Rossillon, who always works with the best local products. Often, the owner of the house, the grower of the surrounding villages and wine critics dine in the restaurant. The interior is one of the most tasteful in all of Champagne, there is always a great atmosphere accompanied by high quality food. The food prices here are more affordable than in the famous restaurants of Reims, but your foot may slip when you see the extensive wine list.
When visiting the houses of the Côte des Blancs, in the quiet village of Le Mesnil sur Oger, you must go to the… station! La Gare Restaurant (3 place de la gare, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger), owned by the family of winemaker Robert Moncuit, is, as the name suggests, in the former station building and is a great lunch spot. Already at twelve o’clock there is an anthill-like atmosphere here – the visitors, mostly local villagers and importers of Mesnil groves, chatter, waiters shoot between tables, glasses clink. Local cuisine and champagne from €7 per glass.
Le Garde Champetre
If you venture further afield to the Côte des Bar area, where gingerbread-like buildings from the 16th century can be seen along the way – in the town of Troyes – then book time for lunch or dinner at a restaurant that is a destination in itself – Le Garde Champetre (Route des Riceys, 10250 Gyé-sur-Seine). This place was created by enthusiasts (one of the owners is Cédric Bouchard of the cult house Roses de Jeanne), solving a problem in many places, as the area previously did not have a modern restaurant serving the best that the region has to offer. Le Garde Champetre meals are prepared using ingredients from the nearby garden and farm, supplemented with the best produce from nearby farms. The restaurant’s food combines excellent taste with healthy and local ingredients. The Côte des Bar is one of the hottest neighborhoods right now, most prominently characterized by the rare organic and low-dosage Champagnes of Pinot Blanc.
Nowhere else will you find such extensive and researched champagne menus as in the wine bars of Reims. There’s always a lively atmosphere at Le Coq Rouge (65 rue Chanzy, Reims), where everyone huddles together at the high bar tables and enjoys bubbly with super-delicious tapas (try the truffle and risotto sandwiches!). The narrowness of the place does not bother anyone, on the contrary – new acquaintances are made and it is completely normal to exchange drinks for tasting.
If you are a hunter of old vintages from the top houses, you must stop by Le Wine Bar By Le Vintage (16 Place du Forum, Reims), every evening a rare bottle is opened here to enjoy by the glass. The owner, Nicolas Papavero, often works behind the counter himself, so conversations can drag on if you count yourself among the lovers of the world of wine. The bar is located a minute away from L’Epicerie Au Bon Manger, so the party can go well into the night.
The Glue Pot (49 Place Drouet d’Erlon, Reims) has earned a reputation as a gathering place for wine geeks – although the bar looks a lot like a pub, it actually has one of the most legendary wine lists in town. Several new positions by the glass are available every night.
It is advisable to reserve a table in any of the places in advance and do not forget that most places, including restaurants, are closed on Mondays.
“A good man is made by good company, good wine and a good reception,” said the legendary English playwright William Shakespeare. The wisdom of this aphorism is realized in Champagne – the opportunity to be in the company of well-known winemakers, enjoy high-quality champagne and experience those visits when you are generously received, spending your time and treating yourself with wine.
Chateau de Sacy
Fifteen minutes’ drive from Reims, in the village of Sacy, the beautiful Chateau de Sacy (Rue des Croisettes, 51500 Sacy) hotel is surrounded by vineyards. Each of the 12 rooms opens up to a landscape worthy of a painting, while the interior surprises with its spaciousness. Several rooms are named after historically bright characters, thus marking the style – like the rooms decorated in the rococo mood of Marie Antoinette or the Baroque mood of Louis XIV, where historical moods alternate with modern details. A gorgeous bohemian atmosphere prevails here, which invites you to open the windows and breathe in the harmony of nature and man-made beauty.
However, if you decide to stay overnight in the Côte des Blancs area, choose the already mentioned Les Avisés. It is one of the most personal accommodations where, no matter how many times you return, you will always be greeted by familiar faces – Anselm, his wife Corinne or son Guillaume. The administrator Patrick and the waitress Natalī have also been working at Les Avisés for years. Here it is easy to forget that you are staying in a hotel, rather you feel like you are visiting good friends.
Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa
Within driving distance between Reims and Epernay, we recommend staying at a hotel with the most breathtaking view in all of Champagne. At the foot of the Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa (9 rue de la République, Champillon), views of the Marne Valley stretch for miles. The respected travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler has named the recently renovated Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa as the second best hotel in all of France. The spa area is a separate stop, the relaxing atmosphere allows you to renew your strength and relax the mind, while the restaurant Le Royal, led by chef Jean-Denis Rieubland, is like a spa for the taste buds, it has already managed to get its first Michelin star.
Leclerc-Briant Le 25bis
Imagine the 18th century home of a wealthy merchant’s family on the avenue Champagne in Epernay. Creaking wooden floors, soft Turkish carpets in which your feet sink like sand, chairs in an old blue shade that hold stories of the past. Today, the recently opened Leclerc-Briant Le 25bis is here! (25 bis Avenue de Champagne, Épernay) is a hotel that attracts travelers and Instagram bloggers like a magnet. Five rooms combine both contemporary interior accents and modern lighting, as well as historical details and restored furniture. The historical elements are in perfect balance with the modern. The stylish bathrooms feature Hermes and Aesop products and some of the softest towels for guests’ comfort. A super comfortable bed mattress and high-quality bedding will help you gather your strength for the next day. The interior, created by the Ramsey Krause architectural firm, is designed with respect for the history of the house. Accommodation guests can feel like they are visiting a French family. The spacious rooms alone invite you to linger, not to think about time and enjoy champagne already in the morning with breakfast. Leclerc-Briant Le 25bis! is one of the best finds in France at the moment, it will not leave indifferent even the most demanding traveler.
Lai kuru no ieteiktajām adresēm jūs izvēlētos, esam pārliecināti, ka Šampaņa arī jums kļūs par vietu, kur atgriezties.
*Grower champagnes – zemnieku darināti šampanieši, vīnu gatavojot no pašu izaudzētām ogām. Tieši šie zemnieki jeb grower ir atbildīgi par Brut Nature šampaniešu popularitāti mūsdienās, šo vīndaru piedāvājumā sastopami slavenākie organiskie un biodinamiskie šampanieši.