France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Visiting Épernay Champagne Houses
A trip to Épernay wouldn't be complete without a visit to a Champagne house!




Many of the Champagne houses in Épernay, Reims, and the surrounding area offer guided visits of their caves and facilities. Generally you must pay a fee, which includes a tasting at the end of the tour for those of legal age to drink alcoholic beverages. (In France, the legal age to drink wine and beer is 16, for spirits and liquor it's 18.)

Some champagne houses require advance reservations, though in some others you can just walk in when you like. Check with the Office de Tourisme to find out which houses are open, their tour times, fees and requirements.

Champagne winery visits differ in character, length, and price. Most are walking tours, though Mercier uses a small train. Champagne de Castellane (known by its ornate tower) also houses a museum of champagne history and the tools used in champagne winemaking.

Some of the smaller houses may simply put out a sign indicating when they are open.

Taking the Tour

We visited Champagne Mercier. Although not well known outside of France because they export very little, Mercier is one of the largest champagne producers.

The lobby is dominated by a huge wooden barrel called a foudre (tun) that was transported to Paris in 1889. It held the equivalent of over 200,000 bottles of champagne!

We first viewed a short video on the colorful history of the company and its founder, Eugène Mercier.

The visit starts with a slow elevator descent to the caves, which is made interesting by various scenes of champagne history and production that come to life before your eyes. then we rode through the champagne storage tunnels in the small train.

As you ride through, you pass thousands of bottles of champagne in various stages of the aging process.

The Tasting

Following the tour, participants 16 years or older have the opportunity to taste the product, and of course there is a gift shop selling champagne and various other souvenirs: cooler bags, glasses, etc., to enhance your champagne enjoyment.

Champagne bottles, Epernay, France

About Épernay

What to See and Do in Épernay

Épernay Hotels

Épernay Restaurants

Épernay Transport

About Reims

About Champagne

About Champagne Wineries


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Mercier giant keg, Epernay, France

Giant foudre (tun) in the lobby of
Champagne Mercier, Épernay.

Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan

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