Surrounded by vineyards, the town of Épernay lies in the valley of the Marne, its layout shaped by the rapid development of the wine trade. After being destroyed, pillaged and burned down, then rebuilt on many occasions, this Marne sub-prefecture became famous in the 18th century because of Champagne.
Épernay is best known for Champagne and the town’s main attraction, Avenue de Champagne, is one of the most prestigious streets in the world!
In the late 18th century, when producers perfected the art of Champagne production and paved the way for global distribution, and throughout the 19th century, the most important Champagne Houses established themselves here on the avenue.
Its chalky subsoil, typical of the region, enabled some 110km of cellars to be dug, creating a hidden ‘town beneath the town’ and developing a unique underground heritage.
At ground level, Avenue de Champagne became an illustrious address, guaranteeing a high profile for the Champagne Houses, which had built elegant private mansions alongside and opposite each other. Although the mansions were very similar in terms of layout, their architectural styles differed greatly. The Champagne Houses also commissioned the building of large industrial complexes incorporating brand showcase architecture. In this respect, Avenue de Champagne is one of the most complete examples of a wine production and sales site incorporated into an urban landscape, which also adds to the town’s appeal and reputation.
Every year in early December for over two decades, the Avenue has hosted the Habits de Lumières, a not-to-be-missed food and cultural festival.
Other unmissable visitor attractions include the De Castellane advertising tower, town hall, Portail Saint-Martin gate, Gabrielle-Dorziat theatre and the new Museum of Champagne Wine and Regional Archaeology, which has recently opened.
Épernay Tourist Office – 7 avenue de Champagne – 51200 Épernay
Telephone number: +33 3 26 53 33 00