Located in Aÿ, the Cité du Champagne - which local people refer to by the name of the cooperative, COGEVI, or its brand of Champagne, Collet - is one of the most complete wine tourism attractions in the Champagne AOC. As a Vignobles et découvertes labelled destination, the Cité du Champagne brings together everything visitors need to know about Champagne in one place: its history, growing regions, production method and, of course, the opportunity to sample Champagne.
At the heart of the Cité du Champagne, of which it is the lifeblood, is COGEVI, the General Cooperative of Winegrowers. Founded in 1921, this is the oldest cooperative still operating in the region and in fact, it is more active than ever. Within these buildings, which housed the headquarters and administrative offices of the cooperative in the last century, the sometimes tumultuous history of Champagne (and cooperation) is brought to life via period records and a film that provides an overview of its major phases. Visitors can then tour the production site and fermenting room. Here the artisan aspect of Champagne and its economy are showcased via a large number of visuals, some painted or drawn directly on the walls, along with a series of truly memorable information boards - still rare in this type of setting. Visitors then head down into the cellar, 35 metres underground, and can admire bottles of a truly unusual size laid on the racks. Back at ground level, the Museum of Champagne Trades, complete with some 2,000 artefacts, is at first sight an explosion of light offering visitors a wonderful panorama of the vineyard. An unmissable attraction.
Cité du Champagne - 32 bis rue Jeanson - 51160 Aÿ - Tel.: +33 126.96.36.199.88
crédit photos: Mika boudot / Benoist Laroche