Best Champagne Houses To visit in the Champagne Region North East of Paris, France


A trip to the Champagne region north-east of Paris in France, wouldn’t be complete without a visit to some of its famously spectacular Champagne Maison. From world-renowned big brands to smaller independents, Champagne houses have been in existence for almost 300 years.

Not all Champagne houses are open to the public – you won’t be able to take a tour of the prestigious Louis Roederer, Laurent-Perrier or Pol Roger for example. Luckily, there are plenty of others who welcome visitors. So if you’re visiting the area, taking a cellar tour and trying some local wine is a must for all Champagne enthusiasts.

Click here to see our post on Places to stay in Champagne recommended by Nick Baker, Founder of The Finest bubble.

What is a Champagne Maison or House?

Champagne houses were first established in the early 1700s, as the popularity of the delicious effervescent wine grew. A Champagne house, buys grapes, makes and markets the sparkling wine, which can only be classed as Champagne if it hails from the Champagne region in France and is produced to strict specifications. You’ll find Champagne houses throughout the area, most famously in Reims, Epernay and around Mareuil-sur-Ay.

How many Champagne houses are there?

The Champagne region is made up of 32,000 hectares of vineyards that are home to more than 2,000 Champagne houses. From some of the oldest houses like Louis Roederer and Charles Heidsieck to more modern ones, including Leclerc Briant, you’ll find many big brands and independent, artisan winemakers in the Champagne region.

What is the oldest Champagne house?

In the early 18th century, as Champagne became the drink of choice among the French royalty and aristocracy, the need for Champagne producers skyrocketed. Ruinart was the first Champagne house to open its cellar doors in 1729, followed by Taittinger in 1734, Moet in 1743 and Lanson in 1760.

Best Champagne houses to visit

1. Champagne Ruinart – Reims

As one of the oldest and most famous Champagne houses in Reims, Ruinart is definitely worth a visit. Founded in 1729 by Nicholas Ruinart, it was one of the first houses to seize the business opportunity of producing Champagne. Nicholas was so successful that King Louis XVIII granted the Ruinart family a coat of arms, still pictured on the label today.

Its spectacular cathedral-like crayères (chalk cellars) are some of the deepest in the region.Ruinart’s wines characteristically feature a high proportion of Chardonnay and popular Champagnes including:

  • The award-winning Ruinart Rosé Champagne with bright red fruits like ripe cherry, strawberry and raspberry.
  • Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Champagne: This sparkling wine, suitable for vegans, is full of fruit characters like lemon, grapefruit and pineapple and pairs well with seafood.

Visit the Ruinart Champagne house

Address: 4 Rue de Crayères, 51100 Reims
Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday. By appointment only.
Visit price: €70 per person

2.  Champagne Taittinger – Reims

Founded in 1734 by Jacques Fourneaux, the world-renowned Taittinger Champagne house is named after Pierre Taittinger, who bought the vineyard in 1932. The Reims Champagne house remains in the family and is currently overseen by Pierre’s great-grandchildren Clovis and Vitalie.

Take in the impressive 4km of UNESCO-listed crayères that once belonged to the abbey of St. Nicaise. Taittinger is one of the most admired brands, and popular wines include:

Visit the Taittinger Champagne house

Address: 9 Place Saint-Nicaise, 51100 Reims
Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday. By appointment only.
Visit price: from €27 per person

3. Champagne Lanson – Reims

Maison Lanson is one of the oldest Champagne houses in Reims, founded in 1760 by magistrate Francois Delamotte. His son, Nicolas-Louis Delamotte, a knight of the Order of Malta, added the signature Maltese cross as the house’s emblem in 1798. Following Nicolas-Louis’ death in 1837, a close friend of the Delamottes’ Jean-Baptiste Lanson, took over the house and rebranded it to take his now famous name.

Lanson has been the sparkling wine of choice at the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament for the last quarter century, and some of its most well-known wines are:

  • Lanson’s award-winning Extra Age Blanc de Blanc is a blend of three quality vintages with notes of pear and peach.

Visit the Lanson Champagne house

Address: 66 rue de Courlancy in Reims 51100
Opening times: Monday to Saturday. By appointment only.
Visit price: from €26 to €70 per person depending on the tour.

4. Champagne Veuve Clicquot – Reims

The famous “yellow label” Champagne house, Veuve Clicquot, was founded in 1772 by wine merchant Phillipe Clicquot. In 1810, on the death of Phillipe’s son, his daughter-in-law, Nicole-Barbe, took over the house and is credited for the commercial success of the business.

Madame Clicquot is famed for creating the recipe for rosé Champagne still used by modern houses today. One of its most special displays is a 170-year-old perfectly preserved bottle found in 2010 on a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea.

Popular Veuve Clicquot wines include:

  • The classic Yellow Label Brut with the signature flavour and notes of white fruits, vanilla and brioche.
  • Following the original Madame Clicquot blend, the Rosé Champagne features notes of strawberry, blackberry and almond.

Visit the Veuve Clicquot Champagne house

Address: 1, Place des droits de l’Homme, 51100 Reims
Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday. Booking required.
Visit price: €30 to €55 per person depending on the tour.

5. Champagne Pommery – Reims

The Art Nouveau, UNESCO-listed cellars of the Pommery Champagne house are definitely worth a visit. In 1858, Alexander Pommery and his wife Narcisse Greno started their wool trading business. Following Alexander’s death in 1860, Madame Pommery switched to Champagne production and is credited with creating the first dry Brut-style Champagne.

Pommery’s popular Champagnes include:

Visit the Pommery Champagne house

Address: 5 Place General Gouraud, 51100 Reims
Opening times: Daily 09.30 – 18.00
Visit price: starts from €24 per person

6. Champagne Moet and Chandon – Epernay

Founded in 1743 by wine merchant Claud Moet, Moet and Chandon is the number 1 Champagne producer in the world. In 1833, the son-in-law of Jean-Remy Moet, Pierre-Gabriel Chandon, joined the business, and the famous Moet and Chandon brand was created.

The Epernay Champagne house boasts the largest underground network of cellars at 28 km long. Since 1962, it has belonged to the prestigious French luxury group Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH). Popular Moet and Chandon wines include:

Visit the Moet and Chandon Champagne house

Address: 20 avenue de Champagne, 51200 Epernay
Opening times: Daily 09.30 – 17.30. Booking recommended.
Visit price: from €26 to €50pp, depending on the tour.

7. Champagne Leclerc Briant – Épernay

In 1955, the house moved to the current premises it still occupies today in Épernay. Today the entire vineyard is certified as organic and biodynamic. Leclerc Briant are renown winemaking pioneers, having been one of the first producers to stop using chemical fertilisers and to experiment with biodynamic vine cultivation back in the 1970s, and being one of the first houses to introduce single vineyards champagnes in the early 1990s. Today, their commitment to biodynamics has been taken a step further by Hervé Jestin, whose bioenergetic winemaking approach is truly unique. Utilising such techniques as underwater champagne storage and gold-lined barrels, Leclerc Briant produce wines with a high level of positive energy.

Lecler Braint’s style is unique but create wines of the utmost quality

Visit Leclerc Briant

The Billecart Salmon house has remained in the family since its foundation in 1818, when vineyard owner Elizabeth Salmon married wine merchant Nicolas Francois Billecart. On-site you’ll not only find stunning wine cellars, but you’ll also be able to sneak a peak at the beautifully elegant walled garden with lime trees and brightly coloured flower beds.

Some of Billecart Salmon’s best-selling Champagnes are:

  • It’s classic Rose Champagne with notes of red berries and citrus fruit that pairs well with venison and seafood.
  • The Brut Nature Champagne perfectly blends fruity and biscuity flavours.

Visit the Billecart Salmon Champagne house

Address: 40, rue Carnot, 51160 Mareuil-Sur-Ay
Opening times: Monday to Friday. By request only.
Visit price: €30 to €50 per person depending on the tour.

9. Champagne Bollinger – Aÿ

The House owns an impressive 178 hectares of vineyards, of which 85% are Grand Cru and Premier Cru vines. Their land is spread over seven main vineyards: Aÿ, Avenay, Louvois, Tauxières and Verzenay planted with Pinot Noir; Cuis with Chardonnay; and Champvoisy with Meunier.

The Bollinger style is inimitable and recognised as such by great connoisseurs, some of their best sellers are:

Visit Bollinger

 

 

Champagne Pol Roger Fermentation Room

Champagne Pol Roger Fermentation Room

 

 

 

 

Champagne Lanson Cellar for Clos Lanson

Champagne Lanson Cellar for Clos Lanson

 

Maison of Champagne Lanson in Reims

Maison of Champagne Lanson in Reims

 

 

Fermentation Cellar at Billecart-Salmon in Mareuil-sur-Ay

Fermentation Cellar at Billecart-Salmon in Mareuil-sur-Ay

 

 

 

Fermentation Cellar at Champagne Leclerc Briant

Fermentation Cellar at Champagne Leclerc Briant in Epernay

 

Bottles of Leclerc Briant Abyss after 12 months submerged 60 metres at sea!

Bottles of Leclerc Briant Abyss after 12 months submerged 60 metres at sea!