How to visit Champagne Hillsides, houses, and cellars, France

Scenic landscape in the Champagne at sunrise time Vineyards in the Montagne de Reims France.

The Champagne Hillsides, Houses, and Cellars were recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015. Located in north-east France, on cool, chalky land, the historic vineyards of Hautvillers, Aÿ and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Saind-Nicaise Hill in Reims, and the Avenue de Champagne and Fort Chabrol in Epernay all represent the Champagne agro-industrial landscape.  The vineyards are the supply basin, the unique chalk cellars provide the perfect environment for fermentation and the Champagne houses manage the business and trade side. Champagne lovers can admire the vineyard view, stroll though countless villages dedicated to the craft, then step down into the miles of cellars to learn the secrets and history behind this sparkling wine’s production. After a tour, visitors can raise a glass to one of the world’s most loved bubblies.  

History of the Champagne Region

Reims Champagne Hillside in France is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Reims Champagne Hillside in France is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Even in the 16th century, King Henry IV of France loved the wines coming from the Champagne region. So much so he started calling himself the Sire of Aÿ. Needless to say, the vineyards and villages have been popular for a very long time. The unique method for producing this sparkling wine was developed in the early 17th century. In the 18th century, this wine was served at the Fête de la Fédération to toast the outcome of the French revolution. Since early times it has been used globally as the primary celebratory drink. 

Champagne Tour from Paris: Moet and Chandon, Hautvillers, and the House of Mumm

Champagne Tour from Paris: Moet and Chandon, Hautvillers, and the House of Mumm

How to get to the Champagne Region

Champagne Cellar in France
The Champagne cellars area from chalk, giving the sparkling wine a unique characteristic. Photo credit: Maison Taittinger © Carmen Moya 2012

Just an hour outside of Paris, it is easy to arrive at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Champagne Hillsides, Houses, and Cellars. 

By Plane:

From the Roissy Charles de Gaulle Paris Airport, Reims is a 30 minute train ride away.

From Paris by train:

A 45-minute TGV (high-speed train) journey. You can arrive at the Reims-Centre train station in the center of the city,  or the Champagne-Ardenne TGV station that is linked to Reimes. You also have the option to take a regional express train from Paris, which will take 80 minutes. This train will get you to the Epernay station.

Things to Do when Visiting the Champagne Hillsides, Houses, and Cellars

The Champagne Castellane is a famous manufacturer in Epernay, France
The Champagne Castellane is a famous manufacturer in Epernay, France. Photo credit: Packshot/Bigstock

The Champagne hillsides are available year round day or night. In Grand Reimes, Epernay and Hautvillers you can visit the tourist office to find out the hours for the champagne houses and wineries. Many wineries are closed in the winter. Tours are available in French and English. Tickets start at around 15 euros including a tasting and prices and packages go up from there. It is recommended to book your tours and tastings in advance. Visit this website to discover more about the region and plan your own wine trail. 

This prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Site is a great way to discover more about wine and champagne production. It will be a unique trip for both connoisseurs and novices, so don’t hesitate to book your ticket!

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