A Small Guide to Drinking Champagne in Champagne, France



Let them drink Champagne!
This certainly was the storyline
of my weekend in the blooming green and lovely area in the North-East of France. I
did a lot of research before going, asking friends, looking on Instagram, blogs
etc. But there wasn’t much in terms of blog travel guides that recommended some
nicer and smaller restaurants, besides those ranking top 10 on trip advisor and
mostly looking touristic.

So I continued my research and
decided to book two nights at a very charming Chambres d’Hotes in Vertus, by car 20 minutes South from Epernay and 40 minutes from Reims. From Vertus all the
nice villages that are well-known for their small-to medium sized, but great,
Champagne producers, are well-reachable by car or if you want, by bike. I tried
to avoid all the big houses, such as Moet & Chandon, Taitinger etc. because
first of all, I am not a huge fan of them and second, they’re quite touristy
and so is the visiting and tasting process. The smaller houses take more time,
tell you their story and don’t make you feel as if you’re 1 of 10.000 visiting
that day. Also, the Champagne at smaller houses is often more affordable and at
least as good, or even better.
From Brussels a drive to
Champagne takes three hours and if you don’t take the highway you’ll experience
some very pretty views on the way to your destination.

Where to Stay:

Demeure Saint Martin: 

Recently
renovated and opened, this old complex that once was part of the church just
next to it is a true hidden gem. A spacious house with big rooms, clean and
nice bathrooms and a cute living room to relax (and sober out). The hosts are
more than lovely and welcoming and will make your stay a true pleasure. There’s
a nice garden to hang out and if you get bored by relaxing, the village is cute to
explore by foot, too. The breakfast here is fantastic, with a choice of
excellent cheeses, ham and comfitures, fresh and crispy bread, good coffee and
homemade cakes. They also produce their own Champagne so don’t miss out on a
tasting!



Website: Demeure Saint Martin Website

Where to Drink Le Champagne:

Don’t worry, there is enough Champagne
for everyone. In all villages there is so many Champagne producers that you’ll
don’t know where to start. I’ll give you a small selection of those where we
did tastings or which we tried, but if you look around a bit in Vertus, Avize
and Cramant you’ll find a lot of nice places. It’s possible that you’ll have to
reserve in advance, so check before popping in for a glass of the bubbly drink.

Where to Eat:

Vertus:

Avize:

Les Avises: 




A hotel and
restaurant, this place belongs to the domaine of Jacques Selosse, a Champagne
house known in the area and also known for its Champagne bottles, which, if you don’t
order one at the restaurant, are almost impossible to get a hold of. The
restaurant is lead by chef 
Stéphane Rossillon who changes the menu daily based on his mood,
feeling and of course the produce available. We had a lovely rillette from tuna
and salmon with delicious Mozzarella and sweet tomatoes as starter, black angus beef with seasonal veggies as main and a
fabulous dessert made from zabaione, poached apricots and toasted and sugared
brioche. Their Champagne and wine selection is incredible (and highly priced). 



Price:
A glass of Champagne: 12E, A bottle: From 60 to I don’t even remember, lunch
menu with 3 courses: 39E

Website: Les Avises

Reims:

Au bon manger: 




I found this little
gem through my favourite food guide „Le Fooding“, which I usually always trust
when it comes to good food and atmosphere. Run by the lovely couple Aline & Eric, Au bon
Manger is an epicerie in the heart of Reims. You can go in, buy ham, cheese,
cured salmon and a bottle of great Champagne or natural wine, or you stay for a
bit and enjoy their food in a nice, cosy and a bit rustic atmosphere. Their
cheese and ham selection is wide and I tried some delicious to me unknown
cheeses paired with a glass of natural Champagne there. Make sure to try their
mousse au chocolat, without any sugar added, made from pure Vietnamese
chocolate. A sin!! 



Price: around 18E for a charcuterie or cheese platter, 12E
for a glass of Champagne, wine and Champagne prices varying

Website: Au bon manger

Other Places to Eat:

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