Luxury holidays in Champagne

‘Come quickly, I am tasting the stars,’ said Dom Perignon, the 18th-century Benedictine monk, when he first sampled his honey-hued homebrew. After a day’s tasting in the vine-striped hills of Champagne, you’re guaranteed to feel a little starry-eyed, too. You’ll also discover the serious business behind the bubbles when you pay your respects to the region’s most eminent residents: Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot or Ruinart. But don’t neglect the fascinating family histories behind the lesser-known flutes – there are hundreds of boutique growers to discover in the Unesco-listed countryside. Never mind the hiccups, there’s serious research to be done.

When to go

Avoid harvest time, when many of the smaller growers will be too busy to welcome you. Visit just afterwards in October or November, when the countryside colours will be at their russet-hued best.

Getting there

  • Planes

    The Paris airports – either Charles de Gaulle or Orly – are the best served.
  • Trains

    Take the TGV from Paris’ Gare de l’Est to Reims (about an hour) or Épernay (about an hour and twenty minutes).
  • Automobiles

    It’s best to hire a car here – public transportation is almost non-existent and taxis are slow to arrive (and exorbitant when they do). Just flip a coin to determine the designated driver and hit the road. Plus, the car boot will prove handy for bringing home all the bottles you buy.