Grand Angle

Which champagne cellars to visit? Our favorite cellars

From the most prestigious houses to confidential producers, head to Champagne and its cellars for an exciting wine route experience that’s unique in the world!

It’s not easy to decide which champagne cellars to visit, given the abundance of great brands, winemakers and producers in the Champagne region. Here is a selection of eight of the 114 wineries in the Champagne region, along with places to eat and sleep.

A grandiose stroll through time, between Gallo-Roman chalk pits, sculpted bas-reliefs and contemporary works.

Champagne cellars in Reims

1. Visit the Pommery champagne cellars |The arty ones

The cellars of the Pommery champagne house owe their existence to the genius idea of Madame Pommery. In 1868, Monsieur Pommery's widow decided to launch "the worksite of the century" in Reims, transforming the abandoned Gallo-Roman chalk pits into champagne cellars. To achieve this, more than sixty quarries will be linked by the creation of galleries over a distance of almost 18 km. Using the existing backfill, Madame Pommery leveled her cellar to a depth of less than 30 meters, providing ideal conditions for champagne preservation, with a temperature of 10°C and 98% humidity almost year-round.

But it's not just their size that makes Pommery champagne cellars so famous. A fervent supporter of the arts, the company commissioned sculptor Gustave Navlet to create bas-reliefs carved directly into the chalk of the old wells. These grandiose sculptures can still be admired today in the galleries. To continue the tradition, since 2002, the Vranken-Pommery estate has organized "Expériences Pommery", contemporary art exhibitions in the galleries, set up directly underground. Here, visitors wander through the cellars, admiring works of art by various artists on themes that change every year. A grandiose stroll through time, between Gallo-Roman pits, sculpted bas-reliefs and contemporary works.

Domaine Vranken Pommery © PackShot | stock.adobe.com

Domaine Vranken Pommery
5 Place du Général Gouraud, 51100 Reims
Visit with tasting from €24 per person (€29 for a guided tour).

2. Taittinger champagne cellars | The most gothic

To fully appreciate the beauty of the Taittinger champagne cellars, we need to go back to the Middle Ages. It was above these galleries that, at the instigation of the Counts of Champagne, the Abbey of Saint-Nicaise was built. In its network of galleries, enriched with crypts and vaults, the Benedictine monks preserved the Champagne wines they traded. Destroyed during the French Revolution, superb remains of the Abbey were nevertheless preserved in the basement, where the Taittinger Champagne cellars are located today.

During your visit, you'll be able to contemplate admirable reminders of the Abbaye Saint-Nicaise's existence, such as the sumptuous wrought-iron gateway that once opened onto the abbey gardens, and discover timeless gems such as the abbey's old secret passages and sculpted niches. You'll also see traces of soldiers and civilians from the First World War, before ending your epic journey on the old bottles used by the monks and preserved here as jewel cases for the house's prestige cuvée.

Champagne Taittinger
9 Place Saint-Nicaise, 51100 Reims
Guided tour with tasting from €27 per person.

3. Champagne Ruinart's chalk pits | The most typical

The only chalk pits to be classified by the French government as " natural sites and monuments of an artistic, historical, scientific or picturesque nature ", the cellars of Maison Ruinart (LVMH Group) are a wonderful journey back in time. You first enter a room eight meters below ground, where some of the key stages in champagne production take place, before plunging into the depths to reach a veritable labyrinth, eight kilometers long. Here, vast, immaculately white chalk pits, some as large as cathedrals, are revealed as the tour unfolds.

Ruinart was the first champagne house to store its bottles in the chalk pits of Saint-Nicaise hill in the 18th century, thanks to the flair of Claude Ruinart, son of the founder of the prestigious champagne house. Since then, the chalk pits have been converted into three levels, housing several thousand bottles. One of the highlights of the show is probably the oenotheque, housed in one of the largest pigeonholes and housing the house's rarest bottles. Still inaccessible, this space can be discovered thanks to the virtual tour inaugurated last year.

Champagne Ruinart
4 Rue des Crayères, 51100 Reims
Guided tour with tasting of two cuvées, €70 per person 

Acquired in 1909, these cellars still bear the mark of the different generations of quarrymen, wine merchants and soldiers who have passed through their walls over the years.

4. Veuve Clicquot's chalk pits | The largest

Also located beneath the Saint-Nicaise mound in the heart of Champagne, the crayères of the Veuve Clicquot (LVMH) house are well worth a visit, if only for their sheer size. Consisting of a vast network of underground galleries, these pits date back to medieval times and stretch for almost 24 kilometers, making them the largest of all the champagne houses in Reims!

Acquired in 1909, the cellars still bear the mark of the different generations of quarrymen, cellarmen and soldiers who have passed through their walls over the years. A variety of tours are available to fully appreciate the beauty of this immense labyrinth, structured around an immersive, interactive itinerary. They conclude with a tasting of one or more of the House's emblematic cuvées, and allow you to learn more about the incredible history of Veuve Clicquot, led by one of the first business women of modern times!

Domaine Veuve Clicquot © Romain Laprade

Champagne Veuve Clicquot
1 Rue Albert Thomas, 51100 Reims
Guided tour with tasting from €30 per person.

Cellars elsewhere in Champagne

5. Les caves Leclerc-Briant | The biodynamic pioneer

Located high above Épernay, the Leclerc-Briant champagne house backs onto a tiny parcel of Chardonnay, cultivated biodynamically since it was planted by the Leclerc-Briant family in the 1960s. By appointment only, you can visit the presses, the contemporary barrel cellars, the vats and the 35-meter-deep cellars. Tours are followed by tastings of emblematic cuvées.

Good to know? The Leclerc-Briant family also owns a beautiful 18th-century guest house, 25bis by Leclerc-Briant, on the Avenue de Champagne in Épernay.

Champagne Leclerc-Briant
67 Chemin de la Chaude Ruelle, 51200 Épernay
Guided tour with tasting of two cuvées at €35 per person.

A tour of the premises takes in the presses, the barrel cellars with their contemporary architecture, the vats and the cellars, 35 meters below ground.

6. Les caves Franck Bonville | The specialist of Blancs de blancs Grand Crus d'Avize

The Côte des Blancs is a wine-growing region characterized by the extreme purity of its chalk, named after the grape variety it bears, chardonnay, the only white grape variety in Champagne. Franck Bonville is one of the few family-run wineries to have specialized in the Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru d'Avize terroir, and has done so for four generations of winemakers. Franck Bonville's galleries date back to the mid-19th century, and house the company's various cuvées, the most prestigious of which are aged here for five to six years. A not-to-be-missed visit to familiarize yourself with these singular wines!

Champagne Franck Bonville
9 Rue Pasteur, 51190 Avize

7. The cellars of Le Gallais champagnes | A family estate to visit in the Marne Valley

Five generations after her grandfather acquired the land in the Marne Valley, then owned by Madame Veuve Clicquot, Charlotte Le Gallais still manages the seven parcels of the family estate. The press, cellars and winery are all located within the vineyard, and from the terrace you can enjoy a 180° view of the family vineyard and the superb Château de Boursault.

Champagne Legallais © AlexisJacquin

Champagne Le Gallais
2 Rue Maurice Gilbert, 51480 Boursault
Guided tour with tasting from €15 per person.

Franck Bonville is one of the few family-run wineries to specialize in the terroir of Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru d'Avize.

8. Les caves de la Maison Penet | A terroir champagne in vaulted cellars

It was in the early 1930s that Désiré and Gilbert Penet, already familiar with vineyard work, decided to create their first sparkling wines. Their son succeeded them and acquired a superb 19th-century manor house, including one of Verzy's most majestic vaulted cellars, on the northern slopes of the Reims mountain, in which the bottles of Maison Penet are still aged to this day by Alexandre, a worthy representative of the fourth generation of winegrowers. A variety of tours are available, including the vineyard and cellar tour, which takes in the superb vaulted cellars!

La Maison Penet © DR

Maison Penet
12 Rue Gambetta, 51380 Verzy

Where to sleep and eat in Champagne?

Our recommendations

1. Royal Champagne Hôtel & Spa | A world-class hotel near Épernay

The pitch? This former coaching inn converted into a five-star luxury hotel enjoys a privileged location in the heart of the Champagne vineyards. The contemporary building overlooks the vineyards, revealing a panoramic view of the valley. Its 47 rooms and suites open onto large bay windows, overlooking the vineyards directly, with no facing walls. Pastel and acid tones, natural materials combining wood and stone, and nods to the surrounding vineyards adorn the interiors of the hotel and rooms, designed by decorator Sybille de Margerie. All suites have terraces overlooking the vines, ideal for enjoying a glass of champagne as the light fades.

Royal Champagne - bedroom © Mr Tripper

Well-being? The relaxing atmosphere invites contemplation, as does the superb 1,500m2 spa, with nine treatment rooms, two pools (one indoor and one outdoor), a hammam, a sauna and a whirlpool. Like the rest of the hotel, the swimming pool opens onto a 360° view of the vineyards, and even has a solarium terrace where you can soak up the sunshine while admiring the vineyards.

Gastronomy? Another highlight of this luxury resort hotel is chef Jean-Denis Rieubland's Michelin-starred Le Royal restaurant, whose creations can be enjoyed under the restaurant's crystal chandeliers or, weather permitting, on the terrace overlooking the vineyards.

Royal Champagne Hôtel & Spa
47 keys, from €500 per night.
9 Rue de la République, 51160 Champillon

2. Les Avisés | The hotel-restaurant of the legendary Domaine Jacques Selosse

Part of the small Jacques Selosse estate, considered one of the world's finest champagne producers, Les Avisés hotel-restaurant boasts ten spacious rooms, nestled in the hills above Avize in the Marne region. More a maison d'hôte than a hotel, guests enjoy the fireplace in the living room on winter afternoons, and the quality of the cuisine, orchestrated by Stéphane Rossillon and his wife, two former employees of Anne-Sophie Pic.

Guests can also take part in "aperitif meetings", where they can chat with Anselme Selosse, son of the founder, and taste some of the house wines. A charming address in Champagne, ideal for a bistronomic lunch or a stay in a chic, intimate atmosphere.

Les Avisés © Flore Deronzier

Les Avisés
10 keys, from 260€ per night.
59 Rue de Cramant, 51190 Avize

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