Video: The Prestigious Avenue de Champagne in Epernay

While Reims is the capital of the Champagne Region, Epernay is the capital of champagne, the drink. The town itself is without much architectural panache, having been destroyed or burned nearly 25 times by invading enemies.

The prestigious Avenue de Champagne houses major wine producers of the region, including such great brands as Moët et Chandon, Pol Roger, Mercier and de Castellane. Underneath the town over 200 miles of caves are cut from limestone and stocked with champagne being readied for worldwide distribution. Moët et Chandon is the largest brand and manufacturer of champagne.

The company dates back to 1743 when Claude Moët began shipping wines from the Champagne region of France to Paris. Moët expanded rapidly and by the end of the eighteenth century was exporting the drink all over Europe and to the United States. Claude’s grandson Jean-Rémy Moët brought the house to international prominence catering to such elite clientele as Thomas Jefferson and Napoleon Bonaparte. Chandon was added to the company name when Jean-Remy Moët turned over half the company to his son Victor, and half to his son-in-law Pierre-Gabriel Chandon de Briailles, in 1832. Napoléon, a friend of Jean-Rémy Moët, used to stop by for thousands of bottles on his way to battle. The only time he didn’t take a supply was at Waterloo – and look what happened there.

The River Marne flows from Epernay to Paris, meandering through the beautiful region of Champagne. There is a plethora of vineyards spread across the undulating plains as far as the eye can see and there will be plenty of opportunity to sample the sparkling wine to which the region has given its name, including private tastings at renowned champagne houses.

This is also a part of France that is rich in both modern and ancient history and during our voyage we visit a number of significant landmarks, châteaux and one of the finest Gothic cathedrals in the country where 25 kings of France were crowned. As well as Champagne, the region is rich in other delicious products, particularly its wonderful creamy cheeses, with the towns of Meaux and Coulommiers at its heart.

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