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Moët and Chandon tour: Epernay France

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Moet and Chandon tours in Epernay

Moet and Chandon tour Epernay

Every now and then, I think it’s ok to do something that might appear a little more touristy. I’m comfortable that our style of independent travel has us following what we want to do, in the way that we want to do it, without becoming tourist sheep.

Our visit to the Moët and Chandon Caves might be considered by some to be more “middle of the road” than “off the beaten path” but with my love of French Champagne, and the beautiful town of Epernay, this was something that I definitely wanted to do.

There are many Champagne Houses on the Avenue de Champagne that allow you to see what they have in the underground caves.  We chose Moët and Chandon, one of the older Champagne Houses in the region.  Moët and Chandon have been making their own branded Champagne since 1743 and also the famous Dom Pérignon.

The Moët and Chandon House is located on the Avenue, close to the city end of Epernay.

Moët and Chandon Epernay France
Moët and Chandon
Moet and Chandon Epernay cave tour
The statue of Dom Perignon at the front of the Moët and Chandon House

The caves

Our tour guide, Justine,  meets us at 9.30am and I fall in love with her accent straight away.  Oh how I could listen to the French all day.   We are in luck today with only four other people on this tour, giving us plenty of access to Justine to listen and ask questions.

Moet and Chandon Epernay cave tour
Listening intently

We learned all about the true ‘method champenoise’ and the particular making of both Moët and Chandon and Dom Pérignon.

The iconic Champagne from Moët and Chandon is their Impériale, but they are also well known for their Grand Vintage.  The two are easily identifiable with the vintage clearly showing the year on the label.  The label has been designed to represent the way in which the year is written in chalk on the bottles down in the cellars.

Moët and Chandon Grand Vintage, unlike many Champagnes are produced using  grapes only from a particular year.  Vintages are only made if the grapes from that year are deemed to be exceptional.  ie Moët and Chandon Grand Vintage is not made every year.

At the present time, Moët and Chandon are releasing 2006 Grand Vintage Champagne to the market.

In amongst the chalky earth underneath the House of Moët and Chandon lie 28km of  cellars, over three levels.  They are the largest in the Champagne region, so it was another reason that I was pleased to be here. Millions of bottles of their finest, including the Grand Vintage are safely kept down here in a temperature and humidity controlled environment, usually around 12-13 degrees celsius.

Moet and Chandon Epernay cave tour
The caves – nothing small about these ones

 

Moet and Chandon

Incredibly, bottles of Dom Pérignon, dating from 1973 to 1968 can be found down here.  You can imagine the cobwebs on them all!

Moet and Chandon Cave tour Epernay
These have obviously been down in the caves for a while

Moet and Chandon

 

moet and chandon tour epernay
So much Champagne under here. Heaven !

 

We also learnt about riddling, the art of turning the Champagne bottles so as to bring all of the sediment together to make it easier to remove.  Many of the bottles down in the caves are turned by hand.

 

Moët and Chandon Epernay France
Riddling boards
 
Moët and Chandon Epernay France
Amazing how many caves are under here
moet and chandon tour epernay
Numbering system used to identify the cellars and the particular Champagnes
Moët and Chandon Epernay France
Another way of identifying the cellars by numbering a bottle

 

Moet and Chandon
Trolleys used to carry the wine around underground

Inside the Moët and Chandon House

The grand buildings of the Avenue de Champagne are stunning on the outside, and often even more amazing inside.

Moët and Chandon Epernay France
The dining setting
Moët and Chandon Epernay France
Sitting room

 

Moët and Chandon Epernay France
Fireplace

Tasting

I thought they’d never ask!  It might only be 12 degrees downstairs, but I’ve worked up a definite thirst.  It doesn’t matter what time of the day it is, I will always find time for French Champagne.

I will never be in a position to really be able to tell different labels from each other simply by tasting them.  Having said that, Moët and Chandon Impériale does have quite a distinctive taste and it’s quite a bit more yellow in colour than other French Champagnes.

What I can tell, instantly, is that it is French Champagne.  I may not know the label, but the number of bubbles in your mouth make it instantly recognisable.  There are more bubbles in French Champagne than any other sparkling.

I savour every mouthful of this liquid gold.

Here’s Cheers!

moet and chandon tour epernay
Finally time to drink some of their fine bubbles

 

Moët and Chandon Epernay France
Drinking Moet and Chandon in their own glasses

The gift shop

This is a mega gift shop and bottle shop with all the varieties of their Champagne on offer, plus a whole lot more.

Moet and Chandon
The many sizes of Moët and Chandon

 

Moët and Chandon
A bottle of the finest

 

Amazing chandelier made from Moët and Chandon glasses
Amazing chandelier made from Moët and Chandon glasses

Tour details

Moët and Chandon

20 Avenue de Champagne
51200 Epernay

Costs

      • Traditional tour (visit and 1 glass of Moët Impérial) €22 per person
      • Impériale tour (visit, 1 glass of Moët Impérial and 1 glass of Rosé Impérial) €28 per person
      • Grand Vintage tour (Visit and 1 glass of Grand Vintage and 1 glass of Grand Vintage Rosé) €35 per person
      • Under 18 years 10€/person (no tasting)
      • Under 10 years free (no tasting)

 

Duration

Allow one hour for the tour

Opening times

Monday – Friday

From February 1st to March 20th

From November 19th to December 31st

Everyday

From March 21st to November 18th, 2016

Annual Closing : January, 1st to January 31

Bookings

It is recommended to book online to ensure you have secured your place on the tour.  There are four timeslots each day.

 

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Moet and Chandon

 
 
 

46 thoughts on “Moët and Chandon tour: Epernay France”

  1. This sounds like so much fun! Although I am not a huge champagne fan, a few glasses of the good stuff would be treat after exploring the caves. Also I love French accents too!

  2. I’ve never drink, so I normally don’t end up going to these kind of places, but you’ve definitely sold me on the history basis. This sounds like an amazing place! Adding it to my must-sees list 😉

  3. Definitely sounds like a luxurious way to sped a morning or afternoon! I too sometimes try to avoid “touristy” things, but end up relenting a good portion of the time because sometimes the hype and popularity means it really is that good!

  4. Alayne Williams

    Your stories sure prove that you don’ t have to be a drinker to enjoy the tours of the underground caves.

  5. We never made it Moet & Chandon but visited the caves of Pommery and GH Mumm. I must say however, once you’ve seen one, you’ve see them all. Very fascinating and well run nonetheless. Although I never saw anything like the M&C house at the other places. It’s a great way to spend the weekend out there. Here is my take from our visit 🙂
    https://www.lilliansmall.com/2013/06/venimus-vidimus-champagnimus/
    PS I found you via #AllAboutFrance linkup – Cheers!

  6. Woah, bottles from 1968! One sip would probably have me on the floor grinning from the headrush. Can you tell I have a low alcohol tolerance? 🙂 Merci for such a charmingly written post. I’d love to do this tour the next time I’m in France.

  7. Sounds nice! I had no idea they used caves like that …(obviously not a champagne drinker…) 😉

  8. HI Lillian, yes I agree, I wouldn’t necessarily think I needed to visit another one now. I’d just go to taste the champagne. Mumm is one of my faves and I have a poster of Pommery in my travel room. I’ll be sure to check out your post as well. #allaboutfrance 🙂

  9. Oh, I’m sure that visiting Moet&Chandon caves are worthy, even being in the mass-tourism path! One member of my family loves champagne ansd brings Moet&Chandon to Christsmas every year and, OH GOD! It’s just heaven! 🙂 So, if I’m never near their caves I will definitely visit them even if it’s not getting lost in the nature or being an independent tourist 😛 Cheers and travel!

  10. This sounds so lovely! The champagne would be a great way to end off the tour after those caves. Great post, Kerri! 🙂

  11. Great post, I definitely want to visit these caves. They remind me of the Freixenet cava caves that I visited recently in the Penedes region of Spain

  12. Lucky you Esther. French Champagne is so expensive where I live (they put heaps of tax on it) so it’s a bit special for us to have it here. It’s why I make the most of my time in France. Safe travels.

  13. I don’t know… I’d be scared to get lost down there. I suppose if that’s the case I could keep myself pretty “happy” with all that champagnes LOL. How much was a bottle of wine though? I’m guessing it would be an arm and a leg?

  14. HI Laura, glad it could provide some possible inspiration for a future trip. Apparently it does age well. I’ll never know because I’m quite sure I wouldn’t pay the price tag for such vintage Champers.

  15. It’s actually very civilised down there and very well built and maintained. Just like part of a house really. A bottle of Moet can cost €30 but the special ones are hundreds of euros.

  16. Did this tour a few years ago, and you captured in very nicely. Well written. Good photos too! There’s nothing wrong with doing tourist things if they are enjoyable. There’s a reason why so many tourists visit these places–because they are fun places to visit. Nice story.

  17. Thanks Roy. Really appreciate you taking the time to comment on this. I agree and think that travel is always about what we choose to do, wherever and whatever it is. It’s all about the experience isn’t it. Sometimes we will win and sometimes, we’ll find something else to do next time 🙂

  18. It’s a shame for me… I have studied for 4 years in Reims. There was even a Champagne cave close to one of the places I have lived in. But I have visited none!

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