Where to Stay in the Champagne region
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Champagne Ployez-Jacquemart - 13km S of Reims 8 rue Astoin, Ludes (03.26.61.11.87/www.ployez-jacquemart.fr). €€. At this hotel in the middle of the Montagne de Reims vineyards, owners Gérard and Claude like to share their passion for champagne and open their arms to guests looking to learn about the champagne-making process and experience staying on a working winery. Choose between five rooms: Azur (white and duck-egg blue with 18th-century style furniture), Baroque (red in a boudoir style), Nature (light and airy with pale woods), Provence (yellow and oranges) and Savane (colonial). Meals can be served on request.
Château des Etoges - 22km S of Epernay 4 rue Richebourg, Etoges (03.26.59.30.08/www.chateau-etoges.com). €€€. What strikes you most at this former 17th-century staging post for monarchs is the silence, broken only by the sprinkling of the natural fountains that pour into the moat surrounding the château. The 28 rooms conjure up images of palatial country living with high ceilings, ancient furniture and stone staircases; all have lovely views out on to the gardens or over the moat towards the orangery restaurant. It’s a listed building, so there’s no lift, but the receptionists will help you carry your bags up and down the stairs.
Les Crayères - Reims 64 bd Henry Vasnier (03.26.82.80.80/www.lescrayeres.com). €€€€. This opulent hideaway is easily one of the finest châteaux in eastern France. Happily located opposite the Pommery champagne house, the 20 luxurious rooms make for a truly unforgettable stay. Rooms overlooking the landscaped park (several with balconies) have fine views of Reims cathedral thanks to former owner Madame Pommery, who ordered a gap to be made in the trees. Service is five-star, the bathrooms are sumptuous and the breakfast is a lesson in fine dining itself. If you can’t afford to stay here, you can still stop by for a lavish afternoon tea or champagne in the 19th-century conservatory.
Les Grappes d’Or - 7km S of Epernay 350 rue des Grappes d’Or, Cramant (03.26.57.54.96/www.champagne-eric-isselee.com). €. Closed during grape harvest (early-mid Sept). In the tiny village of Cramant, surrounded by nothing but the prestigious Grand Cru vines, Eric and Carole Isselée welcome you into their home with a smile and a trip around the cellars. Three sunny rooms, named after the champagne they produce, feature tasteful French country furniture with quilted bedspreads, and all have wonderful views across the vines. Breakfast, which is served in your room, is included in the price.
La Villa Eugène - Epernay 82-84 av de Champagne (03.26.32.44.76/www.villa-eugene.com). €€€. After years of lying derelict, the old Mercier champagne family house has finally been smartened up and can now stand proud as one of the best hotels Epernay has to offer. Rooms range in style from classical and airy with light colours, traditional fireplaces and antiques, to neo-colonial with dark woods and earthy tones. Even in winter you might need your sunglasses to eat breakfast in the restored conservatory – a veritable well of light that overlooks the garden and heated outdoor pool.
Reims (and around)
|Transport:||By Train from Gare de l'Est (45-min to Reims; 1 hour 10-min to Epernay). To stay in the countryside, cars can be hired at the stations from Avis or Europcar.|