There’s no question that Épernay, 26km south of Reims, is a single-industry town. But it’s beautifully situated below rolling, vine-covered hills, and the industry in question – champagne production – is a compelling reason for a visit. The town contains some of the most famous champagne maisons as well as several smaller houses so start at the appropriately named avenue de Champagne, running east from place de la République. Dubbed “the most drinkable street in the world” by Winston Churchill, it’s worth strolling along for its imposing eighteenth- and nineteenth-century champagne maisons. You can tour some of the maisons, and many others welcome visitors to taste and buy. The town makes a sensible base for exploring the surrounding villages and vineyards.

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