There’s much more to Champagne, France, than sparkling
wine. Just an hour-long TGV ride from Paris, the region is now
bubbling over with new spots to sip, eat, and stay.
An 18th-century mansion turned 12-room eco-retreat, the charming Hôtel Jean Moët opened last summer in the heart of Épernay, just off Avenue de Champagne. Its lovely wrought-iron-and-glass atrium doubles as a tea salon that serves (yes) champagne cocktails. 7 Rue Jean Moët; 33-3/26-32-19-22; doubles from $169.
For classical French fare with a playful twist (a mille-feuille of Bresse pullet with foie gras butter; coquilles St.-Jacques in a puff pastry), head to Le Parc. Located within the historic, 20-room Les Crayères hotel, in Reims, the restaurant—with its collection of more than 300 rare vintages—has already earned a Michelin star under chef Philippe Mille, who was recently stolen from the kitchen at Le Meurice. 64 Blvd. Henry Vasnier; 33-3/26-24-90-00; doubles from $448; dinner for two $286.
Accessible only by footbridge in the forest of Verzy, Perchingbar is the region’s most original tasting room. Inside the solar-powered, Germain Morisseau–designed tree house you’ll find sleek wooden interiors and white leather furnishings, plus a selection of sparkling wines from both les grands maisons (G.H. Mumm) and small, lesser-known producers (Louis de Sacy). Of note: two super-mod, bungalow-style “perchingpads” will be unveiled next year, so you can sleep in the surrounding oak and beech trees. Arboxygène park; 33-6/07-67-94-42; drinks for two $39.
Feeling adventurous? Take an “off-road” tasting tour via Land Rover into the vineyards around Verzy with just-launched outfitter Oenovasion. Regional expert Nicolas Rainon will teach you all about the terroir, and can even steer you to a few secret champagne houses along the way. 33-6/38-83-52-57; tours from $104 per person.
The weekly-changing menu at C Comme, Épernay’s most stylish new bubbly bar, offers flights from independent names such as Hervé Dubois and Marcel Vézien, along with locally made pâtés and charcuterie. Buy your favorite bottle—at a very reasonable price—in the underground wine cave. 8 Rue Gambetta; 33-3/26-32-09-55; drinks for two $14.