Where winemakers dine: Champagne edition

There was a time when Champagne, despite being home to one of the wine world’s most popular exports, was largely closed to tourism.

People, it seemed, would more readily drink Champagne rather than visit Champagne. This was due to a combined lack of enthusiasm, admittedly, on the part of producers in the region (many are still closed to visiting guests), and the fact that the region simply hadn’t yet developed as a tourist destination.

All that began to change, in earnest, in 2015, when the region was granted UNESCO World Heritage status, which includes its famed cellars, cathedral city of Reims, vineyards and Avenue de Champagne in Epernay. Now, Champagne is on the map as a global tourist destination,

In 2017, Champagne recorded a 15.5% increase in visitors to its cellars, rising from 255,633 in 2016 to 294,672 in 2017, according to Vitalie Taittinger, artistic director at Champagne Taittinger. Overnight stays in the region have also risen by 16% since 2010, compared with 2018, with tourism responsible for bringing an additional €1m in spending to the region in 2018. Overall, more than three million people visited the wider Champagne region in 2017, up by more than 15% in three years.

The historic city of Reims – the urban gateway to Champagne’s vineyards – is just 45 minutes by train from Paris, and is filled with hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants. Travel 20 minutes east from Reims and you will reach Épernay, the capital of Champagne, and home to some of the region’s biggest houses, including Moët and Chandon, Pol Roger and Perrier-Jouët, as well as boutique restaurants, wine bars and vineyards.

Champagne is open for business, with plenty of top restaurants, including many Michelin-starred establishments, scattered throughout. But deciding on a winner isn’t always easy. Rather than sifting through TripAdvisor, we have gone direct to the source, and asked some of the region’s top winemakers for their recommendations on where to eat and drink in Champagne.

Click through to see where they choose to spend their money when dining out…

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