Following English King Henry V’s invasion of northern France and victory at the battle of Agincourt in 1415, Reims was occupied by England for fourteen years, until taken back for France by Jean d’Arc in 1429. Apart from this brief hiatus, the magnificent cathedral was the venue for centuries for the coronations of Kings of France. The area has been famous for its wines from the first millenia, however an attempt to compete with red Burgundy made from the pinot noir grape was not successful, and led the area to focus on white wines, which proved to be quite a good decision!
For anyone wishing to stay in the centre of Reims, the place to have the waiter serve your water, and look aghast when you try and help yourself to the muesli, is the five star Relais and Chateaux Les Crayeres. Another option that will not disappoint, particularly in the food department, is Arnaud Lallement at L’Assiette Champenois. However if you are looking for something in one of the main wine villages, the hotel of superstar organic champagne maker Jacques Selosses in Avize is the place to head for. The rooms are everything that you would expect in a five star hotel. The service is friendly, they will not try and serve your water, and the food in the restaurant is excellent. Cycles available for hotel guests to visit the nearby wine villages. Hotel Les Avizes
The open kitchen at Les Avizes. Friendly informal service, excellent cuisine, and obviously a glass of Selosses champagne - but do not think you will be able to buy a case to take away!
And just down the road is another one of our favourite organic champagne makers, de Souza, whose 3A, cuve, made from grapes from Avize, Ay, and Ambonay, should be in every champagne lover’s cellar. Other excellent nearby addresses for quality wines, Larmandier Bernier in Vertus, and Leclerc Briant in Epernay.