Épernay

World heritage bid

Amid 30,000 ha of vines, Epernay attracts nearly 450,000 visitors every year. The Champagne Landscapes are bidding to become a World Heritage site. Epernay is directly concerned as avenue de Champagne is one of the leading sites in the project. Several politicians, businessmen and ordinary people have rallied in support of the bid to “proudly transmit to future generations the living and constantly changing landscapes of Champagne, to preserve, promote and valorise them”.

La ville d’Epernay est entourée de 30  000 hectares de vignes - © Ville d’EpernayAvenue de Champagne, one of the main sites in the World Heritage bid. - @ Ville d'Epernay
Three previous stages.
Pop: 25,000
Marne department.Specialties : champagne, potée champenoise (stew).
Economy : champagne, tourism.
Motto : the capital of champagne.
Sports : Racing Club Epernay Champagne (football)
Celebrities : Gabrielle Dorziat (actress), Roger Zabel (sports journalist).
Festivals :  Habits de lumière, Mélimôme, Saint-Vincent, Musiques d'été.

Timeline

  • Fifth century

    The town is founded and offered by a Clovis officer to St Remi.
  • 533 to 765

    The town is destroyed and plundered repeatedly.
  • 1024

    Epernay passes under the control of the Counts of Champagne, who will rule it until 1284, when it is handed to the French crown.
  • 1422

    The town is controlled by the English and, in 1432, by the Duke of Burgundy.
  • 15th century to Revolution

    The town keeps changing hands and is held by the Dukes of Bouillon until1789.
  • 1730

    The Chanoine brothers open the first champagne house in Epernay.
  • 1791

    Louis XVI, back to Paris after his escape to Varennes, halts in Epernay.
  • 1911

    Winegrowers revolt is severally crushed by police.
  • 1914-1918

    The town is almost entirely destroyed during WW1
Three previous stages.
Pop: 25,000
Marne department.Specialties : champagne, potée champenoise (stew).
Economy : champagne, tourism.
Motto : the capital of champagne.
Sports : Racing Club Epernay Champagne (football)
Celebrities : Gabrielle Dorziat (actress), Roger Zabel (sports journalist).
Festivals :  Habits de lumière, Mélimôme, Saint-Vincent, Musiques d'été.

Epernay and cycling

The capital of champagne first welcomed the Tour’s peloton in 1963 on the occasion of the 50th edition. The beginning of the stage turned out to be rather animated as Federico Bahamontes immediately went on the offensive on the flat and outdistanced his rivals by almost 1:30. It was enough to worry Anquetil, who fell, meanwhile, 20 km after the start of the stage, but it was not enough to stand in the way of a fourth success.

That day, Belgian Eddy Pauwels was twice lucky, winning the stage and seizing the yellow jersey. The Belgian was not a second fiddle – he already held the leader’s garment for two days in 1959 and finished five times the Tour in the top 20. 

In 2010, Épernay was the start town of a less eventful stage, marked by the victory of Mark Cavendish after a sprint finish in Montargis.

Epernay is also the birthplace of French climber John Gadret, but also of Marcel Juot, winner of a stage in 1928 and Jean-Pierre Boulard, winner of the Tour de l’Avenir in 1968. 

The 1963 Tour de France in Epernay with actress Jacqueline Maillan - © Presse SportsAfter the last start in Epernay, Mark Cavendish had won in Montargis - © Presse SportsJohn Gadret - © Presse Sports
Three previous stages.
Pop: 25,000
Marne department.Specialties : champagne, potée champenoise (stew).
Economy : champagne, tourism.
Motto : the capital of champagne.
Sports : Racing Club Epernay Champagne (football)
Celebrities : Gabrielle Dorziat (actress), Roger Zabel (sports journalist).
Festivals :  Habits de lumière, Mélimôme, Saint-Vincent, Musiques d'été.

What to see

De Castellane tower

Built from an old water tower between 1903 and 1905, the De Castellane tower is 63 metres high and was destined to give more visibility to the De Castellane champagne house, whose headquarters are not located on the Avenue de Champagne. 

Gabrielle-Dorziat theater

Inaugurated in 1902 and named in 1987 after the Epernay-born comedian, it is one of the rare proscenium theatres to subsist with all its machinery.

House of Gallice

Formerly the town house of Marcel Gallice, the house belongs to the history of the city. It now houses the Regional Culture Office of Champagne-Ardenne.

St Martin gate

The St Martin gate, in Renaissance style, used to be part of the old St Martin church. It was moved to a small park in town. 

De Castellane tower - © Ville d’EpernayGabrielle-Dorziat theatre - © Ville d’EpernayHouse of Gallice - © Ville d’EpernaySaint-Martin gate - © Ville d’Epernay
Three previous stages.
Pop: 25,000
Marne department.Specialties : champagne, potée champenoise (stew).
Economy : champagne, tourism.
Motto : the capital of champagne.
Sports : Racing Club Epernay Champagne (football)
Celebrities : Gabrielle Dorziat (actress), Roger Zabel (sports journalist).
Festivals :  Habits de lumière, Mélimôme, Saint-Vincent, Musiques d'été.

The wealthiest avenue in the world

Listed as a “remarkable site of French taste”, Epernay’s avenue de Champagne is also sometimes referred to as the wealthiest avenue in the world. The town’s main street is also home to ten of the biggest champagne houses in the world - De Castellane, Moët et Chandon, Mercier, Perrier-Jouët, Demoiselle, Comtesse Lafond, Boizel, Esterlin, De Venoge et Pol Roger – who all own superb houses in classical or Renaissance style. Their interest is not purely architectural, as their cellars contain no less than 200 million bottles of the precious beverage. The champagne is kept in an 110kms network of galleries dug in limestone and going down 40 metres. The value of the treasure buried beneath the avenue is just incalculable. Every year in December, the avenue puts on its “Habits de Lumiere” (Light dressings), which enhance its natural beauty.  Avenue de Champagne was recently restored to clam back its original glamour. 

Habits de Lumière, Champagne De VenogeHabits de Lumière, Champagne Perrier-Jouët
Three previous stages.
Pop: 25,000
Marne department.Specialties : champagne, potée champenoise (stew).
Economy : champagne, tourism.
Motto : the capital of champagne.
Sports : Racing Club Epernay Champagne (football)
Celebrities : Gabrielle Dorziat (actress), Roger Zabel (sports journalist).
Festivals :  Habits de lumière, Mélimôme, Saint-Vincent, Musiques d'été.
video06/07/2012 

The towns 2012 : visit Epernay

Jersey wearers after the stage 20

Classifications after the stage 20

Subscribe

Receive exclusive news about the Tour de France

Survey

Will Mark Cavendish his fourth stage on the Champs-Elysées today?

  • Yes73.07%
  • No26.93%
7171 votes

Partners of Le Tour