Nephew's 21st BDay in Champagne

Hi everyone,

Nephew is spending junior year abroad in Paris - and he turns 21 while there - so we thought we’d pop over for a long weekend and take him tasting in Champagne. Thinking around Valentine’s Day - but appear to be a lot of closings during this time. In addition, our favorite place to stay, Royal Champagne, is closed for renovations until 2017. We’ve been to the region several times, but I’m guessing this will be a new experience for us with him in tow.

Any recommended hotels and recommended Champagne houses for a young man’s 21st? Will need to be somewhat educational as he’s never been tasting and also a bit entertaining to keep him off his phone.

Besides some of the larger houses that may satisfy the entertainment aspect (Pommery, Veuve Clicquot, etc.), any recs for growers that would relish the chance to educate a young foreign student.

Many thanks!

Hi Lori. Les Crayeres and their restaurant, Le Parc. Can’t recommend the restaurant in particular more highly. Among the best meals in my life.


That recommendation stands far above any other I could give. The tour of their caves is fascinating — that phone will surely remain pocket-bound, but for use of its camera function!

Also, before you come home, stop in Caves du Forum ( and buy some goodies to smuggle home. Amazing shop

A + here on Caves du Forum.

Also, in case you bought a bit and do not want to have to lug wines around while you do the rest of your travel, they will ship to your hotel in Paris (ready for you when you fly out) if you prefer.

Was in Reims last week for the first time. I was actually very surprised by the amount of young college students around!

The bar I would recommend is a small wine bar called “The Wine Bar”! LOL, tough to remember, I know.

We went here a couple times and were mostly with younger people but the wine list is spectacular and very reasonably priced. This would be a great way to both do the “wine thing” and also hang around some younger people where I am sure your nephew’s 21st would be very celebrated.

Here is their site:

We enjoyed Les Creyers for lunch. That being said if I was 21, I would find it very stuffy. I would go to The Wine Bar. Great snacks, amazing list, and your nephew will have fun with other younger people around.

Thanks everyone. Air tickets booked today - great deal redeeming miles on United Business Class Saver Award on our preferred flights - two for the price of less than one business class for the regular awards. Just spoke with him and he’s very excited. Looking forward to it!

Have a great time Lori!

Just confirmed my nephew’s 21st birthday lunch at Les Crayeres. Thanks for the tip!

You’ll have a fantastic meal

I went to Le Parc a couple of weeks ago and I rate it up there with French Laundry and 11 Madison Park. Fantastic meal and service.

+1 the caves are the a highlight for anyone; there wines are extraordinary as well IMHO; set up a private tasting if possible.

Great move. This is a lifetime treasure and the right choice for this occasion.

Im not sure if you have found a hotel yet, but I can highly recommend Hotel Castel Jeanson in Ay if you are amenable to staying outside of Reims. Its a go to hotel for most ITB, owned by the Goutorbe family and within walking distance of many fine houses including Bollinger, Ayala, Deutz, Henri Giraud and Gourtobe who makes really fine champagne and the family is so cordial and engaging.

From an educational standpoint, you might have your nephew go through a tour such as the one done by Verve Cliquot which covers all the basics. Bollinger does a nice job and since many of the vineyards are within waling distant, you get a close up tour with history and vineyard management. As you probably know, all appointments are best set up as private or semi-private if possible.

For one not familiar with champagne, most have heard of Dom Perigean and a list to Moet & Chandon in nearby [from Ay] Epernay would be something he could impressively share with others.

Back from a short trip for my nephew’s birthday. We were there in February during French Spring Break (who knew) so many places didn’t reopen until March 5.

A few highlights:
We stayed at an amazing and spacious apartment owned by Gen. George S. Patton’s granddaughter. Just steps from the Reims cathedral, the apartment had two large bedrooms, a large kitchen, separate dining and living, and filed with memorabilia (personal and otherwise) from her grandfather’s military career. Booked on VRBO - highly recommend and very reasonably priced. Would stay again. And it’s just a short stroll from one of the best bakeries in Reims, Le Four a Bois on rue Chanzy.

We took the French language tours at Tattinger (our first tour back in 1997) and then the one at Vranken-Pommery that includes a beautiful art nouveau villa, Villa Demoiselle. A good balance for my nephew as he was very interested in the art exhibition in the Pommery cellars as he’s taking art history this semester in Paris. Then my favorite tasting at Frank Bonville in Avize. (Ruinart, Veuve Clicquot, etc were closed.)

The birthday lunch was at Les Crayeres and I think it was my nephew’s favorite part of the trip (thanks Neal ). He’s never experienced Michelin dining so it was a great experience for him. We had dinner one night at Le Wine Bar (thanks Michael) that hubby and I loved (my nephew - hubby’s side - preferred a real dinner not snacks). We also dined at Cote Cuisine in Reims, that was a bit hit or miss. And stopped for a quick lunch tasting (4 glasses, charcuterie, etc.) at C. Comme in Epernay. This was great for my nephew as he got to taste 100% champagnes (chardonnay, pinot noir, pinot meunier) and then a blend. The shop underneath has a decent selection of small, regional producers. It was pretty empty and we shared the bar with a local lady in the biz.

Then we topped it off with lunch at Chantilly at Francois Vatel’s kitchens and tours of the Chateau, Musee Conde, and the Great Stables. The nephew loved this as he’s also a big James Bond fan.

Appreciated all of the recommendations from this group!

Sounds fantastic! So glad you had fun

A nice read–thanks for the follow-up report!