Best Time to Visit Champagne France

The Champagne region is a world-famous winemaking area located in northeastern France, just a short distance from Paris. People visit this region to experience the finest sparkling wines and explore historic cities like Reims and Épernay. Basically, people come here to experience the culture surrounding champagne production.

Choosing the right time to visit can make a lot of difference in your experience. The right time will let you witness the vineyards in full glory, take part in local festivals, and enjoy the perfect weather conditions.

Climate of Champagne Region in France

Climate FactorDescription
Overall ClimateContinental with maritime (oceanic/Atlantic) influence
TemperaturesAverage annual temperature: 11°C (51.8°F)- Winters are cold with the potential for frosts- Summers are warm, overcast and humid
Frost DaysSpring and autumn have frosts that equate to 60-80 days/year- Troyes: 85 days below freezing- Reims: 75 days below freezing- 3.8 days at 14°F or below, putting buds in danger of freeze damage
PrecipitationAverage of 177 rainy days per year- Rain and cloud cover are common
Sunlight1650 hours of sunlight per year- 1400 hours of sunlight required for grapes to ripen
Geographic LocationBetween the 49th and 49.5th parallel north- Near the northern limit for quality grape cultivation
TopographyHills create sun traps- Rivers help moderate temperature and mitigate frost damage
RipeningDue to the northerly position, grapes have difficulty ripening- When ripe, grapes have high acidity and a lean, aromatic profile
Global Warming ImpactTemperatures have increased by 2°F over the past 30 years- Flowering and harvest shifted forward by around 14 days- Warmer growing seasons leading to lower acid levels and reduced dosage

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Spring Season in Champagne

Spring Season in Champagne

Spring is a great time to visit Champagne. The climate might be a bit chilly but the flowers all around will make it better! The spring season in Champagne is in the months of March, April and May. At this time of year, you can enjoy yourself with fewer crowds. 

The average temperature in March will be around 8°C (46°F). When it comes to April, the temperature will be around 11°C (52°F). And in May, the average temperature will be around 15°C (59°F).

Nature During Spring in Champagne

One main advantage of visiting here in spring is watching the blooming vineyards and wildflowers.  The end of March/early April marks the “bud burst” when the first buds appear on the vines. This is the start of a new growth cycle.

In vineyards, you can see growers remove excess buds, arrange shoots, and limit excessive growth to allow the vine to focus on producing quality grapes. Do not miss the flowering. In May, the buds grow into leaves, and the vine flowers gradually blossom. 

Spring is when nature blooms in champagne.  It is beautiful, with trees, flowers, and wildlife springing back to life. Spring is an excellent time for birdwatching in the region as migratory birds return to the vineyards and forests.

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Outdoor Activities in the Spring Season

There is a lot to do during spring in Champagne. The milder weather is perfect for picnics, walking, cycling, horseback riding, and visiting wine estates. You can also enjoy a beach day at Lake Der, Europe’s largest man-made lake. 

Visit the vineyards of Hautvillers, which is the birthplace of champagne. It is a great spot for a romantic picnic, too.  

You can also go to the Perching Bar in Verzy Forest and sip some champagne on the treetops. Another option is to try out the glamping (glamorous camping) experience in Bar-sur-Aube, with forest strolls and midnight dips in the lake.

Take a horse ride through the beautiful forest of the Der estate. Then, explore Reims’ Art Déco architecture as the weather warms up.

Is walking, biking, or skating is your thing? Do it along the 18km Coulée Verte path down the Vesle River.

Participate in vineyard activities and events as the region prepares for the upcoming grape harvest.

Disadvantages of Visiting Champagne in Spring 

  • Some wineries and restaurants may be closed for the season
  • Unpredictable weather, with the potential for rain showers

Summer in Champagne

Summer in Champagne

Sunner is the peak tourist season in Champagne. The summer season in Champagne falls in the months of June, July and August. The summers are very sunny, with average temperatures of 18°C (64°F) in June, 20°C (68°F) in July and 20°C (68°F) in August.

Outdoor Activities in Summer Season

The pleasant summer weather is perfect for outdoor activities such as picnics in the vineyards leisurely walks through historic towns, and al fresco dining. 

There are a lot of festivals and events during summer celebrating the region’s wine, heritage, and culture. Some of these festivals include the La Route du Champagne en Fête and the Flâneries Musicales Festival in Reims.

With all wineries and restaurants open, summer is an ideal time for wine tourism, offering opportunities to taste Champagne, where it’s made and explore the region’s rich viticultural heritage.

Summer brings outdoor markets in towns and villages, offering fresh local produce, artisanal products, and a look into the region’s culinary traditions.

Disadvantages of Visiting Champagne in Summer

  • Peak tourist season, leading to higher prices and crowds
  • Potential for hot and humid weather

Autumn in Champagne

Autumn in Champagne

While autumn is considered a peak season in Champagne, it also offers the advantage of fewer tourists compared to the summer months.

Autumn in the Champagne region is when the harvest season begins. The vineyards undergo a beautiful transformation. You’ll see the green leaves gradually giving way to a warm palette of autumn. The vines are in rich tones of gold, orange, and red.

Autumn in Champagne is in the months of  September, October and November.  These months  have an average temperature of  16°C (61°F), 11°C (52°F) and 6°C (43°F) respectively. 

From late September through November, the weather becomes pleasantly cool. Visitors usually cosy up in the region’s renowned wineries, savouring a glass of the region’s famous bubbly. The highlight of autumn in Champagne is undoubtedly the grape harvest, known as the “vendange.”

Outdoor Activities in Autumn Season

Autumn is a great time for the famous vineyard tours in Champagne.  However, do not miss the walks around the forests surrounding Epernay. The trees here will be in autumn colours. It sort of makes you feel like you are in a movie. 

Autumn in Champagne is also great for their hot air balloon rides. You can see all of the vineyards from up there.  If you love cycling, take the countryside route. You’ll see charming villages, vineyards, rolling hills and more. It is beautiful! 

Make sure you click pictures in the golden autumn lights. If you like nature, try the nature reserves in the Champagne region. You can see a lot of flora and fauna along with unique autumn wildlife spotting. 

Disadvantages of Visiting Champagne in Autumn

  • Higher prices during peak harvest season
  • Potential for rainy weather

Winter in Champagne

Winter in Champagne

Winter brings a calm atmosphere to the vineyards of Champagne. December, January, and February are the winter seasons in Champagne. The winter in champagne has an average temperature of 2°c. 

This is the perfect time if you are on a budget. There will be fewer tourists, and the prices will be affordable. This is also a great time to experience the local cuisine here as well. 

Activities in Winter Season

Christmas activities are the highlight of winter here. Christmas and New Year festivities keep the region noisy with a lot of activities. You can visit the Reims Christmas market. Try the wooden chalets filled with regional specialities at the foot of Reims Cathedral.

People of any age can visit Troyes for the giant baubles of Bulles Enchantées. Also, not that on the Saturday before January 22nd, Champagne houses and growers gather to celebrate St. Vincent’s feast day, a symbolic event. Join in and experience it. 

Disadvantages of Visiting Champagne in Winter

  • Cold weather and potential for snow
  • Some wineries and restaurants may be closed for the season

The Champagne Harvest Season

The Champagne Harvest Season

The actual Champagne experience is in the Harvest season. However, it’s important to note that this is also a peak period, with higher prices and larger crowds.

The Champagne harvest season, known as “vendange,” is a crucial period in the region’s winemaking cycle. Typically starting in early September and lasting for a few weeks, the harvest is a time of great excitement and anticipation. 

During this period, grape pickers carefully hand-select the ripe grapes from the vines, ensuring that only the best fruit is used in the production of Champagne. The harvested grapes are then quickly transported to the Champagne houses, where the winemaking process begins.

The timing of the harvest is determined by various factors, including the ripeness and acidity of the grapes, as well as weather conditions. 

Festivals and Events During the Harvest Season:

  • “Vendanges en Fête” or “Harvest Festival” can be seen. These are celebrations with tastings, tours, music, and dancing in the vineyards.
  • Harvest-themed events organized by individual Champagne houses, offering visitors a chance to see the production process.
  • Local markets and fairs showcasing the region’s culinary and artisanal products.

Festivals and Events in Champagne

Festivals and Events in Champagne

Throughout the year, the Champagne region hosts a variety of festivals and cultural events that celebrate its rich viticultural heritage and local traditions. Here are some of the most notable events:

  • La Route du Champagne en Fête (July): A festive, musical, and gastronomic walk through the Champagne region featuring tastings, cellar visits, and street performances.
  • Habits de Lumière (End of the year): An artistic and colourful light festival held in Épernay, transforming the city into a dazzling spectacle.
  • Christmas Markets (Late November to December): Charming Christmas markets in cities like Reims and Troyes, offering local crafts, delicacies, and festive decorations.
  • Champagne and Wine Festival (Annual): A celebration of the region’s wines, with tastings, workshops, and live music.
  • Reims Wine Fair (Annual): A prestigious event attracting wine enthusiasts from around the world, showcasing the finest Champagne houses and regional wines.

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Conclusion

The best time to visit Champagne completely depends on your personal preferences. But, try to go during the harvest season for the best experience. But this is the peak season and the prices are going to be high. 

In any case, each season of champagne offers a different experience. You can make a pro-con list and decide which season will fit you best. Have a wonderful journey. 

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