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Inside Perrier-Jouët’s new experiential champagne bar

April 30, 2022, 1:00 PM UTC

Oenophiles have a new destination to add to their to-do lists with lauded champagne maker Perrier-Jouët opening a new experiential wine bar and restaurant in the heart of the signature French wine region.

The house of Perrier-Jouët was founded more than two centuries ago on what is now known as Avenue de Champagne in Épernay. The street stretches only about one kilometer (a little over half a mile), but is theoretically one of the most expensive streets in the world with sites belonging to many of the top champagne producers, including Moët Chandon, Mercier, and De Castellane, as well as Perrier-Jouët.

Reflecting its top markets, Perrier-Jouët expects many of its visitors will come locally from within France, but also especially from the United States and Japan.

The terrace paths follow the layout of the cellar’s tunnels six meters (20 feet) beneath visitors’ feet.
Courtesy of Perrier-Jouët

The original chateau Château Perrier is now a national landmark and the Museum of Champagne Wine and Archeology (Musée du Vin de Champagne et d’Archéologie Régionale), with bottling production and distribution just down the street. Maison Belle Epoque, the elegant house that used to belong to the Perrier-Jouët family, is just next door, and is now the site of a new and very exclusive food and wine pairing experience as part of the house’s new Belle Epoque Society.

Comfortable little islands and two gazebos like those in the Maison Belle Epoque garden host visitors for lunch, a light meal or a glass of Perrier-Jouët champagne.
Courtesy of Perrier-Jouët

Another new venue—housing a tasting bar, multiple art installations, a boutique, and an atelier workshop—was built directly across the street from Château Perrier on top of what used to be the parking lot across the street from not too long ago. Visitors enter this building, known as Cellier Belle Epoque, through an intricately designed courtyard with a special layout reflecting the cellar, which is not open to guests.

Visitors are invited to sample the Perrier-Jouët cuvées while viewing the artworks on display.
Courtesy of Perrier-Jouët

“This courtyard is quite special. We thought about our cellars underground and decided to have a map of our cellars from the 19th century, just to level up from the underground to the ground floor,” explains Francois-Xavier, vice president of champagne for Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët (MMPJ), the champagne and cognac division under parent owner Pernod Ricard. “So you’re able to enjoy and walk through the courtyard to have the same experience of walking through the cellars underground.”

The courtyard is also designed in reflection of the same three pillars that guides Perrier-Jouët’s brand and heritage: nature, art, and (of course) wine.

Next to the Belle Epoque Workshop, the boutique has been reimagined as a winter garden.
Courtesy of Perrier-Jouët

Visitors can discover and go through different champagne vintages in Perrier-Jouët’s cellar at the tasting bar just inside from the courtyard. The bar is also surrounded by several art installations—not counting the permanent art pieces in the courtyard—reflecting Perrier-Jouët’s efforts to cultivate a community of artists, many of whom have contributed custom designs for ornate, limited edition bottles.

‘Extra-Natural’ by Miguel Chevalier.
Courtesy of Perrier-Jouët

Among the most prominent in Perrier-Jouët’s artist collective is Miguel Chevalier, who came to prominence for digital art starting in the 1980s. His primary medium is light, which is evident in the vibrant installation near the tasting bar: Extra-Natural, an interactive and generative virtual garden. This is Chevalier’s third iteration of the piece—the first two having been on display in Tokyo and Paris—but the first permanent location for the series, making it a must-visit location for art lovers.

Another piece exclusive to the chateau is HyperNature by Bethan Laura Wood. The installation resembles a tree, but this one is far more fantasy (if not hallucinatory) with jewel-toned leaves and branches holding wine glasses—reflecting grapes on the vine ready to be picked—each glass painted with details in the style of the Belle Epoque era during the turn of the 20th century.

“It’s all about bringing colorful, joyful dimensions to our everyday life,” says Axelle de Buffevent, style director for Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët (MMPJ). “We’re very happy to have it here to enhance the beauty of our house, and enhance the joy of our everyday life.”

‘HyperNature’ by Bethan Laura Wood.
Courtesy of Perrier-Jouët

Within Cellier Belle Epoque, the atelier has a regular schedule of workshops available to visitors but it can also be booked for private events for both businesses and individuals. Programming includes floral art workshops, meetings with champagne winegrowers and sustainable viticulture managers from the house, and seminars on the history of champagne wine and art from the Belle Epoque era.

With Belle Epoque Society, Maison Perrier-Jouët is aiming to re-energize tourism, culture, and gastronomy in the local area amid a travel rebound this summer.
Courtesy of Perrier-Jouët

Those who plan ahead can also determine the best food pairings through a seated, five-course tasting menu at the Belle Epoque Society. Menus are seasonal and created by in-house chef Sebastian Morellon, working in collaboration with cellar master Severine Frerson. Some of the fare includes langoustine with fregola, sweet onions, green curry, apple brunoise, and mousseline (paired with a Blanc de Blancs champagne); as well as beef tenderloin with frosted raspberry pieces, green cabbage leaf, and baby spinach (paired with a rosé champagne).

Rates for the tasting menu reservations start at more than $300 per person. With seatings only twice a week, each meal is very exclusive—limited to only 12 people total each time, whether that’s an assortment of different parties (i.e. two or four people per party) or a buyout for a 12-person party.

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