Bubbles of light over Épernay
Habits de Lumière
This is the renowned 3 days event animating Épernay has achieved growing success. It was created by the Avenue de Champagne Committee in December 2000.
Since then, the Committee has been in charge of the event and works in close collaboration with the city of Épernay. On Friday, the champagne bars set up along the city’s backbone especially for the event, do not empty.
An important number of festivities are offered, such as musical animations, and acrobatic shows. They are carried out by companies of street art which walk around the city. Spectacular parades also take place. The city is entirely decorated and richly illuminated. Saturday night’s fireworks form the pyrotechnical climax of this celebratory weekend.
Each year, more than 40,000 visitors are expected to attend the event, the gourmet day, and the famous vintage car parade. The luckiest, on private invitation, could even take part in receptions held by champagne houses, located along the eponymous avenue.
Visiting the wine cellars is still possible during those three days of non-stop celebrations. Let us be reminded of the prestigious names which make up the avenue: Moët & Chandon, Perrier-Jouët, De Venoge, Pol Roger, Mercier, Demoiselle, De Castellane, Comtesse Lafond… Local wine-growers such as Michel Gonet, Collard-Picard, A. Bergère, or Paul-Etienne Saint Germain are also included, as well as the prestigious wine-grower’s cooperative, Esterlin.
Registered as "Site Remarquable du Goût" for more than 25 years, l’Avenue de Champagne was also registered, in July 2016, on the UNESCO’s World Heritage list as a cultural, evolving and living landscape.
Habits de Saveur
The event is on Saturday; every year, in June, a random draw takes place. 12 Michelin starred chefs from the Champagne-Ardenne region are picked and sorted into teams. They are gathered, along with champagne houses, wine-growers, and local producers under a common banner called "Les Étoilés de la Champagne". On the Place des Archers, (next to the Halle Saint-Thibault), underneath a huge tent, they concoct recipes, standing in front of an audience invited to taste the food for free, glass in hand – indeed, the champagne houses have the liberty to offer whichever cuvee they like.
The tasting of gastronomic entrees, dishes, and desserts starts at 9 am. The tasting is traditionally followed by gastronomic workshops and a snack for the youth (aged from 6 to 12 years old), known as Saturday’s "Rendez-vous Gourmand des Enfants", usually attended by children holding a glass of orange juice.
The Habits de Lumière’s parade takes place on Sunday and starts with the procession of vintage cars. This is, in fact, an old tradition: many people who live in Champagne are car lovers. A few of them even collect vintage cars. For the past 8 years, the procession has started at 8:30 am. Approximately ten vintage cars, along with crew members, gather in an elegant environment.
Four hundred collector cars (either luxurious or popular, all of them being at least more than 35 years old) then meet on the Charles-de-Gaulle Esplanade, and the parade starts at around 11 am, departing from l’Avenue de Champagne, throughout the city. This gathering is the biggest one of its kind in the French North-Eastern quarter. One thing’s for sure: the city of Épernay definitely is the victim of its success!