One of the most impressive cellar tours in the region is offered by Veuve Clicquot, a venerable maison founded in 1772. Veuve Cliquot has the largest network of crayères in Reims, a 24km maze of tunnels and vaults deep below the ground. Guides lead you deep into the cavernous, pyramid-shaped crayères, used for chalk excavation in Gallo-Roman times and now harbouring millions of bottles of Champagne, one of which (the yellow-label brut) you get to taste on the 1½-hour public tours.
The maison rose to fame under Madame Clicquot (1777–1866), nicknamed the 'Grande Dame of Champagne'. One of the first businesspeople to tap into the wine industry, the widowed 27 year old evolved the Champagne-making process using the first riddling table, frequently turning the bottles so the yeast would gather near the cork and removing this frozen plug (disgorgement). This resulted in a clearer Champagne with finer bubbles.
Tickets can be purchased in advance online.