Dom Perignon - the spiritual father of champagne

Pierre Pérignon was baptized in Sainte-Menehould on January 5, 1639. Appointed procurator of Abbaye d’Hautvillers in 1668, Dom Pierre Pérignon spent 47 years overseeing the abbey’s worldly affairs until his death on September 24, 1715. He acted as manager, builder, legal specialist, merchant, and above all winegrower and winemaker.

Abbaye d’Hautvillers’ reputation flourished under his stewardship as he pursued his proclaimed mission: “make the best wine in the world.” Dom Pierre Pérignon was a visionary who developed revolutionary grape-growing and winemaking techniques that helped earn Champagne wines their reputation for unique noblesse and refinement.

His wine was served in Versailles and enthusiastically praised by none other than the Sun King, Louis XIV. In the 19th century, Dom Pierre Pérignon’s legacy became the stuff of legend. His renown spread worldwide and he was celebrated as “the spiritual father of champagne”, and Hautvillers as “the birthplace of champagne”.

The famed Benedictine monk is buried in the choir of Saint-Sindulphe church.

His 700kg bronze statue, made by the sculptor Juan Carlos Carrillo, can be seen in the Pierre Cheval park in Hautvillers.

René Lalique

René Lalique. Inventor of the modern jewel, this world recognized master-glassblower, René Lalique was born in Aÿ- Champagne on April 6th, 1880.

His maternal family settled in Aÿ, where René spent his childhood holidays. During the long walks with his grandfather in the vineyard or next to the canal, he is inspired by the surrounding nature’s abundance.

He will always keep the maternal house and still owns it when he dies in 1945.

An interpretation route and a dedicated application have been created to pay tribute to this local child and to retrace his artistic genius and abundant heritage. 12 urban buildings retrace the man, his wife, his inspiration.

Ki ng Henri the IV - Sire of Aÿ and Gonesse

Henri IV. Owner of a press house and fervent lover of the wines of d’Aÿ, it is normal that the inhabitants of the town pay tribute to him every two years in the first weekend of July!

To the ambassador of Spain, who showed him his credentials and proudly listed all of his titles, King Henri the IV, ironically replied: “And I, I am the Sire of Aÿ and Gonesse”, meaning the Lord of good wine and good bread.

His doctor had advised him to drink the lighter wine of Champagne, rather than Burgundian wine.

Hautvillers's Abbey

The former Benedictine abbey Saint-Pierre d‘Hautvillers was founded in approximately 650 by Saint Nivard, bishop of Reims and
a nephew of the king of the Francs.

After having a vision of a dove alighting on a beech tree, he decided to build a church exactly where the tree grew.

The abbey church houses the relics of Saint Helena, empress and mother of the emperor Constantine the Great and the Abbaye d’Hautvillers became a major pilgrimage destination.

The Saint-Sindulphe church is open to the public all year round. The tombstone of Dom Pierre Pérignon is inside the church.
The former abbey is not open for visits and is owned by Maison Dom Pérignon.

Le Château de Louvois

Le Château de Louvois is another brilliant witness of the local history.

It was the property of the marquess of Louvois, Michel Le Tellier, before being sold in the eighteenth century to two of the daughters of Louis XV (Madame Adélaïde et Madame Sophie), to which the Chemin des Dames owes its name.

Brickyards and Tileries

The legacy built from our terroir is an important component of the quality of our landscape. The uniqueness of its heritage and its architecture are built upon its geographical plinth.

In fact, in the 19th and 20th century, the industrial production of terracotta peaked in the Montagne de Reims. For a long time, it was the livelihood of hundreds of women and men. There were many brickyards in Dizy, Saint-Imoges and Champillon and in tileries many other villages such as Tauxières-Mutry. In Dizy, an important brickyard supplied many of the famous Champagne Houses of the Avenue de Champagne in Epernay.

Today the production of terracotta has disappeared but we can still find many a trace of these bricks and tiles on local dwellings. Walk around our communities and looking up, you will be able to admire the beautiful facades of our champenois houses.