Welcome to the website of the Lighthouse of Verzenay in Champagne.
150 km away from Paris, between Reims and Epernay, the Lighthouse invites you to tour the fascinating world of the Champagne vineyards.
By using the latest audiovisual and scenographic techniques, discover all the essential factors needed to create the most famous wine ….
AN UNUSUAL CLIMB
1, 2, 3, 4, …., 14, ………, 57, 58, ………………, 99, 100 and 101 steps! You are 25 metres up, above a sea of vines and the Champagne vineyards are as far as the eye can see.
And then in the distance there is a mill, villages, fields, a city and a cathedral. You are now at the top of the Lighthouse of Verzenay.
A specially equipped panoramic viewpoint offers an exceptional 360° view.
100 YEARS OF HISTORY
A lighthouse in the midst of a sea of vines, such was the ingenious brainwave of Mr Joseph Goulet to promote his brand of champagne. This creation does not fail to surprise. At its summit a rotary lantern emits a light beam scanning the plain of Champagne.
At the bottom of this amazing building, Joseph had an open-air theatre, a restaurant and a cabaret establishment built. The Lighthouse of Verzenay therefore soon became a meeting place for people living in Reims and Epernay who met at the site thanks to the CBR (the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer De la Banlieue Rémoise, a local railway line for people living in the suburbs of Reims).
On a sunny afternoon and in a festive atmosphere, visitors sampled the Champagne of the Lighthouse.
The events of the First World War put an end to these good times. The lighthouse was then used as an observation tower by the French army and suffered shellfire from enemy troops.
In the aftermath of the war, only the reinforced concrete tower remained, the adjacent buildings were destroyed.
For many years, the Lighthouse of Verzenay was left disused. It was pervaded by vegetation and fell into oblivion.
The Vine Museum was created from advertising in the open-air museum,
Dear to the inhabitants of Verzenay, the lighthouse was bought back by the municipality of Verzenay in 1987 from a Champagne House which owned the premises. This was when the lighthouse was saved from collapse.
Associated with the Regional Nature Park of la Montagne de Reims, the municipality of Verzenay was already considering a development project.
It was in 1994 that the Community of Vesle Montagne de Reims Municipalities, as part of its tourism remit, supported the project to create an open-air vine museum.
Already engaged in a process of planning and developing its territory, it took into account the need for a unifying and structuring project for tourism and the creation of tourist products which appreciated its territory.
In 1995, the Community of Vesle Montagne de Reims Municipalities began construction of the Vine Museum in Champagne, an investment of more than 2 million euros, co-financed by public and private partners.
The Vine Museum opened its doors on 3 October 1999.
The Community of Municipalities won second prize for its project in the competition organised by the ADCF (Assembly of Municipalities in France) in 2001 in the category of ‘Art, culture and heritage’.
2009: 100 years of history, 10 years in the making…
10 years later, the Vine Museum received more than 170,000 visitors.
To celebrate the anniversary of the Lighthouse in a suitable fashion and after several months of reflection, in 2008 the Community of Vesle Montagne Municipalities undertook to make it happen and give the Lighthouse a new look.
So from 1 January to 13 May 2009 and through an investment of nearly €600,000, co-financed by public partners, restoration work on the Lighthouse was carried out.
As in the days of the glorious years of the Lighthouse, visitors can once again climb to the top of this unusual building in the midst of a sea of vines…
Dive into the heart of the Champagne vineyards through a fun and educational journey of discovery with an audio guide.
Press the small green arrows to listen to an extract of the comments
We hope you have a pleasant visit…
The Champagne Territories hall
The tour starts in the Champagne Territories hall. Under a starry sky, find out about the layout of the area in Champagne from a large-scale model. Introduction to the tour, this amphitheatre dives into the fascinating world of the Champagne vineyards.
A leisurely walk along a panoramic viewpoint to discover the many landscapes of Champagne. Besides the embrasures, experience the Montagne de Reims and the Regional Nature Park of the Montagne de Reims.
The descent continues in the atmosphere of the history of this universally renowned wine which was gained at the price of a ceaseless struggle to maintain the best quality.
The Cycle of Seasons
The Cycle of Seasons presents the physiological timetable of a grape vine and the many tasks involved in grape production. Tasks from the start of the century are illustrated by old photos and original tools and contemporary tasks, for their part, are presented by means of video films.
Feast days and Saints
Feasts and traditions are the key words of Champagne and of those from Champagne. That is why staffs of St Vincent are presented in this area and traditional costumes are still worn today on this typical wine-making feast day.
Tales and Legends our way
New for 2009, to celebrate 10 years of the Vine Museum and 100 years of the Lighthouse.
An area dedicated to fairy tales and legends where reality merges with dreams.
Films, fairy tales for children, relaxation area in the landscapes of Champagne, and a fairy tale, the tale of the history, the truth and the legends of the Lighthouse told by Robert Hossein.
A bubbly visit to discover Champagne.
CHOOSE YOUR TOUR
The tour of the museographical route is conducted using audio guides in 4 languages: French, English, German and Dutch.
The tour route lasts approximately 1 hour 30 minutes, in an atmosphere of songs, bird sounds, cries of revolt, pruning shears and Champagne bubbles!
Climbing the Lighthouse is separate from the museum tour.
From 10 people
Groups benefit from a reduced rate of €6 /person for a tour of the museum and from €7 with the climb of the Lighthouse, from 10 people.
Die Besichtigung kann durch einen Besuch des Weinkellers oder eine Champagnerverkostung ergänzt werden, die von den lokalen Winzern angeboten werden.
The climb of the Lighthouse is conducted freely before or after the tour of the museum, per group of 19 people.
The visit can be supplemented by a tour of the cellar or Champagne tasting offered by local wine producers.
The Lighthouse is open all year round for groups by booking.
How to get there
150 km away from Paris,
15 mins from Reims
A number of adjustments have been made to enable our disabled visitors to navigate around the facilities as comfortably as possible.
The site is therefore equipped with disabled parking enabling easy access to the entrance. A special reception area offers information adapted for the visually and hearing impaired.
The discovery route is equipped with a lift on each floor.
Themed tours have been specially created for groups. They call on the 5 senses and are organised into workshop tours.
The reduced for disabled people.
Opening times and prices…
Open every day * from 10 am to 5 pm in the week and from 10 am to 5.30 pm on weekends and public holidays.
*on Mondays, only open by appointment for groups
The Lighthouse is closed to the public from 1 January until mid-March every year.
During this period, it is still open by booking for groups.
Children under 6 years old 0€
Reduced rate 6.5€
Group of children 3€
Children under 6 years old 0€
Reduced rate 2.5€
Group of children 2€
Children under 6 years old 0€
Reduced rate 7.5€
Group of children 4€
Students, disabled war veterans and civilians
From 10 people
THE GIFT SHOP
A nicely laid out gift shop offers a wide selection of souvenirs, books dedicated to grape vines and Champagne, regional gourmet specialities and crafts.