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Epernay is located in the western part of the Marne department, in the Champagne-Ardenne region. It is located about 140km north-east of Paris . With roughly 24,600 inhabitants, it is the 3rd most populated city in the Marne department after Reims and Chalons-en-Champagne. The city is located at the foot of a chalk plateau. It is therefore part of the Champagne “chalky region”, which is characterized by its chalky subsoil which allows the cultivation of champagne grape vines.
There are few documents that tell the history of Epernay, but it is a known fact that the Marne region in general acted as a buffer zone during the Gallo-Roman era between Celtic Gaul and Belgian Gaul. From the 5th to the 10th century, the city belonged to the archbishops of Reims, before falling under the jurisdiction of the counts of Champagne. During the Hundred Years’ War it was destroyed and rebuilt, and was totally burned down by Francis I in 1544. With the French Revolution the city became public and has greatly evolved ever since. One cannot, however, discuss the history of Epernay without discussing that of champagne. The first champagne house was established in Epernay in 1730 by the Chanoine brothers, one year after the establishment of Ruinart champagne in Reims. Moët & Chandon was established in 1743 by Claude Moët and has remained one of the city’s top producers ever since, particularly with its Dom Perignon line.