A trip to Perrier Jouët's headquarters in Épernay, France, just became an even headier experience. This fall, to celebrate the centennial of its flowered bottle, the Champagne house opened its Maison Belle Époque to the public for the first time. There's probably no place else on earth where ordinary people can touch museum-quality Belle Époque treasures, and certainly no place to do so while sipping flutes of Perrier Jouët. The company has been furnishing this 19th-century maison with one of the world's largest collections of objects by major French artisans, among them Hector Guimard (who designed many of Paris's Metro entrances), Louis Majorelle (renowned for his botanically accurate leafy furniture inlays) and Émile Gallé (who created the prototype for Perrier Jouët's anemone-pattern bottleon display at the maison). Everything in the mansion, from the woodwork to the beds, lamps and wine glasses, has been sculpted, etched or painted with nymphs and flora. On a full-day tour (about $435 per person, on weekdays and by reservation only, with a 10-guest maximum), visitors taste the current release of prestige cuvée at the maison; explore the gardens, vineyards and cellars; then sit down to a five-course luncheon in the dining room, featuring legendarily aphrodisiac foods, accompanied by different Champagnes. Perrier Jouët has also just started allowing drop-in visitors at its headquartersa boon to the budget-conscious or those pressed for time, who can stop by the tasting room on weekdays for about $9 per person (011-33-326-53-38-10 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Eve M. Kahn