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historical chalk pits

Chalk is a unique feature of the Champagne region. Certain Champagne Houses are lucky enough to have their cellars buried in these historic chalk pits, some of which are over 2000 years old. These exceptional sites have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2015. Discover them and learn more about their history.

Visit the historic chalk pits

and travel through 2000 years of history

Some tours of cellars are more unusual than others. Some of the champagne houses host you in their historic chalk-mining pits, sometimes on the site of ancient Gallo-Roman pits, dating back over 2000 years.

In these cathedral-like limestone caves, there are miles of underground galleries, and millions of bottles of champagne carefully laid to age for long periods.

These cellars, dug into the chalk, ensure a constant temperature, humidity and darkness, all of which are essential to the champagne production process.

Chalk

A characteristic unique to the region

The subsoil of the Champagne region is made up of limestone formed during the Cretaceous period, 60 to 80 million years ago, by an accumulation of marine shells and micro-organisms in a shallow sea (50 to 100m).

When the sea receded, the limestone mud solidified and turned into chalk. Its capacity to store a large quantity of water provides the vines that take root there with ideal irrigation conditions, whatever the season. Going down into the subsoil is therefore like going back to the source of champagne.

Many galleries are used as cellars for ageing champagne as they offer the best conditions.

Where to find

historic chalk-mining pits