Away from the bustling crowds and halfway between Paris and Burgundy, you’ll find the charming village of Chablis, located in the Yonne department of France. From its humble beginnings as a Roman outpost, Chablis, pronounced sha-blee in French, has become famous for producing the most popular white wine in the world.
Winemaking came to the region in the mid-9th century when Benedictine monks fleeing Viking raids in the north relocated to this pristine river valley and began cultivating grapes. The unique limestone soil and temperate climate made it the perfect spot to grow grapes. They grew so well that by the 15th century, the Chablis wine region was the most famous in France. It was served at royal banquets and became the preferred wine of kings and nobility throughout Europe.
Chablis is part of the Burgundy region and is no stranger to French culture. From the medieval-style villages to the stunning views of the vineyards, Chablis is a great place to explore some of Europe’s most beautiful and historic sites.
But there’s more to Chablis than their great chardonnay grapes. This small village on the River Serein is home to various attractions, from historical sites to outdoor activities. Wondering what to do in Chablis, France? Look no further! We’ve compiled a list of some of the best things to do and places to visit in the Chablis region.
- Most significant landmark – Church of Saint-Martin de Chablis
- Best free activity – Exploring the Town Village
- Best activity for kids – Visiting Noyers-sur-Serein
- Best activity for adults – Winery Tour
- Best day trip from Chablis – Abbaye de Fontenay
- Best all-round accommodation – Hôtel du Vieux Moulin
Fun & Best Things to Do in Chablis, France
1. Explore the Town Village
Address: Rue Prte Noël, 89800 Chablis, France
The twin stone towers of Porte de Noel mark the entrance to this quaint French village. Once you’ve passed through the gates, go ahead and park your car. With its small size and flat terrain, Chablis is best explored on foot.
As you wander the cobblestone streets and alleyways, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a Van Gogh painting. The charming stone houses with peaked tile roofs look like they haven’t changed in over 300 years. Life moves slower here, and you’ll have time to enjoy the serenity of this charming village.
Oak barrels are everywhere and are a constant reminder of the historic winemaking tradition of the area. They make the perfect table to enjoy a delicious glass of wine as you visit Chablis wineries.
And when you’re ready for a break, stop at one of the many local cafes or restaurants located throughout the village for world-famous French cuisine paired with the best of the Chablis wine region. We recommend Au Fil du Zinc and Kimm & Ridge.
Staying in the heart of the town is the perfect way to start exploring Chablis, and Chez Colette is a charming guesthouse, ideal for any trip length.
See Related: Most Beautiful Small Towns in France
2. Visit the Church of Saint-Martin de Chablis
Address: 2 Pl. du Regain, 89800 Chablis, France
Rising from the center of town, the Church of Saint-Martin de Chablis has been a historic landmark since the early 12th century and is one of the top Chablis attractions. Originally founded as a monastery in the 9th century by Benedictine monks fleeing Viking raids in the north, the Church of Saint-Martin was confirmed in 1116.
For over 700 years, the church held the relics of St. Martin until they were moved to their present location in Tours, France, during the 19th century.
On an interesting note, this church boasts some unusual front doors – 111 horseshoes are hanging from it! Legend has it that they were left by knights asking for protection in upcoming battles, as well as the owners of sick horses looking for healing from Saint Martin.
The best time to visit this Gothic church is during the afternoon when the sunlight shines through the beautiful stained-glass windows.
3. Taste Some Chablis at Domaine William Fevre
Address: 10 Rue Jules Rathier, 89800 Chablis, France
No visit to Chablis would be complete without at least one wine tasting, and William Fevre is one of the top producers in the area. This famous winery has been producing world-famous Premier Cru and Grand Cru Chablis wine for over 60 years.
The tasting room and boutique are located right in the heart of this medieval village. Here you can sample their world-famous Chablis wines while learning about the winery’s history.
Winemaker William Fevre started with just 15 acres and produced his first crop in 1959. Since then, the winery has grown to become the most prominent landowner in Chablis, with over 160 acres of vines. His domaine has grown to be one of the most popular french vineyards.
Did you know that chardonnay is the only variety of grapes permitted to be called Chablis? But what makes these grapes taste so much better than the chardonnays produced in other parts of the world? It’s the soil.
Chablis is located on what was once an inland sea 150 million years ago. As the prehistoric animals living there died, they would settle at the bottom of the sea.
When the waters receded, their remains slowly fossilized and became limestone. As a result, the soil around the Chablis wine region is rich in the fossilized remains of prehistoric oysters, giving Chablis wine its distinctive flavor.
A few areas in France and England have the same kind of soil. Still, they need the other conditions necessary to produce outstanding wines, making Chablis one of the most famous winemaking regions in the world. All thanks to millions of fossilized oyster shells.
See Related: Best Places to Visit in France & Things to Do
4. Spend the Day at Château Long-Depaquit
Address: 45 Rue Auxerroise, 89800 Chablis, France
Chateau Long-Depaquit is one of the best places to visit in Burgundy and is located right in the heart of Chablis. This family-run winery has been producing a wide range of top-quality Chablis wines since 1831.
The tasting room is located in an elegant French chateau surrounded by classic gardens. Here you’ll learn about the winery’s history as you sample some of its finest vintages.
Afterward, you can stroll through the elegant gardens. The chateau gardens are the perfect spot to enjoy an impromptu afternoon picnic. Did you know that even though Chablis comes from just one grape varietal, it is divided into four appellations?
- Petit Chablis is known for its floral and citrus flavors.
- Chablis tastes light and crisp with a hint of green apple.
- Chablis Premier Cru is a balanced white with subtle flavors and is best aged for 5 – 10 years.
- Chablis Grand Cru is the pinnacle of Chablis with a hint of almond and honey. This wine is perfect for keeping 10-15 years or longer.
Whatever the appellation, all Chablis is crisp and clean and goes exceptionally well with all kinds of fish. At Château Long-Depaquit, you’ll get to put your new wine knowledge to the test in the most practical way.
5. Educate Yourself at Musée Vinea Passion
Address: 22 Chemin de Montmains, 89800 Chablis, France
Musée Vinea Passion is devoted to educating visitors about the heritage and history of Chablis wine. Here you will explore the winemaking process from grape picking to aging and discover the varieties of grapes used to produce this renowned white Burgundy.
Come discover the history of winemaking in Chablis through the extensive collection of Alexandre Gautherin, a local Chablis winemaker. Alexandre was always passionate about winemaking and started his collection of ancient tools and equipment at a young age.
Besides Alexandre’s collection, the 7000-square-foot museum also has exhibits showing how winemaking has changed over the centuries and the various tools used during the ages. Among the many exhibits, you’ll find a pagoscope, a device used by wine growers to help predict the risk of freezing during harvest time.
In addition, the museum offers a play area for children and a wine-tasting room where you can sample wines from various local wineries.
See Related: The Ultimate Backpacking Through Europe Itinerary
6. Go Vineyard Hopping
Chablis is one of the most unique wine regions in France. With its stunning views, rich history, and sheer variety of wines, it’s no wonder that this area attracts thousands of visitors each year. One way to explore the beauty of Chablis is by hopping around some of the vineyards and wineries in the region.
By going on an organized tour, you can visit some of the most renowned wineries in the Burgundy wine region and learn about the winemaking process from experienced guides who will teach you all about the different terroirs, grapes, and vintages.
You can also participate in some blind tastings at several of the Chablis wineries to get familiar with the varietals and discover your own preference. Chablis Vititours offers tours and private wine tastings and is devoted to making sure you have the best time in this region.
7. Immerse Yourself in History at the Abbaye de Fontenay
Address: Abbaye de Fontenay, 21500 Marmagne, France
For a truly unforgettable experience, take a half day to visit the Abbaye de Fontenay in Montbard. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981, this abbey is considered one of the best preserved and most beautiful examples of Romanesque architecture in Europe.
Built in 1119, this former Cistercian monastery is renowned for its impressive sculptures, ornamental gardens, and lush grounds. Get your skip-the-line ticket and take a guided tour of the abbey to learn more about its history, admire the artwork and take in the peaceful atmosphere.
The Abbaye de Fontenay was built long before the days of Chablis wine, so take a walk through its grounds to learn more about the history and culture of this region. The abbey is just a short drive from Chablis, but is definitely worth it.
See Related: Best Day Trips from Strasbourg, France
8. Explore Historic Noyers-sur-Serein
Address: 9 Pl. de l’Hôtel de Ville, 89310 Noyers, France
Just a 30-minute drive from Chablis, you’ll find one of the most beautiful villages in Burgundy, the medieval walled city of Noyers-sur-Serein. The city has a rich history dating back more than 2,000 years.
Still, it is best known for its medieval architecture and city walls built during the 16th century. Not much has changed in the last 500 years, with most of the houses dating back to the Middle Ages.
Walking the city and discovering its rich history takes about an hour. Afterward, enjoy a great lunch at a sidewalk cafe in the pleasant village center. We recommend Restaurant de la Vieille Tour or Les Granges.
The village also boasts many fine artisan shops specializing in porcelain and leather products. This is one of the best things to do with kids in the Chablis area, and they’ll love exploring the historic center for themselves.
9. Visit Les Caves Bailly Lapierre
Address: 3 Quai de l’Yonne À Bailly, 89530 Saint-Bris-le-Vineux, France
Located near Saint-Bris-le-Vineux and only 20 minutes from Chablis, Les Caves Bailly Lapierre produces some of the best sparkling wine outside Champagne. The wine is called Cremant and is unique to the area. Bailly Lapierre makes around 15 million bottles annually, making it one of the most prominent winemakers in the region.
Besides the great wine, what makes this winery unique is that it is located in a huge cave. You actually drive your car into the cave to enter the winery.
Once inside, the winery offers guided tours and wine tastings in the vast underground bar. But be sure you bring a sweater. No matter the temperature outside, the cave is always chilly.
See Related: Most Famous Historical Landmarks in France
10. Tour the Musée de La Vigne et du Tire-Bouchon
Address: 4 Rue de l’Équerre, 89800 Beine, France
Located in the town of Beine, just a few minutes west of Chablis, you’ll find the Domaine Alain Geoffroy and the Musée de La Vigne et du Tire-Bouchon. The Corkscrew and Vineyard Museum showcases the collection of Alain Geoffroy and features more than 8,000 wine-related objects.
The museum’s highlight is his collection of over 4,000 antique and modern corkscrews, many of which date back to the early 19th century. In addition, the museum also has an extensive collection of old winemaking tools that will give you a glimpse of what daily life was like in the vineyards during the 18th and 19th centuries.
At the end of your visit, head down to the vault to sample some of their excellent Chablis wines. Feel free to buy a few bottles to take with you.
11. Visit the Famous Domaine Laroche
Address: Domaine Laroche, 22 Rue Louis Bro, 89800 Chablis, France
No trip to Chablis would be complete without a visit to the iconic Domaine Laroche. Founded in 1808, this domaine is one of the oldest and most prestigious wineries in the region. Its impeccable wines have been featured at some of the world’s top restaurants and wine bars.
Take a guided tour of the historic 9th-century cellars of the Obédiencerie, a converted monastery, to discover its history and learn about the winemaking process. Among the Obédiencerie’s many artifacts, it houses a 13th-century double press, the oldest known grape press in Burgundy. Enjoy tasting some of their fine Chablis wines and pick up a few bottles for your own collection.
Looking for somewhere to stay? The Hôtel du Vieux Moulin is a stunning guesthouse located in an old flour mill that’s right on the property.
Is Chablis, France, worth visiting?
Yes, Chablis is definitely worth visiting. This charming French village is full of history and culture, with plenty of attractions to explore, including its old town architecture and variety of artisan shops for your Chablis shopping needs. It’s also home to some of the best wines in the country!
What is Chablis, France, known for?
Chablis is known for its world-renowned white wine. In addition to this, Chablis is home to many historical attractions, such as the Church of Saint-Martin de Chablis and the Musée Vinea Passion. It’s also a great place for hiking, with a complex trail system and plenty of scenic vineyards to explore.
What are the top Chablis tourist attractions?
The top Chablis, France, tourist attractions include the Church of Saint-Martin de Chablis, Domaine Laroche and their historic Obédiencerie, and the nearby Abbaye de Fontenay in Montbard.
What are some free things to do in Chablis, France?
Some free things to do in Chablis, France, include visiting the various vineyard grounds, visiting the Church of Saint-Martin and its ancient cemetery, and checking out some of the artisan shops specializing in porcelain and leather products. You can also enjoy a leisurely stroll through town and a bite at either Au Fil du Zinc or Kimm & Ridge