Aÿ (which can also be spelled Ay) is a town in the Marne, in the Greater East region, 30 km south of Reims and 5 km northeast of Épernay, bordering it.
The commune merged on 1 January 2016 with the localities of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ and Bisseuil, becoming Aÿ-Champagne.
The locality is deemed to be one of the locomotives of the Champagne vineyards, with Reims and Epernay, which naturally translates this new denomination.
On a communal area of 1043 hectares, 288 in the north are covered with forest (the Montagne de Reims) and in the south, 429 are planted with vines classified 100% Grand cru (relief of hillsides). Further south, the village developed along the Marne and its lateral canal.
Attached to the County of Champagne in the eleventh century then to the kingdom of France in the fourteenth, Aÿ obtains a charter granting him great liberties in his administration. Spared by the wars of Religion, the town where the vineyard was cultivated since the Gallo-Roman era became industrialized in the 19th century thanks to the development of a canal and the railway.
With the cultivation of the vine, the city is prosperous and its population approaches the 8000 inhabitants in the years 1920. The crisis of the metallurgy nevertheless impacts the local economy and the population is now only 6 000 inhabitants from now on.
The viticulture and associated activity (independent winegrowers, large houses, wine presses) as well as tourism constitute the economic lung of the city, which benefits from an exceptional landscape setting. With a specific heritage linked to wine and the Montagne de Reims, this is a must for anyone staying in Champagne.
In terms of historical and architectural heritage, a stop at Aÿ must include a visit to the church of Saint-Brice, a Gothic style, erected in the 15th and 16th centuries. There is a richly ornamented façade and a large 18th century baroque organ.
Also worth seeing is the Henri IV press, a half-timbered house in the old heart of the town, and Villa Bissinger, a former 19th century mansion, now home to the Center for Vine and Wine Studies. CEVVIN). There is a Champagne wine school, a research and documentation center, and seminar rooms. Free tour. For workshops or workshops related to the history of wine or oenology, please call +33 3 26 55 78 78.
Note that a pedestrian circuit called Les Musardines has been laid out, dotted with 19 interpretive panels to apprehend the history of the city, its heritage, its vineyards. Day or evening trail (lighting). Brochures and information at +33 3 26 56 92 10.
In summer, free guided tours of the city are organized. Rendez-vous place de la Libération on Fridays at 6 pm, Saturdays at 5 pm and Sundays at 11 am.
Note also that a wooded trail with panels was built along the side canal to the Marne and is an interesting walk.
Mountain bike routes have also been designed, including town and vineyard. Aÿ is also crossed by the GR14 which connects Paris to Belgium. Other itineraries include the areas of the municipality of the Regional Natural Park of the Montagne de Reims. For hiking (pedestrian or mountain bike), documentation and information on +33 3 26 56 92 10 or +33 3 26 53 33 00.
For the amateurs, a boat discovery of this natural and viticultural paradise that is the region can be envisaged from the nautical base (also equipped with playgrounds). For further information, please call +33 3 26 56 95 24.
Alternatively, walk around the city and the vineyards on horseback. Information at the equestrian center on +33 3 26 54 34 42.
Of course, many cellar visits are possible. For more information, please call +33 3 26 53 33 00.
Tennis enthusiasts must contact the hotel on +33 3 26 54 09 74.
In May, the May Musical organizes classical concerts on Friday nights in the church.
In June, on the former commune of Bisseuil, festival of laughter (shows, concerts).
Every two years (even years), the first weekend of July, the festivals of Henri IV program costume parades, tastings, fun and musical animations. The appointment is based on a quotation from Henri IV: "If I were not king of France, I would like to be lord of Aÿ".
In August, concerts organized as part of the Musiques en Champagne festival are hosted in A.
The second weekend of September, patronal festival.