The origins of the Hotel le Vergeur date back to the 13th Century and a time when markets were held in the Forum (on the vestiges of a Gallo-Roman forum that remain visible to this day). The Rue du Marc quarter was peopled by the gentry and bourgeoisie, close to the home of the Counts of Champagne (belonging to Taittinger). The Hotel Le Vergeur’s two levels of vaulted cellars suggest that the property originally traded in still Champagne wines.
In the 19th Century, on 27 Brumaire Year II, the house was sold as a national asset to Rheims producer Vanin-Clicquot. In 1822, it was owned by Madame Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin, whose heirs maintained it as a residence for most of the 19th Century.
In 1895, Count Werlé, president of the House of Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin, ceded the property to one of his associates who restored the great gothic hall. The Hotel le Vergeur then took the name of "Maison Champagne Couvert".
Before World War I (1910), the property was acquired by Hugues Krafft with a view to preserving the shell. In the event, the house exterior having suffered bomb damage, Krafft gradually rebuilt this historic property (classified as a Monument Historique), keeping the upper floors as his residence and giving over the ground floor to the collections held by the Amis du Vieux Reims cultural association.
It was this energetic organisation that then converted the Hôtel Le Vergeur into a charming museum that is now open to visitors. On show is a painting by Herbé entrusted to the museum by the Grandes Marques de Champagne, by way of their contribution to the protection of Champagne’s cultural heritage, in the same spirit as their sponsorship to conserve the fabric of the cathedral.
The Amis du Vieux Reims association was set up by Hugues Krafft in1909, the year when the Grandes Marques Champagne Houses gave Champagne a place in the early history of aviation. Yesterday and today, the Champagne Houses invest in research and look to the future, while remaining ever mindful of the need to safeguard the traditions, artistic legacy and historic sites of the Champagne region.