Champagne and Ardennes

Renowned for its famous champagne wine, the Champagne-Ardenne region offers an area rich in medieval villages, cities of art and historical sites.
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After the administrative reform of 2016, the territories of Champagne-Ardenne andAlsace-Lorraine were merged into one new large region, the Grand Est.

The Champagne region is world-famous for the production of the renowned sparkling wine. Located in the north-east of France, it is characterised by the cultivation of vines and especially welcomes wine and gastronomic tourism, linked to the tasting of wines and sparkling wines, which alternates with visits to historic towns and picturesque villages.

The Champagne-Ardenne region possesses a generous and authentic nature, a heritage rich in history, and a world-famous gastronomy: art nouveau, Renaissance buildings, fortified churches, imposing cathedrals, perched castles, medieval villages and beautiful towns all come together in a single region.

The perfect components for a varied trip to discover an unusual territory and a glorious past.

Reims

Surrounded by vineyards, Reims welcomes you to the heart of Champagne: a destination for gourmets and art lovers alike.

Indeed, you can admire its spectacular Notre-Dame-de-Reims Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic art and one of the most emblematic buildings in French history, where no fewer than 33 sovereigns have been crowned. Also not to be missed are the Palais Tau and the Saint-Remi Basilica, architectural marvels that will not leave you indifferent.

At the same time, Reims is a mecca for wine tourism: visit one of the many champagne cellars, carved out of chalk caves, and enjoy excellent glasses of wine accompanied by local delicacies.

Charleville-Mézières

Founded in 1606 by Charles de Gonzague, Charleville is a magnificent example of early 17th century town planning. The town is famous for its Place Ducale, modelled on the Parisian Place des Vosges, with its urban cloister entirely surrounded by stone, brick and slate buildings.

From the city’s imposing fortifications, one can still see the Tour du Roy, the Tour Milart, the Porte de Bourgogne and most of the ramparts. The Old Mill contains the Rimbaud Museum and is the starting point for boat trips on the Meuse.

Particularly elegant and refined is the art deco district around theavenue d’Arches, where buildings and houses are adorned with turrets and pinnacles, bas-reliefs and wrought-iron balconies.

Épernay

Located in the heart of the Champagne vineyards, Epernay is the capital of Champagne. Home to important production houses, the majestic Avenue de Champagne is home to some of the most prestigious wineries including Moët & Chandon, Pol Roger, Perrier-Jouët and Mercier where millions of bottles of the precious nectar that delights palates the world over are produced.

Along this route are private mansions, small châteaux and more contemporary buildings, while beneath the surface are some 110 kilometres of underground galleries dug into the chalk: these are the cellars where the mysterious alchemy takes place. A visit to them will allow you to learn the secrets of the king of wines and taste them on the spot.

Sedan Castle

4Cour du Château, 08200 Sedan, France (Website)

The fortified castle of Sedan is located on a promontory on the edge of the Meuse, once flanked by two streams, the Bièvre and the Vra. Built in 1424 by Evrard de La Marck, it is the largest medieval fortress in Europe with a surface area of 35,000 m2, spread over seven floors and with walls over 7 metres wide.

It has always had a dual function: to be a formidable fortress and at the same time a luxurious princely residence. Today, it is a great testimony to the military architecture that guaranteed the independence of the small town at the time of the Wars of Religion.

Châlons-en-Champagne

Châlons-en-Champagne is a city of art and history that boasts many museums, Gothic churches and authentic half-timbered houses that give it all its charm. Don’t miss the Notre-Dame-en-Vaux collegiate church and its carillon of 56 bells, a UNESCO World Heritage monument.

In addition to the Saint-Etienne cathedral, Chalons-en-Champagne stands out for its cultural events and the presence of a dense network of canals and rivers, the main ones of which are the Marne, the Marne side canal, the Mau and the Nau.

Troyes

The historical centre of Troyes is worth a visit for its pretty half-timbered houses, its old buildings, but also for its Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul cathedral, with its stained glass windows of rare beauty.

In the dense network of its atmospheric alleyways, don’t miss the Baker’s House and the Goldsmith’s Turret, small architectural gems that have been remarkably restored. An amusing curiosity: the centre of Troyes is shaped like a champagne cork.

Langres

The beautiful town of Langres has kept its 4-kilometre-long rampart belt intact and has preserved elegant Renaissance houses.

The old town has 6 gates, the most remarkable being the Porte des Moulins dating back to 1647, and 7 towers, considered masterpieces of military architecture from the late Middle Ages. Don’t miss, especially in the summer season, the guided walk on the ramparts, following the halberdiers who will tell you the two-thousand-year history of this city. You should also visit the Saint-Mammès Cathedral and its cloister, the Langres Museum of Art and History and the Navarre Tower.

Sézanne

Located less than 2 hours from Paris and surrounded by landscapes alternating vineyards and orchards, Sézanne is the western gateway to Champagne and the entire Grand Est region.

If the heart of the old town offers a charming appearance at first glance with its old buildings and cobbled streets, its fountains and stone wells, it is also dotted with touches of greenery, with its gardens and its beautiful tree-lined promenades called mails, i.e. old medieval ramparts buried in the 18th century and planted with rows of double or quadruple lime trees.

Public buildings and private houses, including the Town Hall, the Old College and the Praetorium, are mostly clustered around the imposing Gothic church of Saint-Denis.

Sainte-Menehould

Sainte-Ménehould is another town of character, on the edge of the Argonne forest. It is here that Dom Pérignon, the inventor of champagne, was born.

In addition, the Pays d’Argonne is an area of vast forests, ponds and green meadows, the ideal place for hiking or cycling, a paradise for sportsmen. Don’t miss the paths in the Châtrices state forest for a walk around the ponds or a carp-fishing session in the forest.

Map

In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article

The Champagne cellars

In 2015, the hills and cellars of Champagne entered the UNESCO World Heritage List in the Cultural Landscape category.

The Champagne region is the cradle of the wine of the same name, protected by an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC).
Its bubbles, taste and golden colour make it famous and count Champagne among the best French regions for wine tasting. Remember: while Champagne is the symbol, the region also produces other varieties of wine, all worthy and prestigious.

Champagne’s vineyards extend over more than 34,500 hectares and are home to many wineries that have given rise to a new form of discovery of the region, wine tourism, i.e. wine tasting combined with the discovery of the region from a new perspective.

The Cellars and Vineyards of Champagne are an original way to discover the riches of this area: located in the most picturesque villages or towns, they are places of wine-making tradition. You can visit the incredible underground cellars or museums dedicated to Champagne, stroll through the estates, rent bicycles or scooters to follow the many circuits along the wine routes, taste all the most prestigious variants and linger in the villages and hamlets.

Getting around Champagne

Champagne and the Ardennes belong, administratively speaking, to the Grand Est region, a vast area stretching from the department of Paris to the border with Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg.

To reach Champagne, which is located close to the Ile de France, the nearest airports are those of the French capital: Paris Orly Airport, Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport and Paris Beauvais Airport. Here, you can conveniently rent a car and explore the enchanting Champagne region. For example, Reims is only 140 km from Paris.

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Insights

Reims

Reims

Also called the City of Kings, Reims is a beautiful town in the heart of Champagne, capital of the prestigious wine, famous for its Gothic cathedral.
Troyes

Troyes

Troyes is a town in the Grand-Est region of Champagne-Ardenne and boasts a rich historical centre characterised by medieval streets and picturesque half-timbered houses.