CHAMPAGNE lying to the east of the Paris region, is one of the great historic provinces of France. Best known for the sparkling wine that bears its name, France’s Champagne region is a land of vine-covered hillsides, family-run cellars, and clinking glasses.
The Champagne is not the only place that produces sparkling wine, but it’s the only one with a solid claim to the name. Only those produced in the area can be called champagne, the others are just sparkling wines. For fans of the bubbly, travelling to the region for the sole purpose of enjoying champagne right where it originated is a big must. People are also attracted to the region because of its old cities and villages straight out of some storybook. The soaring Notre-Dame Cathedral in Reims teases the imagination with its 13th Century Gothic art, the half-timbered houses of Troyes offer a glimpse into medieval France, while Langres, perched on its rocky promontory, seduces visitors to melt into the laidback vibes of country life.
Things To See And Do
- Wander Epernay’s Avenue de Champagne where the top maisons de champagne (champagne houses) are waiting to be explored. Neoclassical villas and stately mansions line the Avenue, including Moët’s private Hôtel Chandon and the impressive red brick mansion Château Perrier.
- Take in the vast, beautiful interior of Reims’ resplendent Notre Dame Cathedral which features stained-glass windows, a flamboyant Gothic organ case, and a statue of Joan of Arc in armour.
- Amble along the cobbled streets of old Troyes where chalkcoloured half-timbered houses create the perfect setting for a Disney movie.
- Visit the impressive Mémorial Charles de Gaulle and gain some insights of the Algerian war and rise of the Fifth Republic.
- Learn the history and tradition that surround the region’s champagne industry while looking at century-old champagne-making equipment housed in the Musée de la Vigne et du Vin.
- See the ‘chicken coop’ cells in the Grand Cloître of the 12th-century Abbaye de Clairvaux Monastery. The complex used to be one of the highest-security prisons in France.
- Walk the hallways of the lavish Palais du Tau, a UNESCO-listed neoclassical building that served as a former residence of the archbishop. The Palais turned museum now houses some noteworthy treasures including Charlemagne’s 9th-Century talisman and St. Remi’s 12th-Century gem-encrusted chalice.
Some popular Champagne Packages
The beautiful Anjodi cruises along the Canal du Midi, a 330-year-old canal with UNESCO World Heritage status. Your cruise includes private wine tasting and tour of Carcassone.
Enchante is an elegant, two-level luxury hotel barge that cruises along the Canal du Midi from Trebes to Salleles d'Aude. She was built in 1958 as a trading barge and converted as a hotel barge in 2009.
Hotel Barge Rosa takes you on a breathtaking odyssey along the calmer canals of southwest France. This premier class cruise includes tour and wine tasting in Saint Emilion and visit to the impressive Château de Duras.
Experience the light and airy features of the 12-passenger barge L'Impressionniste as you cruise the stunning landscapes of Burgundy. Your cruising holiday includes castle visits and wine tastings in the cellars of renowned Burgundy Domaines.
Bespoke Small Groups of 12-16 guests means bigger experiences. Explore the sun-drenched region of southern France on this 9-day, small group tour from Bordeaux to Sain-Remy-de-Provence. Visit the wine regions of Bordeaux and Provence, relax on the beaches of Biarritz, discover some of the most picturesque villages of Dordogne and marvel at the walled city of Carcassonne.
La Belle Epoque was built in Netherlands in 1930 carrying timber from Burgundy to Paris. She was renovated and converted to a luxury hotel barge in 1995. She now cruises from Veneray-les-Laumes to Tanlay through the lovely Burgundy Canal.
Treat yourself to a wonderful experience on board Athos, a first-class hotel barge cruising through the Canal du Midi. Savour delicious wines and gourmet dishes prepared by an expert chef. Venture to the spectacular towns and villages of Carcassonne, Minerve, Capestang, Narbonne, Portiragnes, and Marseillan.
Discover the charm and beauty of Upper Loire and Western Burgundy as you cruise along Canal de Briare and the Loire River aboard Renaissance. Both regions are stepped in history, culture and picturesque scenery that will surely charm first-time and returning visitors.