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.