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Regions - Eastern France - Champagne

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    Regions - Eastern France - Champagne

    Regions — Eastern France — Champagne

    Region at a glance


    Major City: Reims

    Region known for Champagne production. 
    Picturesque rolling hills and vineyards. 
    90 minutes from Paris, making it an easy day trip or overnight from Paris. 
    Historical gothic cathedral where France's kings were crowned

    Champagne, the very symbol of sophistication, graceful living and celebration, is produced nowhere else in the world. All champagnes are made within a few miles of each other outside Reims and Epernay, near the Abbey of Saint-Pierre where the legendary Benedictine monk, Dom Pérignon, supposedly invented the bubbly by accident in the early 18th Century (some would say by divine inspiration). Just as still wines have different characteristics and tastes, so do champagnes, and the great houses of Mumm, Piper-Heidsieck, Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot and Moët & Chandon, among more than 100 others, want to prove this with guided tours (in English) of their cellars and tasting of the current vintage.

    Sightseeing centers around Reims and its Notre-Dame Cathedral, the heart of France's royal history where twenty-five kings were crowned. This Gothic structure is one of France's most magnificent churches, and some would place its rose windows among the best in the world.

    South of the Champagne vineyards is Troyes, once one of Europe's most magnificent cities. This capital of the Counts of Champagne, who ruled the region before there was a France, is lined with beautifully-preserved half-timbered houses built during the 16th Century. North of Reims are the French Ardennes where Europe's sometimes bloody history has been decided on the fields of Sedan, Argonne and Châlons-sur-Marne, along the rivers Meuse and Marne.

    The Champagne region is only a 90-minute drive from Paris, making it an easy day trip.

    Places of interest

    Asfeld      Baroque church

    Charleville-Mézières      Place Ducale, Rimbaud Museum

    Chalons-sur-Marne      St. Etienne Cathedral, Cloister Museum of Notre-Dame-en-Vaux

    Colombey-les-deux Eglises      General de Gaulle house and memorial

    Epernay      Champagne vineyards and cellars

    L'Epine      Notre Dame Basilica

    Fère      Bridge and 13th century medieval castle

    Hautvillers      Town where Champagne was invented, reconstruction of Dom Pérignon's cellar and laboratory in the abbey museum

    Langres      Home of Diderot, Renaissance houses, ramparts

    Mouzon      Notre Dame Abbey

    Nogent-en-Bassigny      Museum of the "Espace Pelletier"

    Novion Porcion      Three Wars Museum

    Reims      Champagne cellars, Notre Dame cathedral, St. Remi Museum and Basilica, Palais du Tau, Surrender room, Fine Arts Museum, La Pompelle Fort

    Renwez      Forest Museum

    Rethel      St. Nicholas Church, Ardennes canal

    Revin      View of the Ardennes forest

    Rocroi      Museum of the Battle of Rocroi

    Saint Ménéhould      City Hall, walks in the Argonne forest

    Sedan      Largest fortified chateau in Europe

    Signy-l'Abbaye      "Gouffre" de Gibergeon (natural cave)

    Troyes      Museum of Modern Art, Workers Tool Museum, churches, Pharmacy Museum

    Varennes-en-Argonne      Town where Louis XVI was arrested in 1791, fleeing from Paris

    Verzy      Spectacular view of the city of Reims

    Villy-la-Ferté      Last fort on the Maginot Line

    Vouziers      St. Maurille Church.

    Technical tourism and sports

    The Montagne de Reims route (47 miles) starts in Reims and goes to Epernay, home of the famous Moet & Chandon and Perrier-Jouët vineyards. The Marne Valley route (33 miles) begins in Epernay and extends past Hautvillers, Ay, Dizy, Cumières, Chatillon and Vincennes. The Côte de Blancs route (68 miles) goes from Epernay south to Verus and Villenauxe la Grande, an area planted almost exclusively with Chardonnay white grapevines.

    River cruises, barging, ballooning, cooking classes.

    Biking, hiking, horse-back riding, horse-drawn carriages

    Cuisine

    Champagne-Ardenne's refined cuisine incorporates the region's native sparkling wine whenever possible. Whether accompanying the meal (before, during or after) or used in the meal itself (in anything from seafood to chicken), champagne is a very important part of the region's culinary tradition.

    Champagne derivatives such as, "Ratafia", "Marc de Champagne" and "Fine de Marne" are also quite popular, as well as other spirits and wines including "Côteaux Champenois" (available in white and red), "Bouzy rouge", "Riceys rose", cider and fruit liqueurs. Desserts include sugar tarts, massepains & croquignoles (from Reims), and Haute Marne's meringue caissettes. 

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