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Champagne-Ardenne

 

The region of Champagne-Ardenne stretches from the forests of Ardennes in the north touching on the borders of Belgium to the tip of Burgundy in the South. The winters in the region can be bitterly cold and the summers can vary. It is mainly an agricultural area that has become legendary for the famous sparkling wine produced in its vineyards and called by the same name of the region – champagne and it is this that draws the tourists to the area.

Probably the best place for wine tasting is the town of Epernay, south of Reims, it’s a small town surrounded by vineyards and the champagne houses (Maisons) are set aside on their own avenue so that visitors can go from one to the other quite easily.

The two other main attractions of the region are Reims (or Rheims as it is spelled sometimes by English speaking countries), with its impressive Gothic Cathedral which was the coronation church of dynasties of French Kings and Queens as far back as Clovis, the first King of Franks. Over the centuries 26 Kings have been crowned under its hallowed arches. The town can look a little drab in places, it was bombed during WWII and has been rebuilt but there is still evidence of Roman occupation and the old town is pretty.

The other town most worth visiting in the region is Troyes which was the ancient capital of the region. There are some pretty medieval houses and lots of churches and cathedrals some of which are quite magnificent such as St-Pantaléon and Ste-Madeleine.

Here’s our tip for Champagne – the region is called La Champagne, the drink is called le champagne!

Things to do in Champagne

Take a champagne tour or hot air balloon ride over the area.

Stroll down the Avenue de Champagne at Epernay, the grandest wine street in the world.

Get a summer job on the harvest of the grape.

Marvel at Reims cathedral and stand where French Kings have stood.

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