Champagne isn’t just a drink to enjoy at Christmas – its a region to enjoy at Christmas too!
Champagne is home to the ‘World Nativity Scene Route’, an astonishing collection of crib scenes of all shapes, sizes, materials and origin, from hand-knitted scenes to historic hand-carved figures, all with their own unique charm. The cribs are on show throughout December in and around the churches of 46 towns and villages between the coronation city of Reims, Epernay capital of Champagne, Châlons-en-Champagne and the historic town of Fismes.
The towns and villages taking part in this quite amazing display also have a programme of fabulous Christmas illuminations, festivities and events, such as Christmas markets, exhibitions and concerts.
Here are some of our favourite Champagne Christmas highlights. The full programme, including the dates and times of the animations, which vary from village to village, can be found online at www.noels-de-champagne.com
Epernay Christmas Champagne Market
Now in its 14th year, Epernay’s fabulous annual Christmas festival explodes in a riot of lights, colours and flavour. Most of the festivities centre around the famous and elegant villas in the ‘Avenue de Champagne’, housing the world’s most prestigious champagne producers. During the three day festival, Epernay is ‘dressed in lights’ with special champagne tastings offered by the grand champagne houses, free tasting sessions from top chefs, son et lumière shows, fireworks, music and pop up Champagne bars ending with a fabulous parade of vintage cars.
Takes place: 12th to 14th December, 2013
See the Epernay Lights website for details & times.
Reims: Christmas Market (‘Le village de Noël’)
The Christmas market at Reims is the biggest in the region and amongst the largest in France with 135 chalets offering a range of gourmet products, arts and crafts and creative gift suggestions. What makes this special is that it’s held in the tree-lined pedestrian streets around Place d’Erlon and the city centre and it is beautifully illuminated and decorated.
The Rheims big wheel gives spectacular views over the coronation city and will be set up in the boulevards opposite the railway station
Takes places: Christmas Market: 22nd November to 29th December, 2013; Big Wheel: 30th November, 2013 to 7th January, 2014; Children’s Kingdom and Ice Rink: 22nd November, 2013 to 5th January, 2014; International Craft Market (‘Village d’artisanat international’) 29th November to 8th December, 2013
More details: www.reims-tourism.com
Chalons-en-Champagne at Christmas
In addition to the display of ‘cribs from the east’ in the Saint-Alpin church from 29th November to 31st December, a programme of gastronomy, art, decorations, street entertainment, concerts, shows and children’s activities is being organised around the town.
Takes place: From 29th November 2013 to 31st December, 2013. See website for details of festivities and markets: www.chalons-tourisme.com
Charleville- Mezieres: Traditional Christmas Market
The historic setting of the Place Ducale in this beautiful town is transformed into a traditional Christmas market with chalet stalls offering gourmet treats, regional produce, festive fare, and arts & crafts. Festive animations will take place every day with special activities on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, including the arrival of Father Christmas in his sleigh on 7th December.
Takes place: 4th to 24th December, 2013
More details: www.charleville-mezieres.fr
Read more about the history of Champagne – the drink
Download our Free Christmas in France 2013 book – it’s packed full of really useful information, fabulous photos and fun French festive facts!