Champagne-Ardenne

General Info

Regional Map
Conseil Régional
Tourism: Comité Régional de Tourisme
Capital: Châlons-en-Champagne
Departments: Aube, Ardennes, Haute-Marne, Marne
Arrondissements-15, Cantons-146, Communes-1,947
Population: 1,345,256 (2008 est.)
France Champagne-Ardenne Region Map

Overview

Champagne barrels
Champagne-Ardenne region is primarily agricultural and is best known for its sparkling wines which have been made here since the Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Pérignon (1638-1715) was a wine-cellar master at the Abbey of Hautvilliers near Épernay. The sacred triangle of the region, Châlons-en-Champagne, Épernay, and Reims, provides a path along the Route Touristique du Champagne through diverse vineyards and picturesque villages for wine-enthusiast dégustation or tasting.

According to French law, only grapes grown in designated areas in the Champagne-Ardenne region, then produced and bottled according to specific standards, may be labeled as true champagne.
Well-restored historic centers and prosperous villages are plentiful here, but the region also boasts some of the most impressive churches, notably Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims where the kings of France were crowned. Between the France and Belgium borders lie the Ardennes, an area of extensive and dense forests, and rolling hills with steep-sided valleys carved by swiftly-flowing rivers, most notably the Meuse.

Champagne-Ardenne Departmental Information

Notable Towns and Sights in the Champagne-Ardenne Region

Châlons-en-Champagne (Marne) is surrounded by the Marne river and has several small canals. There are riverside gardens called Le Petit Jard with views of the Château du Marché with its turreted gate built by Henri IV. Sights include the Gothic Cathédrale Saint-Etienne near the canal which has medieval windows and a Romanesque crypt. The beautiful Romanesque-Gothic Notre-Dame-en-Vaux (photo) collegiate church is near the restored medieval quarter of the city and was built between 1157 and 1217. It was a place of pilgrimage in the 12th-century and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Saint-Alpin church was rebuilt around 1170 in Gothic style and is the oldest church of the city and has Romanesque qualities. Porte Sainte-Croix (Gate) was called Porte Dauphine in the past and was one of the entries of the city. It was dedicated to Marie-Antoinette when she came to Châlons en route to Paris to marry King Louis XVI. France Champagne-Ardenne Notre Dame en Vaux
Charleville-Mézières (Ardennes) was made up, until 1966, of five different commmunes or towns: Charleville, Étion, Mézières, Mohon, and Montcy-Saint-Pierre. Mézières was a medieval citadel that sits on a bend in the Meuse river and still has some of its ramparts. Sights here include the rebuilt Gothic Notre-Dame de l'Espérance and Charleville has the Place Ducale which was built in a typical Louis XIII style. The famous poet Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) was born in Charleville and the Musée Rimbaud is located in an old water mill called Le Vieux Moulin to the north of town. Mairie Charleville-Mézières France Champagne-Ardenne Charleville-Mézières
Chaumont (Haute-Marne) sits on a rocky spur on the Marne river and was the venue of an offensive treaty against Napoleon I signed in 1814. Notable sights include the grey-stone Basilique Saint-Jean-Baptiste with its interior intricate vaulting, Renaissance galleries, and turret-like staircase. France Champagne-Ardenne Chaumont eglise Saint-Jean-Baptiste
Épernay (Marne) Épernay belonged to the archbishops of Reims from the 5th until the 10th-century, when it came into the possession of the counts of Champagne. It is best known as the principal entrepôt for champagne wines, which are bottled and kept in large caves (cellars) built into the chalk rock on which the town is built. L'Avenue de Champagne is a famous street here, its name being derived from the presence of many leading champagne producers such as Moët et Chandon, Mercier, and De Castellane. Residents believe this avenue is the most expensive in the world because of the millions of bottles of champagne stored in the many kilometers of chalk caves beneath the town. The production of the equipment and raw materials used in the champagne industry is a major source of local employment. France Champagne-Ardenne Epernay champagne barrels
Langres (Haute-Marne) is completely eneveloped by 2.2 miles (3.5 km) of walls, a dozen towers, seven gates, and was at one time, a gateway to Burgundy (photo). From the ramparts visitors can get lovely panoramic views of the Vosges mountains, the Marne Valley, and the Langres plateau. The Cathédral de Saint-Mammès (photo) is a late 12th-century Burgundian-Romanesque structure (remodelled) dedicated to Mammes of Caesarea, a third-century martyr. Langres is also home to producers of an AOC-protected cheese of the same name. It is a soft, pungent cow's milk cheese that is known for its rind, which is washed with champagne. Also here is the Musée d'Art d'Histoire Tourisme France Champagne-Ardenne Langres cheese
Reims (Marne) is known as the "City of Coronations" since it has been, historically, the place where the kings of France were crowned since the 11th-century in the spectacular Cathédrale Notre-Dame (photo). Notable sights include the 3rd-4th century Roman Porte de Mars triumphal arch which is 108 feet long and 43 feet tall. Also the Palais du Tau museum from 1690 is the former archbishop's residence and where the French princes stayed before their coronations. The oldest church in Reims and once a Benedictine abbey, Basilique Saint Rémi (photo), is from the 5th-century and is situated in a modern quarter. Nearby, the Musée Saint Rémi displays tapestries, archaeological items, and 16th-19th century weapons. Also worthwhle is the Musée de Beaux Arts with its 15th-16th century paintings depicting biblical scenes, The Death of Marat by David, and many landscapes by Corot. Also here are works by the Barbizon school of painters as well as Impressionist and modern works. Along with Épernay, Reims, which is pronounced something like a guttural "rance", is the center of champagne production and the largest city in the region. Tourisme France Champagne-Ardenne Reims Notre Dame Cathedral
Rocroi (Ardennes) was a fortified city built by Henri II in 1555, then fortified by Vauban, and has walls that form the shape of a stylized star. It is situated on the Ardennes plateau near the Belgium border and is best known as the place where the triumphal French battle of Rocroi was fought during the Thirty-Years War (1618-1648) (photo). France Champagne-Ardenne Rocroi aerial view
Saint-Dizier (Haute-Marne) is located five miles from Lake Der-Chantecoq, western Europe's largest man-made lake. The former 13th-century château of Saint-Dizier grew over the centuries into a fortified town becoming a royal fortress to guard the French kingdom from eastern military approaches. The château was protected by an irregular polygonal wall, linking the 12 towers. Notable here is the half-timbered architecture and the Maison Parcollet, which dates back to the 16th-century and is located close to the Église de Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption. The house is a typical example of the local architecture of the time and features walls made from cob and half-timbering. Art Nouveau in Saint Dizier's streets may be seen along decorative ironwork trails, and in particular the works of Hector Guimard. France Champagne-Ardenne Saint Dizier

Sedan (Ardennes) is east of Charleville-Mézières and is best known for the Château de Sedan (1424) that is purported to be the largest fortified medieval castle in Europe with its 7 stories. It is the only remaining part of the once-enormous fortifications in and around the town which was once an important crossing point between France and the Spanish Netherlands. The Château houses a museum which displays a large collection of material on the history of the town. The historic centre of the Sedan is built on a peninsula formed by an arc in the Meuse River. Pays Sedanais France Champagne-Ardenne Château de Sedan
Troyes (Aube) is a beautiful city on the Seine river that is known for its stained-glass, andouillettes sausage, Gothic churches, and world-champion chocolate maker, Pascal Caffet . Sights include the Hôtel de Ville in Place Alexandre Israël and is an urban example of the Louis XIII style. The Musé d'Art Moderne near the cathedral is in the former episcopal palace and has sculpture by Rodin, Fauvist paintings, and some modern art. Notable is the Flamboyant-Gothic Cathédrale Saint-Pierre et Saint-Paul (photo) with a 16th-century rose window. The Gothic Basilique Saint-Urbain has impressive flying buttresses and newly-restored stained glass windows. Église Sainte-Madeleine is worth a visit to see the intricate 16th-century rood screen with grapes, leave, and figs. France Champagne-Ardenne Troyes Hôtel de Ville

Les Plus Beaux Villages in the Champagne-Ardenne Region

Aube

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Ardennes

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Haute-Marne

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Marne

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Complete List of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France

Natural Parks in the Champagne-Ardenne Region

Additional Resources for the Champagne-Ardenne Region

Average Monthly Temperatures in the Champagne-Ardenne Region

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