Champagne Region Attractions

Champagne extends to the east of the Ile de France, between the upper Oise (near St-Quentin) and the Yonne (near Sens), approximately as far as the upper Meuse. The former province includes the present-day départements of Marne, Haute-Marne, Aube, Yonne and Ardennes. The main industrial towns in addition to Reims are Châlons-sur-Marne and Troyes.

Reims, France

Reims CathedralReims Cathedral

Troyes, France


Chalons-en-champagne, France

Châlons-sur-Marne (pop. 47,339), chief town of the département of Marne and the see of a bishop, lies on the right bank of the Marne. Its most important building is the Early Gothic church of Notre-Dame-en-Vaux (12th-13th century), with four towers, one of the most beautiful churches in Champagne, notable particularly for the splendid 16th century stained glass (the "Troyes Windows") in the choir. The Musée du Cloître contains sculptured columns and capitals. The 13th century Cathedral of St-Etienne, with a Romanesque tower over the choir, has fine stained glass (13th-16th century) and a rich treasury. The Porte Ste-Croix, on the south side of the town, was built in 1770 in honor of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.

Aube Region

Although most visitors to the Champagne region tend to focus on the areas around Reims and Epernay. They are located between, and beyond, the towns of Bar-sur-Aube and Bar-sur-Seine.
With the opening of the A26 highway between Reims and Dijon more tourists will begin to discover the Aube route. Towns of interest in this region include: Bar-sur-Aube, Bar-sur-Seine, Bayel, Brienne-le-Château, Clairvaux, Colombé-le-Sec, Colombey-les-Deux Eglises, Essoyes, Gyé-sur-Seine, Polisy, Neuville-sur-Seine, Les Riceys and Troyes.
A festival takes place in Troyes during the second week of June. A similar festival takes place in Bar-sur-Aube in the second weekend in September.

Brienne le Chateau, France

The little town (pop. 3,870) of Brienne le Château has an 18th C Château. Napoleon spent five years at the military college here; there is a Musée Napoléon in the town.

Sedan, France

The old fortified town of Sedan (pop. 20,548), situated on the Meuse at the foot of the Ardennes, is now a busy industrial town. During the Franco-Prussian War a French army led by Napoleon III and Marshal MacMahon capitulated here on September 2 1870. In the Place d'Armes is the 17th C parish church. The large citadel, originally built in the 14th-15th C, is surrounded by numerous towers. Within the walls is a 17th C Château housing a museum which displays a large collection of material on the history of the town and the Château.

Charleville-Mezieres, France

Charleville-Mézières (pop. 55,490), which straddles the Meuse, is a double town, consisting of Charleville, founded in the 17th C, with the Place Ducale, and the much younger Mézières. There are some remains of fortifications on the west side of the town.
Charleville was the birthplace of the poet Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891), who is buried in the cemetery.
Northwest of Charleville-Mézières is the little fortified town of Rocroi.

Mouzon, France

18km/11mi southeast, of Bazeilles, on the Meuse, is the little town of Mouzon, which still preserves remains of its walls, notably the Porte de Bourgogne (15th C). The church of Notre-Dame (consecrated in 1231) has a richly decorated west front and doorway; the north tower dates from the 15th C, the south tower from the 16th. The interior is of impressive size with the choir surrounded by a ring of chapels, and an organ dating from 1725.

Chateau de la Motte Tilly, La Motte Tilly, France

Château de la Motte Tilly is an 18th C castle featuring 15 rooms and a park. The chateau was dealt several devastating blows during the France's invasion by the Allies and the Second World War. Restoration began in 1910.
A notable attraction in Château de la Motte Tilly is the Orangery where exotic species such as orange, pomegranate and pineapple trees could be found in the 18th century.

Ay, France

In the village of Ay is the Musée Champenois. Also worth seeing is the Gothic church which has an ornately decorated front. Nearby wass a house belonging to Henri IV (11 Rue St-Vincent).
Estates of special interest include Ayala & Co., Boolinger, Deutz & Geldermann and Gosset (the oldest in Champagne).

Langres, France

This old fortified town of Langres (pop. 9,586), the see of a bishop, lies on the edge of a plateau. Its most notable features are its 4km/2.5mi long circuit of walls, which incorporates a Gallo-Roman town gate, and its handsome Renaissance houses.

Cloitre de Notre-Dame-en-Vaux, Chalons-en-Champagn, France

Cloître de Notre-Dame-en-Vaux features was built between 1170 and 1180. What was left of the cloister was demolished in 1759. Excavations in 1963 uncovered a good portion of the monastery including examples of Gothic sculpture.

Champagne - Summer Festival

This annual festival runs from late June to September and each year focuses on a different composer. Weekend concerts are held along with special exhibitions and social gatherings throughout the season.

Epernay, France

Epernay (pop. 25,844) is the headquarters of such well known firms as Moët et Chandon and Mercier and many miles of cellars hewn from the chalk. The Musée du Champagne displays archeological material of the early historical period.

Hautvillers, France

At Hautvillers, 6km/4mi northwest of Epernay, is the abbey in which Dom Pérignon was cellarer. His tombstone is in the church. From the abbey garden there are very fine views.

St Amand sur Fion, France

St-Amand-sur-Fion, north of Vitry-le-François, is a typical village, with many half- timbered houses and an ochre-colored Romanesque church (12th C; nave and choir altered in Gothic style in 13th C).

Château de Bazeilles

3.5km/2mi southeast of Sedan is Bazeilles, with an imposing Château of 1750.

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