Champagne: The region and places of interest





The most northern Appellations d'Origine Contrôlée area in France, Champagne lies 90 miles east of Paris and is a historic province best known for the production of sparkling white wine, that bears the region’s name exclusively and by EU law. The viticultural boundaries of Champagne are legally defined and split into five wine producing districts: Aube, Côte des Blancs, Côte de Sézanne, Montagne de Reims, and Vallée de la Marne. The towns of Reims and Épernay are the commercial centres of Champagne.

The modern region of Champagne-Ardenne is bordered by Belgium in the north, Lorraine in the east, by Paris and Picardy in the west, and Franche-Comté and Burgundy in the south, and is in essence a sprawling agricultural landscape, interspersed with a number of picturesque villages of note.

Picture by Meena Kadri

Épernay is a popular tourist destination due its location within the epicentre of ‘Champagne country’ but its lavish townhouses and expansive mansions built predominantly during the 19th century and intertwined amid the miles of vineyards of various well known champagne producers, are worth visiting for your customary holiday snaps.

For champagne aficionados start your tour on the Avenue de Champagne where the Moet et Chandon and Mercier champagne houses reside, while the views from Castellane afford beautiful panoramic views of Épernay. 
 
 Picture by Giulio Nepi
 
Most of the town’s architecture dates from the 19th and 20th centuries and the oldest monument in the area is the ‘Portail Saint Martin’. The towering stone doorway is all that remains of the 16th century Church of Notre Dame, which was rebuilt in 1925 after its destruction in the war.

Despite being decimated by World War I, Reims remains one of the great historic cities of northern France and a must for any visitor to the Champagne-Ardenne region. Most famous for its majestic cathedral which is one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, the city also boasts the Place Royale housing a statue of Louis XV, and the Place Cardinal-Luçon, with an equestrian statue of Joan of Arc. The Basilica of Saint Remi, Reims Musee de Beaux Arts and the Reims Tau Palace are all popular tourist spots and of interest to those perhaps keen to branch away from the region’s rich wine making traditions.

The town of Sedan is in the east of the Ardennes and near to France's eastern border and renowned for its art and history. Housing the vast Sedan castle which is one of the largest of its kind in the whole of Europe, the medieval grounds are open to the public and are well worth a visit.

Although the region’s reputation and allure is inevitably tied to Champagne’s iconic winemaking, there is plenty to see outside of their famous traditions. 
 
 
 
 
 
Main image by Epicxero 

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