The Champagne region in the north of France is of course the first place known for the champagne, the world-famous wine produced here. But also small and large cities like Reims, Châlons-en-Champagne, Epernay, Troyes and Langres make a weekend or holiday in the Champagne region worthwhile.
Champagne is a wine region in the north of France, known for its sparkling wines, which are the only ones in the world to be called “Champagne”. The region consists of two regions. In the north you will find cities like Reims, Epernay and Châlons-en-Champagne. In the more southern region you will find among others Troyes and Langres.
Troyes is a city that by chance has the shape of a champagne cork. It may not be immediately noticeable, but if you look at the historical centre on the map, you will no longer hesitate. Because the city is more southern than Reims, it is less visited during short holidays.
The city is popular because of a number of historic buildings, such as the Cathedral of St Pierre-et-St-Paul and the Museum of Modern Art. Just outside the city is the nature park Parc Naturel Régional de la Forêt d’ Orient, a park where you can walk quietly or do water sports.
In the streetscape of Troyes you can still see many authentic buildings with stained-glass windows and you will find some churches worth visiting. In the Église St-Panthaléon you will discover beautiful sculptures. The Gothic Cathédrale St-Pierre-et-St-Paul is home to an impressive interior set by the colourful light play of the stained glass windows.
As a historic capital, Troyes owes much of its glory to the markets in the Middle Ages and the prosperity of the Counts of Champagne. You will find unique half-timbered houses from that period. The funny thing is that these houses are often skewed, but in any case they are beautiful because of the bright colours.
It is also an art city, where craftsmanship flourishes very well. In the many museums and galleries there are beautiful works of art to admire. Troyes is also a true shopping paradise. The city has no less than 250 outlet stores.
Tip: don’t plan your visit on a Monday, because then all museums, churches and shops are closed!
Situated on the banks of the Vesle river, Reims has no fewer than four buildings listed on the Unesco World Heritage Site: the Notre-Dame Cathédrale, the Saint-Remi Basilique, the Tau Palais and the Saint-Remi Museum. With these beautiful historical constructions, Reims is a city that has a lot more to offer than just champagne.
The Roman remains bear witness to the wealth that the city used to have. In Reims you can visit the famous Gothic cathedral, stroll through a Roman triumphal arch and study the interior in a Carolingian basilica.
The cathedral of Notre-Dame is remarkable. During the 13th century it was rebuilt after a fire completely destroyed it. Not only the cathedral suffered from devastation, the whole city has been completely destroyed a number of times. The last destruction dates from 1918. The city was constantly rebuilt.
Now it possesses the structure that it also owned during the 17th-18th century. It is a pretty small town that you can easily discover on foot. The strategic location of this city made it a city of military importance in former times.
Châlons-en-Champagne is the capital of the Châlons-en-Champagne-Ardenne region. With the Gothic cathedral Saint-Etienne and Romanesque church Notre-Dame-en-Vaux with its beautiful stained-glass windows, you can also visit structures that are unique enough for a place on the Unesco list. Châlons-en-Champagne is a city with lots of greenery. You can see this at the city park’ Le Petit Jard’ and the surroundings by the water.
Tip: Take a boat trip on the Marne. This gives you a unique view of the authentic medieval buildings from the river!
Epernay, located on the Marne, can be seen historically as the centre of champagne production. All the grape varieties needed for champagne can be found here. You can also walk through the Avenue De Champagne. This is a district with only champagne producers and traders. You will find stately and impressive houses, originally built to impress the French royal house.
Underneath the city are miles of underground corridors where the champagne is stored. Champagne houses often give guided tours through their cellars.
Moët & Chandon, the oldest champagne house;
Mercier, where you will be guided through the cellars with a panoramic lift and a train;
The small winegrowers, who mainly run family farms and brew the best champagne wines.
Langres is located on the Plateau of Langres where several rivers such as the Seine, Aube, Marne and the Meuse spring out. Langres is one of the best maintained cities in France. Thanks to very intact architectural monuments including the fortifications around the old town, you can walk through history almost literally.
Take a walk along the ramparts of the city and pass by the 12 establishment tower, the 13th century Saint-Martin church and the 7 gates, including’ La Porte Gallo-Romaine’. Soon you will have a nice walk of 3.5 km on it, because that is the length of the city wall.