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REASONS TO DISCOVER CHAMPAGNE
Located less than two hours from Paris, this region is one of the most popular in Champagne because it houses numerous major Champagne houses and provides a lovely glimpse into the rich history of the area. The location where some 33 kings were crowned. There are also five sites located in the Reims region that have been classified by UNESCO as World Heritage sites :
History enthusiasts will be delighted in all that Verdun holds for them. One of the world’s greatest battles occurred here during World War One, a time in history that will never be forgotten. The agony of this battle lasted eleven months and resulted in 700,000 causalities, the largest number recorded for a single battle. Visit monuments commemorating this period such as the Douaumont ossuary comprised of 130,000 unidentified soldiers from the battlefield. Among other memorials is the “Bayonet Trench”which marks the location where a dozen rifles were found projecting out of the ground; below each weapon was a French soldier believed to be attacked by surprise.
This fortress’ significance dates back to the Franco-Prussian war. Author Émile Zola refers to the importance of this castle in his novel, La Débâcle, and illustrates Napoleon III struggle to conquer the Prussians. When the Prussia troops invaded Sedan and surrounded the fortress, Napoleon was forced to surrender in a neighboring town. The Battle of Sedan resulted in the overthrow of France’s Second Empire, therefore sealing the country’s fate. Experience a glimpse of history as you cycle to Sedan in the northern part of this region, which is moreover renowned for its remarkable rides.
This impressive tour of the various vineyards and cellars of Champagne stretches nearly 600 km and covers about 80 different stops. There are several different circuits to choose from, with differing themes, from historical tours to family friendly routes. The area is also perfect for cyclers and, of course, wine enthusiasts looking to experience some of the most exquisite vintages in the world.
Known internationally as the Capital of Champagne, this popular tourist location welcomes approximately 450,000 visitors a year from all over the world. Its popularity is due in part to its central location in the heart of the champagne vineyards, and the copious international market it is home to. History lovers will treasure the 19th century champagne houses found along the world famous Avenue de Champagne. The real marvel of Epernay, however, is the underground cellars located along the 100 km of tunnels which were dug out of chalk and run underground, beneath the streets of the town. That is where some say the true beauty of this area lies.
Important Champagne houses and small producers alike await the visitor to be able to share their passion: Mumm, Mercier, Moet & Chandon, Joseph Perrier, Perrier-Jouet, Taittinger, Veuve Cliquot, and more. (you can visit all thoise places on our Champagne cycling Tour)
Different slopes of Champagne vineyards: red, pink or white.
Most of the Champagne vineyards are between Reims and Epernay. Only Champagne produced in this region has the right to call itself “Champagne”. Other versions are often called “sparkling wines”which contributes to why the true Champagne is so expensive.
Cathedral Notre dame de Reims; Roman remains, with the oldest monument in Reims, the Porte de Mars (“Mars Gate”, so called from a temple to Mars in the neighbourhood). Palace of Tau, an archiepiscopal palace, built between 1498 and 1509, and in part rebuilt in 1675, which was occupied by the kings on the occasion of their
coronation. Place Royale, with a statue of Louis XV, and the Place Cardinal-Luçon, with an equestrian statue of Joan of Arc.
The Champagne region is located in northeastern France. There are 4 departments in the Champagne region: Ardennes, Marne, Haute-Marne, and Aube.
Champagne consists mainly of a chalk plateau and is best known as the home of the sparkling white wine: the Champagne. 30,000 hectares of Champagne vineyards stretch as far as the eye can see over the rolling hillsides, dotted with picturesque villages . Most of the exported French champagne comes from the area around the cities of Reims and Epernay. The Champagne region is also known for the raising of sheep and the manufacture of wool being part of the economy.
To visit on the Marne route: Domaine de Bacchus in Reuil, Statue du Pape Urbain II in Chatillon sur Marne: this statue, dedicated to Pope Urbain II, was launched in 1887. Urbain II was born in Chatillon sur Marne around 1040. Château de Boursault: inspired by the famous château Chambord in the Loire Valley, this castle was built between 1843 and 1848 for Madame Cliquot, owner of the Champagne producing company Veuve Cliquot. Ecole 1900 in Oeuilly: an ecomuseum with the reconstitution of a school and a village from the early 1900s.
In the early Middle Age period, Champagne France was a duchy under Merovingian rulers. By the 10th century, the duchy of Champagne became a hereditary estate known as the county of Champagne. Then, in the 12th and 13th century, the county became well-known for commercial fairs where merchants from all Europe were present. At that period, the Capital was the city of Troyes. Finally, in 1314, Champagne became a province of the royal domain of France when the count of Champagne , who had inherited the area, succeeded as Louis X, king of France. The successive wars of the Revolution, the Empire and the beginnings of the Republic left, until the signing of the Reims Armistice in 1945, painful scars of history on the soil of Champagne.
The Champagne-Ardennes region is rich in events that made history of France and has preserved several vestiges such as the Cathedral of Reims. For a thousand years, the cathedral was one of the privileged places in French history, providing the setting for the coronation of kings. Mostly built during the 13th century and completed in the 15th century, this monument is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, remarkable not only for its architecture but also for its dimension.