Giving part of its name to one of France’s most famous exports, Champagne-Ardenne offers you much more than some of the world’s best wines. But wine is likely to be on your mind, simply because you’ll see so many rolling vineyards as you travel around this pretty region. However you’ll soon find out how much more Champagne-Ardenne offers: rivers, forests, ancient cathedrals of the highest calibre – and a seemingly limitless selection of things to see and do. Warm summers and cooler winters make this a great getaway destination throughout the year, where top accommodation and a friendly smile are never far away.
Places to Go
With 61% of the land used to produce food, it’s no surprise that the region boasts fewer towns than many other parts of France. The towns there are, however, are certainly worth a visit: Châlons-en-Champagne with its UNESCO listed Notre-Dame-en-Vaux church will keep you occupied for ages, while the Ardenne department’s capital, Charleville-Mézières offers an eye-popping marionette festival every two years. Chaumont and Épernay are both pleasant towns, and Reims with its UNESCO-listed Roman Catholic cathedral is a must-see. Outside the major towns, you’ll find many small villages scattered across the green hillsides of this region.
Our Top Picks in Champagne-Ardenne
We want you to enjoy the best that Champagne-Ardennes has to offer and so here's a selection of our favourite things to see and do;
Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Reims
Free entry. UNESCO listed. Possibly better than the one in Paris. It’s hard to find a reason not to visit Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Reims. And while most cathedrals have seen their fair share of intrigue and spilled blood, this one has survived a little more than most. Built on the site of an older church which itself had been built on Roman baths, this site has plenty of form. The English besieged it between 1359 and 1360, and German shellfire took a heavy toll on the structure in the opening stages of World War One: think tonnes of melting lead pouring through gargoyles’ mouths! A truly amazing structure that is sure to leave you agape.
Troyes offers plenty for the history lover, highlights of which include half-timbered houses dating back to the 16th Century and the Hôtels Particuliers (palaces) of the old town – including the Hôtel de Marisy and the Hôtel du Lion Noir. But maybe the town’s historic buildings aren’t number one on your hit list – perhaps you’ve heard about the bargains to be had in Troyes’ designer clothes factory outlets (most famous of which is Lacoste, for which Troyes is the headquarters)? Indeed, bargain hunting balances nicely with the fine old city centre with its eight museums (not bad for a town of just over 60,000 people!) – making a great destination for all ages and tastes!
Did you ever imagine you could enjoy sailing, jet-skiing, water skiing, windsurfing, fishing and rowing in the land-locked Champagne-Ardenne region? Well you can at Lake Der-Chantecoq, Western Europe’s largest artificial lake. Fed by the Marne, this lake was constructed in 1974 to help reduce flooding of the Seine in Paris, and is enjoyed by many thousands of people each year. If you don’t fancy getting wet, you can simply admire the views whilst sunbathing or walking by the edge – or perhaps even trying your hand at a spot of rollerblading. If your group has both adrenaline junkies and relaxation seekers in it, Lake Der-Chantecoq could be perfect!
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