Visiting the Champagne Region of France

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A Rich Agricultural District

The Champagne area, which lies northeast of Paris, is considered to be one of the major historic provinces in France. Going back to the time of Charlemagne, Champagne is denoted by rich agricultural lands and its sparkling wines and bubbly champagnes.

How It All Began

Actually, champagne, itself, was not invented in Champagne. The method for making the wine was introduced by monks residing in Languedoc, which lies in the south of France. When the grapes and wine were made in Champagne, however, people found that the beverage’s character surpassed the wines made in the south. Naturally, being close to Paris influenced the popularity of the beverage as well. Now, no other region in France, if not the world, features a product that is as closely associated with its name and overall recognition.Champagne_Glass

Image bgvjpe, Wikimedia

Reims – Its Influence on the Region

The capital of Champagne is Châlons, although it is not considered a “major” city in the area. Instead, Reims, which was once the capital, is considered to be the main city as well as one of the well-known historic spots in the northern part of France. Reims is considered a university city – a place where a 13th century, gothic cathedral is showcased and the well-known Champagne producer Taittinger is found.

The Home to Champagne Tasting

Tourists who visit Champagne typically go on cellar tours or to champagne tastings. One of the smaller towns in the area, Epernay, is the home base for a number of famous champagne companies, such as Perrier-Jouët and Moët & Chandon. Because Epernay is small, you can easily visit the wine cellars or champagne houses on foot.

Epernay

Vineyards in Epernay,Image Sand, Wikimedia

Some of the Main Attractions

The main tourist attractions in the Champagne region are found in Reims and Epernay as well as Charleville Mézières, which is the capital of the Ardennes department in Champagne. The ancient town is the recognized birthplace of the French poet, Rimbaud.

Colombey les Deux Eglises

Colombey les Deux Eglises in Champagne is a village that is also home to the rural residence of former President Charles de Gaulle, who is also buried in the town.Colomby_Les_Deux

La Boisserie, home of Charles De Gaulle, Image Arnaud 25, Wikimedia

The “Champagne” Capital

Albeit its small size, the town of Epernay in Champagne is considered the “champagne” capital of France and the world. Located in the hills located south of Reims, the town is home to some of the world’s major, if not largest, producers of sparkling wines. Needless to say, if you want to visit a wine cellar or taste champagne, this is where to go to drink some bubbly.

Lac du Der

Champagne is also the setting for the largest reservoir on the European continent. Constructed in 1968, Lac du Der also draws a number of migratory birds. Yearly visits by flocks of cranes draw the interest of birdwatchers from across Europe.

A Champagne Theme Park

Champagne is the base for one of the largest French theme parks as well: Nigloland, close to Bar sur Aube. Visitors also visit Champagne to hike through the region’s natural parks, including the hills in southern Reims (Montagne de Reims) and the forêt d’Orient, which is located near the town of Troyes.

Recommended Hotels

A good number of hotels are recommended for anyone visiting the wine cellar attractions and champagne facilitates in Epernay. Some of the top picks include the Hotel Jean Moët and the Hotel Villa Eugène. In Reims, the Hotel Mercure Reims Centre gets top billing.

Grape Harvesting – How You Can Participate

Champagne for the region is produced in vineyards, which are owned by small producers, such as vignerons or maisons, who market grand marque champagnes. Not only can tourists visit vineyards and cellars, they can participate in the grape harvests too. Further details can be provided by directly contacting one of the area’s maisons.