Biscuits Rose de Reims and Chardonnay: a Traveler’s Guide to Champagne
What Is Champagne Famous For?
Champagne is Champagne’s trademark, not just because of the grapes grown in the area but for the dedication, passion and traditions that wine-makers and grape growers have put into the process. Champagne is also home to numerous World Heritage Sites and a Ville d’Art et d’Histoire (City of Art and History). Champagne is divided into five wine-producing districts: Côte des Blancs, Aube, Vallée de la Marne, Côte de Sézanne and Montagne de Reims. The Champagne region gained its popularity for wine-making since the early Middle Ages despite wars and unrest.
Pinot Meunier, Pinot noir and Chardonnay are the most widely grown grapes in this region and they are grown in large quantities in the Vallée de la Marne region, Aube, and the Côte des Blancs respectively. The Hillsides, Houses and Cellars of Champagne were all listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2015.
Top Champagne Destinations to Visit
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims
Palais du Tau
A registered UNESCO World Heritage site, the Notre-Dame-en-Vaux has Europe’s largest collection of bells, a total of 56. Its stained glass windows dating back to the 16th century must not be missed. Its architecture is a mix of Gothic and Romanesque influences.
French statesman Charles de Gaulle lived in this village with his family in a private home called La Boisserie. Tourists can visit his house and the surrounding parkland. The memorial Charles de Gaulle created in de Gaulle’s memory is a permanent feature which retells de Gaulle’s life story. The Memorial also includes the Croix de Lorraine, 44m high, pink granite cross.
Porte de Mars
The Porte de Mars is a 32m long and 13m high triumphal arch created by the ancient Romans in the third century AD. Its exterior and ceilings of the passageways are covered in intricate, well-detailed carvings. The Porte de Mars can be found in the Place de la Republique.
The Starter List of What to Do In Champagne
Visit the Maisons du Chamapagne
Wine tasting is the premier activity most visitors to Champagne have in mind. But it does not end there; you can visit the underground cellars where wine bottles are stored, pick grapes in the vineyard and even watch a demonstration of the wine-making process. More than one vineyard can be visited in a day and in places like Epernay, you can walk from one vineyard to another.
Visit the Reims city centre
Start your exploration with a visit to the city square which contains a bronze statue of Joan of Arc, the Palais de Justice and the Place du Cardinal-Lucon.
Visit Europe’s largest ancient fortress
Visit the Avenue de Champagne in Epernay
This street houses some of the most famous champagne brands in the world such as De Castellane, Mercier and Moët et Chandon.
See the "Carcassonne of the North"
Visit the old Formula 1 track
There used to be a Formula 1 track in Reims boasting a sharp angular turn that humbled most drivers. It stopped being used as a track but most of the buildings around the starting line have been restored.
Lac du Der
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Where to Eat In Champagne
A Bubbly Night’s Rest: 5 Places to Stay on Your Trip to Champagne
Did You Know…?
World War II officially ended in Champagne, France on the 1st of July, 1945, the German regime signed its official surrender here. Only sparkling wine made in the Champagne region can be called champagne, this rule is covered by European Union law. Over 90% of champagne grapes are grown by small vineyard owners who sell their grapes to the large Champagne houses or co-operatives. The Champagne houses and cooperatives can only own 10% of the region’s vineyard as a group.