Explore wine country by car on the 700km Route du Champagne
JK. Gräber, Christophe Manquillet, P.Maille, P. Bourguignon, Maison Fossier, Carmen Moya
Marne and its champagne vineyards await, only three hours from Calais... La Route Touristique du Champagne invites visitors to explore the area all year round via 480km of marked roads surrounded by vineyards. To make like easier, there are five routes to choose from. Take the opportunity to meet some of the winemakers, who will be able to tell you all about the winemaking process involved and even provide a little taster. This is also the occasion to visit world famous champagne houses in Reims and Épernay and explore typical villages like Hautvillers where Dom Pérignon discovered how to make champagne. You could even help out with the grape harvest (these grapes are picked by hand) in September. A massive 75% of the champagne vineyards are here in the Marne.
Châlons-en-Champagne With its jewels of religious architecture - both Roman and Gothic - and a river running through it with greenery on both sides, Châlons-en-Champagne certainly has charm. It’s often referred to as ‘Sparkling Venice’ and a boat tour comes highly recommended. There are three public gardens: Le Petit Jard, Le Grand Jard and Le Jard Anglais. La Collégiale Notre-Dame en Vaux is listed by UNESCO World Heritage and its bell tower boasts an impressive 56 bells.
Reims cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
HERITAGE Reims As a City of Art and History, Reims is home to four UNESCO World Heritage monuments: Notre Dame Cathedral, Palais du Tau (also known as Musée de l’Oeuvre de la Cathédrale), Basilique Saint Rémi and Musée Saint Rémi. The city’s history is evident in its stonework and old buildings, ranging from the Gallo-Roman to the contemporary. Parts of Reims were completely destroyed during World War One. But with the help of more than 400 architects, the city can be proud of how it looks today. The Carnegie Library, Café du Palais and Villa Demoiselle are all beautiful examples of Art Déco, Art Nouveau and 1920s architecture. Reims cathedral is a Gothic work of art dating from the 13th century and decorated with more than 2,300 sculptures - amongst them is the famous Smiling Angel. It is also well-known for its stained glass windows by Chagall. Reims is also where you’ll find the most renowned champagne houses, including Veuve Clicquot, Mumm, Ruinart, Taittinger and Pommery. A visit to their cellars is not to be missed!
A boat tour of Chålons-en-Champagne is highly recommended
Feel the wind in your hair beside the Lac du Der
500km of marked trails that surround the lake invite visitors to spend time looking at the plants and wildlife.
GASTRONOMY Avenue de Champagne (or the ‘Champs Elysées de Champagne’) in Épernay
Épernay Épernay, capital of Champagne, is surrounded by champagne vineyards. Its Avenue de Champagne is 940m long and often referred as the ‘Champs Elysées de Champagne’. This is where you will find the seat of large champagne houses such as Moët & Chandon and Perrier-Jouët. You can pay a visit to the cellars of these champagne houses and enjoy a tasting in the presence of an expert. With 100km of cellars running underneath the street and more than 200 million bottles of champagne stored inside them, they make this one of the most prestigious streets in the world! It is currently being considered for UNESCO World Heritage status. Lac du Der The largest artificial lake in Europe is an ideal place for outdoor types. Beside the lake and in the forest are plenty of picnic areas. Each season has its charm and the
Marne is home to many restaurants, no less than eight of which have been awarded Michelin stars. One of the most famous gastronomic specialities from this area is the biscuit rose (pink biscuit) from Reims, designed to be dipped in champagne before eating. Some local chefs also like to use them in desserts, ranging from macarons to tiramisu and mousse. Other dishes inspired by the wealth of local produce include: potatoes cooked with saffron from Marne, cod with mushrooms from Argonne, poultry raised in Champagne and various sauces made with wine or Montagne de Reims whisky.
The biscuit rose is a local speciality
EVENTS Summer In Reims, Les Sacres du Folklore (International Folklore Festival), Les Fêtes Johanniques (celebrating Joan of Arc) and the classical music festival Les Flâneries Musicales make the city vibrate with music. In June, Châlons-en-Champagne hosts the Furies Festival of street performance and a month later, the Musiques d’Ici et d’Ailleurs world music festival, for seven weeks in July and August. You can’t beat a continental market for original gifts at Christmas
Winter When winter arrives, why not do some shopping at one of the Christmas markets in Reims, Châlons-en-Champagne or Épernay, with a glass of mulled wine (or a flute of Champagne) in your hand?
Épernay, ‘Capital of Champagne’, hosts an annual event celebrating Champagne, bringing 30,000 people together. Street entertainment, fireworks. light shows and wine tasting goes on into the night. The next morning, foodies gather to watch celebrated chefs present local dishes to the public in the town centre.
● For more information, please visit: www.tourisme-en-champagne.co.uk
WHERE TO GO AND WHAT TO SEE Troyes Situated between Reims and Dijon, Troyes is the perfect place to stop off for a weekend or a few days on the Route des Vins et du Champagne with its C16 timber framed houses, Renaissance mansions, hidden courtyards, churches and medieval gardens.
You’ve arrived for a lovely few days in Champagne, just 2.5 hours from Calais by car. Of course, when we talk about ‘champagne’, the first thing that comes to mind is the sparkling wine, famous all over the world. The region famous for making all these bubbles is made up of four departments, two of which are champagne producing, Marne and Aube. Long shared between Burgundy and Champagne-Ardenne, Aube has an identity all of its own. You might know Troyes – the capital and a City of Art and History – already. If so, we hope you come back soon. Take in the beautiful scenery and stop in the charming little villages at your leisure. Thanks to the cultural activities on offer, the delicious local food and drink and its distinctive architecture, Aube is sure to seduce you.
families of winemakers enjoying the calm of Aube’s traditional towns and villages.
Shopping - big names, bargain prices Shoppers (and window shoppers) will be in heaven at Troyes’ three designer outlets. Together, they boast more than 250 shops, 400 brand names and discounts of up to 70%!
Follow in the footsteps of Renoir… Did you know that Pierre Auguste Renoir loved Essoyes and spent many summers here with his family? It all started in Paris, when he met Aline with whom he fell in love - Aline was from Essoyes.
Chaource cheese has been made here since the Middle Ages
40 attractions, games and live shows for all ages.
Fun for all the family at Nigoland theme park
Renoir and his family are buried in Essoyes Prepare for some serious shopping at our outlets
Nigloland Just 30 minutes from Troyes in the southeast of the department is the Nigloland theme park set amongst the countryside. It’s heaven for children, but everyone will find something to suit them with around
EVENTS IN 2013
La Route Touristique du Champagne Explore the vineyards around you and meet some of the winemakers, who are happy to share their knowledge and experience. Though you won’t find the big Champagne houses here, there are other rare and unique wines, such as Rosé des Riceys, plus C12th cellars and whole
Le Tumulte dans les Bulles, 5 - 7 April Games and shows in the heart of the champagne vineyards.
Destination Aube en Champagne
Picture perfect Troyes in the Aube
So he came to her village, where the countryside, the light and the way of life enchanted the painter. He set up a studio there at the bottom of the garden attached to the house where he was living. The memory of this artist and his friends remains to this day in his workshop, filled with personal objects. Renoir and his wife now lie alongside their children in the cemetery, which also attracts its fair share of visitors. Visit Essoyes and see the permanent exhibition Du Côté des Renoir. For more information, please go to www.renoir-aube-Champagne.com
La Route du Champagne en Fête, 27 & 28 July An annual festival held this year in Celles-sur-Ource. Over the course of a weekend, a special champagne flute will be your passport to visit champagne cellars and traditional villages. Gourmet meals and exhibitions are on the agenda, alongside champagne tasting. www.routeduchampagne.com
These local specialities have got to be tried! On the menu: A Champagne apéritif (as you’ll discover, there are plenty to choose from!), andouillette from Troyes, Chaource cheese accompanied by Rosé des Riceys wine and for dessert, some chocolate from Meilleur Ouvrier de France, Pascal Caffet or perhaps a macaron from the traditonal biscuitmakers Maizières la Grande Paroisse.
Wine Tasting Workshops The first Saturday of each month gives you the chance to become a trainee wine taster in the champagne cellars of the Côte des Bar. Ville en Musique et Ville en Lumière – from the end of June to the end of August in Troyes. See the medieval town in a new light at one of its popular music and light shows. Les Jardins Médiévaux (Medieval Gardens Festival) 1 May - 30 October, Troyes. www.tourisme-troyes.com. Le Circuit du Vitrail this year is an exhibition not to be missed in Troyes, European capital of stained glass, Aube has more stained glass than any other department in France!
A key ingredient of Champagne and celebrations
See where the champagne grapes are grown
● For more information, please go to www.aube-champagne.co.uk
Some short break ideas for a long weekend...
Champagne by car
• 3 days / 2 nights in a 4 star hotel •A ll inclusive tour •C omfortable transport From €530 per person
Day 1, Epernay & Vineyards
Essoyes, beloved village of Renoir 3 days, 2 nights From €170 per person, half-board *SPECIAL OFFER: 4th night free
Gastronomic break in Champagne
Gourmet break in Troyes 3 days, 2 nights From €198 per person, half-board www.escapades-en-champagne.com
Marne Spirit of Champagne 2 days, 1 night From €124 per person Epernay, cellars and vineyard visit
Well-kept Treasures 2 days, 1 night From €131 per person Champagne and its vineyards
Exceptional Champagne 2 days, 1 night From €128 per person Château life for a weekend www.shortbreaks-in-champagne.com/en
Our partner, France Bubbles Tours, is here to help you discover Champagne and offers the following packages: Champagne & Shopping • 3 days / 2 nights in a 4 star hotel • All inclusive tour • Comfortable transport From €195 per person
Highlights: Day 1, Troyes
Troyes has always been known as a ‘clothes town’. Starting in the 13th century with the textile industry, by 1807 Troyes and its surroundings had around 260 clothing, textile and hosiery factories. Today, the rag trade has been replaced by factory shopping. Troyes was the first town in France to have outlet
shopping and has three major centres stocking major names.
Day 2, Essoyes This morning you will be driving to the superb Abbaye de Clairvaux, listed as a Monument Historique since 1926. Lunch in Essoyes, hometown of the French Impressionist painter, Pierre August Renoir. End the day with a tour and a Champagne Devaux tasting at Domaine de Villeneuve.
Day 2, Reims You start your day with a sightseeing of Reims, city of coronations and city of Champagne. Guided tour and tasting at world famous Champagne house, Mumm. Guided tour of Reims Cathedral. Be captivated by the stained glass and statues. Tour and Champagne tasting at a family estate near Reims.
A sparkling stay in Champagne • 5 days / 4 nights in 4 star hotels •A ll inclusive tour • L uxury guided tour in a mini van • S emi-private speaking escort guide
Reims, Troyes, Epernay, shopping, Clairvaux Abbey, Essoyes and Renoir, Champagne tastings, vineyards ...
From €725 per person ● For more information, please visit www.france-bubbles-tours.com or send an enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org
CDT Aube, G.H. Mumm, C.Manquillet, P.Bourguignon
3 days, 2 nights From €180 per person, half-board *SPECIAL OFFER: 3rd night free (half-board) from 23/01 - 28/03 or 01/10 - 31/12
The tour begins with the scenic Route des Champagnes among vineyards and picturesque villages. Tour and tasting at world famous Champagne house, Moët & Chandon. Stroll along the Avenue de Champagne in Épernay, known as the ‘Capital of Champagne’. Drive through the vineyards to Hautvillers where Dom Pérignon created the Champagne.
Aube en Champagne Tourism: www.aube-champagne.com Marne Tourist Board: www.tourisme-en-champagne.co.uk France Bubbles Tour: www.france-bubbles-tours.com Please drink responsibly
Cover photos; JK. Gr채ber, X. Lavictoire, CDT Aube, Hobby Rahn Galerie Leica, P. Bourguignon, Baud Von Maybell