Great Escapes

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Exploring the Champagne region of France

The Champagne region is located in the north-east of France, sharing a small border with Belgium, and we figure you won’t need two guesses to know what the region is famous for. With so much to see and do in the Champagne region, it’s ideal if you’re looking for a relaxing short break in France with your loved one, an exploration into the region’s history, or just a taste of Champagne’s Champagne. So, here’s a little round-up of some great things you can see whilst visiting, and where you can find the cellars for a home grown taste of your favourite fizzy tipple…

1. The capital

Despite being a fairly small city and only a quarter of the size of better known Reims, Châlons en Champagne is the capital city of the region. A unique place with over 2,000 years’ worth of history, you’ll find some beautiful architecture including the impressive Notre-Dame-en-Vaux with its 56 bells, a recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Image credit: Aimelaime~commonswiki, Wikimedia Commons

2. Reims

Located in the Champagne-Ardennes region of France, Reims is best known as the ‘unofficial capital’ of the region, and a visit here is sure to ignite your senses. With art deco cafés, impressive Roman remains, a 13th century cathedral and the home of Taittinger champagne, you can enjoy the view, the food and perhaps most importantly, the Champagne. Tours are available in the area where you can explore the champagne houses, the beautiful vineyards and the wine cellars. Visit Reims tourism for more information and to book a tour.

Taittinger Champagne - Great Escapes Blog

Image credit: Andy Hay, Flickr

Image credit: Michel Jolyot

Image credit: Michel Jolyot

3. Épernay

Another ideal place to visit if on a little champagne tour is Épernay. Located around 30km south of Reims, Épernay is home to some of the most renowned producers, including Moët & Chandon and Perrier-Jouët. Regularly scheduled tours can be booked online, where you can walk through the wine cellars and learn about the making of this famous bubbly, also enjoying a bespoke tasting session. See the Moët website for more information and to book.

Moet & Chandon cellars - Great Escapes Blog

Image credit: Giulio nepi, Flickr

If you want to see more of Épernay, you can visit the ‘Portail Saint Martin’, a beautiful stone doorway which is the oldest monument in the town, or wander the impressive Avenue de Champagne where you will get some wonderful photographs of the grand wine houses and some other rather impressive chateaux and residential properties.

Avenue de champagne - Great Escapes Blog

Image credit: Marc Veraart, Flickr

4. Lac du Der-Chantecoq

Located to the west of the town of Saint-Dizier, Lac du Der is the largest artificial lake in Western Europe, holding a massive 350 million m³ of water. It’s a great place for avid walkers to explore, and if you love wildlife – especially birds – then it’s an ideal spot, in fact one of the best known spots in northern France attracting bird watchers from all over Europe. If you’re feeling energetic, you can partake in a selection of water sports, or you can climb to the top of some of the higher banks for some wonderful photographs of the surrounding landscape.

Lac du Der - Great Escapes Blog

Image credit: Georges & Benjamin Bruny, Flickr

Lac du der - Great Escapes Blog

Image credit: Luc Coekaerts, Flickr

5. Le Château Fort de Sedan

As the biggest ancient fortress in Europe, this breath-taking medieval castle was built in the early 15th century, and is a place where you can experience 1,000 years of history. Take a tour of the castle where you can learn about the construction of the fort and explore its towers, then visit the museum and exquisite restaurant that are also housed there. The castle has also been home to a unique hotel since 2004, which Great Escapes is delighted to be able to offer. If you would like to spend a short break at Le Château Fort de Sedan, where you’ll also receive a complimentary bottle of Champagne and free entry to the museum, visit GreatEscapes.co.uk for more information.

Le Château Fort de Sedan - Great Escapes Blog

Le Château Fort de Sedan - Great Escapes Blog

If we’ve inspired your next short break to Europe as one which includes the beautiful Champagne region of France, you can visit the Great Escapes website for more information and to book.