Situated between Ardenne and Burgundy, the region covered in rolling hills owes its international fame to the sparkling, tangy wine of the same name. It was once considered the king of wines, and the brand name is still protected worldwide. Up until recently the area had been neglected by tourists, but it has plenty to offer: green valleys, oak forests, hills overgrown with wine, and a considerable amount of significant cultural monuments. The Champagne wine region is not identical with the historical territory of Champagne. It also includes some vineyards situated within the regions of Picardy and Île-de-France.
World Capital of Champagne
The city of 27,000 inhabitants is located about 30 kilometres south of Reims in the Champagne region, an idyllic landscape in north-eastern France that produces the world's most famous sparkling wine. As the centre of the Marne region, it is home to many wineries and champagne companies, most notably Moët & Chandon, Mercier and Pol Roger. In the tunnels below the city, at 9-12° C, over 200 million(!) bottles of champagne are said to be stored. Six kilometres to the north-west lies Hautvillers, a pretty village with the abbey where the legendary Dom Pérignon was a cellar master.
Birthplace of the Champagne
One of the most beautiful places in Champagne is Hautvillers, situated on a hill. Almost every picture-book courtyard from the 17th and 18th centuries has a wrought-iron guild sign, some of which depicts ancient professions. In the small Benedictine abbey of the village, a monk, Dom Perignon, after years of experimentation, developed champagne, which can be tasted at some of the more than 200 winegrowers.
Purest gothic and champagne
This ancient Celtic settlement is located around 150 km northeast of Paris along the little Vesle River. The city of 185,000 inhabitants is mainly famous for two things: champagne and the Notre-Dame de Reims, one of Europe's greatest masterpieces of Gothic architecture and the site where French kings used to be crowned. Joan of Arc led Charles VII into the cathedral to be consecrated in 1429. Today the structure is a World Heritage Site along with the Palais du Tau, an archiepiscopal place built between 1498 and 1509, and the Saint Rémi Basilica together with the adjacent abbey building. Almost as large as Reims Cathedral, the Romanesque basilica was constructed between the 11th and 15th century.