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Posted by on Feb 26, 2017 | 120 comments

Champagne: 9 Reasons to Visit this Region in France

This week, I had the unique opportunity to attend the Nuit de Champagne which took place at the Residence of France in Beverly Hills.

Events like these, which are held in several cities around the United States, are organized to spread a simple but powerful message.  French Champagne is the only authentic Champagne.  In addition, this drink, produced with ancient methods, is associated with luxury, exclusivity and beauty.

These events are celebrated in key cities of the United States in order to promote France’s excellence and the friendship between the two countries.

Attendees participated of a presentation highlighting the best of the Champagne-Ardenne region, a reception where champagne, hot appetizers and desserts were served and an electrifying demonstration by the Order of the Golden Saber.

The event I was able to attend was delightful from beginning to end.  I ended learning quite a lot about an area of France that is sometimes overlooked by more popular destinations in the country.  I figured you would be interested in taking a glimpse into this place.  After all, I can’t think about a travel and food lover who would not be interested in learning more about Champagne.

Reasons to Visit Champagne, France

Here, in my own words, are 9 reasons why you should consider visiting the Champagne-Ardenne region.

  • The Champagne region is located close to Paris

Reims (the gateway of Champagne) is located 45 minutes from Paris and 30 minutes from Charles de Gaulle Airport by high speed train (TGV).  Because of that, the area is an easy day trip from Paris (but more time in the area is advised).

A visit to the region is even possible if you are visiting Paris by ship.  Cruise companies like Celebrity stay in port two nights to allow guests maximize their time in the French capital and surrounding areas.

Reasons to Visit Champagne, France

  • Champagne is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

In 2015, the hillsides, houses and cellars of Champagne were awarded the World Heritage distinction for its outstanding universal value.

UNESCO recognizes the intricate details needed to achieve an excellent product and the structured system used to take an artisan crop to a mass production sold around the world (without losing its essence).   In summary, nothing is ordinary in Champagne.

Reasons to Visit Champagne, France

  • Reims is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

One UNESCO Heritage site is not enough.  Not in a region like Champagne.  Several buildings in Reims, the largest city by population, were declared World Heritage Sites in 1991.

The Notre-Dame Cathedral was the coronation site of the kings of France for more than 800 years.  The Abbey of Saint-Remi and the Palace of Tau are considered architectural gems too.

Moreover, Reims has Roman ruins and has been declared a City of Arts and History by the French government.

Reasons to Visit Champagne, France

Reasons to Visit Champagne, France

  • Incredible Gastronomy in Reims

I think I do not have to emphasize this point but, just in case, let me remind you some of the most famous Champagne houses are located within city limits.  While in town, make plans to visit Taittinger, MUMM, Lanson, Ruinart, Veuve Clicquot, G.H. Martel and many more.

The most exciting thing is that visitors are allowed to tour the cellars, some of which are located in Roman stone quarries, and others which were excavated in the 13th century by Benedictine monks. Isn’t that amazing?

Food takes a central place in the region too.  Place Drouet d’Erlon, a pedestrian plaza in the heart of the city, is lined with restaurants, cafes and cheese / chocolate vendors. Café du Palace surprises with its Art Deco style and Le Millenaire with its contemporary aesthetic. Those in search of fresh produce should visit the Halles du Boulingrin.

Reasons to Visit Champagne, France

  • Biscuit Rose

This entry should fall under gastronomy but, let’s face it; we love to invent categories when we talk about desserts and sweets.

The pink biscuit of Reims is dipped in Champagne and it is distinctive because it does not break when moistened.  It acquired its pink color when bakers attempted to cover the black dots left by the vanilla pods.  This heavenly piece of goodness is true to its name, it is double cooked (that is what bis-cuit means).

Reasons to Visit Champagne, France

  • Epernay, The City Located Over a City

Epernay, is considered the capital of Champagne because it is the main trading port of the product. The city has the distinction of holding 200 million of champagne bottles in 110 km of subterranean cellars.

Reasons to Visit Champagne, France

Reasons to Visit Champagne, France

The main attraction in here is the Avenue de Champagne, a street deriving its name from the world’s leading champagne producers located within its length.  Moet et Chandon, Mercier, De Castellane and Lafond are some of the recognized names present in this avenue. This is must visit for gastronomy lovers.

Reasons to Visit Champagne, France

  • Champagne Tourist Route

I have mentioned some of the most famous Champagne houses in this article but bear in mind there are more than 15,000 wine growers in the area.  Some sell their production to the Champagne houses while other produce their own wines.

As an advocate for artisan, small production businesses, I recommend visiting less popular Champagne makers. The Champagne Tourist Route takes visitors to vineyards, castles, villages and spectacular churches.  As you can see, the area has a little bit for all preferences.

Reasons to Visit Champagne, France

  • Troyes, the Medieval Beauty

Located south of Reims and Epernay, Troyes is renowned by its many half timbered houses.  This is one of the best places in France to get an idea of how the country looked during medieval times. Plus, nobody can deny the fairy tale atmosphere of the town.

Reasons to Visit Champagne, France

  • Natural Beauty

Yes, we can consider a landscape full of vineyards a beautiful thing.  However, the Champagne area has lakes, regional parks and rivers (Seine, Marne, Aube).   Do not hesitate to visit if you are interested in enjoying this aspect of the region.

Here you have it my friends.  Hope you have learned interesting things about this superb area of France.  Just a reminder, Champagne Day is celebrated on October 21st!

Many thanks to the sponsors who made this event possible (Celebrity Cruises, Atout France, Reims Tourism, Epernay Tourism Office, Confrerie du Sabre d’Or, Sturia, Link Paris, French Quarter Magazine).

What interests you more about the Champagne-Ardenne Region?

Ready to pin? Let’s do this!

Champagne-Ardenne is an area of France that is sometimes overlooked by more popular destinations in the country. Here are 9 reasons why you must visit.

Photo Credits: 2, 8, 9

 

120 Comments

  1. My brother-in-law is a wine connoisseur and gourmet cook. They have visited this region several times. Lovely post. Love the church.

    • So great your brother in law has been! Yes, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is fantastic.

  2. What a picturesque and remarkable region. Very interesting post and nicely illustrated with lovely photographs

    • Thanks a lot! Glad you liked it!

    • Those pink biscuits are delicious! I am obsessed with them.

  3. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to visit this region! I really need to start exploring more of France! Saving this! #MondayEscapes

    • You should! I am sure this place is well connected with Bavaria. And, the food is divine!

  4. If Champagne wasn’t enough of a reason! I’ve been lucky enough to visit this region several times and visit Troyes too. It is all completely delightful and I would gladly go back tomorrow! #mondayescapes

    • Elizabeth, I have read some of your post on the region. So nice you have been to visit with your husband and kids. I get chills when I think about the region. I am hoping to see the cute towns and beautiful vineyards.

    • Sally, I think you want to visit for the correct reasons. Hope you make it there one day.

  5. Well, I am convinced. I would love to visit this region.

    • Ha, ha! I like you got that feeling from the post.

    • Isn’t that town gorgeous? I would love to visit (and other places in the area).

  6. Champagne and beautiful countryside – could there be anything better?! Pinning..#mondayescapes

    • Thanks Corey! Glad you enjoyed the post.

  7. Love looking at the old style buildings. The church is stunning too! Looks like a great region to explore #MondayEscapes

    • Yes, the church is gorgeous. Look at all the details! Reims is full of historical buildings.

    • Believe me, you want to try that biscuit. It is so good!

  8. Beautiful scenery, good food, good wine, fine architecture and interesting history. How could you not love this place!

    • Sallie, that is true! I am not sure why it does not get way more visitors.

  9. Gorgeous shots. And that cathedral – wow!

    • Yes, the cathedral is gorgeous!

  10. I’ve visited the area years ago and it is beautiful indeed. All those hillsides and the vineyards! I’ve visited both Moet et Chandon and Mercier and loved their tours as well!

    • Thanks for sharing your experience! I am sure these champagne houses know how to delight customers.

    • See,now you have two or more reasons! It is a no brainer.

  11. I once explored Reims on foot in the dead of winter. The highlight of this bitterly cold day was a chocolate waffle bought off a street cart. I must go back in summer, it looks stunning!
    #MondayEscapes

    • I love waffles and I am sure they are delicious in Reims! Yes, you have to visit during summer.

  12. I love champagne! Forget wine, I’m not a wine drinker at all so a visit to a vineyard would be completely wasted on me but I’d love to learn how champagne is made … and enjoy it with a nice meal of course 😉

    • Well, the area is famous for its wines but I think this post makes clear there is a lot to see and do. There is a bit for all tastes.

  13. We’re finally making our way to France later on this year, and I was dying to visit Champagne, but I don’t think that we’ll have enough time! We’ve recently become obsessed with sparkling wine, so I would fangirl over getting to visit actual places that produce Champagne, not to mention that the region looks so beautiful!

    • I am visiting France too but will not be able to stop by here. It will have to be on a future visit.

  14. come to visit my Naples (Italy)….
    hello Ruth, have a nice day

    • Antonio, thanks a lot. I really want to visit Naples and Southern Italy (I went there once).

      • I’m glade if you would come to visit my blog too 🙂

    • Great you liked it!

  15. Your advice about staying longer in Champagne than just a day trip from Paris is definitely a must. I did the day trip to Reims on the TGV and wish I could have spent 3 or 4 days exploring this beautiful part of the world. We visited the ancient cellars of Taittinger and walked past many of the other world famous champagne houses. I did not know about the UNESCO World Heritage Site status, so that is fantastic news! The region is truly remarkable!

    • Ali, I am glad you agree with what is exposed on the article. I think a trip to the region is more special than what people think.

  16. Thanks for your visit! I live in a vineyard region, and it’s a great atmosphere seeing them in the landscape. I rather have wine than champagne:) But this cathedral is world renown, and it’s easy to see why – so regal!

    • I love to visit the Santa Ynez Valley, so, I understand the trill of driving around a wine region.

  17. I don’t know my champagne 🙂 but I would welcome a chance to visit the Champagne valley/region.

    • Ha, ha, I get you. Glad you still have a desire to visit the region.

  18. I love champagne and this is a definite on my must get to list. Great post.

    • So good Jackie! I think this is one of those places that should be in many travelers list.

    • I get you! I am sure you will find plenty of delicious things to eat in the area!

  19. Those pink biscuits look amazing. None of the biscuits I make are cooked twice! Should I call them scuits?

    • Jan, that is so funny! The thing is that we call biscuits to a lot of things. The thing is that they are not true biscuits.

  20. What a fabulous post, Ruth! I’m pinning this in case I’m fortunate enough to plan a trip to France in the future, as I’d love to visit the Champagne area. I loved visiting Sonoma, Nappa and Paso Robles wine regions of California multiple times and absolutely loved those vacations.

    • It would be great if you are able to plan a trip to France! No doubt the wine regions in California are very beautiful.

  21. Ruth, this is a fascinating post. I was just considering venturing to this area on our next trip to Europe in the summer. We’re flying home from Paris so we will be in the region. Reims especially looks so charming. Thanks for all the photos and info!
    Sharon recently posted..Culver City: The Heart of ScreenlandMy Profile

    • Sharon, where are you going? I am sure you have a great adventure planned.

  22. This truly is a wonderful place to visit and remains one of my travel highlights. I love champagne and visiting its home was a very special experience. Veuve Clicquot is still my favourite… and the cathedral in Reims is an absolute must see. Thanks for a great post!
    Birgit | Groove Is In The Heart recently posted..Namibia’s Omusati Region: after the rainsMy Profile

    • So good you were able to visit the area. I think the experience lives in the memory forever.

  23. That looks so lovely!! I can’t believe it’s only 45 minutes from Paris. I’ve never been there!

    • Yes, it is! There is a lot that can be done from Paris!

  24. I thought that I didn’t like champagne until I had a particular variety at a morning tea. This is when I learned that I just don’t like cheap champagne. If I had known how close Reims was to Paris, I would have day tripped to the region when I was in Paris several years ago. I think it would be amazing to visit the Avenue de Champagne.

    • Rhonda, have to agree with you. The cheap stuff and the copycats are not going to make the cut. They deceive more than other thing.

  25. The Champagne region is so much more than champagne, and that is a very good thing. It is a region that caters for everyone’s needs.

    • Paula, that is true. I am glad you reiterate that.

    • That is the windmill of Vernay, a landmark of the region.

  26. What’s not to love about Champagne, both the place and the drink? We used to go often when we lived in Paris, we had a great supplier of bubbles who we liked to visit regularly to top up our stocks and even now we sometimes get bottles delivered to home in the south! Wouldn’t you like to link this up to #AllAboutFrance too? (visiting form #farawayfiles
    Phoebe | Lou Messugo recently posted..All About France #26My Profile

    • That sounds great Phoebe! You know how to do things properly. I will add the post to the link.

  27. The best and most important reason has to be for the champagne 🙂 #photofriday
    Kat recently posted..My Expat StoryMy Profile

  28. Cannot argue with that!

    • Yes, Marcella. It is a region to explore slowly while enjoying all the natural beauty and long standing traditions.

  29. Your post is giving me serious wanderlust. The Champagne region has been on my bucket list for a while now because of the wine. So much bubbly! I didn’t realize the region was also home to more than one UNESCO Heritage Site though. Whenever I get the chance to visit this region of France, I hope I have plenty of time to visit as many of the famous Champagne houses and as well as some of the smaller of the 15,000 vintners in the region as I can. I want all the wine! #WeekendWanderlust

    • There are a lot of things people do not realize about the area. Even its famous product exist because of certain reasons. It is interesting to learn how all of that happened.

  30. I don’t think I need all these reason to visit the region of Champagne. The simple fact that I love the drink is enough for me (LOL!) #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • I get that! Some people need a lot of convincing while other would like to visit for obvious reasons.

  31. We have been through the Burgundy region. Looks like the Champagne region will have to be next

    • I am sure that region is adorable too! I need to see more of France.

    • Yes, it is! That was one of my best discoveries of the region.

  32. I was reading another post earlier about Champagne and wondering now whether to go there with my hubby for my 40th later this year! Thanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes.
    Mini Travellers recently posted..Review of Woodfarm Barns, SuffolkMy Profile

    • Now we are talking! Looks like this is the perfect area to celebrate a big birthday! Hope you can plan something memorable.

  33. I knew champagne was from champagne… but never knew how accessible it is from Paris – definitely storing that in the travel plans folder in my brain ahaha. Also side note – you are in so many link ups!!! How do you handle them all?? I’s amazing tho – will def check some of them out 🙂

    • Yes, the region is very close to Paris (that is a mega positive). For the link ups, I accommodate time to work on the one I entered on a specific day. I try not to accumulate the work I have to do for them. Plus, if I enter, I make sure I follow the rules (or do more than what the rules say).

  34. I would love to visit Champagne! I have only visited France two times and only seen Paris and Versailles. This region is so picturesque and rich in history. I would love to visit all those champagne houses especially the Veuve Clicquot house.

    • France is a big country (when compared to other European countries). I have seen only a little of it. Would like to allocate time to learn more about the country.

  35. I’d love to visit Reims – Champagne, pink biscuits and a stunning cathedral, you don’t need many more recommendations than that! I’ve been to Troyes – it’s such a pretty medieval town and there are some fantastic factory outlets for cheap designer French clothes there too. Thanks for sharing with us on #FarawayFiles
    Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) recently posted..Faraway Files #20My Profile

    • Well, you have to make plans to stop by Reims. I am sure you will enjoy the city and the area.

    • A road trip around France would be fantastic! I will be visiting Strasbourg and Colmar in May. I want to try the good food and see the colorful houses.

  36. I love champaign and visiting the area has been one of the highlights for me. I love all your beautiful photos and encouraging others to visit as well. I was worried it wouldn’t be very accessable if you weren’t very “into” wine, but instead found it approachable. Thanks for sharing. #WeekendWanderlust

    • Elizabeth, thanks for sharing your perspective. I am sure it is useful to other who are considering a visit to the area.

  37. Those vineyards and the grapes themselves look divine, and the cathedral – WOW.

    • Everything in here is awesome! Do you agree?

  38. What an incredible region. That cathedral alone would be reason enough to want to visit. I remember in college seeing that cathedral in my art history books and just staring in awe! Of course the champagne doesn’t hurt either.
    Mary-the boondocks blog recently posted..Sweet Inspiration Link Party #46My Profile

    • Mary, very interesting! I think this Cathedral is a masterpiece in many ways.

  39. good Woman’s Day… dear Ruth 🙂

    • Lyn, hope you are able to visit soon.

    • Wow! You guys have been everywhere in Europe. I guess this doesn’t count as a visit but I imagine you have plans to return.

  40. The Champagne region of France is not the only part of this big country overlooked by the ‘average’ traveller. There are many more regions worth a visit – and each has its own distinct heritage and cuisine.
    Why one would have to dye a cookie to hide vanilla seeds is beyond me. I would take the evidence of real vanilla as a sign of quality (in the days of artificial vanilla aroma). #WeekendWanderlust
    Juergen | dare2go recently posted..9 Reasons to Visit Ayacucho in Peru – NowMy Profile

    • I am sure France has a lot of of overlooked regions. Your reasoning about the biscuit makes sense but I think these people were more into the aesthetics of their product.

  41. Very interesting. Living in nearby Luxembourg, I have to sadly confess that we have always considered Champagne as a place to zip through as quickly as possible en-route to more “exciting” destinations. Looks like we should slow down next time and explore more of this oft-overlooked region. #FarawayFiles
    Jonny (Daisy the bus) recently posted..The Family of ManMy Profile

    • Hmm, seems like a lot of us see the grass greener on other other sides. It would be nice if you guys take some time to discover this nearby region.

    • You are closer than me, so, you should go.

  42. This area looks absolutely stunning! I’ve been to Paris and to the South of France, but never really thought of visiting Champagne. Now I have 9 reasons to make the trip next time I’m in the area though 😀

    • That is true Lauren! More reason to go back to France.

  43. Seems like it’s totally worth the visit! I have heard so much about this region working in hospitality industry, that I would check it out even if someone said it’s not worh it haha! Love your photography and the whole experience seems like something really special and I mean who doesn’t love champagne? Apart for my partner of course who hates it haha!

    • I am sure you have learned to appreciate the real product of the region.

  44. I loved learning all about this region. What a fascinating area full of history and architecture and of course, all that wine. We’re going to be in Paris this summer and I’m so tempted to do this day trip. That Biscuit Rose looks so good!

    • Cool! I am glad you are going to Paris! I am sure that trip would be awesome.

  45. Oh wow it looks just incredible, I so want to visit and wander those fairy tale streets. Thanks so much for linking up #Mondayescapes

    • I am sure the streets of the villages in the area will feel out of this world.

  46. Gosh, we’re going to need to spend much more time in France! We have not been to the Champagne region…among many others that we’d like to visit! Sometimes we think the only answer is to move there! One day, I think we will, even if only for a while.
    Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net) recently posted..The Charming Medieval Village of ÈzeMy Profile

    • Rob, agree with you. France is a big country and you would need like 30 years to visit the majority of it.

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