Vibrant and authentic, the Champagne-Ardenne is not only known for its famous bubbly beverage, but it is also known as a beautiful region filled with great lakes and natural parks. Highlights include the Montagne de Reims Regional Natural Park, the Orient Forest Regional Natural Park, and the Ardennes mountain range, all of which are easily accessible from Paris and Disneyland Paris.
With wide open spaces ideal for great walks, horseback riding, mountain-biking and enjoying water sports on the lake, this is the perfect region for those who love outdoor activities.
Champagne-Ardenne also has plenty to offer in terms of culture, with five towns labeled as "Towns of Art and History." The Fortified Château of Sedan is booming during the famous medieval festival of Sedan. The UNESCO-protected cultural heritage destination of Reims boasts the religious buildings of Châlons-en-Champagne, the ramparts of Langres and the important industrial heritage of Troyes.
When it’s time to eat, you will easily be tempted by the pâté de Reims, bacon salad, and stewed potatoes. Traditional dishes include pig’s trotters à la Sainte-Menehould, the pork hotpot soup, potée champenoise vegetable and meat stew, andouillette de Troyes (pork sausage), and the local boar-based dish, sanglier à l’ardennaise. There are plenty of local cheeses to choose from too, such as the chèvres cendrés, a goat cheese with a rind of ash, from Riceys and Argonne. The A.O.C. of Chaource boasts a Cheese Museum to help you work up an appetite. Desserts are also important in the Champagne-Ardenne, from gingerbread to the famous pink biscuits of Reims to delicious marzipan, there is plenty for those with a sweet tooth.
This feast of flavors pairs perfectly with the locals wines of the region, with Champagne, of course, at the top of the list. At the Lighthouse of Verzenay in the heart of wine country, all the secrets of this sought-after beverage are revealed. The Côte des Blancs is the prerogative of Chardonnay and of the Blanc de Blancs champagne.
A visit and tasting session in the cellars and vineyards of Champagne is an absolute must for oenophiles. The famous Veuve-Clicquot Cellars allow visitors to explore the crayères (chalk passages) underneath Reims, while in Epernay, the Avenue de Champagne houses some of the greatest Champagne houses, several of which offer tasting sessions.
The UNESCO sites of Reims contain many treasures that will delight those interested in art and cultural heritage, such as the Palais du Tau, the Basilica of Saint-Rémi, which hosts the Flâneries Musicales Festival in Reims, and of course the Cathedral of Reims, where the Joan of Arc Festival is held. Charleville-Mézières celebrates its enfant terrible at the Arthur Rimbaud Museum, and pulls some strings at the International Festival of Puppet Theatres. In the medieval town of Troyes, the Champagne Nights festival fills the streets with the sounds of French chansons.
For leisure and entertainment, Nigloland Park offers families over 35 attractions and shows within a natural environment. And if this isn’t enough, there’s the famous Disneyland Paris.
Festive and as sparkling as its wines, the Champagne-Ardenne region will delight and enthrall you.