Best known for its celebratory drink, the Champagne region, bordering Belgium, is renowned for its vineyards and rich history. The capital of the region is not Reims, as many believe, but Chalons en Champagne, formerly known as Chalons sur Marne.
The most popular places to visit in Champagne are:
- Troyes: This town dates from Roman times and was an important crossroads for a number of highways. Little remains of the ancient settlement, other than traces of an aqueduct. Today, the town still has many ancient timber houses dating from the 16th century.
- Langres: Visitors can see proof of the richness of the Renaissance period in the many religious, civil and military buildings in Langres. Large sections remain of the defensive walls of the town, dating from the 14th and 15th centuries. Visit the museum to discover the Gallic Roman artefacts.
- Chalons en Champagne: The capital of the region, this town retains its French charm.
- The Notre Dame en Vaux church, built between 1157 and 1217, is part of the UNESCO world heritage, while St Etienne's Cathedral dates back to the 12th century.
- Epernay: This is perhaps the most famous of the vineyard towns. Its Avenue du Champagne is to Champagne lovers what the Champs Elysses is to retail therapists!
- Reims: Founded by the Gauls, Reims later became a major Roman town. Before the French Revolution, numerous kings were crowned in the cathedral here. Reims is large and lively and is one of the most visited towns in the region.