What to see by car: Reims
Reims is an excellent starting point from which to view the treasures of Champagne-Ardenne.
Those interested in wine cultivation and its delightful produce are likely to
be excited by the prospect of sampling a glass of champagne in the place of its
origin. Here, the chalky soil gives subtle characteristics to the wines which
cannot be duplicated in any other vineyard in the world.
Champagne-Ardenne is made up of Ardennes, Marne, Aube and Haute-Marne, and
is known for its rich history and scenic landscape. The sprawling vineyards
are randomly and pleasantly interrupted by lakes, rivers, parks and forests
rich in wildlife.
Epernay, which lies only 26kms south of Reims, is the unofficial capital of
Champagne, and home to the distinguished names of Moet & Chandon, Mercier
and Pol Roger. Like Reims, it is built above a network of chalk tunnels, originally
quarried by the Romans and now used to store wine. There are reputedly 90 million
bottles of wine lying in the 322kms of cellars beneath the town! Avenue de Champagne
is the town's prettiest street, and is worth wandering down for its 18th and
19th century mansions and champagne maisons. Both Moet & Chandon and Mercier
give guided tours of their cellars in English.
The town of Troyes is probably the loveliest of all those in the Champagne
region. It is also far more off the beaten track, so those seeking refuge from
the crowds permeating most destinations in France will welcome the serenity
of this quaint little town.
Its narrow medieval streets are lined with old, half-timbered houses and Renaissance
mansions, most of which have been beautifully restored. It also possesses one
of France's most magnificent Gothic cathedrals and an impressive collection
of impressionist and modern art, including works by Degas, Gauguin and Bonnard,
in the old bishop's palace.
Reims is also within easy reach of Paris, and those who fancy a stint in the
capital need only drive the relatively easy 150kms stretch between the two.
Selection of hotels in this region:
Mercure Reims Cathedrale
Quality Hotel Reims
Holiday Inn Garden Court Reims City Centre
Click below for a
full list of hotels and online booking