So this post is our light-hearted view of the Champagne region of France
(Officially in Grand Est)
Let’s start with the Truths about the Champagne regionThe Champagne vineyards are nestled within rolling hills in the northeast of France.
The LocationThe Three C's
Once ruled by the Counts of Champagne this region became a province in 1314. However, it can trace its vineyards back to Charles the Great, when Charlemagne encouraged the planting of vines.
The city of Reims and its UNESCO Cathedral of Notre-Dame played a pivotal role in French history. Reims Cathedral was the ceremonial location for the coronations of the Kings of France.
On 1st January 2016, Champagne-Ardenne merged with Lorraine and Alsace to create a new region. This was given the very lacklustre name of ‘Grand Est’.
The Champagne appellation stretches 93miles (150km) north to south and approximately 75 miles (120kms) east to west.
The patchwork of rolling Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Champagne wine harvest is controlled by Institution Comité Champagne. They instruct the Domaines on which date the grape picking will start. In 2018, the wine harvest began on 25th August, which became only the fifth vintage in the last 15 years to commence in August.
Where's the Champagne region in the world?
Champagne region Up Close
It’s good to talk
Did you know?
- Champagne is not Champagne unless it is from Champagne. The French are a bit protective over this.
- It’s the Benedictine monks we need to thank for this delicious beverage, particular Dom Perignon.
- Champagne is made predominately from red grapes, Pinot Noir, Meunier and the white grape Chardonnay.
- The beautiful village of Essoyes is where the artist Renoir lived and is buried along with his wife and family.
- Sabrage is the art of uncorking a bottle of Champagne with a single swipe of a sabre.
- There’s a lighthouse in the tiny village of Verzenay. It was initially built by Joseph Goulet to promote his brand of Champagne. It’s now houses a wine-making museum.
- There are 318 villages included in the Champagne appellation. They are quality rated under the system Échelle des Crus, ‘ladder of growths'. Once assessed, 257 rates between 80 and 89%. Then 44 are premier crus, which range in their classification from 90% to 99%. Top of the ladder is Champagne’s 17 grand crus villages, all rated 100%
- René Lalique (the French glass designer) was born in Aÿ.
- The French Grand Prix was held at the circuit of Reims-Gueux 14 times between 1938 and 1966.
Food and drink
If like us, you love visiting different regions of France then this Michelin guide will definitely assist in your planning.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our eastern France road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.
What to see & do in the Champagne region
Where we stayed in the Champagne region
And our thoughts on the Champagne region(Would we return? Is it good value? And did we feel the love?)
Value for Money
Our value for money index.
Don't forget we're Londoners, and that means our baseline is quite high.
There will always be tourist spots that appear to be pricey; however, look out for where the locals eat and drink.
Nonetheless sitting in a bustling historic city square, sipping a glass of wine and sampling the regional fromage is hard to beat.
Behind the wheel - the driving karma
What's it like driving in the country.
Which side of the road do they drive on? They drive on the right.
Janis's Hi's & Lo's
Gary's Hi's & Lo's
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