Bubbles, WWI & WWII sites & Charming Small Towns
Of course the bubbles, Champagne is home to what is probably the world’s most famous sparkling wine. But that’s not all. Less frequented than other French regions, Champagne still has a lot to offer: take Reims and its cathedral for instance, where 33 French kings were crowned. Avid of sparkling wine or history, Champagne is for you!
THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS SPARKLING WINE
Get ready for a beautiful ride. From Reims to Epernay, along the 70 km (43 mi) Montagne de Reims Champagne Route, you will see quaint villages and vineyards where Champagne wine’s grapes come from. Cellar visits will show you the meticulous process to make champagne. Governed by strict rules (called the méthode champenoise) champagne is both made by prestigious maisons -Dom Pérignon, for instance, who also was a 17th-century monk known as the inventor of Champagne – and smaller domains.
THE GARGANTUAN BEAUTY OF REIMS CATHEDRAL
The list of France stunning cathedrals is long. But be sure that Reims cathedral can definitely compete for the top 3. This magnificent masterpiece of Gothic architecture boasts stunning stained glass windows – including three from Marc Chagall – intricate sculptures, and soaring vaulted ceilings. A Unesco World Heritage Site since 1991, the Reims Cathedral had been damaged during WWI – so as most of Reims town – and repaired thanks to donations including some coming from the Rockefeller family. Just a 45-minute train ride from Paris, Reims is a convenient starting point to explore Champagne region.
SURVEY World WAR I BATTLEFIELDS IN VERDUN
Though not within Champagne region, but a short drive East of it, Verdun is an emblematic World World I battlefield site. The Battle of Verdun, the longest that took place during WWI, left near 800,000 soldiers dead. The atrocities that happened in Verdun and its northern surroundings during 1916 are well taught by the Verdun Memorial. Trenches, artillery crates and ossuary can be seen to remember the utter barbary that happened in this region during WWI.
TROYES, ONE OF FRANCE’S MOST ROMANTIC TOWNS
Less famous than Reims, yet not damaged by WWI battles, Troyes is definitely worth a visit. 16th-century Troyes can still be very much felt when you wander around well-preserved half-timbered houses once home to wealthy cloth merchants. Troyes is also home to a famous French delicacy – l’andouillette de Troyes (Troyes Andouillette) of which the most famous are labeled AAAAA or 5A. Disclaimer though – the Troyes Andouillette is exclusively made out of pork intestines and stomach!
VISIT CHARLES DE GAULLE’S HOME
As you approach Colombey-les-Deux-Églises – where Charles de Gaulle lived most of his life till his death in 1970 – stands a huge 44 meters (145 ft) two-barred cross. This Croix de Lorraine (Cross of Lorraine) was the symbol of French Resistance. La Boisserie lies within the village itself. It is in this house that Charles de Gaulle lived most of his life. Today, visitors can explore the elegant house where Charles de Gaulle lived before being buried in the same village.
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A Taste of Paris & Champagne
7 DAYS, FROM 4,250 USD PER PERSON