Villages full of character in a region boasting a robust historical heritage
A native of Aube, Nathalie Conrath has worked at the INTER-HOTEL Royal Hôtel in Troyes for more than 20 years and takes pleasure in discussing the many attributes of the Champagne region. The Champagne-Ardenne region has hidden treasures away from its famous Champagne. Its abundant traces of history and the majestic Ardennes offer enough variety to ensure that your stay in the region will be a pleasant one.
In close proximity to Troyes, "you will enjoy visiting the charming villages of Moussey and Saint Phal, Clairvaux abbey in Clairvaux-sur-Aube and Bayel, famous for its artisan crystal production and now the royal crystal glassworks of Champagne". You can also explore the village of "Isle-Aumont and its exceptional archaeological site showcasing more than 5000 years of history, or Langres and its 50 bell towers".
Just outside Reims lies Epernay, regarded as the capital of Champagne. The towns of Sedan, popular for its tranquillity, Douzy, packed with history, and Châlons-en-Champagne form an enchanting setting. This region was the victim of the two world wars. Troyes, an ancient medieval town, and Reims, a 'city of art and history', suffered. Famous battles such as the Battle of the Marne and the Battle of the Bulge in Ardennes are part of the history of France. In this respect, the Charles de Gaulle memorial site in Haute-Marne is an exceptional journey, depicting the major events of the 20th century.
A region of nature and culture
"The heritage of Troyes is understated but abundant. Its visitors can visit old Troyes with its half-timber houses." Water was a significant feature of the town until 1970, its historical purpose being to protect the buildings, made primarily from wood and straw. "Following extensive restoration, water is back in Troyes town centre and "the canal is now a very pleasant place to take a walk, popular with the people of Aube and tourists". "Tourists are surprised at the heritage they find in Troyes and the surrounding area and its historic centre has its share of charm, boasting traditional houses, churches and peaceful places such as the Place de la Libération after nightfall".
Thirty miles from Troyes, you can "have fun with your family in the Nigloland theme park, riding the carousels aimed at children and adults alike". The Reims region is the point of departure for the Champagne route encompassing beautiful walks among the vineyards. For hiking enthusiasts, more than 3000 miles of clearly-defined paths mark out this region between vineyards, lakes and forests. Ardennes is also the perfect spot for hiking.
Be sure to visit the beautiful city of Reims and its famous cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, regarded as a major achievement in Gothic art and, most importantly, a sacred site for the kings of France until Charles X in 1824. In terms of gastronomy, very famous Champagne houses can be found throughout most of the region in addition to "Othe cider in Aube and its capital, Aix-en-Othe". As well as the Troyes andouillette and its famous AAAAA label, visitors love the fine chaource cheese made from cow's milk and the Prunelle de Troyes liqueur.
But another force in the region must be recognised: that of factory outlet stores, attracting native and foreign visitors in their droves. The textiles history has left its mark. You will find well-known brands at rock-bottom prices. Great value that cannot be ignored.
With gastronomy and green spaces, the history of France and shopping, not to mention the warm welcome from the people who are always on hand to point you in the direction of places of interest, you are sure to fall for the charms of the Champagne-Ardenne region.