5 Reasons to Cycle Champagne
Located in the northeast region of France, Champagne is probably best known for the sparkling white wine to which it lends its name. But this beautiful region offers so much more than a famous bubbly beverage. With a long history and rich heritage, visitors will not only experience some of the best wine tasting the world over, they will also encounter a rich history filled with wonder and beauty. Ancient castles, fortresses and countless vineyards coupled with delectable cuisine afford visitors a delicious, unique, and unforgettable journey.
Among the many reasons to add a visit to Champagne to your travel itinerary, here are five in particular that stand out.
The region of Reims
Located less than two hours from Paris, this region is one of the most popular in Champagne because it houses numerous major Champagne houses and provides a lovely glimpse into the rich history of the area. The location where some 33 kings were crowned, there are also five sites located in the Reims region that have been classified by UNESCO as World Heritage sites.
- Notre Dame Cathedral
- The Abbey (and the Basilica) of Saint-Remi
- The Palais du Tau
- The Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame-en-Vaux in Châlons-en-Champagne
- The Basilica of Epine
History enthusiasts will be delighted in all that Verdun holds for them. One of the world’s greatest battles occurred here during World War One, a time in history that will never be forgotten. The agony of this battle lasted eleven months and resulted in 700,000 causalities, the largest number recorded for a single battle. Visit monuments commemorating this period such as the Douaumont ossuary comprised of 130,000 unidentified soldiers from the battlefield. Among other memorials is the “Bayonet Trench” which marks the location where a dozen rifles were found projecting out of the ground; below each weapon was a French soldier believed to be attacked by surprise.
Fortress of Sedan
This fortress’ significance dates back to the Franco-Prussian war. Author Émile Zola refers to the importance of this castle in his novel, La Débâcle, and illustrates Napoleon III struggle to conquer the Prussians. When the Prussia troops invaded Sedan and surrounded the fortress, Napoleon was forced to surrender in a neighboring town. The Battle of Sedan resulted in the overthrow of France’s Second Empire, therefore sealing the country’s fate. Experience a glimpse of history as you bike to Sedan in the northern part of this region, which is moreover renowned for its remarkable rides.
Champagne Tourist Trail
This impressive tour of the various vineyards and cellars of Champagne stretches nearly 600 km and covers about 80 different stops. There are several different circuits to choose from, with differing themes, from historical tours to family friendly routes. The area is also perfect for bikers and, of course, wine enthusiasts looking to experience some of the most exquisite vintages in the world.
Known internationally as the Capital of Champagne, this popular tourist location welcomes approximately 450,000 visitors a year from all over the world. Its popularity is due in part to its central location in the heart of the champagne vineyards, and the copious international market it is home to. History lovers will treasure the 19th century champagne houses found along the world famous Avenue de Champagne. The real marvel of Epernay, however, is the underground cellars located along the 100 km of tunnels which were dug out of chalk and run underground, beneath the streets of the town. That is where some say the true beauty of this area lies.