Autumn in the Land of Champagne

Autumn in the celebrated Champagne wine region of France can be an enchanting experience for those visiting. With the grape harvest at an end, the landscape transitions into a riot of deep reds and golds, and there is still plenty of time to enjoy the last of the sunshine. With this in mind, here is a list of five activities which should see you returning from your trip with a twinkle in your eye and a spring in your step…

Take a Hike

There are over 3,100 miles of designated trails criss-crossing the length and breadth of the Champagne region, taking advantage of some of the more picturesque routes is highly recommended. Combined with visits to the area’s fantastic natural parks, such as the Montagne de Reims or the Regional Nature Par of the Orient Forest, the network represents a great way to take in the best of the area’s stunning scenery.

Get on Your Bike

With an additional 280 miles of specially designated green routes to explore, biking is also a fantastic way to enjoy the natural beauty of the Champagne region. The highlight here is if the well-known Trans-Ardenne route, which takes you on a glorious 50 mile tour from Givet to the village of Charleville-Mézières, birthplace of the poet Arthur Rimbaud.

Visit the Cathedral Notre Dame

A truly awe-inspiring marvel of gothic architecture, this World Heritage listed building forms the heart of the small medieval city of Reims and was formerly the site on which the kings of France were crowned. 2011 saw the cathedral celebrate its 80th anniversary: the fact that it is still drawing in the crowds tells you something about the timeless appeal of this unique historical wonder.

Discover a Museum of Cheese

Nestling in the village of Chaource is the wonderfully named Musée du Fromage, in which visitors can indulge their love of all things cheese-related. The museum houses a large collection of artifacts relating to the history and production methods associated with the eponymous foodstuff, and shows an admirable affection for its much loved namesake.

Sample Some Fizz

Of course no visit to the region would be anywhere near complete without sampling some of its most famous export. Whilst many people are familiar with the big names such as Dom Perignon, there remains a host of exciting tastes and flavours to experience if you are keen to learn more about the history and construction of this most respected wine. Spend some time at any of the great champagne houses and you’ll soon learn to appreciate the complexity and craftsmanship involved in creating that innocent looking glass of bubbles.

Photo credit: gordonwd

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