"A long week end in the vineyards and forests" Top 5 Page for this destination Champagne-Ardenne by kokoryko

Champagne-Ardenne Travel Guide: 597 reviews and 1,985 photos

Champagne? Yes, but also beer!!

Mid May, a friend from South East Asia visited me in Paris and we have been to many of the “must see” places of this city but, coming from very far, and not having the opportunity to travel often to Europe, I proposed my visitor to make a tour in the beautiful French countryside for a long (4 days), week end. So, here are a bit of places we visited during “random wanderings” in the Champagne Ardennes region, North East of Paris; as we were not far from Belgium, we crossed the boundary, and. . . My friend noticing Luxembourg was not far, we decided for an excursion to Luxembourg, and. . Oh! Germany is very close!! So we also went to Germany in the beautiful Mosel Valley; so, the same day we had breakfast in France, lunch in Belgium, dinner in Germany. . . . . . Wonderful days with lots of intriguing and interesting questions a very foreign person asks, confronted to a world, so strange to an Asian Muslim. Weather was not very “touristy” but this cannot be changed, and travels go like that!
Back to random wanderings in Champagne Ardennes: I found the less known Ardennes part as interesting (if not more) as the Champagne one; the local beverage is not as noble as in Champagne, but the local beer, like in Belgium is a feast for the thirsty palates. I include here a few descriptions of places outside Champagne Ardennes region, but very close to this region.

A bit of geography. . . .

Champagne is of course the home of the famous wine (other sparkling wines are sparkling wines, but not Champagne!, not even “Champanskoye” or “Champain” or “Champagner” or whatsoever). Champagne is also the home area of the smiling angels of Reims, the place of crowning of the Kings of France, the place where the beautiful Marne River draws its meanders, the place of some of the most deadly battles of WWI, beautiful little villages. . . . .
Champagne is not only where the wonderful eponym wine is grown, it is much wider and covers two main types of landscapes:
- the “Champagne humide”, or “wet Champagne”, small hills, to the West, covered with small woods or meadows, the slopes of the hills where are most of the villages and of course the vineyards; the fluvial plains with meadows and small industrial villages.
- The “Champagne pouilleuse”, or “lousy Champagne” (this is the name I learned when at school but it is now named “Champagne crayeuse” (chalk Champagne), to the East, a more dry, wide open area, with big colza and wheat, corn, oat fields, wide apart villages.
Everybody knows that the name “Champagne”comes from the Latin Campania, meaning open fields area; a region in Southern Italy, has the same name, and nearby is the region of Puglia (translated into the French “Pouilles”), so the name Champagne pouilleuse has a Latin origin too , name coming from Apulia, the ancient name of this Italian region; I find this fashion of being absolutely politically correct really appalling and stupid, and that made changing the centuries old name of the region. (there is nothing incorrect in pouilleuse!)

As I discovered in a random way, the page will be a bit random. . .

But the forests are so beautiful.

And the deep forests of Ardennes, covering the hills, the wonderful food, the great hospitality of people, the Meuse river, “The balcony in the forest” (by Julien Gracq, a real black sheep who refused literary prizes and honors), the homeland of Arthur Rimbaud, it is two hours from Paris, and I will visit more soon, explore the rivers and the hills; the hikes seem really promising. Villages, old fortified cities on the marches of France, wonderful food and beer, I already know where some of my future hikes will lead me.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful forests and valleys
  • Cons:Why cons?
  • In a nutshell:Planning hikes in the beautiful forests
  • Last visit to Champagne-Ardenne: May 2008
  • Intro Updated Jun 1, 2008
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Reviews (24)

Comments (8)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Mar 25, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    I've had a lovely virtual tour of the Champagne area, hope to see if for myself soon.

  • WheninRome's Profile Photo
    Feb 16, 2009 at 10:41 AM

    Wonderful Champagne-Ardenne pages kokoryko! You have a wonderful talent for writing and storytelling.

  • tiabunna's Profile Photo
    Oct 23, 2008 at 4:37 AM

    This was an absolutely delightful tour through the OTBP areas of the Champagne-Ardennes area, Hermann. Great photos too, despite the weather.

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Oct 5, 2008 at 12:30 PM

    This page is just too much Hermann! Wow, your views and descriptions of the countryside, forests, rivers and ruins are truly outstanding. This is a 'tourist' route that my wife and I would dearly love to experience!

  • Elisabcn's Profile Photo
    Sep 19, 2008 at 1:16 AM

    I spent one hour in front of the vitrails of chagall: that blue, the characters, the scenes..bewitched me. Gothic cathedrals are special...have you tried to walk around them looking up to the sky? Btw nice tips (as usual).

  • Jun 12, 2008 at 9:15 PM

    Hermann, like you my travels tend to be contrasted. I enjoy the sites & sounds of cities like Paris, but also love the serenity of places like the French countryside. My wife & I love the City of Châlons-en-Champagne.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jun 6, 2008 at 2:41 PM

    Hello Hermann, your Muslim friend was really lucky to have such an accomplished tour guide. And I very much enjoyed reading your detailed and insightful tips. Tomorrow I am again going to see Rossini's comic opera Il viaggio a Reims.

  • robertgaz's Profile Photo
    Jun 4, 2008 at 8:59 PM

    I too have enjoyed walks in the Belgian Ardenne... and collected a few original beer glasses along the way ;~)

kokoryko

“Il me plait de courir sans but et sans raison . . . .”

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