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Two Days in Châlons-en-Champagne

Châlons-en-Champagne and its surroundings have an exceptional heritage as well as curiosities and visits. Discovering the main points of interest in 1 day is possible but staying 2 days will make it possible for you to discover the city in a deeper way.

We have created a 2-day city-break for you to discover the best of Châlons-en-Champagne.

 

On the program:

Day 1
  • 9:30am: Welcome Coffee at the Tourist Office
  • 10am: City Tour
  • 12-2pm: Lunch in one of our partner restaurants
  • Afternoon dedicated to the visit of a location dedicated to champagne
  • Free time
  • Dinner followed by a night boat ride “Métamorph’eau’ses”
  • Overnight in 2** or 3*** hotel
Day 2
  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • 10-12am: Visit of Joseph Perrier Champagne cellars
  • 12-2pm: Lunch in one of our partner restaurants
  • 2-3pm: Boat ride (or visit of the Fine Arts Museum depending on the weather)
  • 3-5pm: Visit of Notre-Dame-en-Vaux Collegial Church, classified UNESCO World Heritage, and the Cloister Museum

 

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Tasting in the Medieval Cellars

The Tourist Office offers to organize tastings just for you in a historical location. Tastings are hosted by an oenologist, a sommelier or a local winemaker.

 

The medieval cellars

These cellars testify of the wealth of the city in Medieval times. They have a total surface area of 200m2. According to the experts, the first cellar is from the 13th century and the second one from the 15th century.

These cellars must have belonged to wine merchants.

 

Tasting

Our partners invite you to a comparative tasting of three different champagnes/wines and give you all the secrets of their making.
With your clients, your friends, your family, your colleagues or collaborators: taste, compare, enjoy!

 

More

Catering service upon request.
Also possible: Tasting of wines, whiskies, rums, tasting session in full consciousness with a qualified sophrologist, tasting of champagne and caviar.

 
Discover tastings in the Medieval Cellars on video.

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Joseph Perrier Champagne House

Live a magical moment in this “stone cathedral” and discover the secrets of the methods of the making of champagne.

 

Joseph Perrier champagne cellars are historical. They are located in chalk quarries from Gallo-Roman times. Their particularity is that they are under the hill and are at street level.

 

The cellars are made of three kilometers of galleries with arches from 5 to 10 meters high. The cellars are interspersed with skylights (illuminated by the daylight). The walls testify of the work of thousands of men who either signed them or left a trace of their passing. A million bottles are resting on lattes in this labyrinth where the coolness is constant and the hygrometry is naturally dosed, thanks to the presence of tall trees on the hill.

 

Did you know?

The history of champagne, “le roi des vins et le vin des rois” (king of wines and wine of kings) is tightly linked to Châlons-en-Champagne. Jean-Baptiste François, pharmacist, and Adolphe Jacquesson, inventor of the metal cap and the muselet (champagne wire) were both from Châlons. In the 19th century, they contributed to the improvement of the methods of vinification. At the time, there were hectares of vineyard and a dozen champagne houses in Châlons.

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Notre-Dame-en-Vaux Collegial Church

Châlons-en-Champagne, Town of Art and History, has almost twenty religious edifices. Notre-Dame-en-Vaux Collegial Church is one of its most beautiful monuments.

Romanesque and Gothic arts are harmoniously blended. They mark the elegance of this collegial church which replaced an older monument in the 12th century.

The church is classified UNESCO World Heritage as part of the roads to Santiago de Compostela. It has admirable stained-glass windows from the 12th and 19th centuries. It also has a carillon made of 56 bells which was installed in 1858. It is considered as one of the most important carillons in Europe.

Other visits possible :
  • The carillon
  • The art of stained-glass windows
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Discover the Religious Heritage

Châlons-en-Champagne and its surroundings have an important religious heritage with almost twenty religious edifices, two of which are classified UNESCO World Heritage.

 

Our guide speakers invite you to follow them during a 2h guided visit of one or multiple edifices.

 

Our main visits:

 

 

  • Saint-Etienne Cathedral

Saint-Etienne Cathedral is a beautiful example of 12th century Gothic art.
The construction of the Romanesque edifice started in the early 12th century. Nowadays, only the crypt and the north tower remain from the time. The construction of the south tower began in the13th century. After the 1230 fire, the cathedral was progressively rebuilt from East to West.
The western façade was finished in 1634. The nave, with its spans built in the 13th and 17th century, is a masterpiece of Gothic art. In the Treasure room, you can admire remarkable stained-glass windows from the 12th century.
The cathedral has an organ cabinet of Flamboyant Gothic style. The instrumental part was made by the English instrument maker John Abbey.

 

  • Saint-Jean Church

The oldest church of Châlons-en-Champagne kept its Romanesque nave and its original capitals. The choir and the transept were redesigned between the 13th and the 17th century. The nave and the choir have beautiful stained-glass windows from the 19th century.

 

  • Saint-Alpin Church

Saint-Alpin Church was built at the end of the 12th century. It was then redesigned and expanded in the 16th century. It is the church of Châlons which was marked by Renaissance style the most. Its particularity is that it is adjoined to the surrounding houses, on both the north and east sides. The stained-glass windows of the transept and the aisle form real transparent pictures.

 

Other visits possible:
  • Notre-Dame-en-Vaux carillon
  • The art of stained-glass windows
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Notre-Dame de l’Epine Basilica

Notre-Dame de l’Epine Basilica is classified UNESCO World Heritage. It is located 8km away from Châlons-en-Champagne, in the heart of the agricultural plain of the Champagne Region. It has been a place of pilgrimage dedicated to Mary since the 13th century.

 

It was built from 1405 to 1527, following the plan of a cathedral. It is a masterpiece of Flamboyant Gothic art. The gargoyles are remarkable, especially around the apse. The roodscreen is the only one left in the Marne department.

 

A decorated and openwork stone fence isolates the choir. Various elements can be found inside: reliquary-tabernacle, organ chests on wooden gallery (16th century), entombment (15th century), miraculous statue of the Virgin (14th century).

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Châlons through the Centuries

Châlons-en-Champagne is a two-thousand-years-old city. Its name comes from that of the Gallic people called the Catalaunes. Labelled Town of Art and History, it is full of historical curiosities.

The Tourist Office and its guide speakers invite you to discover the history of Châlons-en-Champagne through the centuries with its themed visits. It is a different way to discover its most beautiful heritage.

 

Different options possible:

 

In the footsteps of the Medieval times

Châlons-en-Champagne was a thriving market as early as the 9th century. The square of the “wheat market” was created outside of the Roman walls to organize fairs where products from the tannery and the drapery were sold. The city was burgeoning in the 12th and 13th centuries. Dive into this time when Châlons-en-Champagne was one of the ten biggest cities in France.

This option includes the visit of the medieval cellars form the 13th and 15th centuries located under the commercial gallery of the Espace Hôtel de Ville: a stark contrast.

 

In the footsteps of Renaissance Châlons

Walking through the 16th-century part of the city, you will be charmed by the half-timbered houses, you will admire the stained-glass windows, you will discover the Flemish and Italian influences and you will learn about locals who made a difference in this century of change.

 

In the footsteps of 17th and 18th-century Châlons

With this option, you will discover the monuments and town houses of the city which house administrations nowadays: the Prieuré of Vinetz and Saint-Marie Convent, restored by their current owner (Marne Department); the Hotel of the Intendants of Champagne, nowadays Prefecture of the Region, the City Hall…

 

In the footsteps of Marie-Antoinette

Marie-Antoinette stayed in Châlons-en-Champagne on three occasions. In 1770, the Porte Sainte-Croix was renamed Porte Dauphine in her honor. Climb to the top of this door to admire an exceptional view of the City. Then, you will see the old Hotel of the Intendants of the Champagne region which is the Prefecture of the Region nowadays. Inside, you will discover the Marie-Antoinette Chapel, place where she prayed on her way back from Varennes in 1791.

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Listen to the story of Châlons-en-Champagne

Our guide speaker will take you to the historical center of Châlons-en-Champagne where you will be able to admire the most remarkable spots, squares, edifices and buildings.

 

You will discover the history of our city, its architectural specificities, its impressive, or sometimes hidden wealth.

 

On the program:
  • Notre-Dame-en-Vaux Collegial Church, classified UNESCO World Heritage
  • Saint-Etienne Cathedral
  • The Petit Jard
  • The old merchant neighborhood (Town Hall Square, Lombards Street, Republic Square) with its half-timbered houses
  • Saint-Alpin Church with its stained-glass windows from the 16th century
  • The medieval cellars
  • And much more…
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Notre-Dame-en-Vaux Cloister Museum

This medieval monument was discovered in 1963. Important excavations made it possible to bring to light the three fourths of the elements of the cloister. The cloister was built in the 1170s-1180s and was destroyed in the 18th century.

 

The old edifice was of an exceptional iconographical wealth and of a great decorative sumptuousness. It made it a major monument in the history of sculpture at a time of transition from the Romanesque to the Gothic style.

 

Since it was impossible to rebuild the museum at its original location, a museum was created nearby in 1976 after the campaigns of archaeological excavations which started in 1963 with Léon Pressouyre. The Cloister Museum presents a remarkable collection of 55 statues-columns, decorative and historiated capitals, cornices and pillars which adorned this unique collection.

 

Make a detour by the beautiful garden which separates the cloister museum from Notre-Dame-en-Vaux Church.

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Museum of Fine Arts and Archeology

The museum of fine arts and archeology of Châlons-en-Champagne was created in 1794 under the name of Departmental Museum to house the movable goods of emigrants and from religious houses. It is one of the most ancient museums in France.

 

Its permanent rooms were built between 1879 and 1906 along Godart Square. Inside, you will find :

  • A collection of paintings from the 15th to the 20th century presenting a panorama of the European schools (Flemish, Italian, French)
  • Furniture from the 15th century to Art Nouveau
  • Works of art (tapestries, enamels, ivories…)
  • An ornithological cabinet composed of around 2 000 birds from all around the world, it is one of the most important cabinets in France.

 

The surface is divided into two different areas. One part, of 800m2, is dedicated to the permanent collections. The other one, of 300m2 is dedicated to the temporary exhibitions. Our guide speakers will make you discover the hidden secrets of this cultural landmark.