Reims > Épernay
07/26/2022 - Stage 3 - 134 km - Hilly
On the road
Departments : Ardennes, Aube, Marne, Haute-Marne, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle, Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, Vosges
Population: 5.55 million
Area: 57,441 km2
Specialities: champagne, sauerkraut, Alsace wines, Nancy blood sausage, Rethel white sausage, flammekueche, kouglof, Ardennes ham, baba au rhum, mirabelle plum, quiche lorraine, madeleine of Commercy
Sports clubs: RC Strasbourg, Stade de Reims, FC Metz, AS Nancy-Lorraine, ESTAC Troyes, FC Mulhouse (football), SIG Strasbourg, SLUC Nancy Basket (basketball), Etoile Noire de Strasbourg, Scorpions de Mulhouse (ice hockey),
Competitions: Moselle Open, Strasbourg International Tennis Championships (tennis), Reims International Jumping, Boucles de la Marne, Stanislas Meeting, Colmar Marathon, Paris-Colmar (athletics)
Economy: automotive (PSA Mulhouse and Trémery, Renault in Batilly, Bugatti, Smart), steel (Arcelor Mittal in Florange), luxury goods (Lalique), aerospace (Clemessy in Mulhouse), railways, banks (Crédit Mutuel), agriculture, beer, winegrowing (Champagne, Alsatian wines) Tourism.
Festivals: Christmas markets in Strasbourg and Colmar, Saint-Nicolas festival in Nancy, Livre sur la place (books on the square bookfair) in Nancy, Colmar book fair, Saint-Louis book forum, RenaissanceS festival in Bar-le-Duc, medieval festival in Sedan, International geography festival in Saint-Dié-les-Vosges, Gérardmer Fantastic Film Festival.
Tourist sites: Stanislas Square in Nancy, Grande île in Strasbourg, Reims Cathedral, Basilica of Saint-Rémi and Archbishop's Palace of Tau in Reims, Basilica of ND de l'Epine, Citadels of Longwy and Neuf-Brisach, Champagne hillsides, Claude and Duval factory in Saint-Dié-les-Vosges, Unterlinden Museum in Colmar, Pompidou Centre in Metz, Ecole de Nancy, Christmas markets.
Prefecture : Châlons-en-Champagne
Sub-prefectures : Reims, Épernay, Vitry-le-François
Surface area: 8,169 km².
Specialities: champagne, Ardennes ham, Reims ham, Bouzy red (wine), vinegar, mustard, croquignoles, nonnettes, roses de Reims (cakes), potée champenoise, lentillons, pied de cochon.
Major sports clubs: Stade de Reims, Champagne Châlons Reims Basket, Entente Familiale Stade de Reims athletics (Yohann Diniz, Mahiedine Mekhissi), Reims Basket Féminin, Reims Champagne Handball, Rugby Epernay Champagne,
Major competitions: 2019 Women's Football World Cup, Meeting National des Sacres (athletics), Jumping International in Reims, Boucles de la Marne, Run-in in Reims, Foulées des Sacres, Epernay car rally, Epernay Criterium
Festivals: Itinéraires, Habits de Lumière in Epernay, Flâneries musicales in Reims, Champagne en fête, Ici et Ailleurs Music Festival in Châlons-en-Champagne. Musiques en Champagne in Aÿ. Pig’s feet festival in Sainte-Ménéhould, Moissons Rock in Juvigny.
Sights: Reims and its cathedral, Avenue de Champagne in Epernay, Basilique de l'Épine, Châlons cathedral, Notre-Dame-en-Vaux cloister, Valmy mill, monument to the First Battle of the Marne.
Economy: champagne, "Industries and Agro-Resources" competitiveness cluster, Paris-Vatry airport. research and pharmaceutical industry, plastic packaging, floor coverings and materials, automotive equipment, high-end corrective lenses.
Websites and social networks :
CHIGNY-LES-ROSES (Pop: 540)
François Warnier (1913-2005), an ace of the First World War, credited with eight victories against the enemy aboard his Curtiss H-75, lies in the village cemetery.
MAILLY-CHAMPAGNE (Pop: 640)
Mailly-Champagne is known for its champagne and its educational quarry.
VERZENAY (Pop: 1,050)
The commune of Verzenay is distinguished by its lighthouse and its mill, both of which were used as observation posts during the two world wars and are now used for promotional purposes. The Verzenay mill, built in 1818, has been owned by the Mumm champagne company since 1972 and is used for promotional events.
History: the Verzenay lighthouse was built at the beginning of the 20th century for advertising purposes in the commune of Verzenay in the Marne region. The site offers an exceptional panorama of the Champagne vineyards. It has been revived as part of an eco-museum of the vine.
Special features: like the Verzenay mill, the lighthouse was used as an observation post during the Second World War. In the aftermath of the war, only the reinforced concrete lighthouse tower survived the fire. The surrounding buildings were all destroyed.
Current use: vineyard museum.
VERZY (Pop: 960)
With more than 1,000 specimens, the Forêt domaniale de Verzy is the world's main reserve of beech trees known as "tortillards". The most characteristic of them have been given a name inspired by their singular shape: the Umbrella beech, the Bride's beech, the Ox's Head beech, the Damsel's beech (legend has it that Joan of Arc came to take a nap in this forest.
The Forêt de Verzy site has been listed at national level since 1932.
Reims Mountain Regional Nature Park
Dating back to 1976, it is the second nature park created in the Champagne-Ardenne region, after that of the Orient Forest. With an area of 530 km2, the park is organised around the Reims mountain, a wooded plateau, surrounded on its northern, southern and eastern sides by the slopes of the champagne vineyards. This vineyard produces the famous champagne which is an integral part of the local landscape, culture and economy.
The park's fauna is rich with 59 species of insects, 36 species of mammals, 22 species of fish and malacostraca, as well as several species of amphibians, birds and reptiles, some of which are protected. There are also more than 150 species of plants in the park, including the famous "Verzy beech trees", where the largest concentration of twisted beech trees in Europe can be found.
The Maison du Parc is located in Pourcy.
BOUZY (Pop: 870)
Bouzy is the birthplace of the novelist Yves Gibeau, known for his novel Allons z'enfants ! (1952) and Grand Prix for Sports Literature in 1957 for La Ligne droite (The Straight Line).
St Basle's church, which contains listed furniture, was built in the mid-19th century thanks to the generosity of a parishioner who won the lottery.
AVENAY-VAL D'OR (Pop: 1,000)
Avenay developed around its abbey, Saint-Pierre d'Avenay, founded by Saint Berthe in 660 and which, because of its age, enjoyed many privileges. Destroyed by fire and by the Revolution, no trace of the abbey remains, but some of its furnishings, including the organ, are in the church of Saint-Trésain.
Construction: 13th century
Listing: listed as a historical monument in 1845.
History: according to legend, in 1103 Count Hugues of Champagne signed a charter for the construction of a new church in Saint-Trésain, having been cured of an illness thanks to the miracles of Saint Berthe, Saint Gombert and Saint Trésain d'Avenay. The construction of the present church, however, seems to have started in the first part of the 13th century. In the 16th century, the nave was largely rebuilt, including all the capitals. At the same time, new openings were made in the choir. The present bell tower was then built, while the façade was rebuilt with a flamboyant Gothic portal. The statues that adorn it date from the 19th century.
A special feature is its organ, which comes from the former Avenay Abbey, and several paintings.
AY-CHAMPAGNE (Pop: 5,740)
Aÿ-Champagne was born in 2016 from the merger of the communes of Aÿ, Bisseuil and Mareuil-sur-Ay. After Reims and Épernay, Aÿ is one of the main centres of the Champagne wine industry. There are 25 winegrowers/manipulators and a handful of major champagne houses, including Ayala, Bollinger, Deutz and Gosset, the oldest wine house in the Champagne region. About 40 pc of the commune's territory is planted with vines. Its Gothic church of Saint-Brice (15th and 16th centuries) has been listed since 1942 and contains a baroque organ dating from 1749. Aÿ is the birthplace of the famous French glassmaker and jeweller René Lalique.
CONDÉ-SUR-MARNE (Pop :770 inhabitants)
The village is located at the junction between the Canal Latéral à la Marne and the Canal de l'Aisne à la Marne. A pretty little port has been created where barges and pleasure boats come to dock.
In the immediate vicinity of the village was the Vraux airfield, which was used during the Second World War by the French, British, German and later American forces. A museum traces its history.
St. Remi's Church
Construction: 12th century
Listing: listed as a historical monument in 1918.
History: the French revolution deprived the church of some of its values, and then, above all, the German bombing on the night of 2 to 3 May 1917, which destroyed the roof and the entire north wall of the church and ended up wiping out all the furniture.
Features: The special feature of this church is its bell tower, which dates from the construction of the church and is rare in Europe. It consists of a stack of increasingly narrower storeys. Only the top is not from the period.
JÂLONS (Pop: 550)
St. Ephrem Church
Construction: 11th to 15th century.
Listing: listed as a historical monument in 1912.
History: the first mention of this church dates back to the end of the 11th century as a possession of the Chapter of Châlons. The church was partially destroyed during the Hundred Years War. It was restored in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Special features: it houses two stone statues from the 14th and 15th centuries which are also listed as historical monuments: a statue of Saint Catherine and a Virgin and Child.
VERTUS (Pop: 2,370)
On January 1, 2018, Vertus formed a new commune with Gionges, Oger and Voipreux by merger: Blancs-Coteaux. The town is renowned for its white champagnes (listed as premier cru). Vertus is the first Champagne commune in the Marne with 500 hectares planted, and the second in the whole Champagne region after Les Riceys.
This small medieval town full of charm still has many remains, including part of its ramparts and a gateway, the Baudet Gate, as well as fountains. The town hall is a former 17th century sickhouse.
Saint Martin's Church
Construction: 11th to 15th century.
Listing: listed as a historical monument in 1854.
History: originally the church of an abbey of canons regular, it has parts dating back to the 11th century. It has the particularity of having been built on a spring which gushed out in one of its three crypts. It must have succeeded a Celtic place of worship in Virotus. It has a flat chevet overlooking the pond adjacent to the church. This chevet dates from 1852, when the Romanesque windows were installed to unify the style of the church. The church suffered greatly during the Great War and the nave was unusable for a long time.
Special features: it has a large number of items of furniture listed as Historic Monuments: two bells from 1596, a statuary including a Catherine (of uncertain attribution) and a Saint John the Baptist, a Pieta in front of the war memorial, two Christs, one with ties from the 15th and another from the 16th century, a Virgin and Child.
LE MESNIL-SUR-OGER (Pop: 1,500)
Many champagne producers in Mesnil-sur-Oger, the commune being part of the appellation d'origine contrôlée zone, listed as Grands Crus.
National Nature Reserve of the Pâtis d'Oger and Mesnil-sur-Oger
Listed in 2006, it extends over 131 ha and protects a group of moors or "pâtis".
OGER (Pop: 560)
Léon Bourgeois (1851-1925), winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1920, died at Château d'Oger, where he lived. Born into a modest and republican family, he held several ministerial posts and became President of the Council in 1895. He is one of the few politicians to have presided over both houses of the French Parliament.
In 1920, he became President of the first Council of the League of Nations, as well as a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
CUIS (Pop: 370)
St. Nicholas Church
Construction: 15th to 18th century.
Listing: listed as a historical monument in 1902.
History: Church of the archdiocese of Reims, it was under the patronage of the abbot of Hautvillers. It is in two very contrasting parts, the nave and transept are Romanesque, the Gothic apse was built from the 15th to the 18th century.
CHOUILLY (Pop: 1,020)
Located on the territory of the commune but outside the village, stands Château de Saran, formerly a hunting lodge, now owned by Moët & Chandon. A Neolithic burial site was discovered in the park, as well as Gallo-Roman remains.
Mont Bernon, located near Épernay, offers a magnificent circular panorama of its wine-growing territory. From the viewpoints, visitors can admire the historic hillsides, the Côte des Blancs, the town centre of Épernay and the Châlonnais plain.
The site, which has the appearance of a flattened dome, has become the emblematic station for the study of the Sparnacian geological formations.
In 1934, the summit of Mount Bernon was listed as a natural monument.
In 1963, this listing was extended to the whole of the Mount in order to protect the whole site, which has a certain plant and animal diversity. Some fifty plant species and thirty or so ornithological species were listed in an initial inventory.