Situated in the Champagne-Ardenne region, the Marne area, 140 km from Paris, is considered as the birth place of champagne, the king of wines and the wine of kings.
Many kings of France during their coronation in Reims would taste the local wine.
Champagne was called at this time ‘le vin du diable’ (devils’ wine) or ‘vin saute-bouchon’ (exploding wine) as the slight fizz to the wine was not understood at the time, nor was the fact that the bottles had a tendency to explode in the cellars.
Today, champagne is one of the most important industries of Marne. Champagne sales (about 320 millions of bottles produced in 2010 – the highest sales for French wine) contribute to the prosperity of Champagne area and constitute an important part of the French trade balance.
For tourism, the mystery of champagne can be discovered on a visit to a local champagne producer, a champagne cooperative or one of the prestigious champagne houses that have made champagne famous and glamorous the world over.
Biggest Champagne Glass
Some curiosities can be noticed such as the biggest champagne glass situated in Pierry near Epernay, the capital of Champagne, part of the collection of Champagne Vincent d’Astrées. Registered in the Guinness Book of Records, the glass is 2.13 m high and weighs 18 kg (empty!). It could contain 160 bottles of champagne. To complete it, the world’s biggest champagne cork can be seen in Champagne Beaumont in Mardeuil. The company also possess the world’s biggest champagne bottle (1.76 m high with a circumference of 1.66 m). It is made of real glass and is also registered in the Guinness Book of Records.
The Richest Avenue
In Epernay, the ‘Avenue de Champagne’, recently restored and lined with prestigious champagne houses above ground and 100 km of cellars below, is known as the local ‘Champs Elysées’. Owing to the 200 million bottles it contains, this avenue is being considered by UNESCO for a possible future classification. It is also known as “the richest avenue in the world”.
The Longest Village
Champagne is not Marne’s only attraction - many other curiosities can be found in this area. For example the longest village of France (7 km long!) is Courtisols near Châlons-en-Champagne and the longest village name is also from the Marne and attributed to Saint-Remy-en-Bouzemont-Saint-Genest-en-Isson (38 letters)
‘La Champagne, la Marne’ invites visitors to discover the diversity of the area’s attractions, and also these superlatives!