The Art of Surprise
Capital of the Marne department and the Champagne-Ardenne region in northeast France, Châlons-en-Champagne is a veritable City of Art and History. Criss-crossed by rivers and canals, it's no wonder it has earned the nickname "Little Venice." Simply follow the current to discover its architectural and natural wonders.
Châlons has preserved the essence of its past, as can be seen in both its rich civil and religious heritage: half-timbered houses, beautiful civic buildings, abbeys and convents, churches and an internationally renowned cathedral.
City of water but also of green spaces, the Les Jards Park has been a stamping ground for locals since the medieval days.
Châlons is also home to the only modern circus arts school in France, the National Centre for Circus Arts (CNAC).
Do not miss
Heritage and Museums
- The Saint-Etienne Cathedral is witness to five centuries of architectural evolution, from Romanesque to Baroque. There are some beautiful stained-glass windows here ;
- The Notre-Dame-en-Vaux Church has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998, as part of the route to Santiago de Compostela. It is a jewel of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, with a 56-bell carillon, one of the biggest in Europe ;
- The Museum of Fine Arts and Archaeology, with some 130,000 objects, is one of France's oldest museums ;
- For lovers of bubbly, the cellars of the prestigious Joseph Perrier Champagne House are a must-see ;
- The Notre-Dame de l’Epine Basilica, located in l’Epine, a small village near Châlons, is a UNESCO-listed pilgrimage site. It is a flamboyant masterpiece of Gothic art with remarkable gargoyles.
- Barge excursions on the Mau and Nau Rivers circle the old town and glide under the heart of the city in silent tunnels. The 40-minute boat ride is commented and managed by the Tourist Office. Hop on the night tour for an added touch of sensational mystery!
- Take a ride on the little tourist train, and explore the city by bike, segway, or even by canoe down the Marne River.
- Furies Festival, shining the spotlight on circus and street arts (June)
- F'Estival des Musiques d'Ici et d'Ailleurs, original artistic programming open to all musical genres (July and August)
- Foire-Exposition, or trade fair (first week of September)
- End of year performance of the CNAC students (December)
- Noëls de Champagne, or Christmas in Champagne: holiday festivities for children big and small, with a traditional market, concerts and shows, a celebration of lights... (December)
It's only natural that many restaurants in Châlons offer menus with Champagne-based dishes. And let's not forget that Champagne is a wine that can be savoured from aperitif to dessert!
Local specialties :
- Sweets: marc de Champagne chocolate "corks," and two recently invented local favourites: the refined Grappeline chocolate, and the "craie et brique," gianduja covered in white and orange icing to resemble the chalk and brick so present in local architecture
- Aperitif: the Châlonnais, infused with Champagne Ratafia
Châlons-en-Champagne Tourist Office
3 Quai des Arts
51 000 Châlons-en-Champagne
Tel : +33 (3) 26 65 17 89
Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org