If YOU GO
WHERE TO EAT: Cafe du Palais, Reims. An absolute must, this Art Deco gastronomic palace has a bold menu to match ( try the Reims ham with boiled potatoes). Linger and savour the food and champagne. Chateau Les Crayeres, Reims. The place to splurge, Le Parc is the finedining restaurant in this century-old mansion, now a Relais & Chateaux hotel. LEARN MORE: Tourismechampagne-ardenne. com. Franceguide. com. us.
The town of Epernay has been called the capital of champagne, and the palatial Avenue de Champagne is lined with elegant mansions belonging to some of the region’s most important houses, including Moet & Chandon, Perrier Jouett and De Castellane.
A good introduction is to hop aboard the little train that leaves from the tourism office for a cruise past the mansions before returning to the office for – what else? – a tasting of the region’s best bubbly.
The town of Troyes, south of Reims, is not, strictly speaking, part of the Champagne Triangle, but that didn’t stop town planners from laying out the city centre in the shape of a champagne cork, with boundaries composed of treelined boulevards and the River Seine.
There already was a town here when Julius Caesar and his Roman legions came conquering, and the visible layers of history make Troyes a joy for the walker.
In fact your best memories of Troyes are likely to be of strolling its picturesque streets.
Champagne – the region and the drink – are worthy of reverence.
The region is one of France’s loveliest. As for the drink, I’ll let Dom Perignon have the last word.
He might not have invented champagne, but he gave us the best description of drinking it when he said, ‘‘ I am tasting the stars.’’