The cuisine in the Champagne-Ardenne region is characterised by a knowing blend of prestigious products and local produce. From the chalky soil plains of Champagne to the game-filled forests of Ardennes, the region's richness and variety have a major influence on its cuisine. It combines traditional dishes and those of peasant origin with the expertise of its chefs, making for some incredibly refined options.
Of course, Champagne also immediately brings to mind the 'Drink of Kings': champagne. From the starter to the dessert, the table is always packed with tasty regional specialities. To name but a few, there's Boudin Blanc de Rethel (white sausage traditionally from the commune of Rethel), Pieds de Cochon à la Sainte-Ménehould (pig's trotters served in the Sainte-Menehould style), Jambon d'Ardennes (Ardennes Ham), Salade au Lard (a dish made with potatoes, lard and salad), Maroilles cheese, Chaource cheese, and Roses de Reims Biscuits (pink biscuits from Reims traditionally dipped in champagne or red wine).
Thanks to its wide variety of natural environments, the Champagne-Ardenne region is also particularly rich in fauna and flora. The fact that the wild boar is the symbol of Ardennes says it all. Given that much of the region is covered in forestland, it's not uncommon to come across roe deer or red deer. You're also likely to hear the bellowing of deer, especially in the mountains around Ardennes. Wildlife parks, like the Parc de la Bannie and the Parc à Gibier in the Forêt d'Orient, are another great opportunity to observe the region's fauna. Whether it be in the forests, swampland or dry grasslands, the region's flora is just as abundant. With orchids blooming at the heart of dry grasslands and carnivorous plants hiding in peat bogs, the region certainly has a lot to offer those interested in plant life.
The region's history is characterised by both prestigious periods and wartime divides, meaning it still bears traces of things man has created and things he has destroyed. The region's towns and cities have plenty of things to see and do to enable children and young people to learn about the its past. Some of the options include the city of Reims, which played an important role in the crowning of the kings of France; Langres and its Museum of Art and History; the various First World War memorial sites; Bazailles and the Musée de la Dernière Cartouche (museum devoted to the Battle of Sedan); Troyes and the Maison de l'Outil et de la Pensée Ouvrière (museum exhibiting workers' tools and other related artefacts); and the fortified castle in Sedan.
Given its varied natural environments, sports in Champagne-Ardenne are of course best enjoyed outdoors. There really is something for everyone. Fans of golfing should head for the Troyes la Cordelières golf course in Haute-Marne, while hiking is a fantastic way to discover the different areas of the Department one by one. Rock climbers should head to the region's three main climbing sites: the Falaise de Cohons, the Falaise de Côna and the Roche Bernard. What's more, the Caumont-Choignes outdoor activity centre has plenty to satisfy fans of canoeing, mountain biking and horse riding.
With a city like Reims, whose history is forever inscribed in the grand history of France, the Champagne-Ardenne region is a magnificent setting for all of the monuments here that have survived the test of time from the Middle Ages to the current day.