French city Châlons-en-Champagne it is the capital of the Champagne-Ardenne region and is the perfect place for those who want to explore the atmosphere of France, but in a quieter place than the big central cities! It is located almost 200 km from Paris, and the place is a cultural treasure, with origins dating back to prehistoric times and traces of history at every step, preserving a picturesque and romantic air. It is also crossed by the Marne river, which creates splendid landscapes. You will surely fall in love with the pure beauty of Châlons-en-Champagne!
- Useful information
- Tourist attractions - What to visit in Châlons-en-Champagne
- Day 1
- Day 2
- Day 3
- Gastronomy & Restaurants
Transfer – How to get around Châlons-en-Champagne
From the airport you will be able to reach Châlons-en-Champagne by train, but you will have to change in the city of Reims. Total prices start from 50€ and the journey will take between an hour and a half and 3 hours (depending on how long you will wait for the second train) Because the city is quite small (only 26 km²) it will be very easy for you to move We recommend you choose walking whenever you can, to fully enjoy the beauty of the streets. Your next variation should be bicycle, and you can rent one right from the tourist offices in the city, and the prices start from 5€. Of course, you also have public transport at your disposal, which has both routes strictly in the city and to other cities in the surrounding area. A trip costs €1.20, but if you plan several trips you can choose 10 tickets for €9.80 or a 24-hour subscription for €3.10. You can read more on SITE official of the transport company. If you prefer a taxi, you should know that the rate for one km traveled is 0.95€, and if you want to rent a car to be able to walk through several cities, you will pay from 60€ per day.
Accommodation - Where to stay in Châlons-en-Champagne
As already mentioned, Châlons-en-Champagne is not a big city, so there are not many accommodation options. However, you will find some very modern hotels with excellent services, but also a large number of private, apartment-type accommodations. The prices are very affordable, starting from 40€ per night for 2 people. Here are some recommendations of places that will not disappoint you:
- B&B Hotel Châlons-en-Champagne is a variant loved by tourists, where a room for 2 people starts from €66 per night. It is located on the outskirts of the city, but since we are talking about a small area this will not cause you any difficulties.
- Hotel & Spa Le Renard Centre it offers a wonderful experience, and you will really feel like you are on vacation here. The 4-star hotel is located in the city center and awaits tourists with gorgeous, elegant rooms, but also a long list of amenities, such as a spa and wellness center, room service, in-room coffee machines and a bar. One night starts from 105€ for a room for 2 people.
- Apartment if you are up to 4 people and prefer an apartment that gives you more freedom, we have found an offer not to be missed. This simplistic apartment offers tourists 2 bedrooms for only €70 per night, and the home is excellently located.
Tourist attractions - What to visit in Châlons-en-Champagne
If you want to make the most of your time here, it's best to leave with a well-established plan of what you want to see. For this reason, I have prepared a suggested itinerary for 3 days spent here, which you can follow. In addition, the city has a website of tourism very well set up, where you can see the programs of the places you want to visit, buy tickets and find out more information.
Center Ville Historique de Châlons
On the first day, we have prepared a route through which you will be able to explore the central area of the city, full of remarkable historical monuments, located right next to each other. The historic city center is full of small boutiques and shops, all housed in picturesque buildings: shopaholics will be delighted!
Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Châlons-en-Champagne
It begins with the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Châlons-en-Champagne, a Roman Catholic church dating from around the 1100s, when it was the heart of the city. The building is also remarkable from an architectural point of view, combining Romanesque and Baroque styles thanks to the 700 years in which it has been constantly modified and renovated. The stained glass windows and historical paintings are also remarkable. It can be visited daily between 10:00 and 18:00.
The collegiate church and the museum of the Notre-Dame-en-Vaux monastery
Another fascinating church is the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame-en-Vaux, located on the banks of the Marne River, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, also dating back to the 12th century. Here you will find the largest collection of bells in Europe, spectacular stained glass windows, paintings by Claude François, but also the remains of tombstones over 4 centuries old. You can visit it daily between 07:00 and 19:30. Then stop at Notre-Dame-en-Vaux Convent Museum. An important monastery had been built north of the Collegiate Church, which was later destroyed, but numerous sculptures managed to be saved, being today housed in this museum. It is a major monument in the history of sculpture from the transitional period between Romanesque and Gothic art, and the 55 statue-columns are a reflection of the greatness of the art of that period. You can visit it between 10:00 - 12:00 and 14:00 - 18:00 from Wednesday to Monday, and the ticket costs €4.
Continuing the list of places of worship, it is also not to be missed Église Saint-Alpin, church built in Gothic and Renaissance style in the 12th century is an important historical monument, being very well preserved in its original style. Among its attractions are the statues (including 2 covered in gold), the stained glass windows, but also the collection of paintings (including some works signed by Nicolas Perseval).
Hotel de Ville
Hotel de Ville, the building that houses the town hall of Châlons-en-Champagne since 1776, is your next destination! The building has been recognized as a historic monument since 1931 for its stunning architectural and design elements, making it a construction whose details must be admired up close.
Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'Archéologie
Nearby is a fascinating museum: the Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'Archéologie, one of the oldest museums in France, having been created in 1794, after the revolutionary confiscations. Here there is a fabulous collection of paintings from the 15th-20th centuries, several sculptures, including by Auguste Rodin, and a collection of fossils and antiquities over 1000 years old. Entrance costs only €4, and is open from 14:00 to 18:00 on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and on weekends from 10:00 to 12:00 and 14:00 to 18:00.
Circus of Châlons
For the second day in Châlons-en-Champagne, we have prepared a route that includes the special attractions of the city, and the first place you must visit is Circus of Châlons, symbol of cultural life. The building housed the municipal circus from 1899, and later, from 1985, the foundations were laid here Center National des Arts du Cirque, one of the most renowned performing arts study institutions. Students often put on shows here, and it's best to check it out official website to see the schedule. There are stations of routes 01, 01N and 04 nearby.
Le Grand Jard
It is right next to it Le Grand Jard, a splendid 18th-century park with picturesque avenues, romantic bridges, elegant pavilions and lush plants. It is the perfect place for both relaxation and fun! You will find here a skatepark, a playground for children, but also Châlons Plage, a small urban beach open from the beginning of June to the end of August, where you can relax in the sun, play tennis, volleyball or golf, and go canoeing or kayaking.
Joseph Perrier Caverns
And because you're in one of France's most popular wine regions, you can't miss exploring Joseph Perrier Caverns. In 1825 Joseph Perrier founded a thriving champagne business that still amazingly holds up today, 200 years later. The cellars stretch over an amazing area of 3 km, and in some areas their vault is 10 m high. In addition to the tour of the cellars and cellars, you will be able to explore the old winery, the family home, and you will have the opportunity to do a champagne tasting and the wines that brought fame to the entire region! The price of a tour (which includes tasting) starts at €21, but depending on what you want to explore you can end up paying up to €60. There is also a package for children, for only €9, and they will receive grape juice. You can buy the ticket from here. You will be able to get here with buses 01 or 01N.
Then reserve your evening for Capitol Champagne (you can get here by bus 01), one of the largest performance halls in France, where national and international events take place. Even the building is amazing, being built in a modern style. You can see the schedule of shows for the period in which you schedule your vacation here.
Center d'Interprétation Marne 14-18
And because even the surroundings of the city hide amazing treasures, your last day here will be a day of small excursions. The Center d'Interprétation Marne 14-18 is among them, a museum dedicated to the First World War, which does not fit into the classic pattern of exhibitions, but has a very real modern touch. The exhibitions dedicated to the wounded and the dead, but also to the prisoners of war, are worth noting, which exhibit, in addition to disturbing images, also testimonies that show the intensity of a war. Entrance costs €6.50, being open from Tuesday to Sunday between 13:00 and 18:00. From Châlons-en-Champagne you can get here by TER trains.
At the Basilique de Notre-Dame-de-l'Epine
Then return to the city by train or bus 130 and then set off to another worthwhile destination, 8 km from Châlons-en-Champagne (you can take bus 120): Basilica of Notre-Dame de l'Epine. The place of worship has stood the test of time amazingly, dating back to 1200, and is recognized by UNESCO for its superb Gothic architecture and artistic details such as its numerous gargoyles. Its fame was also brought by a miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary discovered in 1400. It is open to the public daily between 10:00 and 16:00.
Arc de Triomphe Porte Sainte-Croix
And what's left of the day you can check off some activities and attractions in the city, such as the Arc de Triomphe Porte Sainte-Croix, an imposing monument built in 1769 on the site of the medieval walls from the 13th century. Don't miss to take a picture next to it, and even climb into it, to enjoy the amazing view of the city.
Canal Cruise & Métamorph'eau'ses
Then end your evening in a romantic atmosphere and choose to do a cruise on the Marna river canal, enjoying the view of the water in the moonlight. Be sure to choose a walk that also passes by the light and sound show Métamorph'eau's, one of the most original and beautiful artistic shows in Europe. The prices of such a walk start from only €14.
Gastronomy & Restaurants
Being in France you probably already expect that Châlons-en-Champagne has only good things to offer when it comes to gastronomy. Venture into tasting as many dishes as possible, and be sure to accompany yourself with a glass of wine or champagne produced in the local vineyards.
Some restaurants and places we recommend are Le Petit Pasteur, Maison Souply (both with very tasty traditional dishes, and prices start from €15), and for a unique experience Le Carillon Gourmand, restaurant with a Michelin star.
Châlons-en-Champagne fits perfectly into the mold of the romantic and elegant yet peaceful French town! A holiday here promises relaxation for any tourist, between fascinating history, splendid landscapes and the taste of artisanal wine and champagne.