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Departments: Ardennes, Aube, Marne, Haute-Marne, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle, Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, Vosges

Population: 5.55 million

Prefecture: Strasbourg

Surface area: 57,441 km2

Specialities: champagne, sauerkraut, Alsace wines, Nancy black pudding, Rethel white pudding, flammekueche, kouglof, Ardennes cured ham, rum baba, mirabelle plum, quiche lorraine, Commercy madeleine.

Sports clubs: RC Strasbourg, Stade de Reims, FC Metz, AS Nancy-Lorraine, ESTAC Troyes, FC Mulhouse (football), SIG Strasbourg, SLUC Nancy Basket (basketball), Etoile Noire de Strasbourg, Scorpions de Mulhouse (ice hockey),

Competitions: Moselle Open, Strasbourg International Tennis Championships (tennis), Reims international jumping, Boucles de la Marne, Stanislas meeting, Colmar marathon

Economy: automotive (PSA Mulhouse and Trémery, Renault in Batilly, Bugatti, Smart), steel (Arcelor Mittal in Florange), luxury goods (Lalique), aerospace (Clemessy in Mulhouse), rail, banking (Crédit Mutuel), agriculture, beer, wine (Champagne, Alsace wines). Tourism.

Festivals: Christmas markets in Strasbourg and Colmar, Fêtes de Saint-Nicolas in Nancy, Livre sur la place in Nancy, Colmar Book Fair, Saint-Louis Book Fair, Renaissances Festival in Bar-le-Duc, Medieval Festival in Sedan, International Geography Festival in Saint-Dié-les-Vosges, Fantastic Film Festival in Gerardmer.

Tourist attractions: Place Stanislas in Nancy, Strasbourg's Grande Ile, Reims cathedral, Saint-Rémi basilica and the Tau archiepiscopal palace in Reims, ND de l'Epine basilica, the citadels of Longwy and Neuf-Brisach, Champagne hillsides, Claude and Duval factory in Saint-Dié-les-Vosges, Unterlinden museum in Colmar, Metz Pompidou centre, Ecole de Nancy, Christmas markets.

Website: www.grandest.fr

AUBE (10)

Population: 309,000

Prefecture: Troyes

Sub-prefectures: Bar-sur-Aube and Nogent-sur-Seine

Surface area: 6,000 km²

Specialities: Champagne, Rosé des Riceys, Andouillette de Troyes, Chaource cheese, Prunelle de Troyes, Cidre du Pays d'Othe, Sauerkraut, Cacibel...

Sport: ESTAC (football). Events: Lakes Triathlon, Paris-Troyes (cycling), sailing competitions on Lake Orient.

Culture: Camille Claudel museum in Nogent-sur-Seine; Renoir family home in Essoyes; Museum of Modern Art of Troyes; Nuits de Champagne festival in Troyes (October), Festival en Othe in Aix-en-Othe (July)

Wine tourism: Route du Champagne en Fête, Saint-Vincent, Tumulte dans les Bulles, Marche des réconciliations, Vendangeur d'un Jour, Champagne Day...

Main tourist attractions: Orient Forest Regional Nature Park; Champagne vineyards; Troyes, historic capital of Champagne and European capital of brand centres; Essoyes, the Renoir village; Clairvaux Cistercian Abbey; Nigloland theme park (Dolancourt).

Economy: 2 Romilly-sur-Seine companies historically linked to cycling, Le Coq Sportif and Cycleurope. Agribusiness (world agricultural resources competitiveness cluster), textiles (Petit Bateau, Devanlay-Lacoste), metallurgy, packaging, logistics and transport (A5 and A26 motorways; river port of Nogent-sur-Seine), Aube Technopolis at Troyes/Rosières (Troyes University of Technology, EPF and ESTP engineering schools, LDR Medical, etc.).

Km 3.9


The Battle of Laubressel took place on 3 March 1814 and saw the main coalition army under Marshal Charles Philippe de Schwarzenberg mount a converging triple attack on the weaker French army under Marshal Étienne Macdonald. The French forces led by Marshal Nicolas Charles Oudinot bore the brunt of the fighting, during which the allies tried to turn their left flank. The French abandoned Troyes and retreated westwards following this confrontation.

Km 8.1


The Dosches windmill is a recent reconstruction of a typical 18th-century windmill in Champagne. It was built between October 2004 and October 2006, under the aegis of the Association des Moulins à vent champenois (Champagne Windmills Association), based on the plans of the windmills of yesteryear. It is accompanied by an authentic 15th-century tithe barn, which was dismantled and rebuilt on site.

Km 14.6


The municipality is home to Lake Orient, the third largest man-made lake in mainland France after Lake Der-Chantecoq and Lake Serre-Ponçon. It is one of the four great lakes of the Seine, designed to protect Paris from flooding. With a surface area of 23 km2, it was commissioned in 1966.  

Orient Forest Regional Nature Park 

Where the Paris Basin meets the southern Champagne region, water, land and forest come together to create a unique territory. The Orient Forest Regional Nature Park is a living space open to all, where preservation of the environment goes hand in hand with development of the region. This legendary area is home to huge reservoirs nestling deep in the forests.

Km 29.3


Long known for the tractors that were made here, Vendeuvre also boasts a vast and beautiful château and its parkland, listed properties owned by the town and the department, which are struggling to find a new vocation. The château, listed in 1981, is not open to visitors, but the park is open to the public.

Km 44.9


Overlooking the village, Château de Bligny is an eighteenth-century building built by Marquis de Dampierre on the ruins of a former feudal castle. Home to two champagne houses, the château was briefly owned by Jean-Marie Le Pen, who inherited it from far-right millionaire Hubert Lambert when he died of cirrhosis in 1976. It now belongs to the Rappeneau family, who have restored and refurbished it.

Km 57.9

BAR-SUR-AUBE (POP : 5,000)

Bar-sur-Aube enjoyed a period of prosperity during the Middle Ages, when the town was renowned for its trade in silk, spices and textiles between Flanders and Italy. Silks, spices and textiles were traded between Flanders and Italy... Today, the old town, ringed by boulevards where the ramparts once stood, retains its picturesque little streets, its old hotels and its two churches, Saint-Pierre and Saint-Maclou. A young professional who contested two Tours de France and a world championship in 1974 and 1975, local rider Jean-Claude Misac was killed in training in Bar-sur-Aube at the age of 26.  In this Olympic year, René Bondoux, a native of Bar-sur-Aube, won gold in the team foil event in Los Angeles in 1932, and Marinette Pichon, the first star of French women's football.  

Saint-Pierre Church

Construction: 12th, 16th and 19th centuries.

Style: Gothic.

History: it was united with the chapter of Saint-Maclou of Bar-sur-Aube in 1378. The bell tower was struck by lightning on 24 May 1706 and badly damaged, with all seven bells destroyed.

Characteristics: it is mainly 12th-century, with 16th-century chapels and 19th-century vaults in the apse and choir. It is famous for its "halloy". This wooden portico, which extends across the south and west of the building, was used for fairs and also as a burial ground, as attested by the parish registers. Its marble high altar comes from Clairvaux Abbey.

Listed as: historical monument since 1840.

Km 65.9


Baroville is one of 320 communes that can lay claim to the "Champagne" appellation. At 217 hectares, Baroville has the largest vineyard in the Bar-sur-Aube area, with more than fifty winegrowers. The vines are planted in a series of six valleys and include the traditional Champagne grape varieties (90 pc pinot noir, 2 pc pinot meunier and 8 pc chardonnay).

Km 89.6


The village cemetery is the final resting place of painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, his wife Aline Charigot, and their sons, film-maker Jean Renoir, actor Pierre Renoir and ceramist Claude Renoir. Renoir, whose wife Aline Charigot was born in the village, owned a house and the Renoir studio there. Many of his works depict the village from which his wife Aline and his governess and model Gabrielle Renard hailed, who looked after little Jean, the future director of La Grande Illusion and La Bête humaine. The former Château d'Essoyes, acquired and converted in the 19th century by the Hériot brothers, owners of the Grands Magasins du Louvre, is now a school and library. It was here that Virginie Hériot, France's first Olympic sailing champion in 1928, spent part of her childhood. Nicknamed "Madame de la mer" (Madam of the sea), she died prematurely from an injury at the age of 42. 

Km 102.2


An imposing statue of Notre-Dame des vignes towers 23 metres above the village. It depicts the Virgin Mary holding a bunch of grapes in her right hand and imploring heaven to protect the vines in this Champagne-producing region. It was commissioned in 1864 by the winegrowers' union. At the four corners of the base, four medallions surrounded by bunches of grapes and vine leaves recall the date of creation and the origin of the donors. From the site, there is a magnificent view over the entire Seine valley. An orientation table and a landscaped area allow visitors to take full advantage of the site.

Km 157.7


Church of Notre-Dame de l'Assomption

Construction: 12th and 16th centuries.

Style: Romanesque and flamboyant Gothic.

History: the church was built in three main stages. The oldest part of the current church is the nave, which dates from the 12th century (Romanesque). The choir and transept were rebuilt in the mid-16th century (flamboyant Gothic). Although built more recently, this part remains the weakest point of the building and has been the subject of numerous restorations. In 1870, the bell tower (initially on one side) was replaced in the extension of the central nave, in front of the large portal.

Listed as: historical monument since 1840.  

Former Saint-Pierre Abbey

Founded in 837. Rebuilt in 1669 and 1715.

Style: mainly Romanesque.

History: it was one of the oldest and largest religious establishments in the diocese of Troyes in the Middle Ages and had a profound impact on its surrounding area. Benedictine until 1655, the establishment was then reformed and affiliated to the Benedictines of the Saint-Vanne congregation until its closure in 1790. Partly destroyed during the Revolution, the remaining buildings became private property.

Listed as: historical monument since 2001.

Km 170.9

CLÉREY (POP: 1,100)

Clérey, which is worth a visit for its listed Saint-Pierre-aux-Liens church, is the village of former pro rider Hubert Linard, who took part in six Tours de France and won Paris-Camembert and Bordeaux-Paris in 1984.

Km 173.4

VERRIÈRES (POP : 1,860) 

Saint-Pierre de Verrières church

Construction: 19th century.

History: the church of Saint-Pierre and Saint Paul in Verrières has two bells tuned to "A". One was cast in 1803 and weighs 450 kg, and the other was cast in 1815 and weighs 350 kg. The tower was built in 1863 with the "powerful support of His Majesty Napoleon III", who donated 4,000 francs at the time. The chapel's sanctuary is lit by five ogival windows, four of which feature stained-glass scenes from the life of Jesus.

Listed as: Historical Monument since 1937.

Km 173.4


Saint-Aventin Castle

The current château, listed as a Historical Monument in 1995, replaced an older neo-classical château in 1840. In the grounds, a lawned driveway is surrounded by two hedges of century-old trees.  

Chapel of Saint-Aventin

Construction: 12th to 16th centuries.

Style: Romanesque.

History: the chapel is located on the outskirts of the commune of Verrières, in the hamlet of the same name. It is dedicated to a hermit who lived there in the 6th century. First mentioned in 1152 in the cartulary of the chapter of Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul cathedral in Troyes, the chapel was remodelled in the 16th century. One of the 16th-century stained-glass windows is dated 1557. The bell tower was damaged by lightning on 5 August 1720, and the chapel was altered again in the 19th century.

Listed as: Historical Monument since 1926.

Km 192.8


Saint-Parres is located two kilometres from Troyes, on the top of the hill known as Mont-des-Idoles, where Saint Parres, a noble citizen of Troyes, suffered martyrdom in the year 275. It was in the place where he was buried that the archpriest Eusebius, when the persecution had ceased, had a chapel built, which later became a parish, under the patronage of Saint Patroclus. The present church was built in the early years of the 16th century and has been a listed building since 1942.


Im Herzen der Champagne verzaubert Troyes mit einer Mischung aus mittelalterlichem Ambiente und pulsierender Energie. Bummeln Sie durch die engen, gepflasterten Gassen, in denen sich die Giebel der Fachwerkhäuser fast zu berühren scheinen und eine einzigartige architektonische Kulisse erschaffen.

In Troyes kann man das besondere Flair der historischen Hauptstadt der Champagne-Ardennen auf quirligen Märkten erleben, wo lokale Kunsthandwerker ihre Arbeiten anbieten und der Duft frischer Backwaren in der Luft liegt. Die beeindruckende Kathedrale der Stadt ist ein Meisterwerk der Gotik, das die belebten Plätze überragt und Troyes einen zeitlosen Charme verleiht.

Wenn es Abend wird, erwacht Troyes im Schein der Straßenlaternen zum Leben und das Lachen der Einheimischen ertönt aus gemütlichen Bistros. Genießen Sie die hiesige Küche, in der die Aromen der Champagne die reiche Geschichte ergänzen, die überall zu spüren ist. Lassen Sie sich von einer der am besten erhaltenen mittelalterlichen Städte Frankreichs verzaubern.


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