Tourism in Châlons-en-Champagne
Châlons-en-Champagne was called Châlons-sur-Marne up until 1997, a reminder of how water is omnipresent throughout this town by the River Marne. The town is indeed built around a labyrinth of canals and rivers, the main ones being the Marne, the side canal to the Marne, the Mau, and the Nau. The Mau and the Nau are perfect for a unique trip aboard an electric motorboat. This gentle ride will allow you to discover the architecture and landscape of this thoroughly charming town. Along the water, you’ll understand why the town has been called “Venise pétillante” (Sparkling Venice).
A former royal and military town, Châlons-sur-Marne will surprise you with the art all around. There’s a remarkable religious heritage, with such places as the Notre-Dame-en-Vaux collegiate church (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the Saint-Etienne Cathedral. There’s also a remarkable civil heritage that has been preserved and restored, which you’ll discover as you stroll the streets of the town centre. Also don’t forget the monuments and private townhouses including the Hotel des Intendants de Champagne (the former headquarters of the intendants, now the regional prefecture), the Hotel de Ville, and the Porte Sainte-Croix.
Things to see include:
- the museums (Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'Archéologie, Musée du Cloître, Musée Garinet);
- the churches: Notre-Dame-en-Vaux, Saint-Alpin, Saint-Jean, and the Saint-Etienne Cathedral, as well as the Notre-Dame de l’Épine Basilica (8 km away), a UNESCO World Heritage Site;
- as well as the Porte Sainte-Croix, and the medieval cellars where you can enjoy a champagne tasting session led by a wine expert.
The little tourist train provides a narrated tour, which will allow you to discover the most beautiful streets in the town, the old townhouses and the magnificent buildings constructed in the 18th and 19th century, such as the Hotel de la Région (former major seminary), the Hotel de la Préfecture de Région (the former Hotel des Intendants de Champagne), the Porte Sainte-Croix, and the Halle du Marché (market hall).