Champagne and Alsace
CHAMPAGNE AND ALSACE – WHY GO?
Champagne bubbles with history – not to mention France's most famous tipple. Come here for fabulous fizz, visits to the famous cellars of Reims and Epernay and some gastronomic good living.
Neighbouring Alsace is a colourful contrast, with a Germanic flavour and shades of Bavaria in its half-timbered Hansel 'n' Gretel villages. Vine-covered hillsides along the region's fabled route du vin blaze with gold in autumn.
MUST SEE, MUST DO
Medieval Troyes is a historic gem, and with 11 ancient churches and a magnificent cathedral there's a distinct Da Vinci code feel to the old town. Stroll through the narrow streets, where there's no shortage of little bars and cafes (where you can pick a local menu champenois) to while away an evening. Troyes is also the factory shopping capital of France, with plenty of great fashion bargains within easy reach.
Be sure to try a Dégustation (tasting)at one of the many champagne caves, where you can stock up on some bottled bubbles to take home. The biggest champagne brands are based in reims and Epernay, though it's also worth trying some of the region's many small village producers.
Encircled by water and 11th century ramparts, Colmar has a wealth of historic buildings and characterful cobbled streets – not to mention great patisseries and a festive Christmas market. Drift through the canals of historic Colmar's aptly-named Petite Venise quarter by boat before exploring this fabulous old town on foot. There's also an automobile museum with some 450 rare motor cars.
Route du Vin
Colmar sits conveniently at the heart of the Alsace Route du Vin – easily within reach of medieval towns such as Eguisheim, where two grands crus are produced.
MAKE A DATE
Come to see Colmar’s fairytale Christmas market: mulled wine, gingerbread and Christmassy gifts in a picturebox setting. There’s also an ice rink to burn off some of those indulgent yuletide treats.
CHAMPAGNE AND ALSACE ROMANCE
Make a December date in Colmar, and sip a tumbler of steaming vin chaud while choosing each other's presents in the Christmas market.
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