A former border region that has since merged with Alsace and Lorraine to form the Grand-Est region, Champagne-Ardenne must be considered one of the most beautiful in France. Possessing an abundant history, land of culture, knowledge and gastronomy, it has many remarkable small villages…
1. Rocroi (Ardennes)
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It is the only European city, along with Palmanova in Italy, to have kept its original star-shaped fortifications intact. Obviously, it deserved a first place. A town of just over 2000 inhabitants, built in 1555, also known for its Museum of the Battle of Rocroy and the Thirty Years War and for its Rocroy cheese.
A Small City of Character with super photogenic medieval streets, which tells its story through its old stones but also through the historical re-enactments that are organized there. It is also here that the only medieval gate of Aube is located. A door dating from the 13th century.
A city which dominates on its hill, in the middle of a sea of greenery. An ancient fortress again, which once housed public officers and other churchmen. It is also here that in June 1940, the 14th regiment of Senegalese skirmishers valiantly resisted the German soldiers. Finally, it was in Bourmont that Albin Michel, the founder of the famous editions of the same name, was born.
4. Mussy-sur-Seine (Aube)
A town of just over 1000 people, popular for its castle, nestled near a bend in the Seine. With origins dating back to the Gallo-Roman era, the medieval city bears witness to its tumultuous and fascinating past.
5. Joinville (Haute-Marne)
Also classified among the Small Towns of Character, this village is one of the must-sees of the former Champagne-Ardenne region. A princely city of the Renaissance, of absolute wealth, which offers plenty to rave about. We can thus cite the magnificent Château du Grand Jardin, the Auditorium, or the Church of the Nativity of Notre-Dame.
6. Vignory (Haute-Marne)
We stay in Haute-Marne with this small village of less than 300 souls, popular for the remains of its 11th century castle, its church and its wash house. A place once rented by Denis Diderot, which today still serves as an essential stopover for all lovers of calm, pleasure and history.
7. Sezanne (Marne)
An essential city in Champagne, known for its Romanesque church, Sézanne also stands out thanks to its keep and its Tour du Puis. A sort of open-air museum…
8. Mouzon (Ardennes)
Once upon a time there was Mouzon… A village once popular for its Benedictine abbey, then for its fortifications, before the textile industry developed there. Because it is in Mouzon that we found one of the largest felt factories in Europe. A story told by the Felt Museum-workshop.
9. Montsaugeon (Haute-Marne)
76 inhabitants live year-round around the imposing fortified gate which recalls the past of this charming village of Haute-Marne. A village with discreet charm, peaceful and relaxing, which it would be a shame to ignore, also holder of the Small City of Character label.
10. Chateauvillain (Haute-Marne)
Of course, the name of this superb village should not be trusted. Here, the castle has nothing ugly. The remains of a set of about sixty towers (there are about twenty left), with a monumental keep 45 meters high in good place. For that alone, the visit is well worth the detour!