Known as “The City of Art and History”, Chalons-en-Champagne is a treasure trove of ancient Romanesque and Gothic-style architecture, along with culturally-rich museums. This cosy French city has a fascinating war history and is built around a maze of canals and rivers, which provide mesmerising scenery and fun outdoor activities.
Things to do in Châlons-en-Champagne
Cruise along Chalons-en-Champagne’s waterways in an electric boat or a canoe and soak up the tranquillity of its winding rivers as you pass tree-lined canals and float under centuries-old bridges. You can catch a ride to Grand Jard, a 18th-century garden with a historic bandstand, children’s playground and shaded picnic spots and walking paths around Saint-Martin Canal.
Looking for that famed history? Visit Notre-Dame-en-Vaux, a 12th-century church with stained-glass windows, a beautiful pipe organ and decorative sculptures. There are also two other renowned churches, Chalons Cathedral and Saint-Alpin, along with a neoclassical city hall and the prominent Ste-Croix Gate.
Art enthusiasts will enjoy the Museum of Fine Arts and Archaeology, which is one of France’s oldest museums. It houses paintings from the 15th to the 20th century, as well as Renaissance-era sculptures and about 2,000 taxidermy birds from around the world. The nearby Musee Garinet is housed in a former Gothic-style home and is filled with historical artefacts, paintings and thousands of books.
Planning a day trip? Drive about 45 minutes north-west to the city of Reims, where you can indulge in the region’s best champagne at renowned champagne houses. Take a moment to admire the 3rd-century Porte de Mars, a Heritage-listed archway from the city’s time under Roman rule.
Getting around Châlons-en-Champagne
Chalons-en-Champagne is a small city, which makes it easy getting around on foot. It’s also serviced by the Gare de Chalons-en-Champagne railway station, which provides transport to nearby cities. You can also take the scenic route around town by hiring a canoe or water taxi to navigate the rivers.