You may have seen pictures of France’s Champagne & Ardenne region but even they don’t quite capture its beauty.
I recently drove through the rolling vineyards, quaint villages and historical towns and it was bliss. If you’ve never been it is a hop across the Channel and just two hours from Calais.
So where should you stay? The Champagne-Ardenne tourism board have put together a Top 10 of places to stay from grand castles and chateaux to charming rural havens from under £100 a night. All rates are room only, unless specified, breakfast is extra).
Hotel Cecil Reims
In one of the best locations in Reims, this 2* gem is just off the Place d’Erlon, an easy walk from the train station. The UNESCO listed façade belies the modern interior, a good choice of 26 comfortable rooms, some with Juliet balconies, each have a whole wall dedicated to some of the Rennaissance masterpieces in the Museum of Fine Arts in Reims. Double rooms from £82.
Hotel Azur Reims
A colourful and award-winning 2 star (Michelin Guide and Le Roulard recommended) gem tucked away in the boho Boulingrin area of Reims. There are 19 bright, cheerful rooms with comfy beds & free WIFI & a tiny courtyard for summer breakfasts.
The Boulingrin area is home to cosy brasseries, Champagne bars, a newly renovated art-deco market and boutique shopping. Just 5 minutes walk from Reims historic city centre and 5 mins to train station (Eurostar to Paris, easy 45 minutes from Gare de l’Est) but garage parking available. Doubles from £65.
Auberge des Moissons, Matougues, near Epernay
A welcoming family-run Logis with a renowned regional restaurant, specialising in truffles during the season (Oct – Dec). There are comfortable, well-equipped rooms in the main building and newer rooms built around a central courtyard garden setting.
The owner has recently opened a truffle centre for visitors and offers truffle hunting in his own planted woods opposite. There’s the added bonus of a small pool and games room too, making it perfect for family stopovers on the drive south. Double rooms from £88.
Hotel Restaurant Grange du Relais, Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises
A charming, quirky hotel ideal on the official Champagne Route for exploring the champagne vineyards of the Aube. The picturesque village of Colombey is the home & resting place of President Charles de Gaulle and his family (visit his home, visitors centre and the family graves).
Rustic barn-style rooms are spacious and modern with independent access set around a secluded garden & pool. There’s free wi-fi, parking & bikes, disabled access, and pet-friendly rooms. The very good restaurant has menus from around €15 and an attractive terrace for outside dining. The picturesque village itself boasts some great places to eat & drink Champagne of course, including a Michelin star Brasserie. Room rates from £58.
Hotel Le Marius, Les Riceys, the Aube
A charming rural hotel opposite the church in a lovely village perfectly located for exploring the surrounding Côte des Bar vineyards and small local wine producers. As well as beautifully presented rooms, there is a period bar, popular with village locals and visitors alike, and an excellent cellar restaurant specialising in matching dishes with champagnes. Doubles from £63.
La Source Bleue, Gudmont Villiers, near Chaumont
This peaceful hotel-restaurant lies on the Banks of the river Dhuys, near the Champagne-Burgundy Canal and forms part of the Natura 2000 eco-network. This former watermill estate takes its name from the extraordinary blue mineral lake in the wooded grounds. The gourmet restaurant is one of the best in the region, but the 12 individually- designed Art Deco rooms are another highlight with private terraces overlooking the grounds and lake.
A haven for naturelovers, flyfishers alike (pets are welcome too) there are 2 romantic ‘roulottes’ or gypsy caravans within the grounds. The hotel also offers massage treatments to ensure an even more relaxing experience. Double rooms from £80 in the heart of the Champagne wine region.
Château-fort de Sedan, Sedan, French Ardennes
Inside the walls of the largest fortified castle in Europe, this 4* hotel is a blend of historical & modern. Duplex suites open onto thecastle ramparts and the hotel restaurant offers a range of affordable menus. Step outside for a self-guided audio tour of this historical monument: a garrison until the 1960’s, the fortress was purchased by the town for just 1€.
This corner of the Ardennes that has witnessed some of the major conflicts of European history since its formation in 1425, (the only department to be occupied throughout WW2). Sedan is a great base for exploring the Ardenne forests, museums and little known battlefield sites bordering the Maginot line. The War & Peace museum reopens in June after an 8 year renovation. Doubles from £67 (15% discount on non-amendable bookings).
Le Hubert Hotel-restaurant, Haybes
Enjoy the charm of an authentic Ardenois auberge in one of the prettiest villages on the banks of the Meuse. A simple, comfortable base, for nature lovers to explore the great outdoors and legendary landscapes of the region, the hotel offers great value rooms with village or river views with a restaurant, an outside terrace specialising in regional dishes in one of the prettiest villages of the Ardennes. Double rooms from £60.
Le Tulipier, Vienne-le-Château
This family owned Logis hotel & restaurant lies in the Argonne forest. With 35 rooms, spacious grounds, a renowned restaurant, indoor pool and bar, it offers 35 peaceful rooms with forest walks on the doorstep and opportunities to cycle, hike and explore some of the extraordinary WW1 sites and museums of the region. Double rooms from £86 (offer: stay 2 nights, 3rd is free excluding breakfast & dinner).
L’Hotel Dormeur du Val, Charleville-Mèzieres
A contemporary boutique hotel themed around the poet Verlaine, the hotel offers 17 rooms with a bar, library, terrace and sauna in the centre of Charleville-Mezieres, the puppet capital of Europe (the next World Puppet Festival is held here in September 2017). Double rooms from £65 ( early booking rates: promotional offers from £100 for 2 nights)
Find out more about the wide variety of accommodation on offer here at Champagne-Ardenne Tourism: