Châlons-en-Champagne

France

Châlons-en-Champagne is a city in the Grand Est region of France. It is the capital of the department of Marne, despite being only a quarter the size of the city of Reims.

Formerly called Châlons-sur-Marne, the city was officially renamed in 1998. It should not be confused with the Burgundian town of Chalon-sur-Saône.

CountryFrance
RegionGrand Est
DepartmentMarne
CantonChâlons-en-Champagne-1, 2 and 3
Government
 Mayor (2020–2026)Benoist Apparu
Area126.05 km2 (10.06 sq mi)
Population (2017-01-01)44,753
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)

History

Châlons is conjectured to be the site of several battles including the Battle of Châlons fought in 274 between Roman Emperor Aurelian and Emperor Tetricus I of the Gallic Empire. The Catalaunian Fields was the site of the battle of Châlons in 451 which turned back the westward advance of Attila.

It is the setting of the last operetta of Johann Strauss II, Die Göttin der Vernunft (The Goddess of Reason), (1897) and is mentioned in, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,”  as Snoopy’s crash site after doing battle with the Red Baron.

Transport

The Gare de Châlons-en-Champagne railway station is served by the TGV network with service to and from Paris Gare de l’Est. Other destinations are Reims, Saint-Dizier, Nancy, Bar-le-Duc and Verdun. Additionally, Châlons is connected with the Champagne-TGV station, near Reims, with high speed trains going to Lille, Nantes, Rennes and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Châlons is also served by an international airport devoted to shipping, ranking third in France with almost 60,000 tonnes of freight passing through each year.

Education

University level

  • Arts et Métiers ParisTech (ENSAM), a national engineering graduate school. Students can attend courses focused on mechanical and industrial engineering.
  • Centre national des arts du cirque (CNAC), which is a Circus Arts Learning Centre created in 1985. Each year about twenty students learn all the disciplines of modern circus arts.
  • Institut Universitaire Technologique (IUT) of Reims, Châlons, Charleville, a branch of the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne (URCA)
  • Institut Universitaire de Formation des Maîtres (IUFM), a branch of the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne (URCA)

Main sights

  • Saint Etienne’s cathedral, including parts of the first Romanesque cathedral built in the 12th century. Nevertheless, it was mainly rebuilt in Gothic style.
  • Notre-Dame-en-Vaux church, part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Built between 1157 and 1217, the collegiate church had a cloister and was a place of pilgrimage in the 12th century, and Museum du Cloitre de Notre-Dame-en-Vaux 12th century.
  • Saint-Alpin, perhaps the oldest church of the city.
  • Hôtel de Ville (city hall).
  • Porte Sainte-Croix (Sainte-Croix Gate). Previously called Porte Dauphine, this gate was one of the entries into the city. It was dedicated to Marie-Antoinette when she came via Châlons on her way to Paris to marry the future king Louis XVI of France.
  • La Dernière Relève (“The Last Relief”): war memorial next to the cathedral, with group of bronzes by French sculptor Gaston Broquet.
  • Ancien Hotel des Intendants de Champagne (eighteenth century).
  • Le Cirque. The old town circus, completed in 1899, is sheltering the Centre National des Arts du Cirque (CNAC).
Hôtel de Ville

Parks and gardens

With tens of kilometers of shoreline, gardens (the “jards”) and flowers, Châlons-en-Champagne is kind of a city in the countryside where nature is fully respected and fulfilled, including in the heart of town.

Le Petit Jard

Labeled “remarkable garden”, the Petit Jard was built in 1861 and refurbished in 2001 following the storm. It hosts a public arboretum that consists of many botanical curiosities in a remarkable floral frame on both sides of the canal Nau.
Playground for children from 2 to 8 years old.

Le Petit Jard

Le Grand Jard

Drawn in a French style in the 18th century. With its shady paths, its charming bandstand from the 19th century, it is a nice place to relax.

In addition to the skate-park for the older ones, the kids up to 8 years old now have their skatepark for the practice of roller, tricycle, skate and they benefit from new structures : huts, swings, balancing posts and playground for 3-5 years old and 6 years old and more, completing the displaced string pyramid in order to constitute a real playful islet in the garden.

Other:

  • Le Jard Anglais
  • Le Parc Fleuri
  • Jardin Saint Hippolyte
  • Jardin Sensoriel
Le Jard Anglais

Museums

Chalons-en-Champagne and its surroundings offers many museums about a lot of different themes. Art, archeology, history, champagne, agriculture, aviation, etc. are waiting for you to discover.

  • Micro-Folie
  • Musée du Cloître de Notre Dame en Vaux
  • Musée Garinet
  • Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’Archéologie
  • Duduchothèque
  • Musée du Terrain d’Aviation de Condé-Vraux 39/45
  • Musée Rural et Artisanal La Bertauge
  • Pré en Bulles
Musée du Terrain d’Aviation de Condé-Vraux 39/45

Camp de Mourmelon

The Camp de Mourmelon (formerly known as Camp de Châlons) is a military camp of circa 10,000 hectares.

The initial purpose was simply for practising military manoeuvres, but it quickly turned into a showcase of the French Imperial Army, a theatrical propaganda display, where French citizens could meet the army and watch parades. Each year the camp was transformed into a town of tents and wooden chalets.

The camp survived the fall of the Second Empire in 1870, but changed into a training camp and a departure point for troops engaging in overseas operations.

The camp is used for military manoeuvres, and cavalry training, along with the neighbouring, 2,500 hectare, Camp de Moronvillers. Firing of live ordnance (rockets, missiles) is prohibited.

Contact

CHALONS-EN-CHAMPAGNE TOURIST OFFICE
email
3 Quai des Arts 51000 Châlons-en-Champagne
address
accueil@chalons-tourisme.com
phone
+33 3 26 65 17 89