The Champagne-Ardenne historyThe history of the Champagne region is marked by numerous events since the Antiquityand linked to royal heritage. It has seen many conflicts and has developed many fortifications and chateaus.All events that have had a significant role in the development of the Champagne wine region including Reims, Epernay and the villages implanted in the vineyards.In the early Middle Ages, despite the frequency of military conflicts, the region built up a reputation for the quality of wine production. With the advent of the great Champagne houses during the 17th & 18th centuries, that reputation was being strengthenedas the region's producers began making sparkling wine. The principal grapes grown in the region include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. Pinot Noir is the most widely planted grape in the Aube region and grows very well in Montagne de Reims. Pinot Meunier is the dominant grape in the Vallée de la Marne region. The Côte des Blancs is dedicated almost exclusively to Chardonnay.Since the Gallo-roman times, Reims, (formerly Durocortorum) was a crossroad and one of the largest citiesin Northern Europe.Introduction of vines in Champagne dates back to the Roman periodthat is to say to the 3rd century. Between the end of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Middle AgesReims became a royal city, when in year 496, Clovis first king of France was baptized by St Remiin the Cathedral Notre Dame de Reims.This baptism would become so important that it is now considered to be founder of the kingdom of France.From that year,Cathedral Notre Dame de Reims would become the place ofcoronation for all kingsof France.Reims became an archbishopric and is now a strategic city.Middle Ages are a turbulent time and a trouble follows another. Kings, queens, dukes, names almost forgotten by history, carve large slices of territories before disappearing in storms.The 9th century is the time when Master Builders will achieve their full potential. The Roman style, quite bare, will gradually lead to the Gothic art, more opened and shining.The Middle Agesare a sad period of wars, famines and epidemics. However faith can move mountains and populations’ devotion to God results in fabulous constructions like Notre-Dame in Reims (Gothic masterpiece), St Peter and St Paul in Troyes, Saint-Etienne in Chalons-en-Champagne, Saint-Mammès in Langres, etc. Everywhere, even in villages, the region shows its faith.The kingdom is experiencing mixed fortunes. The 14th century is the beginning of the "Hundred Years War" between France and England.In 1429, Joan of Arc brings that war to its end leadingKing Charles VII Reims Cathedral for his coronation.It is the beginning of another prosperous period for Champagne, which would last until the French revolutionin 1789. Revolution stopsthe development and the influence of the region.During World WarI(1941 – 1918)the Ardennes region will be under the Germans occupation and the Champagne region will become theater for the sadlyfamous Marne battle.For 3 years it will be the trench warfare. An entire generation will be sacrificed on the battlefields. After the war,Reims and its surroundingsare considered as the most destroyed part of France.Word War II(1939 – 1945) also impacted seriously the Champagne region.Once again the Germans occupied area and bombarded many cities.After six years of occupation, it is in this region that,in 1945, the “unconditional surrender”was signed with Germany.A new time of prosperity has come.Champagne wines can now again be offered to the world, bringing joy, happiness and peace.
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