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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Epernay and the surroundings


johnnie
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I am palnning on going over to France and Belgium again this year to have a look

around more of the battlefields, however my girlfriend has decided she also

wants to have a break in the middle of the trip (I suppose ten days might have

been asking to much).

She is quite keen to go Champagne tasting at/near Epernay, and I was wondering

if there were any great War sites to visit in that area. I have been as far south as Verdun,

and although I have also been to Reims I did not visit any Great War sites while in the

Champagne region.

If anybody had any suggestions about sites to visit in the Reims/Epernay area I would

be grateful.

Jonathan

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Hello Jonathan

Fort de la Pompelle is the obvious one - see this page for example. I haven't been for some years, so I can't give up-to-date information. Some of bit seemed a bit amateur at the time, stuff in heaps, but I enjoyed wandering round.

I tend to feel that there's a quite a lot to do in that area without looking for Great War interest, but that's personal taste.

My suggestion for champagne tasting and buying would be to seek out a smaller grower. (One way is to see who's listed on the menu of a reputable restaurant.) A smaller grower will still offer lovely champagne, but will let you taste and buy on a less pressurised basis and won't charge for tasting. I like Goutorbe for this. You can even stay with them: Castel Jeanson at Ay. They're lovely people.

You can buy the famous marques, if you want to, more cheaply than UK prices from the cynical shops in Reims, but you'll feel like a tourist.

In Reims itself, I would probably eat at Brasserie Flo.

Gwyn

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G'Day Jonathan. I agree with Gwyn. Visit the smaller places for champagne tasting, buying etc. And here's a top tip: grab a map of the area from the Tourist Office in Epernay that shows all the champagne

producers in the area. All the big names are there. And then go to the much smaller producers that border their land. Hey presto! The same bubbly at a third of the cost. As for war-related sites, you could visit Reims Cathedral, which was badly knocked about by artllery fire. It's well worth visiting anyway. Magnificent. Just don't buy champagne there. Heavy prices and those little white 'trains' that drive tourists around. And I agree with Gwyn again; you can't go wrong with Café Flo.

Bon Voyage,

Stu

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Thanks for the information and advice. I visited Reims Cathedral last time I was there. Looked

beautiful in the late October sun.

Special thanks for the Champagne tasting (and buying) advice. Should be an enjoyable trip, although

its a pain having to wait until July.

Jonathan

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Not too far away is the Russian Chapel and cemetery at St Hillarie le Grande, interesting. There was heavy fighting for years here, take a look at Holt's South for lots of things. There is a most unusual French cemetery nearby but can't remember name, thought from a distance it was from an earlier war but was built post way by survivors of fighting there, book is at home and will post tomorrow if no one knows but bet they do!

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We stopped in the area a couple of times some years back; you're within easy striking distance of Soissons and the 1918 British battlefields on the May offensive. Bois des Buttes, etc. Fascinating area. From memory, there's also an Italian cemetery in the area, but off-hand I cannot remember where.

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