Geographical luck—both good and bad—has played a large part in the history of Champagne. Warm enough to grow grapes in, but cold enough for snow in winter, the climate frustrated early winemakers by causing an uneven fermentation that resulted in bubbles—a “fault” that led to one of France’s most famous luxury products. In 2015, Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars were inscribed onto UNESCO’s World Heritage List. On the less-good side, the region’s position between the Western Front and Paris meant that the 20th century saw many of its buildings destroyed, especially during the First World War.

Champagne’s major tourist towns are easily reached by train from Paris in under 90 min. Travelers with their own wheels, however, will get the most out of the winding roads, vineyard-draped hills, deciduous forests, and farmland that lend themselves to this area’s natural beauty.

Did you know?

The biggest export market for champagne is the United Kingdom (31 million bottles), followed by the United States (22 million bottles).