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Châlons-en-Champagne

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Carte Champagne-Ardenne
Flag region Champagne-Ardenne

Châlons-en-Champagne
Administration & Statistics

Administration
Region Champagne-Ardenne
Departement Marne
Postal code 51000

Statistics
Elevation 79-153 m
land area 26 km2
Population 45,829 (2007)
Density 1,759 /km2
Châlons-en-Champagne is the capital of the department of Marne and the region of Champagne-Ardenne. The name of Chalons comes from the Gallic people of the Catalunes. It lies on the right bank of the River Marne. Because of the number of rivers and canals running through it, it has been called “little Venice”.

In the 12th and 13th centuries the city was a prosperous wool manufacturing city, trading across Europe. During the 13th century the town grew rapidly and the ramparts built at this time correspond to the boulevards which surround the city today. Traditional crafts such as stone masonry, sculpture and stained glass continue to thrive.

There are many sites of historic importance which evidence the city’s long history. The most impressive is the Gothic church of Notre-Dame-en-Vaux built in the 12th century. One of the most beautiful churches in France, it has four towers and 16th century stained glass. Other sites not be missed include; the Porte Ste Croix built in 1770 and dedicated to Marie Antoinette, who passed through on her way to marry Louis XVI, the 12th century Saint Etienne Cathedral, Saint Alpin, the oldest church in the city, built around 1170, The 18th century Hotel de Ville , and Le Cirque completed in 1899.

The city has many museums detailing its past including; the Musee des Beaux Arts et Archeologie, containing local archaeological collections from the paleolithic era to the 17th century, the Museum Garinet, housed in the oldest stone built house in the city, built in 1515. Also fascinating is the Gestapo Headquarters. A house requisitioned by the Gestapo to imprison and torture local people.

At the centre of the city is the delightful park “Le Jard”, a popular strolling place since the Middle Ages while the Petit Jard with its lovely riverside gardens overlooks a toll bridge built by Henry IV. Boats are available for tours on the waterways for the best views of the gardens and bridges.
Châlons-en-Champagne

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