Wanderlust passed through Châlons-en-Champagne three times in 2015. With two overnight stops at Châlons’ well-situated port de plaisance we had a chance to appreciate what the commune has to offer.
Châlons has interesting history, attractive historic buildings, and good food. One of its churches, Notre-Dame-en-Vaux, is included on the UNESCO “Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle en France” World Heritage listing. The French Ministry of Culture and Communication has designated Châlons-en-Champagne as a “Villes et Pays d’Art et d’Histoire” (“Towns and Lands of Art and History”).
Châlons also has a curious bit of recent history: In 1998 the city of Châlons-sur-Marne reverted to its pre-French Revolution name, Châlons-en-Champagne. Though Châlons is not major center of Champagne wine production including “Champagne” into a place name is undoubtedly perceived to create positive associations. Indeed, the nearby Canal de la Marne à la Saône underwent a similar name change to the Canal entre Champagne et Bourgogne not long ago. Branding, whether for a bottle of wine, a town, or canal, can be important.
(In 2015 Wanderlust spent two nights in Châlons-en-Champagne between the 11th and 13th of July and two more nights between the 25th and 27th of August. Châlons is 30 kilometers and five locks from Ay.)