Because we love France, we're always keen to pass on our enthusiasm and knowledge for all the varied parts of this amazing country. Our focus this month is the region of Champagne-Ardenne and Marne, best known as home of the golden bubbles that just burst with the mood of fun and celebration, but also home to some stunning lakes, forests and rolling country views.
If you reckon a visit to Champagne country is worth it for the vineyards alone, you won't be disappointed. They form a patchwork of green and gold spread across large areas of the region and some 14,000 champagne growers and 300 villages are located in the main growing areas of the Montagne de Reims, south of the famous cathedral city of Reims, the Cote des Blancs around Epernay, the Marne valley and the Aube. You will find champagnes made by small scale growers with all the finesse and elegance of the top brands but at less that two-thirds of the price and many of them offer vineyard tours.
The local cuisine is rich in meat dishes, both hearty and refined, with lots of game pates and casseroles - and when you're ready to work off a bit of indulgence and get active, there's great walking, riding, cycling, swimming and boating. Reims is steeped in history, Nigloland is a stunning family amusement park, Troyes boasts hundreds of factory shops and the eastern TGV line can whisk you to Paris on a bullet train to enjoy a whirlwind day trip.
The Champagne-Ardenne and Marne regions are easily accessible and you can choose from a great range of self-catering properties, including beamed farmhouses, elegant chateaux, lovely traditional cottage and gites, a unique hunting lodge on a historic estate and cottages on the shores of a lake.
Whether you're looking for a short break or a full-scale holiday, why not make Champagne-Ardenne and Marne the next part of France that you get to know?
Find out more at our guide to the region and where to stay, along with our guide to the champagne vineyards