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Champagne Ardenne History

Over the centuries Champagne Ardenne has been invaded, discovered and visited by many and this fashioned the actual region.

  • Many major religious, military, political and cultural events originally came from or took place in Champagne Ardenne. The region's role in French and European history is thus huge.
  • Already inhabited in pre-historic times, Champagne-Ardenne thrived under the Gauls. The area was then called lower Belgium at that time. Clovis, first soverign recognised by the Church, started implementing the tradition of crowning the kings in the famous city of Reims. This, also with the trade that took place in the region, gave a large influence to Champagne Ardenne.
  • From then, the region fairs became a palce where ideas and people could melt. This encouraged the development of monastic orders, of Romanesque art, of courtly poetry (Chrétien de Troyes) and of theology.
  • Gothic art, sculpture and creation of stained glass windows were flourishing industries at that time.
  • In 1214, a coalition of European powers, which included England, challenged France’s growing power. Philip's forces, however, decisively defeated the coalition at the Battle of Bouvines and then France was established as a leading European country. This shows the crucial role of the region in the French history.
  • 16th and 17th centuries: religious wars and political troubles but also humanism and the Renaissance all left their mark on the region.
  • The successive wars of the Revolution, the Empire and the beginnings of the Republic left, until the signing of the Reims Armistice in 1945, painful scars of history on the soil of Champagne-Ardenne and fashioned the way buildings and cities were built.
  • Champagne-Ardenne is proud of its important artistic and historical heritage, a fact that the visitor can appreciate in the number of well-known buildings in the region.

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