31 August 2020
The region of Eastern France stretches from the outer reaches of Paris to the borders with southern Belgium, Luxemburg and Germany and encompasses five distinct destinations: Alsace, Ardennes, Champagne, Lorraine and the Vosges Massif.
When venturing into Champagne for example, it is not just the beautiful countryside, the interesting towns, and of course the bubbly, there are also quite a few events taking place over the next few months and into 2021 that should prove tempting. As a bonus, it is easy to get to – just a car ride away from the UK, as is the Ardenne.
So, here is a small selection of events to pop in the diary.
Photo credit: Reims Tourism
Photo credit: Christophe Manquillet
Until December 2020
Boat trips, Châlons –
Navigate the canals
of the town – a different perspective. By day – there are guided visits by electric boat. In the evening – there is a sound and light show on bridges and monuments of the town throughout the evening – it is unique in Europe.
Photo credit: Christophe-Manquillet
Until 30th August 2020
offers a number of free activities along the banks of the Marne Canal. Table -tennis, teckball, badminton, mini-golf, pedalos, horseriding. There is also a floating bar.
Until 9th August 2020
Photo credit: Thierry Michel, Château de Sedan
Until 22nd August 2020
Torchlight Tours of the Château de Sedan
These take place every Friday and Saturday night from the castle courtyard at 21.30. Tours are very atmospheric and last about one and a half hours – it is a really unusual way to visit the castle.
Due to Covid restrictions, all tours have to be reserved in advance and participants need to be at the ticket office 15 minutes before scheduled departure time.
Until 21st August 2020
Thursdays in the Park, Mulhouse
In fact, its Thursdays and
Fridays – different events take place in the open air of the Salvator Park
. So, on 6th
August we have the Circ Panic circus and a showing of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra) as the open-air movie. There is a ball of modern dancing on the 13th
August and The Big Ball open air film then on 20th
August the film ‘Tomorrow’ and the open-air theatre. All from 18.00.
Until 23rd August 2020
Towns in Music Festival – Troyes
The 29th Festival
takes place in the streets of Troyes with a huge number of invited artistes – mostly local talent, to delight the visitors. Everything is free too! Classical music events take place on Saturdays. There are even accordion concerts.
Due to physical distancing this year, this event has been extended by an extra week.
Photo credit: CRTCA
Photo credit: Emmanuel Viverge
Until 20th September 2020
‘Pause’ at Strasbourg Cathedral
New this year is the ‘Pause’ light and sound
show at Strasbourg Cathedral. There are three shows every night. To mark the 250th
anniversary of the birth of Beethoven, the music for the new show is all by the composer. There are three possibilities – use the new app to take a tour of the area around the Cathedral, the light and sound show itself or stay on after the show has finished and experience the area after dark.Due to Covid restrictions, all visitors must wear their mask and there are designated access points.
Photo credit: David Truillard
Until 29th August 2020
Summer Plage Ducale
A summer beach
in the centre of town – 565 tons of sand = 1 360 m² of beach, sporting areas and those for simply chilling.
Photo credit: JF Badias
Until 28th August 2020
Summer Docks Strasbourg
Enjoy the beach in the centre of town of Strasbourg
all summer long – on the Malraux Islet, Place de la Liberté and the Passerelle Camille Claudel. The beaches are open every day 14.00-19.00. No equipment (boats, deck chairs etc) is provided this year because of Covid but visitors may bring along their own bits and pieces.
Photo credit: Scenes-Estivales 2019
Summer concerts – Thann
On Saturday nights in August there is a different musical experience taking place in the town of Thann:
1st August – Rock with ‘l’association Les Warrior’s’ / 8th August – African evening with Sorisaya / 22nd August – Sixties evening with Les Méharistes, Les Lord’s and Pascal Incerti.
Until 28th August 2020
‘department’ along with Moselle Attractivité
introduced a campaign in 2020 to encourage tourists to visit the area during the summer. Fresh air and greenery, far away from the mass tourist sites – this is an ideal location for the true getaway holiday. To this end they are offering to everyone spending 75€ (GBP67.20) or more on a two-night stay, a meal in any eatery and a 100€ (GBP90) gift token for any local producer or artisan with the Qualité MOSL label.Passionnément Moselle – dine or take brunch
This is a movement to encourage tourists to the Moselle and is a way to enjoy the local cuisine and attractions at the same time. Passionately Moselle
is an original idea centered on five places, five menus and five different atmospheres: Jardins fruitiers de Laquenexy, Maison Robert Schuman in Scy-Chazelles, Bliesbrück-Reinheim archeological park, the Château de Malbrouck in Manderen and Lindre Lake. At each site local producers, local attractions, local restaurants, mostly those in the Qualité MOSL offer the visitors a great experience of the Moselle.
Due to Covid regulations all places have to be reserved in advance.
Photo credit: Régine Datin
Until 30th August 2020
Colours of the Night, Nancy
This traditional spectacle takes place annually in the famous Stanislas only this year due to Covid 19,it comprises solely of a light show projected on the walls of the town hall. These images by the company Spectaculaires, start at 10.00 (16th – 30th August) and 10.30 (11th – 15th August).
Photo credit: D Le Névé
From September 2020
600 years of the Treaty of Troyes, 1420
It is not so well known that, at the time of Joan of Arc, the Treaty of Troyes between England and France was signed here in the cathedral of Troyes on 21st
May 1420. The King of France, Charles VI, Henry V and the Duke of Burgundy – Philippe. the Good were present. The Treaty was effectively confirmed by the marriage of Henry V and Catherine of France in the church of Saint-Jean-au-Marché. So, the English king became the successor to the French crown – to the detriment of the Dauphin – the future Charles VII. This marks a really important moment in the history of both countries as we now know! Over 180 different pieces will be on display
– works of art, manuscripts, military objects, documents from the archives, lent from galleries and museums all over the world.
Photo credit: D. Le Névé
4th – 14th September 2020
Foire de Châlons
800 exhibitors attend this unique music festival “Foire en scène
” with a concert every evening.
5th– 6th September 2020
Triathlon de Gérardmer
takes place annually around the Gérardmer Lake with thousands over twenty nationalities usually taking part. There are five different types of race including the ‘Triathlon XL – I see Life in the Vosges’ (1.9km swimming – 90km cycling – 21km running) and a new format – ‘Super G’ with a Format Super Sprint, with 40 professional triathlètes taking part. It is shown live on TV.
Photo credits: David Truillard
23rd – 27th September 2020
The Puppet Festival Countdown – J-365, Charleville-Mézières
A veritable puppet extravaganza – a weekend of exhibitions, shows – showcasing everything to do with marionettes. There are events every other year, alternating with the bi-annual Puppet Festival, the next one of which, the 21st, is 17th – 26th September 2021. The last Puppet Festival entertained 100,000 people, 100 companies, 29 countries, 15 000 spectators – the biggest get together of puppets in the world.
Charleville-Mézières houses l’École Nationale Supérieure des Arts de la Marionnette (ESNAM) and l’Institut International de la Marionnette.
Photo credit: Rêves de couleurs – CRTCA – ZHANG Jinpeng
Until 27th September 2020 – daily except Monday
Sound and Light Show at the Basilica Saint-Remi in Reims
The Regalia spectacle
will be shown in two parts this year – the first part on the façade of the Cathedral of Reims and the second part recounting the festivities surrounding the crowning of the kings on the Basilica Saint-Remi.
Photo credit: C Manquillet-coll.ADT Marne
Masterclass and Fooding Day at Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin
This is the first time this masterclass has been proposed, led by one of the premier oenologues of this most famous champagne house. One begins with a tour of des Crayères, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2015. This is followed by a tasting with a wine professional from the house itself to better understand what constitutes a Veuve Clicquot wine: the style, the signature, the art of ageing the wine, acknowledged as one of the best in the business, and the love of the Pinot Noir grape – the favourite raw ingredient of Veuve Clicquot since its foundation. Another speciality is the rosé production that was invented by Madame Clicquot herself.
Visits are for groups of up to ten people and cost 200 euros per person. Reservations required for any Wednesday, Thursday or Friday – 18.00 – 20.00..
Alongside the masterclass, Veuve Clicquot are introducing Fooding Days where guests may experience dishes invented by the in-house chef’s team to pair with the wines – there are a wealth of choices from 13-15 € a head – very reasonable.
From October – end of March 2021
Exhibition “Les travailleuses de l’aiguille” at the Maison de l’Outil et de la Pensée Ouvrière – Troyes
Embroidery, lace-making, sewing, tapestry, and how these different skill-sets were historically part of the evolution of women in particular. From the Middle Ages, women passed from the domestic scenario to one of work which in many cases was in the sphere of textiles, dressmaking, millinery etc. It was often a very underrated profession and the relationship between the material and the equipment was not fully understood. The part of the museum not often on public display addresses this feature of the industry – the relationship between the tools they used and the women.
Open every day – 09.00 – 12.00 & 14.00 – 18.00 except Tuesdays
Photo credit: Dorian Cessa
7th – 17th October 2020
Nancy Jazz Pulsations Festival
This will be the 47th year of Nancy Jazz Pulsations. Not only Nancy, but there are many concerts all over Lorraine at this time.
16th – 17th October 2020
Cultural Exchanges in Champagne
Cultural Exchanges in Champagne offer events that underlines the importance and influence of Champagne on the cultural world. The prestigious dinner in the wine caves and the attendance of several (famous) interested parties, make this an unmissable evening of entertainment.
17th October – 1st November 2020
Beasts and Witches in the Moselle
Otherwise known as the ‘Night of the Smiling Beetroots’(!), this festival began in 2018 in Rommelbootzennaat, and is a traditional one in the Moselle always around All Saints Day. More than sixty different places in the ‘department’ offer scary experiences for adults and children alike – an amazing explosion of colour and fantasy. Five of the biggest five sites are:
Citadelle de Bitche
: a terrifying experience under the castle – the Tunnels of Fear & Dread -with different scenes and figures that one associates with Halloween, so scary the under 12’s are advised not to try and everyone under 16 years has to be accompanied by an adult.
Quiver & Shiver Hunters… throughout the festival, the Park themes the attractions to those of the ‘disenchanted’ witches and their ‘enchanted’ teacups!
: Lots of different adventures are held during the All Saints Holidays designed to scare people to death! There is a scary farm, a tunnel of beasts, meals with frightening animals and many more surprises.
Parc Explor Wendel, Petite Rosselle:
The 850 Watch, otherwise known as the Wendel Tile, has become the theatre of strange phenomenon, loud sounds, inexplicable accidents….
Château de Malbrouck:
a workshop for the little ones to make witches hats and Halloween masks, fairy stories, all sorts of things to make you shake with fear …and with pleasure.
Photo credit: Christine Tomasson
17th – 25th October 2020
Fête de la Grue et de la Migration du Lac du Der
The thirteenth outing of this exhibition is sublime for bird watchers and photographers – to see the magnificent sight of the migration of hundreds of cranes
from this very important site for their winter migration to warmer climes. This whole area is extremely important for bird migrations and a magnet for twitchers from the world over.
19th – 22nd November 2020
Animal and Nature Photo International Festival in Montier-en-Der
As it does every year at this time, Montier
becomes the capital of animal photography, of nature and of the protection of the environment. Normally this glorious festival of photography welcomes around 44,000 visitors to view 100 original exhibits. It is the number one place to be for nature photography and a super meeting spot for professionals and amateurs, photographers and nature lovers too. Apart from the actual exhibitions there are plenty of opportunities to talk with the experts, attend the panel discussions, conferences, debates, round tables, and exchanges that make this such a fun and vibrant hive of activity for professionals and public alike. Education about the environment and sustainable tourism is a very important part of the mix. Over 3000 school children usually attend.
Photo credit: 2019 Weekend de Saint-Nicolas – Nancy
20th November 2020 – 3rd January 2021
Les Fêtes de Saint-Nicolas – Nancy
The actual ‘Week-end de Saint-Nicolas’
in Nancy is 5th – 6th December 2020 but the festival goes on much longer! Poetic, relaxed, family-oriented, festive, traditional, contemporary – these festivals pride themselves on having it all! So popular is Saint-Nicolas that the festival has been included in ‘l’Inventaire national du patrimoine culturel immatériel’ by the Ministry of Culture since 2018. It is truly the brightest star in the Nancy cultural firmament and should not be missed.
Photo credit: Jean-Christophe Verhaegen
23rd November 2020 – 3rd January 2021 (dates to be confirmed)
Metz Christmas Markets
This is the second largest Christmas market in France. Amazing decorations, illuminations, Christmas trees, a warm welcome, conviviality – these are the hallmarks of the Metz Christmas markets
which are distributed over five different places in the city, capital of the Moselle. There are 150 chalets selling all sorts of goodies but this is a great opportunity to explore Metz at the same time. So, everything from the arcades of the Place Saint-Louis, the 800 -year-old St Etienne Cathedral and the Place Saint-Jacques, known for its festive ambience with the scents of chocolate and cinnamon. The Qualité MOSL chalet brings together the local artisans and producers.
Until 29th November 2020
A Thousand and One Nights of Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey, Langres
Girault de Prangey was a nineteenth century aesthete, archeologist, designer, painter, photographer and art editor. He was born in Langres and this year, 2020, the town is honouring one of its most celebrated sons with this fabulous exhibitio
n.Girault de Prangey undertook a trip between 1832 and 1834 to the Middle East, Spain, Italy and the Alps. He was a pioneer in the study of Arab-Andalucian architecture. He perfected the technique of the daguerrotype before he travelled to Greece, Turkey, Syria, Palestine and Egypt between 1842 and 1845. The paintings, drawings, photos etc he made, are testimony to the countries and monuments he saw. His collection was dispersed in the twentieth century but many works have been brought together again from Langres itself and from private collections worldwide.Also included are the many artefacts with which Girault de Prangey surrounded himself in the second half of his life in his villa des Tuaires
, near to Langres. There are four main themes in the exhibition – the archeology of the Haute-Marne area, the tour to the Middle-East and Spain, the Grand Tour to the East and the house and garden of the Villa of Tuaires.
Photo credit: Vauluisant Museum Troyes
Until 3rd January 2021
“1819-2019, for 200 years, Doré Doré is at your feet” at the Vauluisant Museum, Troyes
Troyes is well known as a centre of the fashion industry in France – particularly for textiles and hosiery – and this is still something recognised today with the fantastic shopping Malls, for example. The Bonneterie Museum in Troyes celebrates the 200th Anniversary of the Doré Doré company – a real success story from the Aube, until 3rd January 2021. There is an exhibition and also, the Association of Ex-Employees have been retracing old company members to understand the history of the firm where, in the nineteenth century, the short sock (chausette) was invented!
Whilst waiting for the new Hosiery Museum to open that is being built in the old Vouldy factory, the Bonneterie Museum has taken on the mantle of promoting local fashion companie. After 60 years of Bugis in 2017, the centenary of the invention of culottes by Petit Bateau in 2018, 2020 has seen the 200thanniversary of Doré Doré, which is emblematic of the brands of the Aube. The exhibition not only displays the history of the company but also displays different ornaments and motifs that were used in decoration, and many of the marketing tools used down the years in promotional activity. Another part of the exhibition recounts the story of the industrial and social aspects of the company. Entrance price is a very reasonable 3€.
Photo credit: Musées de Troyes
PS Don’t forget this permanent exhibition in Troyes which only re-opened in March 2019 –“Six centuries of painting, from Giotto to Corot” at the Musée des Beaux-Arts.
The renovation of the Fine Arts Museum in Troyes was applauded by the great and good of the French art world – Madame Figaro, Art Absolument, Beaux-arts magazine, Les Echos Week-end, la Gazette Drouot, le Quotidien de l’art, Pleine Vie, l’Est Eclair, Canal 32, France 3, L’Est Républicain….
The new layout celebrates 300 works of art (70 of which have been successfully restored) from the smallest miniature to great monumental pieces, dating from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century. This is an exceptional collection of French and European paintings, many lent from private owners, that highlight the artistic connections between France, Italy, Holland, Germany and the UK.
Giotto, Malouel, Spranger, Vasari, Rubens, Jordaens, van Dyck, Champaigne, Bellotto, Mignard, Le Brun, Watteau, Natoire, Boucher, Fragonard, Hubert Robert, Greuze, Vien, David, Corot are all on show.The entrance fee is just 5.50 € and the museum is open every day of the week except Tuesday.
Photo credit: Jupiter Images
Travelling to Eastern France
The main gateway to Champagne is Reims, an easy 2.5-hour drive down the A26 motorway from the ferry and Eurotunnel terminals in and around Calais. For the Ardenne take the A26 south to exit 14 (Juvincourt-et-Damary), the D925 east via Roizy, then pick up the A34 to Charleville-Mézières (3.5 hrs).
For rail travel, take the Eurostar from London to Paris Gare du Nord, and then a direct TGV from Paris Gare de l’Est to central Reims (45 minutes) or Charleville-Mézières for the Ardennes.
Charles de Gaulle airport has a 30-minute TGV service to Champagne-Ardenne TGV station, just south of Reims. The nearest airport for the Ardenne is Belgium South Charleroi, 100km to the north of Charleville-Mézières and there is a direct train connection to Paris Gare de l’Est taking 1 hour 45 minutes.
Note to editors: Part of Eastern France, Champagne is as varied and refined as the famous wine that it produces.A land of kings and counts, of Cistercians and crusaders, of monasteries and masterpieces, artists and philosophers – the history and heritage of Champagne is embedded in that of France and is linked to the present by the inscription of its vineyards, houses and cellars on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The Ardenne is an ideal destination for lovers of the outdoors, nature and activities such as hiking and cycling., The Ardennes is named after the hilly plateau, “The Ardenne Massif” and encompasses parts of Belgium to the north and Luxembourg to the east. It’s renowned for the natural beauty of its landscapes and offers many magnificent panoramas. There’s steep sided valleys carved by swift flowing rivers such as the Meuse, extensive forests, rolling hills and rocky peaks.