The Festivals of Champagne, France

By Alisa Marie Coccari
Published in The Arizona Republic News, March 8, 2013.

The word “champagne” generally conjures up thoughts of the effervescent wine. But this sparkling libation gets its name from the region in France where it is produced from grapes that thrive in its chalky soil. Just northeast of Paris and close to many other European cities, the Champagne region is easily accessible for weekend trips. Aside from its winery tours and cellar tastings, year-round annual festivals in this historic region attract visitors.

87559599Spring Festivals

March into springtime with the electronic music of The Elektricity Festival in Reims (, which takes place in front of the historic Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims ( and presents a line-up of contemporary and urban electronic music. Families swoon to the annual Melimome Festival at the Place de l’Hotel de Ville (City Hall) in Reims. A festival entirely for children, it offers games for all ages, puppet shows and live entertainment. Go back in time at the Sedan Medieval Festival, which is staged at the Sedan Castle Fort. Built about six centuries ago, and the largest in Europe, the Sedan Castle Fort ( is the ideal backdrop for a medieval festival complete with jousting, cavalry tournaments and a fire-breathing dragon to entertain the family.

Summer Festivals

Annually in July, the entire city of Reims is transported back to medieval times with costumed celebrations during the Joan of Arc Festival, which is also referred to as Fetes Johanniques. Celebrating the courage and life of the legendary Joan of Arc and commemorating the coronation ceremony of Charles VII in 1429, which was held in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims. Festival-goers dress in medieval costume and march alongside a costumed Joan of Arc and Charles VII in the Grand Coronation Parade event. Catch the annual Rites of Folklore Festival, which takes place in the square of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims, attracting talented folk groups from all over the world to what is revered as the largest folk festival in the north of France. Bi-annually in July, share a Champagne toast at the Ay Champagne Festival. Known locally as the Fete d’Henri IV, or Henry IV Festival, the region’s many famous Champagne growers meet in the village streets in a festival celebrating the local fruit of the vine with dancing, music, food and fireworks.

Autumn Festivals

Linking summer to autumn, the annual Foire de Chalons in Chalons-en-Champagne during August and September celebrates the Champagne culture with arts, music and food and attracts more than 200,000 visitors each year. The annual Witch Festival, or Fete des Sorcieres, kicks-off during Halloween and has been running for more than 100 years. The history of witchcraft takes center stage in Chalindrey, home to 16th-century witch hunts, and the Fort du Cognelot, also known as Devil’s Point.

Winter Festivals

Each year from November through December, visitors celebrate the holiday season in Epernay, Reims and Châlons-en-Champagne at the Christmas in Champagne Festival, or Noels de Champagne. The rural villages are decked with holiday decorations, and the shops serve local Champagne tastings — from Moet & Chandon, Pommery & Mumm to other producers in the region — while tourists holiday shop and stroll the quaint decorated towns.

About the Author

Based in Naples, Fla., Alisa Bowen has been writing about travel, culinary arts and design since 2010. Her articles have been published in magazines such as “The Resident,” “Good Taste Magazine,” “Explore” and “REAL Life Magazine,” throughout the Caribbean and in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Arizona Republic News and for Bowen was also the editor-in-chief of “Home & Design Magazine” and a contributing writer for “Your Home Magazine” in Southwest Florida.

View the entire article online at:

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images
2 Responses to “The Festivals of Champagne, France”
  1. A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment.
    There’s no doubt that that you need to publish more about
    this subject, it may not be a taboo subject but typically people do not
    discuss these topics. To the next! Cheers!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

  • © 2012-2020 Alisa Marie Coccari All Rights Reserved

    All writing is copyright of Permission to use any such content will be both requested/granted in writing. Photography will only be used with written permission from the photographer and/or source. Alisa Marie Coccari has also been published under the nom de plume, Alisa Bowen.
%d bloggers like this: