Vignoble de Montgueux 002 © Studio OG - Troyes La Champagne Tourisme

Côte des Bar

A jaunt through the midst of Champagne’s countryside and typical villages

Champagne wine trail

Total immersion in a truly authentic Champagne

A trail that will take you through iconic historical and cultural sites, for a getaway providing a real change of scene.

From Troyes to Clairvaux Abbey, a diverse region, combining mountains, forests, historical villages and gourmet stopovers. The region boasts a number of excellent restaurants that are well worth stopping for!

 Côte des Bar, a rich cultural and historical heritage  Côte des Bar, a rich cultural and historical heritage

The Champagne wine trails are a great way to get to know our region. Take your time meandering along them, one day won't be long enough! If you’d like to take advantage of the things to see and do along them, why not plan a trip over several days and book accommodation nearby? If you’re short of time, you can also select the activities that appeal to you the most to make your stay in Champagne a memorable one!

A trail encompassing Champagne’s cultural, historical and gastronomic heritage 

The Côte des Bar trail immerses you in the heart of this viticultural region and its heritage. Whether you love history, architecture or fine dining, you’re certain to find what you’re looking for on this itinerary, a true concentrate of regional culture. All along the trail, Côte des Bar’s Champagne Growers and Houses will be waiting to welcome you with a smile, show you round their estates, present their cuvées and invite you to taste them.  

So where does its name come from? Quite simply because the vineyard surrounds two large villages: Bar-sur-Seine to the south and Bar-sur-Aube to the west, whence its name Côte des Bar.  

Montgueux 

This trail starts near the municipality of Montgueux, fifteen or so kilometres east of Troyes. If you want to enjoy outstanding views over Troyes and its surroundings, don’t miss out on Montgueux Hill. Make your way to the top. When you get there, you can admire the vines that cover the hillsides as far as the eye can see. You’re in the heart of chardonnay’s favourite territory, hills with southeast exposure and chalky soil that the white grape variety simply dotes on.  

Troyes 

Just a few kilometres further on, you come to the city of Troyes. This former capital of the province of Champagne is still emblematic of the region. Rendezvous in the historic neighbourhood of Bouchon de Champagne (which means "Champagne Cork"), whose name simply comes from its shape. The magnificent Saint-Peter-and-Saint-Paul Cathedral in the Old Town is one of the most beautiful in France, boasting 1,500 m² of stained-glass windows and classified as a Historical Monument. Aube is also regarded as the European capital of stained glass ! Inside the Cathedral, there’s a wide-ranging collection of statues and contemporary works for you to admire.

When you leave the Cathedral, why not take a stroll through the neighbourhood’s little streets bordered by half-timbered houses, and soak up the charm of their facades, each one of them steeped in history. Several of the neighbourhood’s streets and houses are absolutely not to be missed out on, including Rue Emile Zola, Ruelle des Chats and the Tourelle de l'Orfèvre. Maison Rachi, Troyes’ synagogue, is a world-renowned centre of Jewish culture; you can simply admire this out-of-the-ordinary 2000-m² building, which has recently been restored. 

Fouchères 

Now off to the village of Fouchères, and more exactly to Château de Vaux. This magnificent building in the midst of the countryside is well worth a visit for its spectacular architecture and idyllic setting alike. The château organises unusual, fun-filled visits in the form of a case that needs solving: with 15 questions to answer, set off in search of the clues hidden in the château’s various rooms and retrace the events that marked Napoleon III’s coup d’état. The entrance fee to the château corresponds to the cost of one slate, to be placed on its future roof. You can even sign your slate and so inscribe your name in the history of Vaux! 

Gyé-sur-Seine 

Let’s get back on the road and be on our way to Gyé-sur-Seine. The little village is home to Le Garde Champêtre, an atypical inn that has taken up residence in a former train depot. A cunning blend of industrial and rustic, decorated with taste, and the perfect spot for a break in a relaxed, warmly welcoming atmosphere. The restaurant serves dishes based on fresh products, most of them from its own organic farm adjoining the inn. 

Courteron 

Among the many unmissables along this trail are Champagne’s "cadoles",which are emblematic of Côte des Bar’s vineyards. These winegrowers’ shelters, built entirely of dry stones piled on top of each other, bear witness to the region’s viticultural heritage. In bygone days, they were used to store winegrowers’ tools and provided them with shelter when it rained or when it got too hot. A hiking trail starting in Courteron takes you past these little buildings, standing proudly among the vines and in the forests. 

Les Riceys 

A little further south, set off to acquaint yourself with Les Riceys, a picturesque village crossed by the Laignes river and bordered by fine stone houses, the oldest of which date back to the Renaissance. The municipality boasts no fewer than 3 listed churches, two châteaux, six chapels and seven washhouses, true historical heritage well worth the visit. It’s also the village with the largest wine-growing surface area anywhere in Champagne, with 866 hectares of vines in all.  

Essoyes 

Turn east and you come to the village of Essoyes. This is where Pierre-Auguste Renoir moved to in 1896, after falling in love with Aline Charigot, the future Madame Renoir, who was born in the village. In tribute to the famous painter, there’s a site here dedicated to his life and work. "Du Côté des Renoir" enables visitors to explore the Renoirs’ family house and garden and the painter’s studio. The cultural centre houses a permanent exhibition and numerous temporary collections. A real dip into the Renoir family’s private life. 

Noé-les-Mallets 

The Plateau de Blu near Noë-les-Mallets is another unmissable. This panoramic viewpoint is the highest in the département, rising to a height of 357 metres. It provides unrestricted views over the Côte des Bar valley and its landscapes combining vineyard and forestland. On a clear day, you can even see Colombey-les-Deux-Églises’ Cross of Lorraine in the far distance. Take the time to get a good breath of fresh air in this peaceful, reinvigorating setting.  

Bar-sur-Aube 

Continuing on our way, we now come to the municipality of Bar-sur-Aube. This mediaeval town has a signposted itinerary for visitors to follow, the Circuit de la Paume (the "Palm Tour"). Its name refers to a sign depicting a hand located at the corner of Rue du Poids and Rue de la Paume, a strategic spot in the days of Champagne’s Fairs in the Middle Ages. It will acquaint you with all the town’s treasures, including the covered market, the Aube bridge, Saint-Pierre church and the Town Hall. 

Colombey-les-deux-Églises 

The trail will also take you through Colombey-les-deux-Églises, the village where General de Gaulle purchased his secondary residence, which was to become his main residence from 1946 until his death. You’ll find the Charles de Gaulle Memorial there, a true appointment with the history of the 20th century. The permanent exhibition takes the form of a journey through the Great Man’s life, encompassing all its many facets. The Memorial can be identified from a good way off, due to the huge Cross of Lorraine that towers above it. At its foot, you can enjoy a fine view over the village and the Champagne region.  

After your visit, why not take a break at La Grange du Relais. Located just 500 metres from the Memorial, the inn provides a warmly welcoming environment with a bistro atmosphere, whether by the fireside in winter or on the picturesque tree-shaded terrace in summer. As far as fine dining is concerned, you’ll be treated to an authentic discovery of Champagne’s terroir, with regional cuisine as delicious as it’s generous.  

The village also accommodates the La Montagne hotel and its Michelin-starred Restaurant Natali. Abandon yourself to the gourmet experience provided by Chef Natali. This "raconteur of tastes" draws his inspiration from his outings into the woods and the many fascinating plants he finds there, including vanilla-scented orchids, Solomon’s-seals, wild asparagus, wild garlic and mushrooms. La Montagne’s bewitching setting will leave you with unforgettable memories. 

Bayel 

Next-to-last stop on our trail, the village of Bayel, home to the Crystal Museum and its glass workshop. An invitation to trace the history of glass and crystal from Antiquity to the present day. Designed as an ecomuseum, it contains models, outstanding creations, and old documents acquainting you with the history of this amazing "City of Crystal". Watch a video shot in the Cristallerie’s workshops and get to know each stage in the manufacturing process: mouth-blowing, hand cutting, sand engraving, satin finishing, gilding, enamelling and so on… Demonstrations are also on offer in the glass workshop. 

Ville-sous-la-Ferté 

We’re coming to the end of this getaway. Last stop: the village of Ville-sous-la-Ferté, home of Clairvaux Abbey. This superb building and itsimpressive architecture is well worth going out of your way to see! A former 12th-century Cistercian abbey, it was rebuilt in the 18th century and then turned into a prison by Napoleon in the 19th century. This is a place steeped in history and a visit to it leaves a lasting impression, a reminder of its past as a religious institution and as a penitentiary. 

From places that have played major roles in French history to the region’s finest restaurants, by way of a whole range of cultural centres where you can learn more about some of the region’s great names, this trail whisks you away you on a multifaceted getaway across one of Champagne’s five wine-growing areas.  

During Champagne tastings, remember to drink in moderation, especially if you are driving. Breathalysers and spittoons are available at Champagne Houses and Growers as well as at some restaurants. Do feel free to ask for them!

Galerie d'images

See the trail in pictures

Montgueux-coteaux © Olivier Douard - Troyes La Champagne Tourisme
rue Linard Gonthier © Olivier Douard - Troyes La Champagne Tourisme
Cathédrale de Troyes © Studio OG - Troyes La Champagne Tourisme (35)
Rue Emile-Zola 2 (2) © Studio OG - Troyes La Champagne Tourisme
Cristallerie
Vigne coucher de soleil
Cadole
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