Saturday 28 September 2013: local TER train (‘Train Express Regional’) is christened the ‘Ligne des Bulles’ (‘bubble line’).
Aim: to promote Champagne as a candidate site for nomination to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Music kicked off Saturday’s events, which started at around 10am in Epernay railway station with a review of the issues at stake in Champagne’s candidacy – particularly its relevance to the region as a whole, and not just the vineyards. Among those in attendance were: Franck Leroy, Mayor of Epernay; Jean-Paul Bachy, incumbent president of the Regional Council of Champagne-Ardenne; and Franck Leroy, President of the Champagne Landscapes Association.
Next came the red-white-and-blue ribbon-cutting ceremony, watched by councilors, officials and other distinguished guests who then boarded the TER train and set off for a trip through the vineyards to Reims. The train made four stops – rather than the normal ten – at Aÿ, Avenay-Val-d’Or, Germaine and Rilly-la-Montagne. Four stops, with four distinctive celebrations at each stop.
On arrival in Reims at around midday, the TER was officially christened in the time-honoured tradition, by breaking a bottle of Champagne against its side.
Champagne’s application for candidacy was then passed along by a human chain of people to Benoît Bonnefoi, Secretary General of the Champagne-Ardenne Regional Commission. The celebrations concluded with a mass release of balloons.
- Regional natural park of the Montagne de Reims