Châlons-en-Champagne is a city in France. It is the capital of both the department of Marne
Marne is a department in north-eastern France named after the river Marne which flows through the department. The prefecture of Marne is Châlons-en-Champagne...

 and the region of Champagne-Ardenne
Champagne-Ardenne is one of the 27 regions of France. It is located in the northeast of the country, bordering Belgium, and consists of four departments: Aube, Ardennes, Haute-Marne, and Marne. The region is famous for its sparkling white wine . Its rivers, most of which flow west, include the...

, despite being only a quarter the size of the city of Reims
Reims , a city in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France, lies east-northeast of Paris. Founded by the Gauls, it became a major city during the period of the Roman Empire....


Formerly called Châlons-sur-Marne, the city was officially renamed in 1998. It should not be confused with the Burgundian town of Chalon-sur-Saône
Chalon-sur-Saône is a commune in the Saône-et-Loire department in the region of Bourgogne in eastern France.It is a sub-prefecture of the department. It is the largest city in the department; however, the department capital is the smaller city of Mâcon....



Châlons is conjectured to be the site of the Catalaunian Fields in which the battle of Châlons
Battle of Chalons
The Battle of the Catalaunian Plains , also called the Battle of Châlons sur Marne, took place in AD 451 between a coalition led by the Visigothic king Theodoric I and the Roman general Flavius Aëtius, against the Huns and their allies commanded by their leader Attila...

, 451AD, turned back the westward advance of Attila.

Main sights

  • Saint Etienne's cathedral
    Châlons Cathedral
    Châlons Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Châlons-en-Champagne, France, formerly Châlons-sur-Marne....

    , including parts of the first Romanesque cathedral built in the 12th century. Nevertheless, it was mainly rebuilt in Gothic style. The west façade (in Baroque style) and two close spans were added in the 17th century.
  • Notre-Dame-en-Vaux church, part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Built between 1157 and 1217, the collegiate church had a cloister and was a place of pilgrimage in the 12th century, and Museum du Cloitre de Notre-Dame-en-Vaux 12th century.
  • Saint-Alpin, perhaps the oldest church of the city. It was rebuilt around 1170 in Gothic style, but still marked by the Romanesque style.
  • Hôtel de Ville (city hall). It has a façade representative of the neo-classic period of the end of the 18th century. The steps of the building are procteted by four stoned lions.
  • Porte Sainte-Croix (Ste-Croix Gate). Previously called Porte Dauphine, this gate was one of the entries into the city. It was dedicated to Marie-Antoinette when she came via Châlons on her way to Paris to marry king Louis XVI of France
    Louis XVI of France
    Louis XVI was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre until 1791, and then as King of the French from 1791 to 1792, before being executed in 1793....

  • Ancien Hotel des Intendants of Champagne (eighteenth century). Today home to the Prefecture of the Champagne-Ardenne region and Prefecture of the Marne.
  • Le Cirque. The old town circus, completed in 1899, is sheltering the Centre National des Arts du Cirque (CNAC).


The Gare de Châlons-en-Champagne
Gare de Châlons-en-Champagne
Gare de Châlons-en-Champagne is a railway station serving the town Châlons-en-Champagne, Marne department, eastern France. It is situated on the Paris–Strasbourg railway.-Services:-References:*...

 railway station is served by the TGV
The TGV is France's high-speed rail service, currently operated by SNCF Voyages, the long-distance rail branch of SNCF, the French national rail operator....

 network with service to and from Paris Gare de l'Est
Gare de l'Est
is one of the six large SNCF termini in Paris. It is in the 10th arrondissement, not far from the Gare du Nord, facing the Boulevard de Strasbourg, part of the north-south axis of Paris created by Baron Haussmann...

. Other destinations are Reims, Saint-Dizier, Nancy, Bar-le-Duc and Verdun. Additionally, Châlons is connected with the Champagne-TGV station, near Reims
Reims , a city in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France, lies east-northeast of Paris. Founded by the Gauls, it became a major city during the period of the Roman Empire....

, with high speed trains going to Lille
Lille is a city in northern France . It is the principal city of the Lille Métropole, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country behind those of Paris, Lyon and Marseille. Lille is situated on the Deûle River, near France's border with Belgium...

, Nantes
Nantes is a city in western France, located on the Loire River, from the Atlantic coast. The city is the 6th largest in France, while its metropolitan area ranks 8th with over 800,000 inhabitants....

, Rennes and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Châlons is located at the intersection of two major axes:
  • A4
    A4 autoroute
    The A4 Autoroute, also known as l'autoroute de l'Est is a French autoroute that travels between the cities of Paris and Strasbourg. It forms parts of European routes E25 and E50....

     motoway, going from Paris to Strasbourg
    Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

    , towards Reims and Metz
    Metz is a city in the northeast of France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers.Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region and prefecture of the Moselle department. Located near the tripoint along the junction of France, Germany, and Luxembourg, Metz forms a central place...

  • A26
    A26 autoroute
    The A26 is a long French motorway connecting Calais and Troyes. It is also known as the Autoroute des Anglais as it is the main route from the Dover-Calais ferries and the Channel Tunnel to most parts of France and often contains large numbers of British cars, particularly during the summer...

     motorway, going from Lille to Lyon
    Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

    , towards Reims, Troyes
    Troyes is a commune and the capital of the Aube department in north-central France. It is located on the Seine river about southeast of Paris. Many half-timbered houses survive in the old town...

     and Dijon
    Dijon is a city in eastern France, the capital of the Côte-d'Or département and of the Burgundy region.Dijon is the historical capital of the region of Burgundy. Population : 151,576 within the city limits; 250,516 for the greater Dijon area....


Châlons is also served by an international airport devoted to shipping (Châlons Vatry Airport, ranking third in France with almost 60,000 tonnes of freight passing through each year.

Local transportation is provided by SITAC BUS buses.

University level

  • École Nationale Supérieure d'Arts et Métiers
    École Nationale Supérieure d'Arts et Métiers
    Arts et Métiers ParisTech is the French leading engineering school in the fields of mechanics and industrialization.The school trained 85,000 engineers since its foundation in 1780 by the Duke of La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt....

     (ENSAM), a national engineering school in manufacturing.

  • Centre national des arts du cirque (CNAC), which is a Circus Arts Learning Centre created in 1985. Each year about twenty students learn all the disciplines of modern circus arts.

  • Institut Universitaire Technologique Reims, Châlons, CharleVille, is a national university, that is a branch of the University of Reims.


ESPE Basket Châlons-en-Champagne is a Châlons' basketball team. A temporary firing range was used for some shooting
Shooting at the 1924 Summer Olympics
At the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, ten events in shooting were contested. These would be the last Games in which team events were part of the Olympic shooting program...

 events at the 1924 Summer Olympics
1924 Summer Olympics
The 1924 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the VIII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1924 in Paris, France...

 in Paris.

Twin towns – sister cities

Châlons-en-Champagne is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

 with: Ilkeston
Ilkeston is a town within the Borough of Erewash, in Derbyshire, England. It lies on the River Erewash, from which the local borough takes its name. Its population at the 2001 census was 37,550...

, United Kingdom. Neuss
Neuss is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located on the west bank of the Rhine opposite Düsseldorf. Neuss is the largest city within the Rhein-Kreis Neuss district and owes its prosperity to its location at the crossing of historic and modern trade routes. It is primarily known...

, Germany.

Camp de Mourmelon

The Camp de Mourmelon (formerly known as Camp de Châlons) is a military camp of circa 10,000 hectares located near Mourmelon-le-Grand
Mourmelon-le-Grand is a commune in the Marne department in north-eastern France.-Camp Châlons:'Camp Châlons' is a military camp of circa 10,000 hectares nearby Mourmelon-le-Grand...

 22 km north. It was created at the behest of Napoleon III and opened 30 August 1857 during the Second French Empire
Second French Empire
The Second French Empire or French Empire was the Imperial Bonapartist regime of Napoleon III from 1852 to 1870, between the Second Republic and the Third Republic, in France.-Rule of Napoleon III:...


The initial purpose was simply for practising military manoeuvres, but it quickly turned into a showcase of the French Imperial Army, a theatrical propaganda display, where French citizens could meet the army and watch parades. Each year the camp was transformed into a town of tents and wooden chalets.

The camp survived the fall of the Second Empire in 1870, but changed into a training camp and a departure point for troops engaging in overseas operations.

The camp is used for military manoeuvres, and cavalry training, along with the neighbouring, 2,500 hectare, Camp de Moronvillers
In 1911, the small village of Moronvilliers had 86 inhabitants.On 2 September 1914, in the first month of World War I, the village, only 15 kilometers north-east from Rheims, was occupied by German troops. Situated on the frontline, the village was deserted and destroyed during the war.The village...

. Firing of live ordnance (rockets, missiles) is prohibited.


Châlons-en-Champagne was the birthplace of:
  • Martin Akakia
    Martin Akakia
    Martin Akakia was a physician of King Francis I of France. He was born at Châlons-en-Champagne, his real name being Aquaqia....

  • David Blondel
    David Blondel
    David Blondel was a French Protestant clergyman, historian and classical scholar.-Life:He was born at Châlons-en-Champagne. Ordained in 1614, he had positions as parish priest at Houdan and Roucy. After 1644, he was relieved of duties, and supported free to study full time.In 1650 he succeeded GJ...

     (1591–1655), Protestant clergyman
  • Jean Talon
    Jean Talon
    Jean Talon, Comte d'Orsainville was a French colonial administrator who was the first and most highly regarded Intendant of New France under King Louis XIV...

     (1626–1694), first Intendant of New France
    Intendant of New France
    New France was governed by three rulers: the governor, the bishop and the intendant, all appointed by the King, and sent from France. The intendant was responsible for finance, economic development, and the administration of justice . He also presided over the Sovereign Council of New France...

  • Nicolas Appert
    Nicolas Appert
    Nicolas Appert , was the French inventor of airtight food preservation. Appert, known as the "father of canning", was a confectioner.-Biography:...

     (1749–1841), inventor of the "appertisation", and the preservation of food.
  • Adolphe Willette
    Adolphe Willette
    Adolphe-Léon Willette was a French painter, illustrator, caricaturist, and lithographer. Willette ran as an "anti-semitic" candidate in the 19th arrondisement of Paris for the 1889 elections.-Biography:...

     (1857–1926), painter
  • Maurice Renard
    Maurice Renard
    -Overview:Maurice Renard was born in Châlons-en-Champagne.He was the author of the archetypal mad scientist novel Le Docteur Lerne - Sous-Dieu [Dr. Lerne - Undergod] , which he dedicated to H. G. Wells...

     (1875–1939), writer
  • Etienne Oehmichen
    Etienne Oehmichen
    Étienne Oehmichen was a French engineer and helicopter designer....

     (1884–1955), Engineer, considered father of the helicopter
  • Robert Louis Antral
    Robert Louis Antral
    Robert Antral was a French painter and printmaker, mainly of etchings. He won the Prix Blumenthal in 1926 and the Croix de guerre for his bravery in World War I.-Museum:...

     (1895–1939) painter
  • Xavier Bertrand
    Xavier Bertrand
    Xavier Bertrand is a French politician and Minister of Labour, Employment and Health. He was Minister of Health for almost two years in Dominique de Villepin's government under President Jacques Chirac, then Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Solidarity in François Fillon's second government...

     (born 1965), politician
  • Jacques Massu
    Jacques Massu
    Jacques Émile Massu was a French general who fought in World War II, the First Indochina War, the Algerian War and the Suez crisis.-Early life:Jacques Massu was born in Châlons-sur-Marne to a family of military officers; his father was an artillery officer...

     (1908–2002), Paratrooper
    Paratroopers are soldiers trained in parachuting and generally operate as part of an airborne force.Paratroopers are used for tactical advantage as they can be inserted into the battlefield from the air, thereby allowing them to be positioned in areas not accessible by land...



Châlons-en-Champagne was the death location of:
  • George Canning, 1st Baron Garvagh
    George Canning, 1st Baron Garvagh
    George Canning, 1st Baron Garvagh FRS was an Anglo-Irish Member of Parliament.Garvagh was the son of Paul Canning and the grandson of Stratford Canning of Garvagh in County Londonderry. Prime Minister George Canning and the diplomat Stratford Canning, 1st Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe, were his...

     (1778–1840), Diplomat and Fellow of the London Based Royal Society
    Royal Society
    The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

    , nephew to British Prime minister George Canning
    George Canning
    George Canning PC, FRS was a British statesman and politician who served as Foreign Secretary and briefly Prime Minister.-Early life: 1770–1793:...

  • Clyde Fitch
    Clyde Fitch
    Clyde Fitch was an American dramatist.-Biography:Born William Clyde Fitch at Elmira, New York, he wrote over 60 plays, 36 of them original, which varied from social comedies and farces to melodrama and historical dramas.As the only child to live to adulthood, his father, Captain William G...

    , American dramatist


British comedian Eddie Izzard mentions Châlons-en-Champagne (at the time known as Châlons-sur-Marne) on his stand-up album Definite Article, as part of a routine in which he tells of his school exchange trip to Châlons-sur-Marne, one of the highlights of which was a visit to a glue factory.

After being defeated by the Red Baron, Snoopy crawls past a sign for Chalons Sur Marne, in the classic, It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a 1966 American prime time animated television special based on the comic strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz....



Further reading

  • The Bonapartes in Châlons en Champagne (Les Bonaparte à Châlons en Champagne), by Jean-Paul Barbier and Michel Bursaux, Marnaise Studies (Etudes Marnaises), SACSAM, 2009.

External links

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