Côte des Bar Route

Champagne Grapes

Côte des Bar is a section in the Route Tourtistique de Champagne that lies east of Troyes. Located in the Aube department, this section almost did not make it on the Champagne producteurs list as the winemakers of the Aube did not receive the rights to grow and produce Champagne back in 1909. Sales of their grapes in the northern territories were also forbidden. Hence, the winemakers of Aube started strikes and riots so chaotic that the French army was called in to police the situation. Sixteen years after this incident, Aube winemakers got the rights to produce Champagne. However by this time, the Marne department had already developed a strong reputation, making it a dominant Champagne producer in the region.

Nonetheless the Côte des Bar section is no less fascinating. The route passes through a peak on which the town of Bar-sur-Aube sits. Bar-sur-Aube is on the Troyes rail line and home to a pretty medieval quarter, an 11th century cellar and 2 ancient churches- more notably the 13th century Église St-Pierre (contact the town’s tourist office for guided tours of these buildings).

The town of Bayel lies nearby. Known for its prestigious mouth-blown crystals, Bayel is home to one of the largest French crystal/glass companies- Cristallerie Royale de Champagne [+33 325924268 (contact the Crystal Museum for tours of the factory) www.tourisme.barsuraube.org]. This company is situated right next to the town’s tourist office and is open to visitors.

The route then heads towards Chaumont via Colombey-les-deux-Églises – the village where General Charles de Gaulle lived. The statesman, who led the French Resistance during WWII, is buried here in the central churchyard of the village. His old home at La Brossierie [+33 325015252 www.colombey-les-deux-eglises.com/la_boisserie.htm ad/ch €3/Free] has also been turned into a museum in his honour.

Essoyes- another town that was once home to a prominent figure also lies on this route. Essoyes is where the renowned Impressionist artist Renoir spent the last 2 decades of his life. He lies buried in this town and his workshop, the Atelier Renoir [Côte des Renoir, +33 325291094 www.renoir-aube-champagne.com ad/ch €7/3.50] is now a museum.

Near the south-west end of the trail,  Les Riceys has the largest Champagne territory in the Côte des Bar route. Home to about 866 hectares growing 3 different AOCs, the town is also known for its distinct rose wines.  

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CÔTE DES BAR ROUTE1. Bar-sur-Aube  2. Bayel  3. Essoyes  4. Les Riceys 
Villages on the route: Arconville, Arrentières, Avirey-Lingey, Bagneux-la-Fosse, Baroville, Bar-sur-Aube, Bar-sur-Seine, Bayel, Bergeres, Bertignolles, Bligny, Bragelogne-Beauvoir, Buxeuil, Buxières-sur-Arce, Celles-sur-Ource, Champignol-lez-Mondeville, Channes, Chassenay, Colombé-la-Fosse, Colombé-le-Sec, Courteron, Dolancourt, Essoyes, Fontette, Gyé-sur-Seine, Landreville, Les Riceys, Lignol-le-Château, Loches-sur-Ource, Meurville, Neuville-sur-Seine, Noé-les-Mallets, Polisot, Polisy, Proverville, Rizaucourt-Buchey, Rouvres-les-vignes, Urville, Ville-sur-Arce, Viviers-sur-Artaut, Voigny