Forest massif, iconic wine-growing hillsides, chalky plain… With their green cathedral appearance, the different landscapes of the Montagne de Reims charm the eye. Come on board with us for a nice overview!
An iconic landscape triptych
With its unique silhouette, the Montagne de Reims is unlike any other territory! Its specificity, linked to the geology of its site, is called “landscape triptych”. Why this name? Quite simply because it is born from the meeting of three magnificent landscapes.
1. The forest plateau
The top of the Montagne de Reims is covered with a vast wooded plateau, punctuated by inhabited and cultivated clearings. This forest, thick and dense, turns out to be a incredible green lung in the heart of the Marnais Triangle, as well than a precious sanctuary for the fauna and flora of the territory.
It is no coincidence that this is the first landscape heritage that local stakeholders decided to protect and promote, by creating the Montagne de Reims Regional Natural Park in 1976. As such, it is even the pillar of the Founding Charter of the Park.
This wooded massif is located on moist, cool and very flat clay-loam soil in its eastern part. Then, it becomes more and more hilly, irrigated by a dense hydrographic network. At first closed and intimate, the forest completely shifts towards immense expanses as it crosses the forest edge. A true transitional space between the woods and the hillsides, the latter is one of the structuring markers of this environment, which it is essential to preserve.
2. The wine hillsides or Cuesta d’Île-de-France
These hills extend on the north, east and south-eastern flanks of the Montagne de Reims. They continue south, on the left bank of the Marne to the Côte des Blancs. They are mainly covered with AOC Champagne vineyard. The villages seem to hide in the hollows of the relief, near the sources: their morphology, dense and grouped, gives them a remarkable identity.
Shaped by the hand of man, the Cuesta d'Île-de-France and its Champagne wine hillsides thus constitute a living cultural heritage, constantly evolving. The superb balance between the rows of vines, the architecture of the villages and the surrounding forest form a landscape recognized (and envied!) internationally. The location high up on the hillsides offers nature lovers a breathtaking panorama of the plain, right up to its horizon.
3. The chalk plain
Lower down, the chalk plain surrounds the foot of the Montagne de Reims on its northern, eastern and southeastern limits. These vast agricultural areas contribute greatly to the distinctive silhouette of the Montagne de Reims. Crossed by major infrastructures (A4 and A26 motorways, train, TGV, Marne to Aisne canal, etc.), they constitute the main gateway to the territory.
It is also from this broad plain that the “Mountain” of Reims is appreciated as such, with an illusion of verticality regardless of its low height: the average difference in altitude between the plain and the summit of the mountain is 150 approximately meters. Its highest point? Mount Sinai, located at an altitude of 286 m!
The Marne valley
The Marne valley thus constitutes an essential region of the Park, which extends on its northern slope, from Tours-sur-Marne to Vincelles. Its route is linked to ancient meanders: this is particularly the case in the “historic hillsides” which dominate the river between Mutigny and Hautvillers. There, we discover a first green amphitheater, corresponding to the Cubray valley, then a second between Champillon and Hautvillers. Something to savor sublime views on the valley and the town of Épernay!
Urbanization in the Marne valley is strongly constrained by the AOC Champagne and the floodable valley floor. The villages are therefore evolving towards a densification of their urban fabric, which the Park carefully monitors to preserve the balance of the landscapes. The preservation and promotion of trees, shrubs and other plants on the banks of the Marne also constitute a major challenge in protecting the valley.
Less known than the main valley, the secondary valleys of the Marne valley are just as remarkable for its beauty and balance of their landscapes. This time, it is the erosion of the tributaries of the Marne which has sculpted these intimate reliefs: the Livre, the Cubray, the Brunet, and the Belval.
Their composition recalls that of the Marne valley, at a more confidential scale : riverbeds winding at the bottom of the valley, villages located on its edges or at the top, hillsides covered with vines and the summits of the slopes covered with forest.
In Celtic, “late” means “source”: an etymology full of meaning for the Tardenois, watered by the Ardre and its many tributaries! Because they are all good these small streams and rivers which have carved this fabulous landscape hilly, on the northwest edge of the Park.
In addition, these watercourses and their wooded edges are important markers of the wide valleys of the Tardenois, in which a magnificently rich fauna and flora flourish. The region presents a mosaic of crops and vines, whose silhouette has remained close to that of the early XNUMXth centurye century. The villages are most often nestled in the deepest part of the hillside, called “the tank”.
Other landmarks in these landscapes: the military cemeteries, which generally punctuate the summits of the Tardenois valleys. These places of memory are enhanced by their setting of vegetation, like the yew adornment of the Italian cemetery of Bligny, in Chambrecy.
Did this page make you want to escape? Our inspiration for outings through the emblematic landscapes of the Park are there to satisfy you!