In the footsteps of the greatest: Dom Pérignon, Blaise Cendrars, Victor Hugo

are just a few of the illustrious personalities that were born or lived in the area.

Celebrated poets and authors...


The tragic actress Adrienne Lecouvreur (1692-1730) was born in the charming village of Damery, close to Epernay. Victor Hugo liked to stop when the fancy took him on his travels at Château Montmort-Lucy and prettily described its “hurly-burly of turrets, weather vanes, gables, skylights and chimneys" that can still be seen today. More recently, Wilhem Appolinaris de Kostrowitzhy, known as Guillaume Appolinaire, fought during World War I in Mourmelon-le-Grand, in the heart of Monts-de-Champagne, in 1915; Blaise Cendrars, author of La Main Coupée, fought at Navarin farm, and Fernand Léger, military ambulance driver, saw the Reims Cathedral in flames in September 1914. Robert Hossein, the famous French theatre director, also spent a part of his career in Reims as the director of Reims Dramatic Arts Centre (now called Comédie de Reims) between 1971 and 1978.

 

Genious inventors and creatives


Châlons-en-Champagne, prefecture of the Marne, is the birth town of Nicolas Appert (1749-1841), the smart inventor of the food can, drawer Cabu and comic and entertainer Pierre Dac (1896-1975). Châlons pays a tribute to him every year at its annual entertainers’ festival. In the world of comics, Albert Uderzo, the famous father of Exterix and Obelix, comes from Fismes, northwest of Reims. The artist Benoît Sokal, the pioneer of computer-assisted comic drawing, also lives in the coronation city.

Famous women from Champagne


What would Champagne be without women? Several women mentioned the beverage’s wonders. The Marquise de Pompadour claimed it was “the only wine to leave women beautiful after drinking”. And Marlene Dietrich: "It gives the impression that it is Sunday and better days are very close."

In the early 19th century, Nicole Clicquot-Ponsardin invented the technique of riddling with riddling tables, for which she was very successful at the Russian Court or with famous writers such as Merimee or Pushkin. At the height of her fame, she had built a magnificent Chambord-inspired castle in Boursault. Another emblematic woman is Jeanne Pommery, who took over the House of the same name: in 1861, she developed a Brut Champagne (slightly sweet) and successfully marketed it in the UK. Today, the Brut Champagne is the best-selling Champagne in the world.
 


Journalists


Journalist Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, former star newsreader and presenter on French channel TF1, was born and spent his early years in Reims. He has remained attached to the region and even sponsored the Abbey of l'Epine, the jewel of flamboyant gothic art situated minutes away from Châlons-en-Champagne. Daniel Rondeau, journalist and novelist, was born in Congy in the Marne and loves to return to his birthplace to relax.

Dom Pérignon

Dom Pérignon, legendary monk (1639-1715)
gave Champagne all its credits:
addition of sugar during the second fermentation, fast
and fragmented pressing to produce a white juice,
blend of several vintages, corks to maintain
coolness and foam, bottles reinforcement...
He is said to have created all these major inventions
that crossed the centuries and transformed Champagne
into an exceptional wine!

Source: CIVC