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A pretty little town of 26,000 inhabitants, situated between the Marne and the hillside vineyards, where all of the ?Champagne Trail? circuits come together. The heart of the vineyards, with 30,000 hectares currently in production, beats in Epernay. In the past, the whole region was nothing but a vast marsh full of thorny brambles, which is where the town gets its name from: Sparnacum (the Celtic root ?sparn? means 'thorn', followed by the collective suffix ?aucun?). The town of Epernay was founded in the 5th century by tanners who set up on the banks of the Cubry stream. In 1024, the town was taken over by the Counts of Champagne. Since its foundation, the town has been destroyed many times, and has suffered fire and pillaging over 25 times. It was seriously damaged during the First World War, and bombed again in 1940. For this reason, Epernay has few vestiges of its past: only the Saint Martin Gate and the gate of the Louise de Savoie House, which dates back to the 16th century, and of course the beautiful 19th century townhouses.


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