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Looking across Lac Amance, Foret d'Orient RNP (May 2013) [© Steve Marshall/Wild Future Photo]

Champagne Lakes & Forests

Between the chalky Champagne plain and the Ardennes mountains lies a landscape of great and small lakes, vast forests, valley pastures and low wooded ridges - the 'Champagne Humide'. This little populated region has much to discover, yet lies under four hours from Calais.

Our favourite areas are around Lac du Der-Chantecoq - Europe's largest artificial waterbody - and the Foret d'Orient Regional Nature Park, a group of reservoirs amongst mature oak forest, which together with the historic city of Troyes make up a wide-ranging holiday destination. Choose an area of interest from the left-hand menu or the map below and don't forget to read our trip reports to learn more.

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A haven of wildlife, walks and watersports!

With an area of 987 square miles (2558 sq km), the Champagne Lakes is the largest French wetland designated under the Ramsar Convention for their conservation and sustainability.

We're concentrating on an area stretching just 35 miles by 12 miles (55km by 20km), from near Saint Dizier, in the Haute-Marne department, southwest towards Troyes, history-rich capital of the Aube department, and taking in the Lake Der-Chantecoq and the Forêt d’Orient Regional Nature Park.

The lakes and forests, interspersed with meadows and pasture, provide backdrop to quiet walks and cycle rides in summer; in winter, they provide northern France's best birdwatching with abundant woodpeckers and wildfowl, plus the migrating Common Cranes - which can number in the tens of thousands. Deer, wild boar and coypu can be seen all year round.

With such vast waterbodies, some parts are protected for wildlife and others are zoned for sport - if you like to mix your relaxation with something more strenuous, then sailing, windsurfing, water-skiing and jet-skiing are all available at the nautical centres.


Our website shows the following areas in detail:

Forest d'Orient

Places: Geraudot, Lusigny-sur-Barse, Mesnil-Saint-Pere, Piney, Brienne-le-Chateau, Dienville

Wild Places: Lac d'Orient, Lac d'Auzon-Temple, Lac Amance, Foret du Temple

Also: Troyes


Lac du Der-Chantecoq

Places: Arrigny, Giffraumont-Champaubert, Eclaron, Sainte-Marie-du-Lac-Nuisement

Wild Places: Route sur Digue, Cornee du Der, Presq'ile de Champaubert, Der Side Lakes

Also: La Ferme aux Grues



Presque 'Île de Champaubert, Lac du Der-Chantecoq, Champagne Lakes & Forests [Photo © Steve Marshall/Wild Future Photo]

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