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Word Count: 395
When you think of Champagne what comes to mind Champagne is not just the bubble-filled alcoholic drink but also an important region of France Champagne is a region in France which lies in a jagged one hundred-mile crescent approximately an hour and a half east of Paris with the base near Burgundy and the tip near Belgium Within Champagne are four cathedrals containing great architectural and historic interest two art museums that have superior collections a number of fine restaurants where the local wine is drank casually All of this set in some of the most brilliant countryside France has to offer in a place of tranquiled and varied beauty Today Champagne is one of Frances more accessible regions Roads here are nearly deserted wind and delve between red-roofed villages through forests and fields and 75000 acres of vineyards growing grapes At Courgivaux when you enter Champagne the landscape begins to open out in long fields filled with white lanes that are attractive in contrast to the vivid fields The fields are a sign of the regions most noticeable geological feature for the Champagne was anciently an inland sea It left behind nothing but a gigantic block of chalk studded with fossils which lie beneath the topsoil in deposits hundreds of feet thick It is this chalk which makes champagne what it is due to the chalky soil reflecting the suns warmth This heat provides excellent dissipation Its fossils give nutrients and the caves maintain a constant temperature which is used to ferment the vintages During the early Middle Ages Champagne was a duchy under Merovingian rulers About the 10th century it became a hereditary estate known as the county of Champagne In the 12th and 13th centuries it became famous for commercial fairs attended by merchants from all of Europe with Troyes as the capital In 1314 Champagne became a province of the royal domain of France when the
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