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Habits de Lumiere225December may not be the time of year that first springs to your mind for a visit to Champagne, but in fact there are several good reasons to do just that.

Apart from the obvious attractions of champagne tasting there’s a Christmas market in Reims which is a really stylish city – at least the centre of it – with lots of bars, restaurants and shops to wonder around and spend time in.

However for me the big attraction is the Habits de Lumières festival in the Avenue de Champagne in Epernay. The closest translation I can think of for this is Dressed In Lights and indeed the many champagne houses up and down the famous avenue are decked in lights creating a sort of Christmas Wonderland for adults in this most elegant of streets.

The festival has been going some 10 years now and under the guidance of a very dynamic local Tourist Office the celebrations are really impressive now.

First off is a spectacular parade up and down the avenue. This year the theme is PEARL and it kicks off at 19.15 on Friday 13th although I’d advise you to get there no later than 18.30

Every time I have been the costumes and the creativity of the actors taking part seems to get better and better and what with the musicians, the light show, the street artists of all types and the general ambiance, it’s a fabulous spectacle crowned with a superb firework display at the end

If that wasn’t enough, most of the champagne houses such as Moët & Chandon, Perrier-Jouët and many others open up to serve champagne and food till the early hours so it really is an event to put in your diary. Plus there are lots of other activities throughout the weekend

You can find more details and see some terrific pictures on the official web site here

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