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Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Haute-Marne

Chaumont - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Haute-Marne

The prefecture of Haute-Marne, the town of Chaumont, built in the 10th century on a rocky spur overlooking the Marne and Suize Valleys, has kept a picturesque charm from its medieval days. Lovers of old buildings should take a walk in the historic centre to discover Chaumont's ancient heritage: a Gothic and Renaissance-style basilica, a keep from the 11th and 12th centuries, the 13th-century Arse Tower, turreted houses with corbels, 15th and 16th-century private mansions and more...

A relic of the castle of the Counts of Champagne, the feudal keep, a square tower standing 19 metres tall, offers a beautiful panoramic view over the Suize Valley from its terrace. The Museum of Art and History, based in the lower rooms of the old castle, displays collections of archaeology (including a bronze breastplate from the 8th century B.C.) and Fine Arts (paintings from the French, Italian, Flemish and Dutch schools; works by the Bouchardon family...).

Another of the town's flagship monuments, the basilica of St. John the Baptist, dates back to the 13th-16th centuries and is remarkable for its elegant south door, splendid Entombment in polychrome stone dating from 1471, and its sculptures by the Chaumont artist Bouchardon!

To enjoy a beautiful view of the basilica's towers and the old town's façades, head to Square Philippe Lebon, in the middle of which stands a stone statue of Philippe Lebon, the inventor of lighting gas.

Also worth seeing is the Crèche Museum, on Rue des Frères Mistarlet, which has collections of old crèches including superb Neapolitan crèches from the 18th century.

The House of Books and Posters, a cultural centre based in the silos of an old agricultural cooperative, contains an exceptional collection of old and contemporary posters, and hosts temporary exhibitions, conferences and workshops throughout the year. Every year in May-June, the graphic arts are honoured at the international festival of posters and graphic design, which is held at various locations in the town.

To the west of Chaumont, be sure to go and admire the magnificent railway viaduct, inaugurated in 1857, which overlooks the Suize Valley. With its fifty arches spread over three storeys, this remarkable hewn stone structure is 654 metres long and 52 metres tall, and has a specially created footpath on the first storey.

Additional information

Chaumont is the prefecture town of the department of Haute-Marne, in Greater East.

In the heart of the Plateau of Langres, where the Seine, the Aube and the Meuse, in particular, originate at the junction of Champagne and Burgundy, Chaumont (literally the Bald Mountain) was first established as early as the 10th Century on a spur without trees which dominated the valleys of the Suize and the Marne. Benefiting from a strategic positioning on the roads of communication and thus commercial exchanges as military stakes, the city is chosen like residence of the Counts of Champagne from the thirteenth century. Under the first empire, the sovereigns united against Napoleon I signed the treaty of the Holy Alliance and in 1917, Chaumont welcomed the headquarters of the American armies.

In the twentieth century, its status as a prefecture city allowed the city to retain its tertiary activities and garrisons, and if the glove industry that made a part of its reputation gradually disappeared, a few subcontracting units (BTP, Automotive) take over. Having preserved a large part of its rich heritage, the city which has nearly 24,000 inhabitants has become the capital of the art of poster and graphic design.

Things to see and do

A city tour can begin with its many architectural and historical elements. This is the case of the Jesuit chapel, whose construction was completed in 1640, and whose rich interior decor is outstanding. As the altarpiece of Claude Collignon (1632), which is akin to a complete stage set of a high-relief, representing an assumption, realized in the eighteenth century. To the right of the facade, we see the fountain dedicated to the sculptor Bouchardon of King Louis XV. Open afternoon (except Tuesday).

It continues with the Church of St. John the Baptist college in 1474 and became a basilica in 1948. Built in the early thirteenth, enlarged and remodeled until the sixteenth century, it houses numerous works of art inside, especially a sepulcher with life-size figures and various works of sculptor Jean-Baptiste Bouchardon Chaumontais (altar, furnishings). Open from 9am to 18pm.

See also the dungeon of the Counts of Champagne, built between the eleventh and the twelfth century on a rocky outcrop, and the last vestige of the castle. Tower high 20 meters square, it has retained its medieval appearance. Guided tours by reservation at +33 3 25 03 80 80.

At the hamlet of Reclancourt, to see the church of Saint-Aignan whose existence dates back to the thirteenth century. The building was rebuilt and modified again sixteenth and nineteenth centuries but it has older parts, as its massive and decorative bell. Inside, one can admire the altarpiece tabernacle altar in gilded wood, commissioned Jean-Baptiste Bouchardon in September 1735. In the nearby cemetery, many monuments dedicated to former workers of the glove factories and soldiers of the first war. be guided visit of the church and cemetery by contacting +33 3 25 03 80 80.

The type Baltard halls designed in 1889 and the entrance gate decorated with a clock, the town hall built in the late eighteenth in a classic style or the monument to Franco-American Friendship built after first war, which depicts a woman (the country) and a french soldier shaking hands with an American soldier should also be included in a discovery Chaumont course.

In another kind, impossible not to notice the railway viaduct opened in 1856 along 600 m, consists of 50 arches to a height of 50 m. It is considered one of the most remarkable works of art from the second half of the nineteenth century. Walkers can take the first floor (nice view on the Suize Valley). The viaduct was recently the subject of a stunning highlighting which is a show in itself. Every day, a color predominates and the weekend, all the colors blend into each other to create "a color tunnel".

Note that the Tourist Office offers guided tours of the city including key heritage sites. Price: 3.50 and 5.50 euros. Information at +33 3 25 03 80 80.

Chaumont also has an art and history museum housed in the lower rooms of the former palace of the Counts of Champagne (twelfth and fourteenth centuries). We discover several collections of archeology, history and fine arts, including paintings by Paul de Vos, Bartolomeo Bettera Francois Alexandre Pernot, drawings and sculptures of Jean-Baptiste and Edmé Bouchardon. The museum has dedicated a dining Ganterie Tréfousse, a company created in 1854. She experienced a rapid development and employed almost half of the working population of the city. Open daily from 14h to 18h except Tuesday. Admission: € 2. Information +33 3 25 03 01 99.

The amazing museum of this nursery also the finest collection of Neapolitan cribs eighteenth century preserved in France. Other clay cribs and spun glass from Nevers and paintings of the Nativity, including the famous "Holy Family on the stairs" from the workshop of Poussin, complete the collection. Open every day except Tuesday from 14h to 18h. Price: 2 euros (shared entrance with the art and history museum). Information at +33 3 25 32 39 85.

Unable to step Chaumont without a visit to sign, the National Center of graphic design, opened in 2016. Initiated by the gift in 1905 of 5000 posters by MP Gustave Dailly, background posters kept at Chaumont is most important France. It now includes some 45 000 iconic pieces. This collection is the original design of the now biennial international festival graphic. This event takes place every two years, brings together all the artists and graphic designers worldwide for nearly 30 years. In July 2020, the sign does qualify Center for Contemporary Art in the national interest - CACIN - which asserts its position as an actor working in contemporary art and its diffusion in France. Open Wednesday to Sunday 14h to 18h. Free entry. Information +33 3 25 35 79 01.

Note also that the remarkable Carmelite House, which dates from the sixteenth century, now hosts many exhibitions. Information at +33 6 08 25 52 18.

It may be time then to ventilate. This may involve a visit to the garden Agathe Roullot staked 22 terminals sculptures representing animals from the garden to educate visitors about biodiversity.

Side leisure, fishermen are to feast on Chaumont and its surroundings. Contact +33 3 25 32 51 10 to find out the suitable places and regulation.

For a boat ride, from April to October, contact +33 3 25 03 33 02.

For cycling enthusiasts, group outings are offered by the local cycling club in +33 7 83 01 30 74 and discoveries of the city on 2 wheels are offered by another association +33 6 73 44 53 58.

For hikers in general, number of courses are suggested various themes, intended for walkers or bikers. Inquire March 25 03 80 80. Those who prefer horseback riding join the equestrian center +33 6 75 27 62 13.

for sports, still, the tennis club is open to visitors. Information at +33 3 25 30 69 05.

Finally, for the pleasures of swimming and lounging, summer pool with slides and play areas is open from mid-June to late August. Admission: € 2.90. Contact the +33 3 25 02 82 10.

Otherwise, the indoor pool has two pools and is open all year. Information at +33 3 25 03 26 32.

Places of interest

Leisure centres
Natural sites

Events and festivities

Chaumont, strong of a remarkable collection of old posters bequeathed in 1906, has become a hotbed of graphic design since the creation in 1990 of a festival and an international competition which allowed the creation of a collection of contemporary posters.

Became International Biennial of Graphic Design, and now carried by the sign. Contests, exhibitions, workshops, meetings and conferences succession from mid-May to mid-September. Inquire +33 3 25 35 79 01.

original event, the Atonement is celebrated for over 5 centuries, when St. John the Baptist falls on a Sunday. The next edition will be celebrated in 2018. The program, besides the religious celebration, many popular and festive entertainment in the heart of the city.

Finally, in another area, the halls host a renowned flea market every 3rd Sunday of the month from May to September. It is still the market-place has a weekly market on Saturday morning from 8 to 13h, a good opportunity to discover the specialties of the Haute-Marne soil.


The Sign, National Center of graphics (© Michel Denancé)
The Sign, National Center of graphics (© Michel Denancé)
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