: History

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About
Champagne was at the crossroads of two major trade routes, north–south between Flanders and Switzerland and east–west from Paris to the Rhine. Its position made it prosperous, but also ensured that it has been fought over many times in the course of the past 1,500 years. One of the most important battles in history was fought at Châlons-sur-Marne (now Châlons-en-Champagne) in ad 455, when Attila the Hun was finally repulsed. Subsequent battles included a savage civil war, the Fronde in the middle of the 17th century. As late as 1914 the famous ‘Taxis de la Marne’ brought French reinforcements from Paris to repulse the German invaders, who had (briefly) occupied Épernay and reached the outskirts of Rheims. But successive conflicts merely interrupted the progress of the vineyard.