Regional Overview

Champagne and Cheese

Underneath the soil in the lands of Brie lies a bedrock of limestone, which lets surface water drain away quickly. Without an accessible water source, agriculture in this region was historically quite limited, but it was well suited for livestock and vineyards. These cows and grapes give us the two things that make Brie famous: cheese and Champagne.

Regional Identity

What to Lookout For

  • The town of Provins and its preserved old-town, with one of the few genuinely medieval cityscapes
  • Remnants of the medieval monarchy, e.g., the castles in Brie-Comte-Robert, Provins, and Chateau Thierry
  • The cultural landscape of Brie’s pastoral and dairy farming, especially in the region’s east




Justin Bunch | CityscapeTravel

What is Brie?

Though famous for its cheese, it has largely disappeared from modern maps. Much like its counterpart to the West in Vexin, Brie has also been reorganized several times for administrative simplicity. The western part, centered on the city of Brie-Comte-Robert, was part of the county of Dreux, which fell to the French crown in the 13th century. It was part of the royal domain of Ile de France. The Counts of Champagne ruled the remainder of the region, becoming crown territory a century later.

The soil, especially in the eastern half, is dry, and the bedrock of limestone did not hold sufficient water for mass agriculture in the pre-modern era. This pastoral life became rooted in the region, with cows and sheep being the predominant way of life. This lifestyle, of course, resulted in the famous cheese that we know today. More recently, the introduction of Champagne grapes to the region also benefits from the soil type.

The main destination in the region is the UNESCO-protected town of Provins, famous for its citadel with proper medieval heritage. Also worthwhile is the Palace of the Vaux-Vicomte, which was a style defining-building of the Baroque. It influenced the style of King Louis the XIV throughout the kingdom.

My Subjective Travel Rankings

To understand where the categories come from, see this article here.

6.2 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Accommodation: 6
  • Transportation: 3
  • Volume/Capacity: 6
  • Infrastructure: 6
  • Interactivity: 10

8 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Context: 8
  • Monuments: 10
  • Quality: 6

7 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Abstraction: 7
  • Tradition: 7



The Crownlands of the French Monarchs

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