Tomorrow I head back to the greatest country outside Australia. For Clare's birthday we are heading to Epernay in France.
According to Wikipedia:
Épernay (Sparnacum) belonged to the archbishops of Reims from the 5th until the 10th century, when it came into the possession of the counts of Champagne. It was badly damaged during the Hundred Years' War, and was burned by Francis I in 1544. It resisted Henry of Navarre in 1592, and Marshal Biron fell in the attack which preceded its eventual capture. In 1642 it was, along with Château-Thierry, named as a duchy and assigned to the duc de Bouillon.
More accurately, however, it's within the region that Champagne comes from.
I have a few issues with the Wikipedia explanation:
a) The Hundred Years War actually went for 116 years and was a series of different wars;
b) The French Royal Anthem is mostly about Henry of Navarre, yet Épernay resisted him- does that mean they should have their own renegade Royal Anthem? 'God Save the Queen' perhaps?
c) Francis I was born in Cognac. I see jealousy...
So despite what I see on Wikipedia and Google maps, I'm not sure what to expect. There are only about 25,000 people in Épernay, so maybe it'll be a quaint little town ruined by tourists looking for another glass of champagne (ie. us).
What I do know, however, is that it's no surprise they resisted Henry: