One of the most prestigious wines in France is also produced in the Aisne department: the champagne. The atmosphere is friendly and rural. You would in no way associate the specialty of the region with champagne: the flamiche, a hearty cheesecake, of which there are also varieties with bacon and plums. Simple, but tasty and fitting in with an area with an enormous agricultural tradition.
In the friendly rolling landscape of the Aisne, fields, meadows and vast forests alternate. There are still many small and large-scale farms in operation. They like to open their doors to visitors and often fresh products are for sale. Fun for children is the 'leather farm' of Concevreux, with lots of cuddly piglets, lambs and goats. Also fun and educational for young and old: the Ateliers de l'Abeille in Chavignon, where more than a thousand beehives are scattered and where beekeepers show the art of making honey.
With more than 2000 km of hiking trails, the Aisne is a delight for nature lovers and walkers. The thematic routes are very varied and can often be followed on a dirt bike. But the lover of culture and monuments is also in their element. The Aisne is in fourth place on the list of French departments with the most monuments. These combinations of nature and culture provide many sights.
Beautiful nature experiences are the waterfall of Blagny, at Hirson, the lake of l'Aillette, at Chamouille - not far from capital Laon, and the troglodyte villages of Bourg-et-Comin. A natural phenomenon that appeals to children is the Hottéé du Diable, a sandstone formation that seems to be made for climbing, scrambling and playing hide and seek. Those who love to paddle and enjoy water sports will feel at home in Axo'plage nature and leisure park, between Laon and Soissons, and on Lake Frette, between Laon and Saint-Quentin.
Laon and Saint-Quentin are the historic towns of the Aisne. The heart of both cities breathes the Middle Ages. City walks take you past numerous distinguished houses and monuments. The cathedral of Laon is a showpiece. You can visit various museums in both cities. Especially recommended: the Motobécane Museum Saint-Quentin, dedicated to France's most nostalgic bicycle, moped and motorcycle brand. Motobécane is the original father of the famous Mobylette.
Outside of larger cities such as Laon and Saint-Quentin, the Aisne offers many places and villages worth seeing, often with fortified churches that in the Middle Ages offered shelter to farmers, citizens and people outside. Medieval chapels tell the story of the Knights Templar, the religious knighthood that was an important power factor in France in the 12th century. Places and villages that are worthwhile during your trips from your holiday home in the Aisne are Parfondeval, Coucy-le-Château-Auffrique, Plomion, Leschelle, Vorges, Dohis and Nouvion le Vineux.
As a producer of the world's most renowned wine, champagne, the Aisne naturally also has a monastery named after the patron saint of the vine: Saint-Jean-des-Vignes. You can find the abbey in medieval abbey in Soissons. Finally, a last tip for a nostalgic family trip: the Maison de Marie-jeanne museum in Alaincourt. Relive old times with a delightful collection of older utensils, items of clothing, toys, comic books and postcards from the 19th and early 20th centuries.