Langres travel guide

Cities and towns

About Langres

Langres in Champagne Ardenne is a fortified town dating as far back as the 4th century.

Fortifications were first built at Langres in the 4th century towards the end of the Roman Empire. Originally a Gaulish city called Lingons, the Romans renamed it Andemantunnum after the conquest of Gaul in 52 BC and held it as the head of a huge territory at the crossroads of several important trade and communication routes. Throughout the 13th and 14th centuries, Langres grew and had become a large royal fortified town by the 15th century, a stronghold sitting on the border of the French kingdom. 7 towers, 7 gates and 3.5km ramparts make up the fortifications along with the huge citadel, added in the 19th century, when the fortifications were restored. The Porte des Moulins, built in the 1640s, is the most majestic gate whilst the Tower of Navarre is an impressive work of defensive architecture 30m in diameter and 20 m high with walls 7m thick. Unique in France it is well worth a visit with audio-guides, interactive terminals and video screens to learn more about this 16th century tower. Langres does not just have remarkable military architecture, however, it also has some beautiful religious architecture from the period of the Counter Reformation including the cathedral St Mammes and the former Ursuline convent and its chapel, as well as several Renaissance mansions.

Take the tourist train along the 3.5km ramparts for a 50 minute journey with a commentary and music. Or, why not walk the ramparts on foot and enjoy the panoramic views? If you don't want to walk all the way, just follow the covered passageways back into the inner courtyards as shortcuts into town where you can take a quiet stroll through Place Diderot and admire the statue of Langres most famous inhabitant, the Enlightenment philosopher, Denis Diderot. Visit the Museum of Art and History of Langres to uncover the area's past. It houses the Bacchus mosiac from the 2nd century, collections of archaeological finds from prehistory and Gallo-Roman times, as well as sculptures, paintings and decorative arts including Langres cutlery and Aprey faïence. Water plays an important part in the natural environment of this area and the river sources of the Marne, Aube, Meuse and Seine can all be found around Langres. There are four aritfical lakes designed as reservoirs which feed into the Marne-Saône canal. The Lake la Liez is the only lake visible from the ramparts and is great for watersports as well as walking and cycling with a path around the outside of 16km. Lake Charmes is a favourite spot with anglers and Lake la Mouche is great for a relaxing walk or cycle with a 7km path, and the forest reflected in the water. The longest of the lakes, Lake la Vingeanne, has a recreation centre and a beach which is popular with families. There are also some great places for bird-watching. Explore the countryside of Langres with themed nature walks amongst the valleys and marshes with themes including medicinal plants and natural cosmetics.

With local crafts including basketry and the cutlery industry, Langres has some great shopping opportunities for those interested in crafts. There are also antiques shops, art galleries and jewellers with a weekly market every Friday selling local produce. Don't forget to buy some AOC Langres cheese, a mild flavoured yellow cheese made from cow's milk with an orange-yellow skin and a slight hollow in the top reminiscent of the ramparts of Langres. Honey and truffles are also produced locally as are the Choue beers of the brasserie de Vauclair and a red currant drink called Le Rubis de Groiselle, best served chilled as an aperitif or after dinner.

Why visit Langres?

  • The Ramparts
  • The Towers and Gates
  • The Lakes
  • Food and Drink 

Overview

  • Country: France
  • Region: Champagne Ardenne
  • Department: Haute-Marne
  • Population: 10,000
  • Coordinates: 47.867998,5.334279

Coordinates shown are based on the WGS84 system, please check driving directions before departing.

Nearby attractions

A modern builidng in the heart of the old town, the Langres Museum of Art and History contains many archaeological exhibits including the Bacchus mosiac dating from the 2nd century.

Visible from the ramparts of Langres, the 290 hectare Lac de Liez is perfect for water sports, walking and cycling. One of 4 man-made lakes around Langres, Lac de Liez has many opportunities for different water-based...

Situated above the tomb of St Benignus (who is believed to have brought Christianity to Burgundy in the 2nd century), this Gothic-style cathedral was built between 1280 and 1325. Some of Burgundy's great figures are buried...

The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon is located in part of the Ducal Palace. It contains, among other things, ducal kitchens dating back to the mid-15th century, and a substantial collection of European paintings from Roman times...

Places to visit nearby

Dijon in Burgundy is the historic seat of the Dukes of Burgundy and has a rich medieval heritage.

Dole in Franche Comté is a pretty town with an historical centre that is set in the beautiful countryside of the Doubs valley.

Arbois in Franche Comté is the capital of the renowned Jura wines and is the perfect base for exploring the stunning natural environment of mountains, gorges, caves and waterfalls in the area.