The Barséquanais countryside stretches from the southern areas of Champagne onwards to Troyes along the Seine. Bar sur Seine, its economic centre is situated where five valleys join, each of them constitutes a particular geographic entity:
THE SEINE VALLEY
Upstream and downstream from Bar sur Seine to St Parres les Vaudes, there are a succession of charming villages with stone houses of history.
Bar sur Seine is the most important town of the Barséquanais. It has a historic past, which can be seen in its monuments, vineyards, all shops and services. There are many events. Going towards Mussy sur Seine (one of the famous sites of the Resistance), traditional winegrowing villages such as Buxeuil, Neuville sur Seine, Gyé sur Seine, Courteron (cadoles and old abbey), Plaines Saint Lange, Polisy and Polisot, with their cellars, cultural and natural heritage can be seen in this valley and you can practice sport activities (canoeing, horse riding...).
Walking or cycling, the 'circuit des cadoles' shows you a part of the local landscape, especially near Notre Dame des Vignes (our Lady of the vineyards). From Bar sur Seine to St Parres les Vaudes, then to Troyes, along a less raging Seine, the villages fascinate you, with their union between nature and agriculture. You can walk and admire Bourguignons, Jully sur Sarce, Virey sous Bar, Fouchères, Courtenot, Chappes Vilemorien, Villers sous Praslin, Villemoyenne, Vaudes. Part of this valley was onced crossed by the Canal de la Haute Seine which was never actually filled with water. This is why you will find a few locks and former lock keepers' houses as you walk along. From Saint Parres les Vaudes, you can join Rumilly les Vaudes, where you can admire the 'Manoir des Tourelles' (1530) and the church of Saint Martin (1527-1543)
THE ARCE VALLEY
It stretches from Merrey sur Arce to Vitry le Croisé and leads you to the Baralbin countryside and Bar sur Aube. Edged with big middle-class residences and solid stone winegrowers houses, between vines perfectly cultivated and deep forests, this road goes along the sinuous way of the Arce, spanned by little stone bridges which have kept their style. You can admire and visit the winegrowing villages of this valley (Chervey, Bertignolles, Eguilly sous Bois, Vitry le Croisé, Merrey sur Arce, Ville sur Arce, Chacenay or Buxières sur Arce) where tradition and modernity meet.
THE OURCE VALLEY
It stretches from Celles sur Ource to Cunfin. In Celles sur Ource, the biggest village in Champagne in terms of number of producers (more than forty producer-growers welcome you in their cellars. Walking along the 'sentier du vigneron' you can admire the panoramic view over the valleys
From there, you can visit a valley where landscapes consist of forest, vineyards and villages, which have kept their champagne characteristic such as Landreville, Viviers sur Artaut, Fontette, Noé les Mallets, Saint Usage, Verpillières sur Ource and Loches sur Ource (with a listed Roman bridge)
Essoyes's most prestigious inhabitant was the painter Auguste Renoir. He spent nearly twenty summers in Essoyes. He painted in his studio, which can be visited, in his property, which he bought in 1895. The painter and his wife, who was born in this village, are buried in the cemetery, as are their three sons, Jean (the cineast), Pierre (the actor) and Claude (the ceramist). The 'Chemins de Renoir' allow you to follow the painter's footsteps.
In Cunfin you can admire the church, the Ste Anne chapel and its botanical path. The 'Chemins de Cunfin' will allow you to discover the heritage and the forests of this village, situated on the limit of the Côte d'Or department.
THE LAIGNES VALLEY
Going up the Laignes valley, you could travel through time, from the castle of Ricey-Bas to the limits of Burgundy with the abbey of Molesmes, whose story is closely tied to that of the Barséquanais.
At the bottom of the vineyards, covered by forests, you will discover Les Riceys, an attractive village and remarkable for more than one thing.
Les Riceys is not only the biggest terroir of Champagne with 800 hectares in appellation; it is the only French village to have three Apellations of Controlled Origin (AOC), with in addition to Champagne, the 'Côteau Champenois' and the famous 'Rosé des Riceys'.
The Barséquanais is not limited to these five valleys. A great number of other villages lead to the Regional Natural Park of Orient Forest and to the Vendeuvrois countryside. These villages keep and marry a patrimony fullness and preserve a magnificent natural place. Stop and discover Magnant, Chauffour les Bailly, Briel sur Barse, Puits et Nuisements, Poligny, Longpré le Sec, Fralignes, Beurey, Thieffrain, Marolles les Bailly, Montmartin le Haut and Villy en Trodes.
THE SARCE VALLEY
The confluence of the Sarce is located downstream of Bar sur Seine and it stretches from Channes, Virey sous Bar, passing through Villemorien, you will notice that the landscape is ideal for mixed farming and livestock breeding. Arrelle which quite rightly lays claim to the Champagne appellation provides a transition between the winegrowing areas of Avirey-Lingey, Bagneux, Bragelogne, Beauvoir (source of the Sarce) and Channes.
Basically, from Bar sur Seine, a town, a centre of the confluence of five valleys, there are various routes you can take to set off and explore a whole host of riches:
- landscapes, nature
- built heritage
- the vineyards of the Champagne region