Champagne, Normandy - new flights


New flights to the Champagne region and Deauville are set to take off from London's Stansted Airport this summer. They will be operated from 27 May to 26 September by Inzee Air (apparently a reference to the song – where love is) using a 100 seat Fokker aircraft. The airline has been launched by a former comedian and singer, more recently turned travel agent. The Champagne services will operate to a former military air base that switched to civil use in 2000 and is marketed as Paris-Vatry, even though it is 91 miles east of the French capital's centre. Its nearest major city is Chalons-en-Champagne, capital of the Marne region and notable for its timber framed building facades and the cathedral of St Etienne - mixed Romanesque and Gothic - with its fine 16th century stained glass windows.


Chalons is also a convenient jumping off point for the much larger Reims. Aside from its great cathedral and champagne cellars don't miss the fascinating Surrender Museum and the map room – left as it was - where the General Jodl signed the German capitulation in 1944.

Jodl'r chair

To the south of the airport is gorgeous Troyes, with its 16th century half timbered houses built after fire had ravaged the city.

Deauville, an elegant seaside resort known for its horse racings and casino, is on Normandy's Côte Fleurie. It is also a gateway to the lovely neighbouring port of Honfleur, with an excellent museum dedicated to one of my favourite painters, Boudin, master of delicate little beach scenes, Pont l'Eveque, centre of the region that produces the eponymous cheese, and the lush countryside of Calvados.

TIP: try Le Pavé d'Auge, a Michelin starred restaurant in the photogenic, flower filled village of Beuvron en Auge. If you want to stay the night, Le Pavé d’Hôtes, a charming b&b run by the chef's wife, is a short stroll away.