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Champagne’s most famous convert to Christianity was the Merovingian warrior-king Clovis I, who founded the Frankish kingdom in the late 5th century and began the tradition of holding royal coronations in Reims. In the Middle Ages, the region – especially Troyes – grew rich from commercial fairs at which merchants from around Europe bought and sold products from as far afield as the Mediterranean.

The region’s name has been associated with bubbly since the late 17th century, when a Benedictine monk named Dom Pierre Pérignon perfected the process of using a second fermentation to make ho-hum still wine sparkle.