Reims, birthplace of aviation

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The first flight between two towns took place in Champagne.

The flight was made by Henri Farman on 30 October 1908, taking off from Bouy near Mourmelon and landing 27 kilometres away in a field near Reims. Flying at 73km/h, the achievement of this first flight was not in its distance or speed, but in the possibility of reaching a precise destination that had been fixed before take-off. 

This first flight from one town to another thus opened the way to air travel. The pilot could at last decide on his place of arrival. Henry Farman was a pilot and plane builder. He later opened a workshop in Champagne, near an army camp close to Chalon-Champagne.

The first big Aviation Week in Champagne was organised from 22 to 29 August 1909, with the generous help of major Champagne brands, grouped together in a committee presided by the Marquis Melchior de Polignac. The Aviation Week was the first international air meeting. The second week was organised in July 1910. A military airplane competition took place in Reims from October to November 1911. This was another world first.

The most prestigious event was the first Gordon Bennett international aviation speed cup, with a silver trophy and a large sum of money given to the pilot with the fastest plane.