Troyes, Travel throught the past

Troyes - Maisons à pan de bois - Rue Emile Zola

Troyes: with its cobbled streets, its half-timbered houses, its Renaissance town houses, its nine churches and its cathedral of light

The cliché may seem somewhat jaded and somewhat outdated. But no, the medieval part of town has retained the character that the trouvères (poets) and all the merchants who used to come through were familiar with. This was the era of the great Champagne fairs, when times were prosperous and money was minted here. And when people exchanged items of cloth, silk and silver in an atmosphere of popular jubilation. And the town, this ancient capital of Champagne, is proud of all that – proud of its heritage, especially that of the 16th century.
It’s as lovely as ever, splendid as ever. And now the town has got back its beautiful pastel-toned façades, because they have used the pigments of years gone by in doing renovation work.

With the advent of the industrial era the walls, towers and gates were lost, and the town came to be surrounded by working-class dwellings as textile factories popped up by the dozen like mushrooms.

And from the churches (of Saint-Pantaléon, Saint-Jean, Saint-Rémy, etc.) lewd-looking gargoyles will point you in the direction of the basilica (Saint-Urbain) and the cathedral (Saint-Pierre et Saint-Paul). The town has nine other clock towers in an area bounded by what we call the Bouchon de Champagne (champagne cork).

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Photos Philippe Pernet