Troyes is pronounced like the French number three (trois) – twah. It’s in the Champagne region and the only reason we went there was because it was so close to our hotel. It ended up being my favourite place that we visited.
Its greatest charm is that so many of the houses and businesses are in medieval buildings.
The houses are old everywhere.
with old factories
and old architecture.
The streets are narrow.
And Troyes boasts one exceptionally narrow street: The Ruelle des Chats (Alley of the Cats)
It’s so narrow, the houses slope together and almost touch at the top.
Here is the view from inside looking up.
Here is the view from the wider portion of the street.
And even further back.
And here, towards the front again – from the tight part, looking out towards the pinprick of freedom.
There are some charming open plazas to offset the tiny alleyways.
And the Seine river flows through the city so you have some cute little bridges with statues everywhere.
Statues like this.
Juliet shows her French roots by automatically kissing on the side.
However the boys’ body language is universal.
There was so much to see, and the kids were just thrilled to be there.
Troyes was home of the author Christian de Troyes, who was the first person to put the old myth about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table down on paper. It was also a marketplace on the Roman Road “Agrippa” that connected Boulogne and Milan, and as such, the ‘troy’ measurement for gold mass comes from here. Joan of Arc brought Charles VII to Troyes on his way to Reims, freeing the city for him.
The churches were not destroyed in the wars, and the Saint Pierre / Saint Paul church (gothic and renaissance in architecture)
is not far from the Basilica church, Saint Urbain.
If you want to know more, there is a good comprehensive (but easy to read) history of Troyes here, with the sources cited.
When you’re visiting Troyes, you simply breathe in the history no matter where you go. We ate dinner at the Grill Saint Jean.
I had missed the photo on the back of the menu, which shows the history of ownership. The owner pointed it out to me as we were leaving and I asked how old the building was. They’ve been able to date the first owner back to 1460, but the document states that the building was already in disrepair at that point, so it had been built centuries before that.
We were seated next to this staircase, and it wasn’t hard to imagine people from centuries past running up and down.
<Wench! Get me some beer!>
(or something like that).
By the way, despite the bread that was not up to French standards, and the inferior quality of ice cream served to the kids (who didn’t care), I’d say that the welcome, service and food at the Grill were excellent. I recommend it for when you go.
At the end of the day, we drove the short distance back to our hotel (The Best Western – another winner), entirely satisfied with our introduction to Troyes.
* This is not a sponsored post.