Welcome to Troyes
Troyes is less than a hundred miles from Paris, and several hundred years away. An ancient town on the banks of the Seine, its colourful history still lingers in its old Medieval streets, and around its Gothic cathedral and timbered 16th century houses. Since Roman times, the town has been home to a parade of the powerful and peculiar - Bishop Lupus allegedly saved the city from Attila the Hun by promising himself as a hostage and Louis the Stammerer received the Imperial crown at Troyes in 878. Until the French Revolution it was capital of the Champagne region, and in Medieval times, it was a vital centre of commerce.
Although now Troyes attracts more tourists than traders, the sense of its past is everywhere. The old town is so ancient it at first resembles some theme park reconstruction - until it becomes clear that students are throwing parties in the attics of these tumbledown houses, and couples are meeting for dinner and drinks in the old, wooden taverns which have stood for centuries in the same spot. Perhaps unusually aware of the passing of time, the citizens of Troyes have given the town a reputation for parties; with jolly crowds spilling from the little bars onto the cobbled pavements, and music floating from the mullioned casement windows above. Equal pleasure can be obtained from wandering the streets, stopping for a galette and a glass of wine in a little restaurant, or from tracing the line of history through the beautiful old cathedral and museums of which Troyes is rightly proud.
Troyes is famous for its churches and the sound of bells, and is a centre of excellence for stained glass restoration. But the most beautiful is the Gothic cathedral of St Pierre St Paul, with its lovely rose window and tower- from which, in 1536, Troyes watchmaker Denis Bolori leapt, wearing home-made articulated wings. He stayed in the air for some minutes, before crashing half a mile away.
Also worth a visit is the Halles de Troyes, a huge covered market, based on the style of the Parisian les Halles in 1876, which now houses a gourmet food market where artisan cheeses, meat and regional produce are sold- it is particularly busy and lively at weekends. A wonderful diversion is the 18th century Apothecary in the Hôtel-Dieu-le-Comte, a living museum with all the original crockery and glass of the centuries-old shop on display.
For a chic stop off, popular bar Café de Foy (13 Place Maréchal Foch
10000) is loved by locals, and is ideally located just by the old town. Wine lovers should go straight to Aux Crieurs de Vin, which offers over 300 different wines, most of which are organic. Close by the cathedral is the Rive Gauche Café, which is open all day, serves good food, and often has live music in the evenings.
Troyes has several excellent hotels. For a pleasant stay to break your journey, the Best Western Hotel De La Poste is close to old town, chic and comfortable. (35 Rue Emile Zola 1000) Also try the Relais St Jean, a stylish, contemporary interior in a Medieval building, or the lovely La Maison de Rhodes a 5 star hotel in another beautiful, timbered Medieval building.
Car: Parking is relatively easy in Troyes – side streets are mostly empty, and there are several underground car parks that hotels offer to the general public for less than €5 for two hours.
Public Transport: The TCAT service – a network of buses that travel throughout each of the fourteen urban areas of Troyes. The bus station office is in the train station, operated by Courriers de l’Aube.
Bike: There is a bike rental shop near Troyes, within riding distance of the town centre: Cycles Chaillez - 4 route d'Auxerre - 10120 Saint Andre Les vergers Phone : 33 (0)3 25 82 45 21
Tourist Information Office Rue Mignard Troyes 03 25 73 36 88
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