Troyes, city of beauty and romance

  • © Michel Joly

    © Michel Joly

  • © Phovoir

    © Phovoir

  • © Phovoir

    © Phovoir

  • © Clergeot

    © Clergeot

Troyes, city of beauty and romance troyes fr

The beauty of Troyes strikes every visitor to the town with its exquisite historical centre of beautiful half timbered houses with corbelled roofs, mullioned windows and timber and cob walls, materials commonly used in mediaeval architecture in the Champagne region. From the brightly coloured houses and narrow alleyways redolent of a by-gone time to delightful little gardens in hidden passages, everything here inspires harmony and captures the imagination. 

Troyes was the capital of the ancient Province of Champagne in the Middle Ages, the seat of the ruling Counts of Champagne and home of the famous 'Champagne Fairs' when traders came from far and wide to deal in silks, leathers, furs, spices, precious woods, and gold. Some of the street names today still evoke this trading past, such as the 'Rue des Changes' and the 'Rue de la Monnaie'. Troyes remained the capital of the Province of Champagne up until the French Revolution in 1789.

The prosperity of the town has left a very rich heritage, including 10 churches dotted around the city centre, adorned with exquisite 16th century statuary. 60 of these works of art can be seen in the Saint Pantaléon church alone. Another gem is the remarkable stone rood screen of the Sainte Madeline Church. Exceptional stained glass windows were also produced during this period – the cathedral is a particularly fine example. A permanent exhibition dedicated to the heritage of stained glass is housed in the Hôtel-Dieu-le-Comte, a beautiful classical building with a grand courtyard and magnificent Louis XV gold plated gates. The original 12th century building was a hospital, the 'Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu', which became an apothecary in the 18th century. Preserved in its original state today, with oak-panelled walls lined with blue and white apothecary jars and painted wooden medicine boxes listing such remedies as camel's urine, dragon's blood, and 'human brain', the Apothecary Museum gives a fascinating insight into pharmaceutical practices of the 18th century.

The tradition of textile trading continues to thrive in Troyes today, as the town is Europe's largest centre for factory outlet shops selling top French fashion brands at discounted prices. The centres include McArthur Glen and Marques Avenue and brands that are well established here include Lacoste and Petit Bateau.

The charm of the town inspires love and romance, symbolized by an immense openwork sculpture of a heart on the banks of the River Seine. Illuminated at night, the heart gently beats accompanied by dancing fountains. 

Things to see