Top 10 Things to do in Troyes
Troyes is located close to the Seine River south of Paris. This part of France is popularly known as the Champagne Area of Northern France.
The name refers to the several vineyards in the region as well as France’s finest champagne. Interestingly, the city is shaped like the cork of champagne.
It is a beautiful historic town that is characterized by narrow cobbled streets and brightly coloured well-preserved half-timbered houses all dating back to the 16th century.
Like most French cities, Troyes has its fair share of gothic cathedrals. These churches have extravagant stained-glass windows. All these churches were built during the Roman Era.
To get that traditional French vibe, Troye is the city to visit. It is a paradise for lovers of architecture and art. Read more on this beautiful countryside French city in the top 10 facts below.
1. Checkout the Half-timbered Houses at Old Troyes
These medieval half-timbered houses are not to be missed while in Troye. The buildings have tilted walls and uneven floors. They line the streets of Troye.
Troye is made up of two districts; the west side was the residence of the clergy where the cathedral is found. The east side features Canal du Trévois is the Bourg, for the merchants and hoi polloi.
After the devastating fire in 1524, the half-timbered houses were rebuilt. Some of the buildings to check out include rue du Général de Gaulle, the Hôtel de Ville, rue Général Saussier and rue de la Pierre.
2. Visit the colourful Troyes Cathedral
Also known as Cathédrale St-Pierre St-Paul, the Troyes Cathedral is a must-see. This church shows off the flamboyant Gothic design.
Construction of the cathedral began in the 13th century and took more than 400 years to complete. It is one of the most popular and beautiful Gothic churches in France and Europe.
The three huge roses in the cathedral were designed by Martin Chambiges, a Renaissance architect. On the stained-glass windows, you will see Bible stories portrayed in deep rich colours.
During the medieval days, the uneducated peasants would learn about the Bible stories by looking at the stained glasses. This cathedral offers an unforgettable experience.
3. Stroll through the Ruelle de Chats
Ruelle de Chats means the cats alleys and is a narrow medieval alley. Buildings on this alley are so close to each other that cats leap across from either side of the buildings.
The buildings block sunlight from reaching the lower floors, while the top floors touch. It is a nice place to take a stroll and also sample delicious foods in the local restaurants.
4. Relive History at Musée de Vauluisant
Musée de Vauluisant was once the famous and magnificent renaissance Hôtel de Vauluisant. This building has charming twin turreted towers that were built in the 17th century.
These towers house two museums; the Regional Art Museum and the Textile-Hosiery Museum. They house religious paintings, monuments, and stained-glass collections.
The stained glasses are well detailed showcasing the talent of the artists from the 17th century. Explore more on the 2nd floor in the Textile-Hosiery Museum.
Here you will learn the history of Troyes from the 18th century to the 20th century. You will see old-fashioned wooden looms as well as modern machines of industry’s golden age.
5. Cathedrale Saint-Pierre et Saint-Paul is a Must See
This cathedral is a classic example of Champenois Architecture. It is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world. Its interior is illuminated with a series of 180 stained glass windows.
To get this angelic experience, visit the cathedral on sunny summer days. The façade on the west of the cathedral was built in the 14th century. Do not miss the Baroque organ from 1730 that is decorated with musical cherubs.
Joan of Arc together with Charles VII made a stop at this church in 1429. They were heading for Charles VII coronation.
6. Visit Hotel-Dieu-le-Comte
The original building on this site was a hospital built in the 12th century. This present building was built in the 18th century. It now houses classrooms and lecture halls for the University of Troyes.
One area of the building that is still in its original state is the apothecary and laboratory. They look just like they did during the reign of King Louis XIV.
The wooden cabinets in the three rooms hold glass bottles, ceramic jars and painted boxes. These were used for different purposes in the hospital.
7. Check out the remarkable Basilique Saint-Urbain
This is one of the most remarkable churches in Troyes and France. The façade was changed from stonewalls to the iconic Gothic style of stained glasses.
Basilique Saint-Urbain was commissioned by Pope Urban IV in 1261. The Pope was born in Troyes and had this church built for his patron saint.
It has a narrow porch that holds a 13th-century Last Judgment architecture. There is also a carved crayfish on one of the statues. This attests to the old fishing culture of the people.
Do not miss the early-15th-century stone statue of Mary and the Christ child.
8. Take a Trip and Taste the Best Champagne in France
If you have ever considered a destination wedding, birthday, or family vacation, then Troyes is the French city to visit. The city has a wide range of champagne to sample.
No worries if it is your first time, the staff are very helpful and patient with their customers. You will have the opportunity to taste and smell the champagne.
As you sip your champagne, learn the history of champagne making process. The festival of champagne route happens between 29-30 July. You could also buy some to take home with you.
9. Get Gifts and Other Luxury Items at Factory Prices
There are several factory outlets in Troyes that sell luxury items at affordable prices. The factories are a testament to the local textile industry.
These brand shops are found on Marques Avenue with designer shops such as Adidas and Nike. Most of the leading sportswear brands are found here.
Another street to check is McArthurGlen. It has 150 stores selling items at a discount. Great bargaining skills are a must-have asset while here.
10. Stop by Coeur de Troyes
One landmark in Troyes that is hard to miss is Rue Hennequin. It is a huge stainless-steel sculpture of a heart, a modern symbol of the city. Michele and Thierry Kayo-Houel designed it.
The location of the heart is strategic; it is at the intersection of Bourg and Cité on the canal’s quayside. It is best seen at night when the lights are on and they dance.
Moving closer to the sculpture, three cameras capture your motion and increase the speed of the dancing lights by sensing motion.