"Take a break from Paris" Top 5 Page for this destination Provins by rexvaughan

Provins Travel Guide: 77 reviews and 207 photos

Ancient and lovely

A couple of years ago I picked up Annabel Simms' book, An Hour From Paris. It suggests about 20 destinations within an hour of Paris so we decided to give Provins a try and found it wonderful. Probably the most striking feature of this little city is its wonderful fortifications with Caesar's Tower and the big dome of the church of Saint Quiriace. It has several other notable churches as well as the wonderful Garnier Gardens. It also has some pretty significant historical connections as well. The site of the town has probably been occupied for many centuries, but come into its own around the year 1000 with the finding of the remains of Saint Ayoul (who knows who he/she was). This led to its becoming a religious center and thereby a commercial, trading and intellectual center as well. Some little known other historical connections:

Center of Champagne

For example, who knew that this lovely and bucolic little village was once the very heart of the Champagne region? About a millineum ago it was the major trading center featuring 2 or 3 fairs per year. It was the crossroads of people from around the world brought exotic items like spices, ivory and precious stones and local cloth were exchanged.

The War of the Roses started here (sort of)

Also, Who knew the Lancaster red rose of English civil war history came from Provins? Well, it actually came from Thibault of Champagne who brought it home (in 1240) from the Crusades. According to legend he brought it from Jerusalem, but who knows. At any rate it eventually came to symbolize the town and even today is cultivated and used in local gourmet products. We even had a kir a la rose and I had a crepe with rose jam. It is also said that Edmund of Lancaster, brother of the king of England, added the rose to his coat of arms thus giving the Lancasters the red rose for war against the white roses.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Lovely, historic and small enough to walk the whole town
  • In a nutshell:A gem of French history in a nutshell
  • Last visit to Provins: Oct 2007
  • Intro Written Feb 9, 2008
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Reviews (10)

Comments (6)

  • Dabs's Profile Photo
    Mar 11, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    Thinking about going to Paris for the meet in September, looking for some places to visit outside Paris for a few days and this looks like an interesting place :-)

  • Mikebb's Profile Photo
    Jul 12, 2010 at 7:23 PM

    Rex, I like French walled cities since we visited Carcassonne in 1993. It was by chance was heading to Narbonne for a Rugby match and took a wong turn - for the better.

  • hquittner's Profile Photo
    May 26, 2008 at 7:49 AM

    At last! Your fine Tips on Provins helped replace the notes I lost in the flood and hurricane in New Orleans. Now I can write mine to add to yours.

  • BillNJ's Profile Photo
    Apr 20, 2008 at 9:02 AM

    Rex, great tips and photos! Provins looks like a very pleasant place to visit. Also, La Fleur de Sel looks fantastic! Best from New Jersey, Bill

  • ranger49's Profile Photo
    Feb 14, 2008 at 9:23 AM

    Great tips and another reminder following on from Martine Wezel's forum post that Provins a place to go to. We were going to stop off en route to Collioure but now doing Santander crosing. Another Next Time.

  • alza's Profile Photo
    Feb 13, 2008 at 8:41 PM

    impressive church portals! love the pic of your wife on the Japanese bridge, very romantic :)

rexvaughan

“Travel is fatal to prejudice - Mark Twain”

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