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Cities of France - Troyes

Troyes

Troyes

Troyes

Once you have the pronunciation correct, everything else about visiting Troyes, 150km southeast of Paris, is easy.  Just imagine you’re saying “trios” (trwa) – like the number three in French – and that’s it!

A well-preserved medieval town with old streets of restored half-timbered houses, Troyes was the former capital of the Champagne region and is still the capital of the department of Aube.

Troyes is compact, so it’s a good city to visit without a car. It’s easy to get to from Paris and the main sites are all within the small historic centre.

Not having suffered from the last wars, Troyes has lots of old religious buildings and impressive gothic churches close to the city centre. Several unique and very worthwhile museums are another lure to visit this charming city. 

Half-timbered houses, some with lurching walls and floors that aren’t quite on-the-level, line many streets in the old city, rebuilt after a devastating fire in 1524. The best place for aimless walking is the area bounded by rue Général de Gaulle, the Hôtel de Ville, rue Général Saussier and rue de la Pierre. Of particular interest are rue de Vauluisant , rue de la Trinité , rue Champeaux and rue Paillot de Montabert .

Wander down rue Champeaux and between numbers 30 and 32, you’ll discover the tiny ruelle des Chats.  This dark, narrow alley is exactly as it was four centuries ago, just like stepping back into the Middle Ages. Overhead, the top floors almost touch and the stones along the base of the walls were designed to give pedestrians a place to stand when horses clattered by.

In medieval times, Troyes was an important international trade centre and home to the Troyes Fair. The name troy weight for gold comes from the standard of measurement evolving there.

Troyes’ main claim to fame in the culinary stakes is andouillette (a coarsely cut sausage of pork intestines, wine, onions, salt and pepper). Those after a genuine French culinary experience include Troyes as a gourmet destination. The andouillette’s origins go back to 877 when Louis II was crowned King of France in Troyes cathedral and the whole town celebrated with a massive andouillette feast. 

By the end of the 15th century there was a guild of charcutiers dedicated to creating andouillette and, over the centuries it became the thing to sample when passing through Troyes. Give it a try and you’ll be following in the footsteps of Louis XIV and Napoleon I. 

Wherever you taste andouilles, whether in Troyes, or Nice or Paris, make sure the Five A symbol is marked on the menu beside the dish.  That means it's approved by the club of fans and food critics formed to protect the standards:  Association amicable des amateurs d’andouillette authentique

If shopping is more your style, Troyes is famous for its huge discount and factory shopping malls outside the centre. These outlets, overflowing with brand-name clothing and accessories, are a legacy of the city’s long-time role as France’s knitwear capital.