Troyes is the historic capital of Champagne. The center is even shaped like a Champagne cork. The town is famous for the many half-timbered houses that can be found and for its beautiful church. The churches, cathedral and basilica of Troyes are known for their beautiful stained glass and stained glass windows, which are of a particularly high quality. The half-timbered houses – in many colors – are remarkably well preserved and a large part has been renovated in recent decades and returned to its original state. Rue de Molé and Rue Champeaux are home to some of the most beautiful, but in fact the entire historic center of Troyes is an open-air museum. Everywhere you come across beautiful half-timbered houses, with impressive details. In Troyes there are some nice museums that are worth a visit. For example, the museum of modern art is called paintings by some of the most famous artists in the world and the Musee Saint Loup has a nice and varied collection.
According to Educationvv, Troyes has always played an important role in French history. Thus it was the bishop of Troyes, who managed to stop Atilla the Hun at the gates of the city and Pope Urban IV was born in Troyes. Despite all these highlights, Troyes’ main and busiest attraction is no longer in the center of the city, but outside it. Since the factory outlet center of McArthurGlen opened its doors, more and more tourists are finding their way to Troyes.
Top 10 things to do in Troyes
#1. Troyes Cathedral
The Cathédrale Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul de Troyes – as it is actually called – is the most important building of faith in the city. It is an old cathedral whose construction started at the beginning of the thirteenth century, but was completed centuries later. Standing in front of the cathedral now, it still looks like the construction is still unfinished. One of the cathedral’s towers is as high as the cathedral itself and the other also appears to be unfinished. Despite this status, Troyes Cathedral is one of the main attractions of the city. The inside is especially beautiful. The stained glass windows provide beautiful light into the cathedral.
#2. House of Tools and Workers’ Thought
The Maison de l’Outil et de la Pensée Ouvrière, roughly translated the museum of hand tools and the imagination of its user. The museum has the largest collection of hand tools in the world, spread over many different crafts. In total more than twelve thousand tools and more than thirty thousand books in the accompanying library. The museum is located in the Hôtel de Mauroy, an old mansion with one of the most beautiful courtyards in Troyes. It is one of the few houses that was not sold after the French Revolution, as it has a charitable function. This is now one of the reasons it is so well preserved.
#3. Basilica of St. Urban
The Basilique Saint-Urbain was built by order of Pope Urban IV who was born in Troyes. He himself commissioned the construction of the basilica, on the site where his father’s workshop used to be and he has fond memories. The construction of the cathedral started in the thirteenth century and would not be completed until the beginning of the twentieth century. The main reason for this is lack of money. Despite the long construction period, a beautiful Gothic basilica has risen, which is best known for its stained glass windows. The basilica consists exclusively of load-bearing arches, buttresses and huge windows, which gives the basilica an open and light character.
#4. McArthurGlen Troyes
Just outside Troyes, McArthurGlen has built one of the largest designer outlet centers in France. The factory outlet of Troyes brings together about 110 stores of almost all major and well-known brands in the world. The designer Outlet can be compared to the ones we know in the Netherlands (Roosendaal and Roermond), only the design is slightly different. This way you will not come across Dunking Donuts, but a Champagne bar.
#5. Church of St. Madeleine
The Sainte-Madeleine of Troyes is the oldest surviving church in the city. The construction of the church started at the beginning of the twelfth century. In the same century, the church was renovated and given a Gothic appearance, although Romanesque parts can still be distinguished. The Eglise Sainte-Madeleine has one of the most beautiful church interiors in the world, especially the stone choir screen is unique. The details in the choir screen are unique and the decoration in this part of the church is second to none. Originally, the entire interior of the church was painted, but it was painted over with white paint in the eighteenth century. In some places the colored details have been brought back, so that you now get a better idea of the original beauty of the church. There are beautiful painted stained glass windows in the choir.
#6. Market Halls
Troyes’ market halls are a nice place to grab a bite to eat or just to see what’s on offer locally. It is not a very big market, but on days when all stalls are open there are thirty-five stalls. The market halls are open every day, but have adjusted opening hours on Sundays and during the week. If you visit Troyes market on the place Saint-Rémy, take a look at the construction with some extra attention. When the market was built at the end of the nineteenth century, it was a modern architectural masterpiece with cast iron beams and thin pillars supporting a large area.
#7. Musee D’art Moderne
The Troyes Museum of Modern Art is one of the most important museums in the city. The basis of the museum’s collection is the collection that Pierre and Denise Lévy donated to the city of Troyes in the 1980s. These two thousand works are an overview of the most important French art movements from 1860 to 1960. The museum contains works of art by some of the best-known names from this period in art history. Think of Henri Matisse, Kees van Dongen, Edgar Degas and Paul Gauguin. In addition to paintings, the collection consists of various sculptures. The museum is located in the former Episcopal Palace of Troyes, next to Troyes Cathedral.
#8. Rachi Synagogue
The synagogue of Troyes was built in the sixteenth century. He didn’t get his current look until later, to make him fit in better with the rest of the street. The Synagogue is named after the Rabbi Rashi, best known as one of the main expositors of the Talmud and Tanakh. Rashi has lived in Troyes all his life. The Troyes Synagogue is open to visitors, which is quite unique for a synagogue. Although this will always be accompanied by a guide.
#9. Rue de Molé and Rue Champeaux
Two of the prettiest streets in the historic center of Troyes are Rue de Molé and Rue Champeaux. These two streets are home to some of the most beautiful houses in Troyes. Think of the goldsmith’s house, the baker’s house with its famous turret, the Hotel des Ursins, the church of Saint-Jean-du-Marché in Troyes and dozens of other half-timbered houses. During the day, the tourists walk through these two streets, looking up at the beautiful facades. In the evening it is the place to go out for dinner or to find a cozy bar.
#10. Saint Loup Museum
Besides the Musee D’art Moderne, the Musee Saint Loup is Troyes’ most important museum. Also known as the Beaux-Arts & Archéologie musee, the museum is located in the historic Abbey of Saint Loup. The museum and abbey are named after a fifth century bishop who, according to legend, was responsible for repelling an attack by Atilla the Hun. The museum’s collection consists mainly of works of art that it received from donations and legacies. This ensures that the museum has a varied and sometimes somewhat incoherent collection.