Provins Travel Guide

  • Detal of the main portal
    Detal of the main portal
    by rexvaughan
  • View of Caesar's Tower and St. Quiriace Church
    View of Caesar's Tower and St. Quiriace...
    by rexvaughan
  • View of the surrounding area from atop the wall
    View of the surrounding area from atop...
    by rexvaughan

Provins Highlights

  • Pro
    Martinewezel profile photo

    Martinewezel says…

     A day trip from Paris 

  • Con
    Dariana profile photo

    Dariana says…

     none 

  • In a nutshell
    sunset_gal profile photo

    sunset_gal says…

     Go back in time... 

Provins Things to Do

  • The underground galleries

    The limy soil of Provins was a perfect dirth to scour the Medieval wool. So the whole town has been excavated underneath the existing house cellars.During history, the excavated galleries have been used for different purposes, such as hiding places, store rooms, dark gateries etc. Especially this last activity of course drew my attention. Strange...

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  • The tithe barn (la Grange aux dîmes)

    This XIIIth century edifice was used as a covered market during the Fairs of Champagne. Visit this place not only for its beautiful civil architecture (cross-ribbed vaulting, sculpted pillars...), but also to discover the different types of trades and merchants that existed in those days. An audio guide (about 35mn, free, just leave an ID card at...

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  • La tour César (Caesar's Tower)

    Caesar's Tower is the symbolic monument of Provins!Built in the XIIth century by the Counts of Champagne, on the edge of a rocky spur, this tower protected the former palace of the counts.The tower is a magnificent and outstanding illustration of the history of medieval military architecture.You will visit the former chapel (called model room as it...

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  • Underground Galleries (Les Souterrains)

    Originally these galleries were probably used as a quarry to extract a earth that was needed for degreasing woollen cloth. Later they became hiding places, storerooms during the fairs, places of worship., or meeting places for the freemasons!You will also visit two two beautiful vaulted lower rooms. One, poorly decorated was used to accomodate...

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  • Visitor Center

    Make this your first stop. The Visitor Center is next to the main parking area at the entrance to the walled town. Pick up a map of the town so you will have a sense of the location of the attractions (Caesar's Tower, the Grange, the Underground tour, etc.). But in this town, even the "non-attractions" are beautiful. Simply stroll around, soak up...

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  • Examine the Military Construction of the...

    The walls are very thick and the towers are ether round or square with lookout area on the tops. The bases are broad and sloping to inhibit scaling. It looks like there was even a moat and there may have been wooden hoardings . At the North corner was a large tower with heavy looking walls said to be 3 m thick (Tour aux Engins). The hardest part of...

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  • Walk Along the Ramparts

    We walked along the 12-13C ramparts as sunset approached in order to stimulate our appetite for the gourmet meal ahead. We exited the walls through the Porte St.-Jean with the remnants of a "murder-hole" in the gate. Outside there was not yet a tourist office, but only a parking area. On the left along the wall was the first of the Medieval...

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  • Visit the Tour de Cesar

    When we visited Provins 10 years ago, the Tourist Office had not yet learned how to trap tourists but was moving in the right direction. Critically the Michelin rated the Tour 2* in a 1* town. At the time the tower and ramparts were undergoing extensive repairs (not the least for safety of visitors). The jousting style exhibitions had just begun,...

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  • Walk Through the Place du Chatel

    You have to walk through or by the Place if you are going between the Grange aux Dimes and the Tour de Cesar or Eglise St.-Quiriace. For us it was "out-back" behind the Hostellerie where we were staying (See Hotel Tip). The Place is for sitting and viewing old houses and roof tops. Near its center is a large cross (Croix des Changes) on whose base...

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  • Church Ste.-Croix Is in the Lower Town

    Like many others this church was built to house a fragment of the True Cross brought back by Thibaut IV on his Crusade adventure. It is amazing how many were taken by the Near Eastern salesmen even then. Luckily he also introduced rose plants to Europe while he continued to write his love songs. The church had to be rebuilt in the 16C after a 15C...

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  • Church St.-Quiriace: The Interior...

    Very little was added to the church. The only statue we recorded was one to emphasize that Jeanne d'Arc prayed here. The pulpit was well carved (we have no data on it) and the stained glass was new but in the time styles of the windows in which they were fitted.

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  • Church Quiriace: The Finishing...

    The church stood quietly during the trading decline of Provins as textile and other activities survived. A fire destroyed the crossing tower in 1665 and funds were available for a fine dome which stands out all over the upper town. A cross was erected in the garden across the way on the western spot where the church was to have ended. The...

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  • Church St.-Quiriace:An Original...

    The construction of St.-Quiriace began in 1160 encouraged by Henri I with its objective to be the largest and finest church in town. As was the custom it started with the chevet (the apse, chancel, choir and ambulatory). Its model was derived from the new style seen in nearby Sens (early Gothic): tall pointed arches, topped by round-arch blind...

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  • The Bell Tower of Notre-Dame-du-Val Is...

    Part of the "skyline" of the lower town is contributed by the bell Tower of Notre Dame (1544). This is all that is left of the cloistered church. It is just north of St.-Ayoul.

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  • St.-Ayoul: See the Art Creations

    Not only fine 15C stained glass windows greet you but statuary, several pieces in particular also of the 15C done in alabaster: a Nursing Madonna and two Angel Musicians (the creator not given, but he was able to achieve great grace using such soft material. More important perhaps is the fine wood carving in bas relief in panels on various areas of...

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Provins Hotels

See all 5 Hotels in Provins

Provins Restaurants

  • Try the rose flavors

    This is a homey but attractive little creperie in a lovely little square in the upper town. I don't know what the name means but I think it translates the Flower of Salt. Go figure. We thoroughly enjoyed a light lunch which featured a couple of the gormet rose specialties of the town. They sell a few things like rose jam and other products as well...

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  • Lovely, but...

    This restauarant was definitely not a very good idea, however a lovely location on the plaza. We ordered salty crêpes with bacon and salad. The plates and the cutlery were not clean and the food was a bit slimy. It was just edible. Perhaps the cook had a bad day? The service was ok.

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  • On the street

    Home-made fresh bread ( well, you can eat for a week from it ), sweet cidre , can you want more?And all this surounded by knigts and ladys or simple servants.

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  • oups !!!

    I m sorry i dont remember the name of this resaturant, but may be the pic will help youwhat i can say that they were very kind, quick to serve usit was so pleasant on the place, very good taste and may be a little bit expensive, but quality was theregood luck !!!!

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  • Granny's Cakes!

    Our favorite stop during a visit to Provins, Mamie Gâteaux is an inexpensive restaurant with wonderful things. On our last visit, a very hot summer day, I had fresh peach juice-- incredibly refreshing and delicious. Here you can sample a provins specialty-- rose-flavored food. Try a crepe with rose icecream, rose syrup, and rose jam. Sublime! You...

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  • Affordable Fine Food

    A four course meal for € 15-- not bad! The Medieval Menu, for example--Arboulastre Faite à la Paëlle (Quiche aux Herbes)ou Assiette Fraîcheurou Assiette de Charcuterie*****Porc aux Épices Douchesou Blanquette de Volaille Cuminéeou Escalope de Saumon, Crème de Courgettes*****Brie en Habit de Jardin*****Glace ou Sorbet (2 boules au choix)ou Assiette...

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Provins Transportation

  • A day trip to Provins

    hi there i am going to provins in August and having looked at all the good info posted here my only concern is which pass to get. i believe you can get a combined ticket for the attractions ie tithe barn etc and also for the shows. however as mentioned before i believe that there may be some clashes does anyone know more about this and also...

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  • provins

    if you cross the road from the train station , walk right for 50 yard and then turn left you will find an english speaking cafe the chap who owns it is v ery helpfulalternatively as you come out of the station bear right until you get to the level crossing, cross over it and turn right and you end up behind the stationcarry on down this road about...

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  • Paris suburban lines

    Provins is an easy and enjoyable day trip from Paris via Gare de L'est. The journey takes about an hour and 20 minutes. In October of 2007 we paid just under E 20 each for a round trip. There are multiple train times so scheduling is easy. Just remember in Provins to check return times. You wouldn't want to miss the last train back. Or would you?

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Provins Shopping

  • Artistry in Honey and Rose

    Carla Renault's shop is my favorite shop in Provins. Carla is delightful, and her products are outstanding. She produces a honey flavored with Rose of Provins. This honey is sublime. She also produces rose jam, and a rose-flavored spice bread, using medieval recipes as inspiration.Carla also sells wonderful scented soaps, which have become a staple...

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  • A medieval library in a vaulted cave

    This library specialised in the Middle Age is set in a stunning vaulted cave, one of the most beautiful of the upper city.You must stop in this little shop, just for the setting! If, like me, you are passionate about midieval time, than you will find hundreds of books on midieval history, poetry, gardening, cooking. There are some novel written by...

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  • A Beautiful Store

    On the main square of the upper town, l'Heritier du Temps features "objets de decoration"-- home furnishings. There are unusual candles, vases, dishes, etc.It's worth a visit just to see the building; the store is located in a beautiful vaulted cellar.

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Provins Warnings and Dangers

  • sunset_gal's Profile Photo

    by sunset_gal Written Apr 11, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It's important that you put on walking shoes as there is a lot of walking to do up slopes and on cobbled-stoned streets. Also, bring a light jacket as temperatures can drop quickly after the sun sets.

    On a more personal note, bring your own tissue paper because there are none in the toilets, and one of the very few toilets was locked up! So go when you can!

    Related to:
    • Women's Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Backpacking

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Provins Off The Beaten Path

  • The Eglise St.-Loup-de-Naud is 8 km away

    This masterpiece of early European Sculpture is nearby. If you are in Provins by car be sure to see it. It is hard to realize that in the 12C Provins (today 12.5K pop) was the capital of Brie (and with a pop. of 80K) in which the Thibaults (Counts) resided and wrote poetry and sang. The rich churches here and nearby thus participated in the...

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  • Stroll the river

    Provins has two rivers but you might not know it from looking at them as they both appear to be small streams. One is La Fausse Riviere (the false river) which follows the line of the old city walls around the old lower town. The other runs through the lower town and is very narrow and contained within stone banks and is lined with picturesque...

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  • Provins Hotels

    5 Hotels in Provins

    14 Reviews and Opinions

Provins Favorites

  • Good website

    I prepared our trip with this fantastic website. Perhaps you might like a little study about the history of the town and the must sees before leaving?Klick here

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  • Vanishing toilets

    I know toilets are everywhere but wanted to put this photo up as this style is dying out. I call them "squatty potties" as there is no seat. Fifteen years ago we encountered this kind very frequently but they seem to be dying out in most of Western Europe. This one was in a cafe where we stopped for coffee just after we arrived in Provins. You can...

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  • Some steep hills

    Walking the whole city of Provins is fairly easy. However, you should be aware that, as there are the Ville Basse and the Ville Haute, there are some hills to climb. If you have problems walking up inclines, take it slow and easy. They are not very high but can be steep in places.

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