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Provins

Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Seine-et-Marne

Provins - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Seine-et-Marne
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Provins, former capital of the Counts of Champagne and medieval fair town and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has remained intact since the Middle Ages. Its exceptional built heritage comprises incredibly well-preserved medieval ramparts and the Ville Haute (Upper Town), the historic centre of Provins. Visitors can take a stroll around the magnificent fortified surrounding walls, admiring the many gateways and towers on the way, before going through Saint-Jean doorway into the charming medieval old town itself. There you'll find the pretty Place du Châtel bordered by lovely old houses, and a host of beautiful monuments such as Caesar's Tower, Saint-Quiriace Collegiate Church, the Tithe Barn, Romanesque House, Holy Spirit Cellar and the Old Hospital.

Caesar's Tower is an imposing 12th-century octagonal keep with a square base and is open to the public: climb up to top for a superb view over the rooftops and surrounding countryside.

Romanesque House (Maison Romane) is one of the oldest buildings in Provins and contains the Musée de Provins et du Provinois which retraces the history of Provins and the surrounding region from prehistory to the 19th century through collections of ceramics, sculptures and religious objects.

The town's Les Médiévales festival takes locals and visitors on a journey back in time to the Middle Ages every June. During this weekend event, historical re-enactments, medieval shows and a variety of other entertainment recreate the atmosphere of the Champagne fairs of old. Absolutely not to be missed!

Additional information
Provins

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Provins takes place in Seine-et-Marne, in the heart of the Île-de-France. Former capital of the Counts of Champagne, it is located on the plateau briard, not far from the Aube and the Marne.

Recovered by Clovis in the 5th century, the medieval town of Provins quickly gained importance, becoming under Charlemagne the third most important city of France after Paris and Rouen. Protected by the Counts of Champagne, it was long known for hosting the largest fairs in the region. Provins has retained a very large architectural heritage dating from this period, and one can admire many monuments during a visit to the fortified city.

Close to its traditions, the city of Paris is also appreciated for its local gastronomy, like the brie de Provins or niflettes, puff pastry cakes filled with pastry cream. The latter are generally tasted at 11 November and during the various festivals of the commune. The town is also known for its pink confectionery, such as rose petal jam or rose honey.

Things to see and do

The commune of Provins, in the UNESCO patrimony, is notably known for its medieval ramparts. Built between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the walls of the upper town contain more than twenty towers and stretch over 1,200 meters.

The religious heritage of Provins is not lacking interest, as for the collegiate church of San Quiriace built in the twelfth century. Never bought because too expensive in its plans, it has experienced many destruction, especially during the Second World War and has been repeatedly renovated. Classified as Historical Monuments, it reveals a beautiful example of Gothic style. Also listed, the Church of the Holy Cross was erected between the 12th and 16th century. It takes its name from a piece of the Holy Cross brought back from Jerusalem by Thibaud IV of Champagne.

The church of Saint-Ayoul, in Gothic style, is also classified to the Historic Monuments. Located in the lower town, it was for a long time a place of pilgrimage dedicated to Aigulphe de Bourges. Restored in the 20th century, it served notably as military barracks and as a dwelling place. Primitive gothic architecture, it presents several works of art of interest in its interior, such as a 17th century altarpiece, a statue of the Virgin of the Assumption of the 16th century in alabaster, or very beautiful stained glass windows of the 16th century And seventeenth centuries. The building is located not far from the Caesar tower, an octagonal square tower from the 12th century.

Founded in the middle of the 13th century, the Convent of the Cordeliers is classified as a Historic Monument, notably for its beautiful cloister. It was converted into a hospital in the middle of the 18th century. Do not miss the ruined church of Saint-Thibault. Inscribed in the Historic Monuments, it still has a wall and a few columns.

As you walk through Provins, you will discover a rich and exciting heritage such as the tithing barn, a 12th century merchant's house now used as a museum on daily life in the Middle Ages, the Romanesque house, the oldest house in the city The Musée du Provinois, or the Vieux Bains. The oldest bathing place in the city, it was built in the 13th century. Renovated in 2004, the site has become a welcoming place of luxury.

Oldest hostelry in France, the hostelry of the Golden Cross attracts the eye. It now houses a popular restaurant and is listed in the Historic Monuments.

At the foot of the upper town, discover the rose garden of Provins rehabilitated in the late 2000s. In addition to the floral species, it is possible to visit an exhibition of old tools of building and folk art.

The Vauluisant hotel, dating from the 13th century, is also listed as a Historical Monument, or the Notre-Dame-du-Val Tower, also listed as the only remaining vestige of the Notre-Dame-du-Val Collegiate destroyed during the French Revolution.

Places of interest

Information points
Leisure centres
Monuments
Performance halls
Transport

Events and festivities

The market of Provins takes place on Saturday morning. The city also offers a Christmas market at the end of the year.

There is no shortage of activities in Provins. Throughout the year one can discover a spectacle of equestrian falconry on the ramparts, and a show of chivalry in the ditches of the ramparts.

In March, it is Encres Vives, a literary festival, which takes place in Provins. On this occasion, the city awards the national medieval book prize.

The sound and light of Provins takes place a few days in June, and evokes the hours of joy and pain of the Middle Ages through a historical night show.

In June, place to the famous Medieval ones of Provins. On the program, there is a costume parade, street entertainment and various other medieval entertainments.

The feast of the Harvest of Provins is the only one of France not taking place in the fields. Scheduled for August, it is an opportunity to attend a parade of floats decorated with wheat, folk dances, demonstrations of works of yesteryear, or even concerts.

Every second weekend of December, Christmas in Provins offers tales and legends in the underground, as well as guided torchlight walks with a themed private show.

Detailed information

Provins Medieval Festival
One of the biggest medieval festivals in EuropeJune 2023

Photos

For Provins
For Provins
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wood-framed houses
wood-framed houses
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Dungeon
Dungeon
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Rose of Provins
Rose of Provins
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Ramparts
Ramparts
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Visits, leisure and activities nearby

Restaurants

Bed & breakfasts

Vacation rentals

Hotels

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