Saturday, 12 October 2013

Postcard from Provins, Seine et Marne

Provins is a medieval walled town in the Seine et Marne department of France not far from Paris. It has UNESCO world heritage status. The courier at our second campsite Les Etangs Fleuris had suggested it to us when he learned of our love of history. It was certainly an impressive site when we approached the walls:

Provins medieval walls

Provins medieval walls

The heart of the medieval town is full of narrow cobbled streets and ancient houses:

Provins Grange aux Dimes

We purchased tickets to get us entry into the main attractions. The first of these was the Granges aux Dimes (on left above) which housed a fascinating museum showing how the town became so important due to the wool trade. There were audio guides available in English and wax work models showing how things were done when the town was the 3rd most important place in France:

Provins musuem

We left the cool of the museum to wander past some incredibly old buildings:

Provins medieval building

To reach the Tour de Cesar:

Provins Tour de Cesar

Despite the name it was built not by Julius Caesar but by the Counts of Champagne in the 12th century. There were amazing views from the top of the tower of the roof tops:

Provins view from Tour de Cesar

The audio visual display in the hall also had some English subtitles. By now everyone was very hot as it was around 33C so we headed back to the main square just in time to get crepes and cider:

Provins

Cider

There was a wonderful hand pump water fountain in the middle of the square to fill up our bottles:


Not all the buildings are medieval but none of them appear to be modern:

Provins

Our tickets got us into the museum of Provins which was full of all sorts of items from the town's past. The children got very little out of this one as there was nothing in English. Good job they like looking at old things any way:

Provins gargoyle

Then it was time to descend into the sousterrains which are a catacomb of underground storage facilities dating from medieval times. You can only do guided tours down here and I had to translate for the children. A wee bit creepy down in the dimly lit caves:


We were back to the surface in time for the bird of prey show on the ramparts:

Provins

There was a huge range of birds from small:

bird of prey

To large:

vulture

It was a fabulous show and we got pretty close to some of the birds:

condor

It was a shame the day came to an end and we had to leave. I for one would love to go back on a cooler day to explore more.

9 comments:

  1. Sim @ Sim's Life18 October 2013 at 21:12

    I've travelled a bit around Southern France where my parents live but never around the North - looks stunning!!x

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  2. Well worth a visits, close to Paris too for a mixed break

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  3. WifeMumStudentBum18 October 2013 at 23:57

    Wow. I've been to Paris but never really explored France. Your pictures (as always!) are great, I'd love to go to France with my family, I may look into a trip next year x

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  4. there is so much of France I love - hadn't been for nearly 20 years but this was a new place for me :-)

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  5. Lovely to look at some sunshine this miserable evening ;)

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  6. I still haven't finished writing about my hols! its lovely to look back on them

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  7. I never tire of looking at your pictures :)

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