Sunday, 29 July 2012

La cité en forme de bouchon de champagne

The City in the shape of a champagne cork!

It seems there is a competition between the cities and towns in the Champagne area as which is the most authentic champagne town.  In the middle-ages Troyes was the capital of Champagne.  Not sure if that is the reason the outline of the town is in the shape of a champagne cork.  (In my opinion you must have consumed at least a bottle to identify the cork from an aerial photo!)  However, the town is also called the “town of ten churches” but for most people in the neighbourhood the town is best known for its factory outlets of famous brands.  In other words: Shopping!

Walking between the half-timbered houses on the picturesque cobbled street you constantly have to stop gawping at all the history.  So much of the town has been preserved, and it is jaw dropping to think of the hundreds of years that have passed since some of the houses were built until today.  If those walls could talk…

Some of the buildings are listing precariously, and the building techniques of the time allowed for buildings to lean “backwards”.  I think some of current day builders in South Africa are reverting to old techniques with walls that are supposed to be straight following strange curves – especially in our house. 
See how the building is leaning backwards
The buildings following an odd curve

Garden at Sainte-Madeleine
We did not have time to visit any of the churches, which are renowned for their stained glass buildings.  We visited the Jardin des Innocents, the former cemetery located next to Sainte-Madeleine, claimed to be perhaps the oldest and one of the most beautiful churches in Troyes.  The construction of this church dates from 1120 (!) but was rebuilt around 1200 in a Gothic style.  Apparently all still-borne children were buried here until the 1800's.

The food market in Troyes

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