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H E R I TA G E

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H IS T O R Y

In direct contrast to Reims, Troyes – Champagne’s historic capital – was not damaged during either of the 20th century’s world wars and retains an intimate, old-world atmosphere as a result. Like Reims, Troyes has foundations dating back to Gallo-Roman times, but its prosperity grew from the strategic trading importance of its location. The city lies at the confluence of the River Seine and the Via Agrippa trading route, and it flourished when the Counts of Champagne made it their capital in the late 9th century. During the late 12th and 13th centuries, Troyes became known for its large annual fairs, Foires de Champagne, and the many merchants’ homes that sprang up subsequently. The half-timbered façades of Troyes’s 16th-century structures are emblematic of the city today. Troyes brims with historic sites, including 10 churches dotted around the city centre, adorned with exceptional stained glass windows. The cathedral is a particularly fine example. Nearby, the Museum of Modern Art houses a collection of French art dating from the mid19th century to the 1960s.

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DE STIN ATION

But there’s another famous drawcard at Troyes: its fashion scene. Parisians flock to Troyes’ clothing factory outlets, arguably the biggest in Europe. Look for established local brands such as Lacoste and Petit Bateau, and shopping centres such as McArthur Glen, presenting the world’s most popular brands: from Kookäi and Kenzo to Swarovski and Samsonite, along with all the big-name casual and jeans brands. Drink and dine in Troyes Part of Troyes’ magic is that its evocative half-timbered houses aren’t just for show – they are living, functional structures. La Maison de Rhodes (www.maisonderhodes.com), a marvellous 11-room hotel that was extensively restored in 1998, offers an intimate experience in the town centre. Each room is different, nestled into the building’s asymmetric and intricate envelope dating back to the 8th century, and all are fitted with contemporary luxuries such as kingsize beds, flat-screen television and free wi-fi. In-house services include concierge, babysitting, massage and bicycle rental.

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PO RT RAIT

Rue Emile Zola in Troyes (photo: OT Troyes/D. Le Néve).

The building encircles a medieval-era garden and courtyard with snatched glimpses of Troyes Cathedral. On the menu at its candlelit restaurant are modern twists on local dishes, all featuring regional produce. Close by and incomparably modern is Troyes’ newest champagne bar, Au Coeur du Bouchon (www.aucoeurdubouchon.com). Choose from a selection of fine bubbly with vintages dating back to 1964, or drop by one of their special events, such as a recent electro-swing lounge night. Ask about their champagne tasting packages, too.

›› FURTHER INFORMATION Champagne-Ardenne Tourist Board www.tourisme-champagne-ardenne.com

MAGAZINE

75

Rendezvous en France 2013  

The official magazine of the French Tourist Bureau in Australia. From the grit and excitement of the Tour de France to the glamour of its ma...

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