Cooks' Tour 2007: Glen & Marg's Excellent Adventure travel blog

Hotel in Provins

Provins from its 'Caesar's Tower'

Eagles of the Ramparts

Eagles of the Ramparts




Provins is beautiful! People are friendly and helpful, and keep apologizing for not speaking English well. Our few words of French have been enough here, in a tourist centre, so this was a good place to start our trip.

The 'Tithe Barn' has an excellent exhibit detailing the history of the 'fairs' in Provins in the 12th and 13th century, when the town boomed because the Counts of Champagne protected and encouraged a yearly 'fair' - a wholesale market that drew merchants and traders from Italy, Flanders, and all over Europe. Their boom didn't last. By the 14th century, trade routes changed, and medieval Provins was preserved intact as a backwater town.

There were a few tourists and many elementary school children to see the 'Eagles of the Ramparts'. From a stage set against the old city wall, a group of fellows in medieval costumes flew falcons, hawks, owls, eagles and vultures. It was very well done. (I wish I'd managed a photo of the vulture standing on Glen's head.)

Our tour of 'Subterranean Provins' was fun, and probably was informative for all but the two English-speakers. There are hundreds of passageways and rooms dug out of the soft stone under the city. Some of them began from mining stone and 'fullers' earth' (used for cloth-making), and others served as storehouses and showrooms for merchants.

We've had lots of fun walking the narrow streets of Provins—with room for one car at a time to dodge round the small crowds of school children and tourists. The cobbled sidewalks are strictly decorative. Everyone uses the streets. My favorite street name so far is the steep set of steps from the 'castle' to the the Rue Thibault: 'Grissom de Porc Epic'. I'd like to know the story behind that label!

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