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Welcome to Provins

Not one of the premier tourist destinations in France, Provins is a step back to the Middle Ages. On your next visit to Paris, take a side trip to Provins to explore one of the best preserved medieval cities. You will be quite amazed to find such beauty and hospitality, as well as a great deal of French history. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the Earls of Champagne made this fortified city their capital, well situated on the way to the Far East. Provins became very wealthy from the merchant activities, bankers, spice trade and the largest cloth fairs in Europe. It has also been said that Thibaud de Champagne brought back the rose flower from Damascus and introduced it here…so Provins might be a very romantic spot to boot.

There is so much to see and so much to do that you might decide to stay overnight, check the city out and visit the monuments (Caesar's Tower, the ramparts, the church of Saint-Ayoul, the Tithe Barn…), and the vaulted rooms and cellars and underground passages once employed by secret societies. Once you have finished examining the still life, it is time to witness the re-creation of the vibrant activities of bygone days. Among the options are a very realistic production of "Divine Judgment," a knight's tournament with daring stuntmen and their horses; or "The Eagles of Provins," an outstanding bird show displaying rare species of birds of prey and their masterful training. There is also an active art scene in Provins.

When you decide to take a break from exploring the medieval city of Provins and are looking for a nice place to eat, we recommend stopping by Quat'saisons (44, rue du Val; 01 64 08 99 44), a pleasant bistro offering straightforward fare at quite reasonable prices (menus priced at €15 and €21). The comfortable atmosphere is accentuated by the friendly and energetic owner, who is likely to take your order, chat you up, bring your bill and do just about everything in between.

For more information on Provins, please contact the Office de Tourisme de Provins, BP44, 77482 Provins Cedex, France; fax 33 (0)1-64-60-11-97, or visit www.provins.net/anglais/default.htm.

(Updated: 07/01/08 HC)


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