xceptionnal showcase of civil, religious and military architecture, protected by impressive ramparts, Provins preserves today 58 monuments classified as UNESCO world heritage. This former capital of the Counts of Champagne and fair city welcomes you for a trip to Middle Ages. Find all the informations on the official website of Provins' Tourist Office.
Represented on the coat of arms of the city, Caesar's Tower is still the symbol of Provins. Power of the Counts of Champagne, this dungeon built in the twelfth century, has fulfilled many functions: watch tower, prison, tower... The top floor offers a panoramic view over the city and its environs.
Saint-Quiriace's Collegiate Church
Erected in the twelfth century by the will of Count Henry the Liberal, the financial difficulties of the French kingdom under Philip le Bel will leave it forever uncompleted. Every evening at dusk, the Collegiate is illuminated by 1000 fires to the delight of your eyes from the Logis de la Voulzie.
A miraculous healing at the site leads to the discovery in 1000 of the tomb of Saint Ayoul. The front of this church became the first exchange and trade fairs of Provins. Revised numerous times since the eleventh century, his remarkable bronze portal is due to George Jeanclos, a modern sculptor.
The Underground Galleries
The galleries where originally a "fuller's earth" quarry, material used in the textile industry of Provins. The sheet "ners" (black) of Provins was very popular in the Middle Ages. Subsequently, the cavities were used as place of refuge, warehouse, wine cellar and even a meeting place for secret societies. Many graffiti attest Companions and Freemasons.
The Franciscan Abbey
Located out of the ramparts, this religious monument was built in the 13th century by the Earl Thibaud IV, on the hill face to his palace, after a vision of Sainte Catherine. It became a hospital in 1749, on the orders of Louis XV. From now on this building keeps the archives of the National Department of Heritage and Historic Monument and a college of tourism.
Saint-Jean's gate and the Ramparts
These magnificent works of art were built in the thirteenth century and are beiing restored. The gate, with its two almond-shaped towers, assured the defense of the old road from Paris. On the right you can find the medideval show area for “The Age of the Ramparts” and “The Legend
of the Knights”.
Built in the 12th century on the site of an ancient chapel, the church here owes its name to a piece of the True Cross supposedly brought back to Provins by the son-in-law of Saint Louis, Count Thibaud V. Following a fire in 1305, the church was Renaissance-style main portal.
The "Place du Châtel"
This is the very heart of the upper town. In its centre stand an ancient well and the “Exchange Cross” (13th century) where there were financial transactions. Also called the “Cross of the Edicts”, it was used as a public notice board for the edicts of the Counts and later for those of the King. All around you can see the Four Gable House, the Minor Offender’s court, the Cockle-Shell House, and the remains of the Saint-Thibault church.
The Tithe Barn
This typical Provins house with its superb vaulted cellar used to be rented to the merchants of Toulouse when they came to town for the Champagne Fairs. In the thirteenth century these fairs had the primacy throughout the West, indeed the Champagne was an important trading crossroads where traders converged from the north, south, and east. Thus, Provins' location made its fair the most important.
The Rose Garden and Provins's Rose
Dominated by the monuments of the old town, the Rose Garden of Provins tells you the story of the Rose through more than 300 varieties staged by theme in this field of 3 hectares. You will begin your visit with the old roses, amonch wich the most famous "Rosa Gallica Officinalis" brought back in Provins by Thibault IV of Champagne on his way back from crusade.