St Augustin

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.
Who lives sees much, who travels sees more.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A - Z Challenge - T is for TROYES, France

Map of France showing the Champagne Region with Troyes in the South-West

When I first hit France in 2004, I was on a mission to get to Italy. Sounds crazy, but Aussie travellers are crazy. After over 20 hours on a plane to reach civilization (((snicker, snicker))), we hit the road running, or speeding, whatever. So after ooing and aahing as the plane hovered over Charles de Gaulle Airport, our schedule meant we had a rugged drive ahead to get to a little hill town north of Rome. Well, why didn't we fly into Rome then? Well, there was a reason but I quite forget now!

Champagne Region. See Troyes in the South West. (We got back to Champagne in 2008 where we visited many of the other Champagne towns and drank lots of, yeah, you got it...)

Anyhoo, tiredness set in as it does when you've been in a plane for a day, so we we managed to find our way out of Paris after only one wrong turn, then found the A-whatever, and headed south. No fun navigating as night set in along with jet lag, so where to lay our weary heads? Oh, there on the map, an interesting little town, Troyes, let's investigate. (Even though our itinerary was micro-managed by our travel agent, she had forgotten to book us in anywhere on our first night!) We brought her flowers when we returned...

After driving round and round looking for the actual city, we finally hit paydirt and stumbled upon the medieval centre. Woo hoo. We like old stuff. I guarded the car while the hubs found us a room at the inn, or the Best Western whatever. Well, what do you know? Oui, oui, tres possible.

Our first night in France was spent in a hotel right in the medieval centre and the badly-maligned French staff couldn't do enough to help travel-weary Aussies - "Have another bottle of Evian, s'il vous plait." I thought they'd be tu-ing us before too long. Desole, our dining room is closed, but there is a good Chinese down the road - (((guffaw))). So our first meal in France was Chinese. Ah, such a global society! It was tres delicious so not complaining.

We staggered to bed (you know you can't get a decent wine in a Chinese restaurant, must have been all that Evian) and slept the sleep of the blissfully happy.

Ah, but next morning we really knew what happiness was! Hitting the cobblestone streets, we were blown away by the picture-postcard perfection (yes, it brings out the poet in me) of a medieval town dusted in icing sugar snow, with happy Christmas music wafting through the chilly air. Yes, Aussies also like to hit Europe at Christmas to escape the oven that is Australia at that happy time. We like to experience a 'white' Christmas once in our lives with not a prawn or a bbq in sight for once!

So, after ordering a petit dejeuner in a delightfully authentic bistro, with all these French people (((ha ha))) and little silver trays with bills, money, whatever - where's the Euros?, I was able to use my recently-revised French language skills on the uber-efficient waiter. It all worked so seamlessly that the hubs (who speaks only Strine) didn't even know I'd ordered until bowls of steaming cafe au lait and croissants came winging out way and were plonked without ceremony on the timbered table. Ah, who has tasted more delicious coffee or croissants? They tasted like nectar to a couple of starving Aussies.

Petit dejeuner over with, let's hit the streets. Bit bumpy these cobblestones and it doesn't help that they've been dusted with snow overnight, but how completely exotic! Instead of donning the bikini and hitting the waves, here we are rugged up in overcoats, boots, scarves, gloves and beanies, walking up streets of half-timbered houses which looked like they could topple any minute, all accompanied by dulcet tones of French music. Oh la la. France stole my heart that magical morning in Troyes.
Finding Troyes was just the beginning of a red-hot love affair that rages on...

Here are some of the delights of Troyes. Every time we have a rave to a French person, telling them about our Troyes' experience, they look blank. Reason? Recently found out they pronounce it Trwah and were too polite to tell us!

Here's the blurb:

Troyes (pronounced trwah), was once a center for stained glass and textiles. It was also the home of the 12th-century poet Chr├ętien de Troyes, who wrote versions of the Arthurian legends, and of andouillettes, sausages, made in Troyes from tripe and famous throughout France.

The many cobblestone, pedestrians-only streets in the town's historic center give Troyes an intimacy that belies its population of over 60,000. An outline of the city looks like a Champagne cork with the medieval and artisanal vestiges mostly in the St.-Jean quarter at the base, and the administrative and ecclesiastical center at the head.

Go here if you'd like to learn more abou this gorgeous place.


waseembutt said...

Sato Travel-yes thx for this post because i am very upset how to create this but i read this post i am very happy thx for amazing post.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Yep Christmas in Europe is a little different to Xmas in the South as I discovered when we moved from South Africa!! Troyes looks beautiful. Diane

N. R. Williams said...

In that first picture I wondered about the town and you clarified that. If you ever want to experience Rocky Mountain Snow at Christmas, be sure to look me up. I'm 2,000 miles away from New York and 1,000 miles from California. America is big. I hope to go to Europe someday. Now if I could only drive.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

Laura Eno said...

I've been on planes for 12 hours at a time, but 20 hours? I think I'd die. (Which is why I haven't made it to Australia yet).
Thanks for another peek at a fascinating place!

Grandpa said...

I've driven around France (a few hours away from Lyon) but never to this part.

Glad you enjoyed Troyes in the end Denise.

Francine Howarth said...


Hee hee touring underground cavernous cellars etc., and quaffing champers is a fun holiday! But give me the Alps, a chalet, log fire and a gorgeous bloke and I'm a very happy bunny: croissant and coffee for afters. :o

Dawn Embers said...

Ah yes, France. That was my second guess, so I was kind of close. ;-)

France is an interesting place. My sister got to go there once. My grandma suggested we go some time but I'm not sure. It's not on the top of my list but I'd consider it still.

Sailor said...

Beautiful Blog. I have never been to France except on airport transit area. lol. Nice pictures and good information.

Carrie said...

These pictures are lovely. The remind me of a visit I took to Germany one summer. My dad and I took lots of smaller trips. One of them was to France.

Empty Nest Insider said...

Sounds like an incredible adventure! I'd love to travel to Troyes! Thanks for visiting me and I look forward to seeing more of you! Happy Easter! Julie

Mari said...

What a lovely trip, Denise! I too like to see white Christmas once in a while. :) (actually, I wish it was every year, but... :P)

Michael Di Gesu said...


What a gorgeous little town.