There are several trains which go from Paris Gare de l’Est directly to Troyes in the old province of Champagne, today called the Aube. The trip takes about 90 minutes. If bought online in advance, the round trip may cost only about 36 euros. When bought directly before the train leaves, it is 54 euros. There are also several cheaper trains during the day, with one or two train changes en route. When one gets out of Gare de Troyes, the town lies right in front of you. It is easy to follow any of the lovely streets, turning left and right to explore, or just walking along a street, then turn right and stroll along another one. The whole town is wonderfully preserved as it used to be in the former centuries, with lots of half-timbered houses which sort of ask to be photographed one by one. The main shopping street rather surprisingly has all the familiar names on it, like Claire’s, Bijou Brigitte, H&M and many others. But they are all located in the same pretty old buildings, and it makes all the difference in your shopping. Troyes,as well as the whole region, is famous for its champagne wines. It is one of the areas where they legally use the name “Champagne”, not “Sparkling”, on their wine bottles. Many specialized shops offer a wide range of that lovely drink, and the bottles may be tiny or really large. In a number of cafes, there are advertisements for “Champagne meals”. Obviously one of the main products produced in the province deserves to be served and sold all around town!
Walking slowly and enjoying the sights, one gradually reaches the huge St. Pierre’s and St. Paul’s Cathedral. It is so large, one cannot take a picture of the whole structure, so I took some pictures of the sides. They are in the process of being cleaned up, and one can see portions of the sides which are still totally black with the seven centuries old grime, and the original white stone right next to them. For some reason, all the doors in clerical buildings in Troyes are painted bright red. Inside, the cathedral is vast, so that it probably could accommodate the whole town population in times of war and siege. The entrance is free.
Lots of cafes and restaurants may be found at every corner and in every nook. I almost missed the tiny Maxime’s restaurant, though I snapped a picture of the little red house nestled tightly in between two bigger ones. It turned out to be quite charming inside, with very friendly staff, a winding staircase leading to a small cozy hall upstairs, and a great menu with very decent prices. The salmon there is delicious; they serve it with salad and a liberal helping of nicely fried real potatoes. Coffee is great too.
There are toilets in every café, of course. If you are walking for two or three hours and need the facilities while sightseeing, follow the signs to Tourist Information Center – Toilet. It is clean, and it is free. There are also lots of places where one can sit on a bench, relax and enjoy the surrounding views. The Seine and the Aube rivers are lovely to look at, with lots of little old bridges crossing them. In one of the squares, a young lady dressed in the fashion of the eras gone sits dreamily on a bench. Only when one comes closer does one realize it is a statue. There are also fountains, several monuments, and a traditional old-style carousel with the rather unusual seat in the shape of a rocket ship.
It is an easy one-day journey, and it leaves you with a lot of pleasant impressions.










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