Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Medieval jenga

Day 177 07.01.13 Troyes

Troyes medieval house fronts, France

After a night of broken sleep we find ourselves waking up very late, so much for my planned big day of exploring!  Our first stop is the supermarket to stock up on sandwich stuffs.  On the way we spot a launderette which will be very handy later.  After returning with our bounty for a big lunch we head into town.
We have a great time just wandering the gorgeous streets and spotting all the lovely sights.  I fear for my camera battery, I’ve been very snap happy for far!

A typical street in Troyes, France
We pop into a few of the churches along the way, unfortunately many of them are undergoing renovations at the moment so the exteriors are covered in scaffolding.  It’s a big shame as no doubt many of them would be very impressive without it.  The interiors are a bit of a mish-mash of styles.  One even has numerous random statues which don’t appear to be religious at all!  One of the churches even has a funky patterned roof made up from tiles of differing colours which looks really cool.  I must admit we’ve been a little spoilt by churches of late so we’re a tough audience to impress these days! 

There are lots of grand Government buildings along the way with extravagant gilded gates at the front, very fancy!    We also pass through a lovely park.  Sadly the water features of a waterfall and small stream running through the centre have no water in during these cold winter months and the big cherry blossom trees are blossom-less.  In the summer though this place must be a blissful little haven. 

Towards the edges of town we come across a number of grand houses that differ from the standard wood beam construction and are very impressive indeed.  It seems an odd thing to say but the whole area is incredibly ‘french’ feeling!  The streets are full of cute bakeries and patisseries with pretty gilded signs and many in a mock medieval style.  Aside from the ugly but necessary road signs, much of what you see is in keeping with the style of the buildings as much as possible.  It certainly would be nicer though if the town centre could be more pedestrianised, although perhaps not so practical for those who live here.

The old buildings seem to defy the laws of physics.  So many are falling over to one side to be propped up by their neighbours or buckling out at the front so much it looks like they’ll pop.  I’d love to see what they look like inside!  There are so many doors and windows that have had to be specially made wonky so as to fit inside these magnificent houses. 

Wooden fronted houses in Troyes, FranceAfter a long afternoon spent taking in the sights we stop by the mediateque building.  It’s essentially a huge library style building where you can also borrow CDs and DVDs or sit down at the media centres to watch/listen to them.  For us it represents a quiet space to sit down and get some writing down whilst charging up the laptops/phones/camera since nobody seems to care.  We spent a good little while there getting back up to 100% before heading back to the van, the lack of solar power on this trip is a little frustrating! 

It feels at times like Troyes can’t possibly be a real place, it’s just so picture perfect and quaint.  It really is hard to believe that real people live in these crazy houses and lead perfectly normal lives in this fairy-tale town.  They’re very lucky indeed!

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