Adriana and I took a day trip to Provins, which is only an hour away by train. It is right outside of Paris and you can get there for free with your Navigo pass (monthly metrocard). Provins is a quiet medieval town that became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. It was unlike any place I've visited before.
The train was clean and the seats were super comfy.
Adriana said," There is so much pressure to hit as many different countries as possible, but, sometimes it's better to find the hidden treasures close to home."
Provins is not a common place for students to visit. When you study abroad in Europe, you can travel to many other countries less than two hours away. When you hear about everyone's weekend on Monday, friends have gone to Greece, Spain, even Gibraltar. There are so many countries to choose from that going on a weekend getaway becomes the norm. I would love to keep traveling, however, we're down to our last month in Paris and I'm running out of time to visit to everything on my "must-see list". Although there is much to be explored in Europe, we have a limited time to spend in Paris. Provins was the perfect day-trip because it's close enough for us to spend the rest of our weekend à Paris.
Here are some pictures of what we saw in Provins!
Provins is known for their roses. I see La Vie en Rose! Provins roses look a bit different and smell amazing.
Adriana and I sat at the main square to plan our day. Right behind us is a cage that held and displayed the wrong doers back in the day.
Hobbit doors were everywhere!
There was also vanilla, strawberry, and even rose flavored gelato.
This is the famous wall that protected Provins, the former trading hub of France. Provins used to be the third most populated region in France but the population was decimated by the bubonic plague. Even more people left because trading ceased after taxes increased. It's hard to believe that this quiet town used to be crowded with townspeople and merchants from all over Europe.
Limestone was dug out from underground and used to build houses. This left huge passageways under the town. The underground passages were then used as fridges because of their constant cool temperature. In order to mark their fridges in the underground passageways, people would use charcoal and the smoke of a flame to write their names or draw on the walls. There were names written on the walls dating back to the late 1700s. Someone drew King Louis XVI, the one who was beheaded in 1789, on their fridge area. Our guide said it was definitely Louis XVI because of his big nose and crown.
Another part of the passageway had a scratched out skull on the wall. It is one of the symbols of a secret society known as the Freemasons. This mini room was used for their initiation ritual. It was proved true by the many Freemason symbols around the passageway. Also, a known Freemason had lived right above this part of the underground passage. Members being initiated had to spend a night in the dark cave and sybolically "come out into the light" by exiting the cave in the morning. Walking around these underground passages while deciphering the markings on the wall was like being part of the movie "The Da Vinci Code".
The church behind us is the Collégiale Saint-Quiriace which had a cloth replica of the Shroud of Turin displayed. It is said that Christ was buried in this cloth which left an imprint of his body on it.
Tour Caesar was built by Julius Caesar himself in the 12th century.
View of Provins from the top of Tour Caesar.
Salts, spices, and powders from all over the world remind us of the trade center this region was so long ago.
Provins' honey is sweeter because of the roses that the bees pollinate. Provins sells a host of specialty goods made from their unique roses.
Adriana walking through the medieval region. The small town, like Venice, was easily walkable.
It was fascinating to go back in time to the Rennaissance. Provins was such a fun adventure.
À bientôt Provins,