Go back in time to the Middle Ages: travel to Troyes, former capital of the Champagne region. This town has an impressive medival heritage: the greatest French author of the Middle Ages, Chrestien de Troyes, was, as you may have guessed, from Troyes. Half timbered houses and picturesque cobbled streets make up the historic centre of this town which is full of masterpieces by Renaissance glassmakers. In the 19th century, Troyes became the capital of hosiery (socks, stockings and lingerie) and you'll see plenty here in all shapes, colours and sizes.
Welcome to Troyes, the only town whose centre is shaped like a champagne cork: you're in champagne country now. Troyes is not called "the town of ten churches" for nothing. The magnificent Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Troyes is one of the most beautiful examples of Gothic architecture. It was begun in the 12th century, however its asymmetrical look was not what was originally planned: there were to be two towers, one for St Peter and one for St Paul. Poor old St Paul never got his tower, however, and the cathedral remains unfinished. The 180 stunning, stained-glass windows dating variously from the 13th to the 17th century have contributed to Troyes's reputation as the "holy town of stained glass".
The rather unique Hotel de Mauroy comprises an interesting study of manual labour. The museum's collection includes some 20,000 tools dating from the 17th to the 19th century.
For another unusual museum visit, try the Apothecary of the Hôtel-Dieu-le-Comte. Here you'll find not only your grandma's favourite remedies and numerous dubious lotions and potions, but hundreds of beautifully painted medecine boxes and ceramic pots in this pharmacy which has not changed one bit since the early 17th century.
Discover the local, traditional gastronomic delights at one of the many restaurants in Troyes. The Saint Jean quarter is full of lively eateries. The town's speciality is andouillette de Troyes, however, the squeamish should be warned: this is a tripe sausage. For the brave of heart and strong of stomach, Gilbert Lemelle makes fine quality andouillettes. Troyes is famous for its wine, and you'll find excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay here, and of course, plenty of Champagne. The great Champagne vineyards are scattered around the local area and the famous Foires de Champagne takes place in Troyes. With concerts, local produce and entertainment all over the town this festival attracts a large crowd every year. The Nuits de Champagne, is a musical festival in October which has a varied programme of concerts and events.
Station to station