Friday, 22 May 2015

Troyes, capital of the Aube department, north-central France.

We  stopped for the night in Troyes last week, when returning from Amsterdam (of which more of both in the near future). The town centre is being exquisitely preserved by the town council, and walking around the narrow streets, you have the feeling that it is just as it was 500 or more years ago!

This is a information board in the town to show people this part of the town centre and how this church is tucked into the buildings surrounding it. La Madeleine was originally a rural settlement, developed along the western road to Paris, but, undefended, it was sacked by the Normans in 887. Once it had been enclosed within the city walls around 1200, the area was revived and the population swelled with craftsmen and traders, some being associated with the Champagne Fairs. The grand families living around the church prospered and when part of the quarter was devastated by fire in 1524, the houses were rebuilt in stone, and  are still standing today! There are 13 churches in Troyes centre, so a feast for the eyes of those who enjoy their architecture. but this is said to be amongst the best. First mentioned in 1157, it was added to, and altered, over the next 5 centuries.
The main entrance to the church, Eglise Sainte Madeleine. The great mass of masonry is difficult to see in this very narrow street! It's very anonymous from the outside, but the inside is unbelievable! Like most medieval churches, the walls inside were originally coloured, but someone in the 18th century whitewashed the lot!

And from the other direction, with a better view of the tower, which was added in 1525.

This is the portal over what they call the "small door", right next to the main entrance !

This breath-takingly carved and detailed rood-loft or gallery (one of perhaps only 12 in France) was ordered by the church clergy in 1503 and is the work of master mason Jehan Gailde, who supervised several others,  completing it during the years 1508 - 1515

It's unbelievable that craftsmen with the hand tools of the time were able to create this work out of the local fragile chalk stone.The very rich decoration mixes floral and animal motifs, with ethereal draping, grotesques and figures in period clothing. It's quite the most rich and beautiful stonework we've ever seen, anywhere!!

Gailde also made this spiral stair himself. The soft stone is presumably conducive to fine carving, but the authorities of today no doubt have a huge maintenance problem!

The glorious stained glass windows behind the altar are the subject of immense admiration by visitors.

Stone roof vaulting. How the builders worked out all the angles and curves is amazing!

Saint Robert - a carved painted wood statue from the 1500's. Saint Robert was a monk who founded  two local abbeys in the 11th century, representations of each of which he carries in his hands. A clever way of showing his achievement.



See also my daily Photo Diary Here
My Life Before Charente  - New post 22/05/2015

58 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Linda it was amazing, we were both somewhat open mouthed looking at the inside of this church. Have a good weekend Diane.

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  2. OMGosh! The details. Must have many working for a long time. Absolutely stunning!

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    1. Gaelyn, seldom are we both left stunned by workmanship like this, but this was quite incredible and the photos do not do it justice. Quite amazing, take care Diane

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  3. Another beautiful part of your place thatIay never see in person but glad you can share! Churches there are gorgeous!

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    1. Rose you are so right the churches in France are very special and the craftsmanship is more than amazing. Hope you are all well. Diane

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  4. That interior was just stunning! You must have had a duper visit to Troyes.

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    1. Fly sadly we only had an afternoon there but we saw as much as we could. If we had known what a lovely place it was we could have easily have stayed two nights on our way home. Have a good weekend you two, Diane

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  5. It looks like a fascinating little town. As always, your church photos are magnificent! I agree that the maintenance must be a nightmare, because my house is only 90 years old and outside maintenance can be very difficult insofar as stone work!

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    1. Yes Margie we also know about maintenance with a plus 200 year old stone house! That though is a relatively soft stone so it must be very difficult. Amazing town though. Have a good weekend Diane

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  6. Hi Diane. It is fabulous to see these photos. I stopped in Troyes my first night in France, after picking up a car in Paris and driving straight out...idiot!! Survived, and absolutely loved Troyes. It was just before Christmas, and I was fascinated by the music being piped through the town. Never come across that before. It will always be one of France's most fascinating towns to me. The fact that it's shaped like a champagne cork helps too! I'd love to return one day.

    Denise :-)

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    1. Denise I am glad that you have seen Troyes it is an amazing place steeped in well preserved history. We also have piped music through our small local town :-) Hope all is well Have a good weekend Diane.

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  7. I'd never heard of Troyes until your visit Diane so thanks for the education! It's very beautiful - the church looks to be very special indeed.

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    1. It was a perfect place to stop over on our return from holiday Craig, but I wish we had of stayed two nights instead of one. There will be more on Troyes to come though as we fitted in as much as possible. Certainly worth a visit if you should happen to be nearby, Hope you have a good weekend Diane

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  8. Absolutely stunning craftsmanship and so ornate. These buildings boast so much history and they are well worth stopping off to see. We used to pass Troyes on our way to and back from skiing, but never stopped off. We obviously missed somewhere very special x

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    1. Kerry this is the most beautiful town,if you go that way again plan an overnight stop at least so you have a minimum of half a day to walk around. We only had a half day and I was sorry that we did not have longer, I am sure we missed a lot but we loved the place. Take care Diane xx

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  9. I always appreciate your posts, you share some phenomenal places. Love the photos!

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    1. Glad you enjoy Denise, that is our aim to share some of the beautiful parts of France that others are not so likely to see. Have a good day Diane

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  10. OMG your photos are absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for sharing this very special place - I so enjoy your posts:)

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    1. Thanks so much for the comment and glad that you enjoy our posts, This is a special place, Diane

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  11. We like Troyes very much and have stayed there several times. It was a handy place to catch up on rest on some of our marathon motorcycling tours of France.
    It's actually twinned with our home town of Chestefield but I can't help thinking the citizens of Troyes dew the short straw there! Chesterield is all charity shops, pound shops and lager louts these days, some of its beautiful half timbered buildings having been turned into bars or left empty and unloved. Troyes has lovely street cafés, an old indoor market and a beautiful park. And of course, champagne!
    You have reminded me that it's a long time since we were there!

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    1. Jean it is an amazing town, interesting that your home town was twinned with it. It is a place I would like to return to with a bit more time. We loved our hotel there and the restaurant they recommended was just perfect. as for the market, churches and old buildings, they are amazing. We loved it. Hope the kitchen is going along much better now. Take care Diane

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  12. Lovely church, although all I could think of was 'that would take a lot of dusting!' This thought might have been encouraged by the fact that I have been busy outside in the veg plot for the last week so the house is looking dusty and neglected!

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    1. I have to agree with you there Vera,can you imagine!!! Hope all is well. Diane

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  13. It is amazing to see this ancient architecture. The carvings are so elaborate and as you say how did they build such wonderful ceilings and arches to such precision all those centuries ago?

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    1. Diane it never ceases to amaze me what they built many years ago without the equipment that we have today. The workmanship was generally much better than than today as well! Have a good trip t'other diane

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  14. Thank you so much Diane, for sharing such a splendid church with us. The gallery is amazing, the carved stone looks like lacy, just beautiful.

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    1. It is a pleasure Karen, I love others to appreciate France and the countryside. Take care Diane

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  15. I am sure I have stopped in Troyes in the past as some of your photos looked familiar, but did not find the church, another time!

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    1. Quite possibly Linda,it would be a good stopping place for you when you went to Italy. Hope all is well. Diane

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  16. Another amazing town you're showing us. Great photos, Diane!

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    1. Thanks José glad to have you back. Diane

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  17. Diane - I finally paid a visit t Troyes via your blog and was totally enthralled by the craftsmanship shown in your photos. Its on our list for next year's trip as will possibly be Amsterdam. Did you enjoy Amserdam. It looks like our eldest son Andrew will be living somewhere in the Nederlands late this year so we have an excuse to go. As always, your photos are great - say hello to Nigel from us.

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    1. Leon it really is a place worth going to see we were very taken with it. I have replied re Amsterdam by email, Nigel says hello :)

      Take care Diane

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  18. I had heard about Troyes being a magnificent city, wonderful to see it through your lens!!
    Lovely footage, Diane!
    Keep well, enjoy your WE!

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    1. Thanks Noushka, it is an amazing place, we did not realise quite what we were in for when we booked to stay there but it was very special. Take care Diane

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  19. What a fantastic church! I can't imagine all the craftmanship it took. And the stained glass windows are outstanding. I love the old churches and buildings with such ornate architecture. Looking forward to your take on Amsterdam! I loved that city when we visited! Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks so much Pam, Will get to posts on Amsterdam eventually but so much to do here in the garden and so many photos to go through!! Have a good day Diane

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  20. Hi Diane - that looks an amazing city to visit ... let alone the Church ... what incredible stone work. I know Canterbury Cathedral is crumbling badly after x number of centuries in places - the Normans brought the sandstone over from Caen .. but I'm sure this chalkstone would be much softer: workable, but definitely not that robust. Interesting ... I must find out more ...

    It looks a fascinating place to visit and a wonderful church - no wonder you're both enamoured ... lovely to see - cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary it is very special and I am sorry that we only had an afternoon to look around. Never the less we made every minute count and saw as much as we could. have a good day and enjoy your break. Diane

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  21. Diane for someone who lives in a relatively young country to see architecture like this is a visual treat. So happy you took us inside. The stained glass windows are wonderful, the arches magnificent, merci beaucoup.

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    1. Thanks so much, time you had a holiday in France so we can show you more of the history :-) Take care Diane

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    2. Believe me I would love to Diane, it's just such a long flight and my fear of flying increases daily :) I will brave up one of these days!

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  22. Unbelievably beautiful stonework. I marvel at how they were able to do such detailed work using the tools of their day. Real master craftsmen.

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    1. Thanks Joyful, it is amazing how they did this work so many years ago. Hope you are well. Diane

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  23. I've so happy to be back here ! Troyes is a very nice town .. I have very good memories there. And the church is absolutely fabulous ! Thank you for those very nice photos !

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    1. Thanks Hélène for your comment, what a wonderful place this is. So glad we decided to stop here on our way home from holiday. Glad you enjoyed the visit.Diane

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  24. Une très belle ballade à travers la ville et à travers l'histoire.
    Merci

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    1. Il est un plaisir Nadji de voir ces belles villes en France. Bonne journée,Diane

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  25. Beautifull Diane!
    Especially I love the stained glass window!
    Really beauty!
    xo

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    1. Gloria this town is very special and they are keeping it restored so well. Have a good day Diane.

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  26. Your photos are always so lovely and informative. It is a real pleasure to visit here.

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    1. Thanks Mary, this town is very special, so much history. Have a good dayDiane

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  27. Impressive indeed, Diane. And You have introduced it in the best way.
    Best wishes!

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    1. Thanks so much Gio Ve for the kind compliment. Diane

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  28. I love seeing and reading about the places you share with us. Thank you so much for visiting my blog while I was away. I hope your week is going well.

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    1. Thanks Denise, great week but very hot ! Take care Diane

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  29. Beautiful images of a wonderful place, Diane. It's been too long since I visited France and I'm wondering if I'll ever return.

    I hope that you're managing to keep cool enough in the heat. We've just had the hottest July day on record!! Best wishes - - - Richard

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