The medieval city of Provins is inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage list as the only surviving example of a merchant city from the Champagne fairs of the 12th and 13th centuries…
The medieval town of Provins is historically located on the former lands of the Earls of Champagne, from the Year 1000.
The city had its highlight in the 12th and 13th centuries, thanks to the famous Trade Fairs of Champagne!
These fairs are said to have originated from pilgrimages following the discovery of the relics of Saint Ayoul, preserved in the crypt of the Saint-Médard chapel.
Having become too small to accommodate the many pilgrims, it was enlarged and transformed into a remarkable architectural ensemble, consisting of the parish church and The Saint-Ayoul priory.
The parvis was used to accommodate the merchants who came to provide for the needs of this large number of people.
Favoured by its geographical location, on the crossroads of European trade roads, and by the visionary spirit of the Earls, Provins gradually becomes a very significant trade market.
The urban plan will be ideally designed and modified: the wide streets for the transfer of goods and for the stalls, the three level merchant’s houses with sumptuous vaulted low rooms…
You will discover beautiful examples in the entrance and exit rooms of the former quarries which have become the Underground Galleries, and by visiting the Tithe Barn, rented at the time to Toulouse merchants.
The presence of water (Durteint and Voulzie rivers) favours also the economic activities and the expansion of many trades such as the woollen cloth manufacturer, the parchment maker, butcher, etc.
The impressive fortified wall was built during the 13th century and extended for 5 km (today 2 km), and it offers a catalogue of military architecture. Those ramparts protected the inhabitants and the tradespeople, and showed off the power of the Earls of Champagne.
Eight centuries later, the urban ensemble bears witness to its medieval history that stretched from 11th through to the 13th centuries.
The town’s architectural heritage is a supreme illustration of the emergence of commerce in early Western European history which is intimately linked to the growth of trade and cultural exchanges throughout Europe.
The city of Provins is one of the most beautiful medieval towns in France!
It is a real showcase of medieval architecture (military, religious and civil) and it is one of the few towns in France that can boast of over fifty listed Monuments with historical value as the Provins and the Provins area Museum and the Cesar Tower.
Thus, Provins was inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List since the 13th December 2001.
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