If you’re looking for a place with strong medieval feel, Provins is the place to go. Pronounced as “PO-VONS”, it can be easily confused with Provence with the same pronounciation. Compared to the latter which is famous for lavendar field, Provins is lesser known. I wouldn’t have known this place if not for the recommendations from fellows tripadvisor.
How to get to Provins :
Take the SNCF train from Gare de l’Est (also known as Paris Est) station. Provins don’t usually show up in the RER train map. Just go to the SNCF counters and ask what’s the train to take. A single ticket will cost 10.50 euros and a mobilis 1 day pass will be 17.30 euros. Since we already have Paris Visite 5 days card, we used it for this journey. Before leaving the counter, remember to take a timetable of the train schedule.
I thought we’re going to go Provins in an old fashion kind of train but instead, we got this new and comfortable train.
SNCF train with seats almost as good as Eurostar. Just as we thought we could arrive at Provins rather fast, we were delayed at Longueville station for a good 20 minutes.
Finally we arrived at the final station of Provins. Surprisingly, despite the reputation that I had heard, it was a sleepy town. There’s supposed to be a shuttle bus to the tourist spot but we decided to walk instead.
This is the kind of apartment that I would love to own one, one day.
Surprisingly, we’re walking in the correct direction despite the lack of signboards.
A drain or a river?
Walking in Provins takes a little perseverance as its direction is always up and up.
Caesar’s Tower of Provins :
I could imagine the background music of trumpet blowing, marking the victorious return of its king hundreds of years ago.
Entrance to the tower.
A view of Provins from the top.
Medieval village of Provins.
Small handmade musical boxes.
Part of the ancient ramparts of Provins.
Tithe Barn :
Tithe Barn is, once upon a time, an underground market. Now, it’s a permanent exhibition with wax figures, reenact how the merchants did their tradings here.
Tithe Barn’s audioguide. I was disappointed that there’s no narration on the barn’s history in the audioguide but just reenactment of these characters’ conversation (with a weird English slang too).
Provins Underground Gallery :
The Underground Gallery was something you wouldn’t want to miss in Provins. There’s no written proof on what this underground had been used for. The above picture, is the entrance to the underground extensive networks, which we cannot enter unless we took the guided tour.
It was dark and cold (like inside a fridge) inside, and unless one is very familiar with the turnabout, he or she will ended up lost. Even with the tour guide, we were often confused which direction we were from. The big letdown was, the tour guide only speaks French. Even though he’s pointing at the ancient drawings in the tunnels we had no idea what he’s explaining about. Do not ever, ever try to leave the flock because the tour guide did not do a head count after getting out from the tunnel.
Before leaving, we decided to hunt for lunch in the town but came across a signboard saying McDonald’s this way. We followed the sign and ended up walking back to the station and further more, passing modern resident areas and a few warehouses, before arriving at McDonald.
After a while, we noticed that we were all busy scratching our bodies. Small unidentified insects (many!) were blown onto us from the wind and they were biting us. I guess these are some insects that will have population boom during the summers.