Since we go to Paris countless times – due to Cristina’s parents living there – we’re constantly trying to find new places close enough for visiting, while on our quest to explore what the region the French call Île de France has to offer. And yes, there’s plenty to see. The medieval town of Provins is quite close to Paris, thus making it suitable for a one day trip from the big city.
One interesting thing about Provins is the fact that it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. This was probably one of the reasons we decided to visit it, as we try to find such sites while traveling.
We usually drive on our trips outside Paris, and this was no exception. In just a few minutes, it looks like we’re in a different world, once we leave the city suburbs and enter the countryside.
A small aside, the french countryside offers many things to do and see, from small old towns to huge colorful farm fields or Palaces. It’s a pity some of these places are not featured in the travel guides, or when they are, it’s just a small paragraph. The further you venture, the most likely you are to experience the striking differences between each region, in food or architecture, almost like visiting another country. In future posts, we’ll try to feature some more of these places. Long story short, if you’re visiting France with time to spare go outside Paris and discover.
Read more about Provins!
Once inside the fortification it’s all about narrow streets, most of them leading to the main square. Along the way, we enjoyed seeing how well eateries and hotels are able to fit into this “old” architecture, making it very eye appealing. Plenty of choices to grab something to eat, including crepes and ice creams 🙂
From the main square, we got the first sight of the main attraction – Tour de César or Caesar Tower. Afterwards, we followed some streets until we reached the base of the tower.
After a small fee, we made our way into the tower. The interior is almost completely empty, so the main interest is going up to see the views and enjoy a medieval building. Narrow stairs lead the way up to the top, where you can find a couple of bells.
Just after the tower, there is a remarkable big church – Saint-Quiriace.
This route visits the main attractions of Provins. On our way back we took a different one to try and see other streets and ultimately the walls. We recommend doing this as we found this route all to ourselves and doing some detours always boosts the chance of finding something new and interesting.
From Paris either drive for about little over an hour, take the train (France has a very good rail network) or the Bus (there are organized one-day trips from Paris).
If driving, there is a big parking lot close to the tourist office (for a fee) to the west of the town, or in the streets outside the fortification. This parking lot is very practical because most visitors enter through here, as there is plenty of information in the tourist office.
At the tourist office, you can buy tickets to enter some of the attractions, plus some medieval shows. Different prices exist depending on the number of attractions, so choose according to your time and budget. We didn’t get a pass as we only entered Caesar Tower, where you can buy individual tickets.
Once inside the fortification, just walk everywhere as it’s a very small place that can be easily explored.
More information on the tourist site: