After my miserable failure trying to see Provins in the fog a year and a half ago, it was time to try again this week. Luckily, it is quite easy to get there since it is at the very end of one of the suburban commuter lines, but the shortest rail trip still takes an hour and 24 minutes. There is one train an hour on an invariable schedule. Here is proof that the train goes no farther.
Even though the train station is several blocks from the centre of town, there are a few pretty things to see along the way.
The city takes great pride in its municipal flower baskets, at the risk of making certain footpaths a bit difficult to navigate.
In just a few minutes, I arrived at the principal commercial street.
It was not possible to visit the church right now because a service in memory of the recently murdered priest was in progress.
It was nice to be able to see some of the archtiecture much more clearly than the first time.
The flowers everywhere were both spectacular and varied.
Although I had not come to Provins alone, it was alone that I squeezed up the final narrow steps into the belfry. I have to admit that I am quite surprised that it is open to the public because the steps are treacherous and uneven and the opening is so narrow that I had to turn sideways in the slit in which the steps are located. However, the final result is completely worth it.
I would not call the area hygienic because it is the home of several hundred pigeons, and their droppings are everywhere, including on the handrails.
The bells up here are still in use and ring every hour. I think I was lucky to be there when they were not ringing.
I couldn't stop looking at the ceiling.
Squeezing down the exit stairs was another challenge. Obviously the steps are only one way!
In another chamber, there was a brief audiovisual show about the life of Henri I, count of Champagne and major crusader for which we are still paying the price.
And then we left the keep under the protection of its dragon.
Magnificent, Kerouac! I really like the photo that includes both the tower and church. Nice shot capturing the dragon weathervane on top of the tower against the gray sky. Difficult to do. I can only imagine those pigeons were shocked to see a human inside the belfry. Especially someone as tall as you. The detail up there is fascinating. Surely that wood has been replaced several times over the years.
There are plenty of bric-à-brac shops for visitors requiring shopping opportunities.
I was happy just to admire the old stones.
Some people enjoy growing non native plants.
I have still not managed to visit one of the other churches of the city; yet it looks quite interesting.
I stepped into the main church where mass had been held earlier in the day. The giant wooden altar is quite impressive.
I don't think this statue corresponds to where I was always told that Jesus' chest wound was located.
Some of the stained glass was installed only in 2010.
And then it was time to go back to the train station for the hour and twenty-four minutes back to Paris-Est. Next time, maybe I'll make it to the famous eagle show and the medieval underground things to visit.
What a beautiful, interesting trip! The town, even with the lovely municipal floral displays, looks "regular", as opposed to too-too quaintly "discovered". Is that correct? Also, it looks as though it would be a communters' paradise, similar to those 1-2 hour commutes in the NE United States.
I love all the details, man-made and botanical that you caught, also the wide open spaces outside the walls, some of which seem almost unchanged since medieval times.
Lovely, lovely photos and a completely absorbing trip -- thanks!
Kerouac, I was looking up information about the underground section and read that not only is there an area that served as storage space during medieval times, but there is also a cave where there are supposedly Bronze and Iron Age drawings.