Europe

A swift 16th century stop in Troyes before the next ‘Tour the France’ stage

At the same time as the more famous event with the same name was being held, my Tour de France 2020 continued in September. This time around, it was a pretty long stage, with a lot more effort required to make it through to the end. But it was the best one to date and sadly probably also the last one.

Our plan was to hit the lesser known regions of France – and we managed that most of the time – but occasionally we couldn’t stop ourselves from indulging in some tourist stuff.

We actually even started the trip with some indulging. Instead of leaving on Thursday morning, we hit the road on Wednesday the 9th at noon, after work. This way we could split up the drive to our first destination; the Jura region. Our initial plan was to make it until Épernay, in the Champagne region, and set up camp there, but all went smoothly and that place didn’t really appeal to us, so we continued a bit further; to Troyes.

Fortunately we arrived in the area early enough to still have some time left to explore the city itself before dinnertime. Visiting this place wasn’t on the itinerary since we were just passing by and really tried to avoid crowded places, but it just seemed sad to not even give it a second glance now that we were so close.

We parked a bit out of the city center, took our bikes out of the van and decided to go for a quick ride around the old part of Troyes. And we were lucky, there weren’t too many people hanging around, so swift passage and a corona-safe visit; yay!

First we stopped at the Troyes Cathedral, a beautiful 13th century roman catholic church and the most important sight of the city. However that was not my favorite part. I mostly fell in love with just the overall architecture in the city. The charming medieval streets with the half-timbered buildings in all shapes and colors were just amazing! It is what the city is best known for after all, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.

It sort of felt like I was riding around in an amusement park, as that was the only place I could remember to have seen so many of these type of houses together. It was pretty surreal to realize that those building were actually that old.

With no actual itinerary, we decided to just go wherever our wheels would take us. Whatever street looked the most charming and beautiful, that’s where we went! We may have gone in circles or missed a lot of “famous” streets, but the freedom of just seeing what was around every corner was worth it.

After an hour of exploring, it was time to head back to the van and find ourselves a camping spot for the night. Yup, that’s right. Camping. Actual camping with a tent. That would be a first for me, but I was so excited to try this type of budget traveling!

A little south of the city we found ‘Les Terres Rouges’, a big campground with a lake. We found ourselves a spot all the way in the back of the campground and were lucky to witness a gorgeous sunset over the water while we enjoyed our self-made dinner and drinks.

A perfect way to an amazing day! I definitely hope to make it back to Troyes for a more in-depth exploration, but it was a very nice first taste of both the city and the Aube region. And it made for a great destination to split up our long drive to the Jura. So far, the trip was a success and it hadn’t even really begun yet! Ah, the excitement!

♡ Ellen

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