À la recherche du temps perdu

I just came across a collection of images from 2017, a trip to Champagne with the British Guild of Travel Writers. Rather than just share them with my mother I thought I’d post them here.

St Jacques, Lentilles (1512) – Champagne-Ardenne

As well as the obvious alcoholic attributes of Champagne, part of the region is known for its wooden church architecture, dating from 1400 to 1700. There’s even a Half Timbered Trail linking ten such examples of ecclesiastical wood working that traverses Champagne-Ardenne.

Mermaids and grapes.

The churches themselves remain beautiful, contemplative spaces. However, perhaps reflecting increasing secularism and rural depopulation across France, for the most part they appear little-used and purposeless. Surrounding graves are visited. Further ornaments added to tombstones mark family visits, adding to or assuaging guilt – who knows?

Elsewhere, Troyes (pronounced ‘trois’) is somewhere I’ve previously passed by, noting the peage exit but not making time to explore. It is a town worthy of attention.

Eglise Sainte Madeleine, Troyes. 16th century ‘rood screen’ gallery between the nave and choir. The designer and sculptor is buried beneath his masterpiece…

The town of Troyes has churches too, the 12th century L’Eglise Sainte-Madeleine exhibits fine stonework and Renaissance stained glass.

The choir’s 16th century Tree of Jesse window (rhs)
Troyes – main streets of shops and cafes…

Unlike villages on the church trail, Troyes has life too, even in February.

Troyes’ timber framed buildings

The Renaissance architecture of Troyes’ downtown streets offer diverting insights on French artistic history. And for drivers with an extra day, Troyes makes a sensible stop en route from the UK to Switzerland or Italy.

Place de la Liberation, Troyes

Troyes has more modern memories as well. Liberated from German occupation on the same day as Paris.

Unhappily closed when I was in town…

And remains liberated today…

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