Provins is a mediaeval town East of Paris. Not all buildings are from that period though. Many are from the 18th and 19th century. St Quiriace Church (above) is in fact a 12th century building, but the steeple had to be redone at the end of the 17th and many more times after that. Its current state owes much to the 1950s when repairs were made to the damaged Church after WWII bombings. The rest is the result of our stroll in the streets of Provins on a cold and windy wintry day (hence the choice of black and white).
Tour de César is a famous Provins landmark and has nothing to do with Julius Caesar, despite the legend and its name. It’s a 12th century keep in fact, built by the Coumts of Champagne (Provins is technically part of the Champagne region, although located in today’s Ile de France, the Paris region).
Here is more about the history of this town. It’s hard to believe today that it once was a prominent place for international business.
Founded in the 9th century on a strategic site, Provins quickly became an important town, organised around its count’s palace. Henry I — nicknamed the Liberal — had the powerful Caesar Tower built in 1175. In 1226, Count Thibault IV enclosed Provins behind its high walls, more than a mile long, making the town one of the best fortified in Europe. You would be right in thinking that this was necessary to ensure the tranquillity of the city, which became prosperous thanks to its large fairs and its production of quality cloth. However, linen was also made in Flanders, and this exactly why Provins’ prosperous era did come to an end.
The same kind of fate happened with Brittany which was extremely rich in the 17th century due to the production of sails from linen. When sails were finally made of coton, the whole region lost its business and became very impoverished.