While the city plan of Troyes (pop. 56,000) resembles a champagne cork, this city shares little with its grape-crazy northern neighbors. Gothic churches, 16th-century mansions, and an abundance of museums attest to the city’s colorful role in French history, dating back to the Middle Ages. The enormous Cathedrale St-Pierre et St-Paul, pl. St-Pierre, down r. Clemenceau past the town hall, has stunning stained glass that has remarkably survived several fires and other disasters. (Open daily lOam-noon and 2-5pm. Closed M morning.) The Musee d’Art Moderne, on pl. St-Pierre, has over 2000 works by French artists, including Degas, Rodin, and Seurat. (Open Tu-Su llam-6pm. 6, students 0.80; W free.) Cinemas and pool halls rub elbows with chic boutiques on rue Emile Zola. On warm nights, Troyens fill the cafes and taverns of rue Champeaux and rue Mole near pl. Alexandre Israel.
Trains run from av. Marechal Joffre to Paris (IMhr. 14 per day, 8.60). The tourist office, 16 bd. Carnot, near the station, helps reserve rooms, (a 03 25 82 62 70; www.ot-troyes.fr. Open M-Sa 9am-12:30pm and 2-6:30pm.) liLes Comtes de Champagne , 56 r. de la Monnaie, is housed in a 16th-century mansion and has large, airy rooms, fa 03 25 73 11 70; www.comtesdechampagne.com. Reception 7am-10pm. Singles from 28; doubles from 32; triples from 50; quads from 55.) Camping Municipal , 2km from Troyes, on N60, has showers and laundry. Take bus #1 (dir.: Pont St-Marie) and ask to be let off at the campground. (03 25 81 02 64. Open Apr. to mid-Oct. 4 per person, 5.50 per tent or car.) Creperies and inexpensive eateries lie near rue Champeaux, in quartier St-Jean, and on rue General Saussier, in quartier Vauluisant. You can stock up at Monoprix supermarket, 78 r. Emile Zola. (Open M-Sa 8:30am-8pm.) Postal Code: 10000.
DAYTRIPS FROM TROYES: LES GRANDS LACS. About 30km from Troyes are the freshwater lakes of the Foret d’Orient. While Lake Orient welcomes sun-bathers, swimmers, and windsurfers; Lake Temple is reserved for fishing and bird-watching; and Lake Amance roars with speedboats from Port Dierville. The Comite
Departmental du Tourlsme de I’Aube, 34 quai Dampierre, provides free brochures on various activities. ( 03 25 42 50 00; fax 03 25 42 50 88. Open M-F 8:45am-noon and l:30-6pm.) The Troyes tourist office has bus schedules for the Grands Lacs.