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Provins France; daytrip from Paris; 4 questions.

We will visit Provins as a day-trip from Paris. I have several questions to ask those of you who have visited this city.
1. The train from Gare Est looks like it stops in Provins, then you take a bus from the train depot to the city center. Is this correct? Is the bus ticket part of the train ticket price? (Visiting Fontainbleu was like this, and the bus to/from the train was part of the train ticket).
2. Are there any special shops, cafes and restaurants you would recommend?
3. Are there any special gardens (I'm a gardener) to be sure to step into and visit while we're there?
4. On the train trip between Paris and Provins and back, are there any places to stop off and visit? (i.e. When we went to Chartres we hopped off the train and visited the most charming castle ever, Chateau de Maintenon). Anything like this along the way to Provins?
Thanks so much! Jean-Paul

Posted by Spencer
17 posts

Great decision to go to Provins!

When we went we took the train from Gare Est, then it takes you to the Provins train station. We did not take a bus from the train depot to the city centre, we found it a really nice walk (15-20 minutes maybe?). It goes through the "new town", and you get a feel of a small town French village. When we went, we saw lots of children walking to school, a mailman making deliveries things like that.

For shops/cafes reccomendations, my partner and I went to Le Dome brasserie, and had a hot chocolate and creme brule. It was perfect as it was a windy day. If it is a warm day, you may want to sit at a patio somewhere.

In terms of stopping off anywhere on the way back, our trip in Provins was enough. There is so much diversity in the sights you can see in the town. Ceasar's tower, walking the ramparts (we ate a picnic on top of the wall, all to ourselves), strolling through the old half timbered town. We did not even get time to go into the Tythe Barn, or other buildings.

I would recommend walking or taking some sort of transportation to the visitor centre outsite the ramparts at the address "77160 Provins, France". It is a 30 min. walk to this visitor centre from the train station (there may be some type of transportation from the train station to this visitor centre, but I'm not sure). We stumbled upon the visitor centre, after we saw a lot of the town, but it might be a good idea to go there first.

We went to Provins in late November, some of the sites were closed or had modified hours, it was almost a ghost town, and we still had an amazing time. A great change of pace from Paris.

Posted by janettravels44
Chicago
3833 posts

You don't need a bus to Provins as the train station is at the base of the town and it is nice stroll to the walled part at the top of the hill.

Posted by Wil
IJzendijke, The Netherlands
1053 posts

I’m afraid there is nothing near the train line between Paris and Provins that can meet your expectations like Château de Maintenon. Didn’t visit it but there is a Rose Garden in Provins.

Posted by Barbra
Burbank, CA
169 posts

Provins is a bit of a pain, as I experienced. There is a sort of info office outside the Provins gare--closed when I arrived, of course. I hopped on a bus, but got off too early in the low town, then had to hump it up the hill (with the help of a Brit couple who had the map). Can't agree with Janet on this one, unless I missed the scenic route around the base of the town to the left?

But you want to get through the town, up the hill, and through the ramparts to get to the main tourist office, which caters to cars and bus traffic. Then, loaded with all the info, you can work your way back down while hitting all the attractions.

Walk from train station isn't all that much fun--lots of traffic whizzing by you. And the low town gets jammed with cars at rush hour, 4 or 5 pm.

So if that info office at the gare is open, be sure to check in there. But find out the best way to get up top to that tourist office.

Posted by janettravels44
Chicago
3833 posts

I just did this last spring and am an old lady in my mid 70s and didn't find this to be either traffic heavy or much of a walk from the station through the town and to the ramparts. I did have a map of a walking tour that included the lower and upper town. The whole town is quite old and interesting and the walk is just not particularly arduous. We were there in May which is not high season and the archers, falcons etc were not performing, although we did see a few falcons flying around the ramparts. I can imagine in the heat of mid summer one would want a bus up the hill.

Posted by Patty
BC Canada
66 posts

I found Provins to be delightful and interesting. I took the bus up to the walled old town but then just meandered down the hill through the new town towards the train station. Easily done. Stopped in a lovely garden shop about 1/2 way down to the town which served coffee outside but can’t recall the name. Locals would be able to direct you though. In the new town is a lovely old church that is worth a visit. I was fortunate to arrive while the organist and a soloist were having a practise. The old town is full of historical sites as well as some charming bistros. There are some charming shops, mainly down steep stone staircases from the street level. Entrances are old and therefore quite short so one stoops over to gain access. Adds to the historic feel of the place. Be sure to peak over the stone walls of the residents yards (ok discreetly)...the most amazing courtyards and gardens! Hidden treasures! Lots to explore.