Has anyone been to Troyes? It is not covered in RS GB, but I saw a Rudy Maxa video on the champagne region and Troyes looked like a neat place to visit while in the region. Any ideas on where to stay and what to see/do in town?
I haven't been there but would like to visit after reading Life in a Medieval City, by Frances and Joseph Gies, a description of Troyes in its heyday as a trade center in Champagne . The book focuses on Troyes but really describes how people lived in those times wherever they were. It includes a rough map showing the major streets and buildings, mostly gone today. Can't help you re eating and sleeping there, I'd suggest Lonely Planet or some other guidebook that isn't as, shall we say, "selective" as the RS series. I use Google Earth a lot, and its street view, to find lodgings by location.
We've been there a few times, always by car. It's very interesting with some original medieval buildings, many churches, interesting museums within the old walls. We've had a few good meals there, which I found on Trip Advisor, but we never stayed overnight as my in-law's home was only an hour away.
We were there briefly last spring as part of an all day search for a camera battery. My recollection is a smallish area of medieval half timbered buildings surrounded by an otherwise not especially attractive town. Mind you, we were focused on finding that stupid battery, and we never did..though we met many pleasant but apologetic sales people...so my memories may be jaded, but overall I would say there are many nicer places in the region. We thought Burgundy was beautiful and spent a terrific week there with a rental car.
I will check out the visitor guide and other sources. I am a sucker for medieval towns like this, it will be an experience for a day and night as we traverse from Reims to Colmar, maybe a bit out of the way. Any places around Reims and in this area worthy of time other than the RS sites?
I have no idea which places are seen as RS sites, but some 50km north-west of Reims you can consider Laon.
Casey, RS is an excellent starting point, but you are absolutely right to research further and pick up more ideas, as you are doing with Rudy Maxa. RS and his employees are able to cover just a small portion of what can be found in France, which puts readers who read only his books all on the same path. For more in-depth info, you can order Michelin green guides in English for the areas which interest you.
I have ordered the book recommended on Troyes. Is there any particular reason you recommend Laon? Looks like it has a large cathedral, are there other interesting architecture or sights? Would you recommend a particular hotel?
Laon is a small but nice historical walled town on top of a hill, with nice views of the surrounding country-side. The indeed large Gothic cathedral is beautiful anyway, the town is not so touristy, there is further nothing else more to get entertained, but is a lovely quiet place for walking around. Best is to have a look with Google streetview for a first impression and if it’s interesting enough for a visit.
Have no experience with hotels there, but use travel.michelin.com (select English) for this and other info about Laon. As a destination in itself I think it offers not enough, but in combination with another place it's certainly worth a visit, it's a cute place.
A few hotels on the list of Michelin are located in the town centre.