Not sure why Provins always gets such a bad reputation. It's really nice.
Not so much a "bad reputation" but a reputation not good enough to make it a "destination"! If one has a spare day in Paris some time or if one finds oneself motoring east of that city then - certainly one would take it in. The word "nice" in English is regarded as a rather minimal compliment ("Damning with faint praise"!). Even Michelin, that "gold standard" French cultural guide book, only accords it 1 star (= Worth a visit if you are passing) and there are many such towns in France.
It was actually rejected and withdrawn in 1998 but, as the 2001 AB evaluation states (without explaining how) - "In the present proposal, the nomination has been revised completely"
. I quote below from the minutes of the 2001 WHC on the subject of its inscription"The Delegate of Greece recalled her intervention made at the twenty- fifth session of the Bureau in June 2001, underlining that nothing remained of the installations relating to the Trade Fair in the Medieval Town of Provins, while other cities preserved better examples.
Several delegates questioned the research carried out on medieval fair towns, and asked whether archaeological excavations had taken place at Provins. The Delegate of St Lucia requested the reasons for the change in the recommendation by ICOMOS from negative in 1996 to positive in 2001."
I think France "got away with" this one!!!