Photo by Els Slots.

Provins, Town of Medieval Fairs, is the best-preserved example of a town developed for great annual trading fairs.

The Counts of Champagne organized these fairs from 1120 onwards. They linked merchants and traders from northern Europe with the Mediterranean world and served as a model for later fair traditions in for example Brugge and the Hanseatic cities. The fortified town provided supporting services such as banking and warehouses.

Community Perspective: You’d be hard-pressed to find a trace of medieval fairs here: it is in essence a town with medieval origins and a lot of timber-framed housing. The Caesar Tower and the Church of Saint Quiriace are its major landmarks.

Map of Provins

Load map

Community Reviews

Write a review

Jakob Frenzel

Germany - 28-May-19 -

Provins by Jakob Frenzel

August 2018- In the evening we reached Provins. There was only one campground, that wasnt really inviting and friendly. However for one night it should be okay. On every trip we do we always have a bad day, where we wiosh we were home again. Unfortunately it was exactly here in Provins.

There are not many people and the town seems to be in the middle of nowhere. It seems rather poor and underdeveloped for french standard.

But its streets, timbered houses, gardens, small shops, it was a very cosy and nice town. There was even a small carussel and we thought we were in a french romance movie. We spend the evening as long as we could in the old town. "under" the old city, there is a nice rosegarden. They also charge an entry fee to visit and walk around, but you can also just sit in the garden and drink selfmade lemonade.

Too bad we had to go back to the campground. The next morning we left the town already in the early morning, to vist the Champagne.

Adrian Lakomy

Slovakia - 18-May-16 -

Medieval. Authentic. Charmant.

Few words to describe the town itself. Visited in May 2016 and we really loved it. The ambience, food, the site itself. The best is the town still keeps it sense of being forgotten in time without beign overcrowded and full of 'tourist traps'. I can highly recommend this site.


Austria - 05-Feb-16 -

Provins by Hubert Scharnagl

Provins can easily be visited in two or three hours, that is enough time for all the main sights and a leisurely stroll through the medieval streets. In fact, there is not much to see. We climbed the Tour César and enjoyed the views over the town and the surrounding fields, we visited the Church of Saint-Quiriace and we walked on the city wall. About one kilometre of the medieval wall and two gates have been preserved, the access is free, only one section where falconry shows take place is not accessible. However, the ramparts and massive towers are even more impressive from the outside (photo). Falconry performances and other medieval shows take place every day in summer, if one is interested in such stuff, we were not.

Provins was mainly inscribed for its importance as a medieval trade fair town. Thus, we thought it would be a good idea to visit the Grange aux dîmes (Tithe Barn). The building dates from the 13th century and was used as a covered market. Today, the two vaulted rooms house a museum: various scenes show medieval crafts and merchant activities. Not all that bad, but the audio guide was a bit too extensive.

The best part of our visit was the stroll through the narrow streets along the half-timbered houses. In the evening, only a few people were in the Upper Town and the sparse streetlights creates a kind of "medieval feeling". However, medieval towns with half-timbered houses are very common in central Europe and are well represented on the WH list, examples are Quedlinburg, Goslar, Albi, and Strasbourg. Visible remains of medieval fairs and merchant activities are limited to some historic buidlings with vaulted cellars and underground galleries, that were used as storage rooms. All in all, there is nothing in Provins that I would consider as outstanding and unique.

We had accommodation in the lovely B&B Demeure des Vieux Bains, a medieval building and formerly a public bath. It was the most expensive hotel on our trip, but by far the largest room and bathroom that I ever had in a hotel in France. The owners are very warm and friendly and we had a delicious breakfast.

Mary Ann Scott

United States of America - 21-Nov-13 -

Our family visited in October 2013. The weather was cool, but pleasant for walking. Since we were all interested in history it was great. In fact, even the commercialism didn't bother us. The little cafe we ate in had good, reasonably priced food and customer service was above the average we experienced in other places in France. We found Ceasar's tower and the church architecect-urally interesting. Definitely a place to vist away from Paris.


Malta - 02-Jun-13 -

Provins by Clyde

I visited this WHS in June 2013. The sunny weather helped to appreciate the ramparts, Caesar's tower and the different gates. The highlight was definitely the Caesar's Tower, situated on a high hill, clearly visible from far away when approaching the town. I consider this site more of a national heritage than a WHS but still worth visiting.

Peter Alleblas

The Netherlands - 11-Sep-11 -

Provins by Peter Alleblas

On a sunny day in August 2011 I visited the medieval town Provins. I parked my car in front of the tourist office. Fortunately there where some places left in the shadow. Outside the tourist office I saw that the tourist train was waiting for passengers. Of course I decided to walk, but my first impression was good, a beautiful tourist office, free toilets, a lot of information available and a little train ! In 5 minuts I walked to fortified wall and I made some nice photos of the wall and the gate. I saw that it was possible to climb the wall a little bit, but that I was for later. First I walked slowly to the center of the town. Now I saw a little bit more tourists, but in general it was quiet. One moment I thought that I was walking in a little German town because of the similar timber-framed houses. The square was nice to see, little souvenirs shoppings, restaurants with terraces half full with visitors. From the square I saw the the Caesar Tower and that was my first goal, because I not knew till what time the tower was open. Trough picturesque streets I walked to the tower, I paid 3,80 Euro and went inside. Glady the tower was open till 6 pm. Via a lot of narrow steps I climbed higher. Inside also a movie on the walls about the life a long time ago was busy. Upstairs the view was really beautiful to the square and the Church of St. Quiriace. I was almost one hour inside the tower. Later I walked very slowly back to the center, I took something to drink on a terrace and then I went to my car. Of course I climbed a little piece of the wall on the way back. That day I visited only the upper town and for that I needed more then 2 hours. I am aware of the lower town but Provins was for me just a stop on the way to my hotel near Fontainebleau, the next destination. I liked Provins very much, and I was happy that the tower was open. Also the sunny weather is ideal to walk in towns like Provins. Walking there on a rainy day with everything closed and no tourists at all....that is boring ! With a good feeling I continued my trip through the countryside to Fontainebleau.


England - 25-Apr-11 -

Fantastic trip to Province today. No problem at all not being able to speak fluent French - generally staff were fluent in English and audirecordings were offered in different languages. It was Easter Monday, a notoriously busy tourist season in Paris but Provins was calm and refreshingly uncrowded. Lovely scenery, restaurants, cafes, girft shops and typical French patisseries - alongside an astonishingly (coming from England) well presevered mix of architecture from the 12th century to the 19th. So glad I took the time to come here and will be coming back - particularly lovely for romance!

Els Slots

The Netherlands - 27-Dec-10 -

Provins by Els Slots

I visited Provins on an early Saturday morning in December. I left my car at the large parking lot just outside the gates of the Upper Town. They can handle a lot of visitors here, but all was quiet now and the parking fee was not collected. I had read on the town's website that there would be a Christmas market today (a 21st century fair?). But when I crossed the main square in the Upper Town around 9.30 a.m., people were only just starting to build up their merchandise. As far as I could see, it would become a medieval-themed Christmas market.

I walked on, to the Caesar Tower and the Church of Saint Quiriace. They are the landmarks of Provins, situated on top of a hill and visible from afar. Unfortunately, the Tower was still closed too. It is a magnificent sight because of its uncommon shape: an octagonal donjon on top of a square base.

Approaching the nearby Church of St. Quiriace, I was met by 3 camels. They were led into the church to become part of an elaborate Christmas stall (or at least that was my guess).

From behind the church, the road winds down to the Lower Town. This feels like a common French town, but it is quite nice. It has 12,000 inhabitants, so it does not take long to explore. The storage areas that are named in the AB evaluation can be visited - however not on a Saturday morning in December.

I took the "long way" back to my car via the town walls. They have been reconstructed so you can walk on them for a full circuit. It was too slippery to do that now, so I just used the road. My visit was a short one: there's not a whole lot to see here, it is in essence a town with medieval origins and a lot of timber-framed housing. This is not uncommon in Europe, it reminded me of Quedlinburg.

Klaus Freisinger

Austria - 17-Oct-09 -

Provins is a pretty town in the Ile-de-France, not too far away from Paris and easily reachable in an 80-minute train ride from Paris-Est station. Walking through the narrow streets of the medieval upper town is really a step back in time, and there are many historic buildings, especially churches, all over the town. A visit to Caesar's Tower (actually a medieval building as well) is certainly a highlight and gives you a great impression of an authentic fortification. Its WH designation was controversial and may probably not be entirely justified, but there are certainly worse sites on the list, and a visit to Provins is definitely a nice and memorable experience.


cyprus - 03-Jul-09 -

A very lovely town with hospitable people and a long history.

I guess that i was lucky to visit Provins in 2008 when not so many tourists were there because it seems that when restoration of all of the town's treasures ends thousands will be rushing through it's narrow medieval streets.

Not speaking French is a problem though if you want to follow the guided tours or other events.

Frederik Dawson

Netherlands - 22-Sep-06 -

Provins by Frederik Dawson

While many tourists go to Paris and its famous neighbors like Versailles, Fontainebleau or Chartres, Provins seems to be unknown by all tourists. Provins a small town near Paris and has a good transportation link with Paris by trains from Paris East Station is overshadowed by other famous attractions of Ile de France. Traveling to Provins from Paris gives a different perspective of this region with endless farmlands and beautiful forest valleys, something you hardly believe that you are near Paris. The old town of Provins can be divided into two parts, upper Provins and lower Provins, both of these parts are world heritage site.

In lower part, the town seems to be a typical French town with beautiful square, stately city hall and a lively market street. The star of lower Provins is its old churches; these churches are beautiful with architectural mixing and in very good states. And one area of lower Provins near the train station has many pretty small canals and called “little Venice”. The upper part is on the hill and dominated by the dome of Provins’s main church which has historical link with Joan of Arc and many French kings. The upper part of the town is protected by the huge wall that some parts are still in a very good condition. The most famous part of this fortification is Caesar Tower that was restored and opens for tourist.

Medieval trade fair is a reason that put Provins on the list of world heritage. The upper town’s urban layout was specially designed for the events. You can easily notice that in such a small town, Provins has quite large squares and very wide streets and you can feel that from this vast space make upper Provins looks a little bit empty. But the timber houses of upper Provins are very cute; I even think this town looks similar to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast cartoon scene.

Provins is also famous for its rose; the rose of Provins can be seen in many places in town. I highly recommend you to try local delicacies make from rose, for example, rose candy, rose jam and rose chocolate and you may want to come back to Provins for just these sweets.

Ashley Waddell

United States of America - 19-Jun-06 -

When I was living in France, I bought an annual train pass for the local lines, and on days when I didn't have other plans I would go to the nearest train station, get on whatever train was leaving soonest, and ride it to the end of the line.

This is how I discovered Provins.

I visited in November or December, when no tourists were around, and in the quiet and solitude I found it easy to imagine the medieval town that once was there. Unlike many busier attractions that limit visitors' movements, at Provins you can walk all over the ramparts and follow the underground tunnels once used by secret societies. It's a fascinating step back into the past.

Site Info

Full Name
Provins, Town of Medieval Fairs
Unesco ID
2 4
Urban landscape - Medieval European

Site History

2001 Inscribed

1998 Requested by State Party to not be examined

Withdrawn by France after ICOMOS recommended Rejection


The site has 1 locations



The site has

Art and Architecture
Human Activity
Individual People
Religion and Belief
WHS Hotspots
WHS on Other Lists
World Heritage Process


Community Members have visited.

A. Mehmet Haksever Adrian Lakomy Afshin Iranpour Aitia Alberto Moreno Alessandro Votta Alexander Barabanov Alexander Lehmann Alfons and Riki Verstraeten Alicemears Ammon Watkins Anna Wludarska Anthony Olson Antonio J. Argo Ashley Waddell Aspasia Astraftis Atila Ege Aureb30 Aurora Petan Bas Bazikoln Bin Bob Parda Brigitte Huber Buzz C82wc1 Can SARICA Carlos Garrido Caspar Dechmann Cezar Grozavu Chen Taotao Chenboada Chenqtao Christian Wagner Christoph Christravelblog Claire Bradshaw ClaireWhiteley Clyde Cobaltrage Craig Harder Cristina Erba Ctravel Daniel C-Hazard Daniela Hohmann Dat Nguyen David Aaronson & Melanie Stowell Dibro Dimitar Krastev Dimitrios Polychronopoulos Dirk-pieter Dolemite92 Donia Donnico Dorejd Dwight Zehuan Xiao Echwel Elaine McArdle Elia Vettorato Els Slots Emi_mimmi Emily Cullen Enrique Clemente Erik Jelinek Errol Neo FS Fan Yibo Fderuet Feldhase Femke Roos Filip Murlak Filippo Ubaldi Frederik Dawson Fuaron G.L. Ingraham George Evangelou George Gdanski GeorgeIng61 GerhardM Gerlach Gernot Gi Gilles Giulio25 Glubu Gonçalo Elias Grzegorz Andruszkiewicz Gwythyr Hadrianus Haining Guan Harald T. Hubert Iain Jackson Ingemar Eriksson Isabellemarais Ivan Rucek J. Stevens Jacob Choi Jagnes Jakob Frenzel James F Jan Zimmermann Jan-Willem Janina Lehmann Janis Janklak Jarek Pokrzywnicki Jasam Jean Lecaillon Jeanne OGrady Jens Jezza Jgera Joao Farminhao Joel on the Road John Smaranda John booth Jon Eshuijs Jonas Hagung Jonas Kremer Jonathanfr Jose Antonio Collar Joshuakirbens Joyce van Soest Judith Tanner Junwang111 Juropa KarenBMoore Kbecq Kelly Henry Kevin247 Klaus Freisinger Lantian Lara Adler Lauren Leontine Helleman Lloyd Cross Lois Dekker Lorenzo2022 Lucas Del Puppo Luis Filipe Gaspar Luisfreire Luki501 MAURO PODDA MH MHL MMM MaYumin Marie Morlon Markus Marleen Speelman-Kooijmans Mars51 Martina Rúčková Marty MaxHeAnouBen Mibive Michael Mett Michael Novins Michiel Dekker Mihai Dascalu Mikita M Mikko Misio_pysio Mohboh Monika and Rini Naim Y Nan NataliaS Nicole Kilian Nihal Ege Nikolay Marinov Olivier MONGIN Olli-Pekka Turunen Parrot Pascal Cauliez Patphilly Patrick Matgen Patrik Paul Schofield Payen de La Garanderie Isabelle Peter Alleblas Peter Lööv Petteri Philip T.K. Philipp Leu Philipp Peterer Polyommatus_icarus Preiki Q Rahelka Randi Thomsen Reza Roberto Diaz Robin Frank Roel Sterken Roger Ourset Roman Bruehwiler Roman Koeln Roman Raab Rubbie Santiago Sazanami Scubarrie Sdhcat Sergio Arjona Shaka_schulz Shandos Cleaver Shijie ZHU Skalec Solivagant Stanislaw Warwas Stefan and Mia Stijn Svein Elias Szucs Tamas Tammy Gouldstone Tarquinio_Superbo Tevity Thibault Magnien Thomas Buechler Thomas Harold Watson Thomas van der Walt Tigreloutre Tkinou Triath Tsunami Vincent Cheung Vlad Lesnikov Voice180 WILLIAM RICH WalGra Walter H. Wang Qin Werner Huber Willem van Altena Wojciech Fedoruk Wolfgang Hlousa WolfgangHl Wouter YaroMir Zhenjun Liu Zoë Sheng