Twin City since 1958
It was already in 1958 that Darmstadt signed the deed of twinning with the French city of Troyes. Since that time, a variety of long-term intensive contacts among associations, church congregations and districts have marked this partnership.
Troyes is situated in the north east of France at the upper course of the river Seine and is the capital of the Départment Aube. Thanks to many beautiful half-timbered houses and narrow lanes, the town preserved its charming medieval appearance.
The historic capital of the region Champagne had its heyday between the 11th and the 13th centuries, under the rule of the Counts of Champagne who arranged trade fairs at Troyes. With those fairs Troyes became a wealthy town of international repute, that quickly expanded along one of the former Roman trade routes and acquired its shape still present today: the form of a champagne cork.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, various industries were founded at Troyes, such as tanneries, weaving mills, printers and paper mills. The town was also famous for its school of sculpture and glass painting, the artists of which have mostly created very famous church windows. Some of those remarkable pieces of art are still to be seen in the churches of Troyes.
In the 19th century, the establishment of the textile industry revived the town's economic development.
Today, Troyes is a university town with about 60,000 inhabitants, living mainly from tourism and the direct sale in some of the textile factories that remained after the decline of the textile industry at the end of the 20th century.
The Old Town Centre crossed by several arms of the river Seine has been nicely restored since 1950 and offers many attractions for tourists: for instance the cathedral Saint-Pierre-Saint-Paul and the basilica Saint Urbain and the church St. Madeleine, which are the most beautiful Gothic churches in Champagne. Some 1500 square meters of wonderful church windows from the 13th to the 16th centuries may be admired in the cathedral Saint-Pierre-Saint-Paul, that all come from the famous School of Glass Painting at Troyes. Numerous other churches worth a visit mark the townscape, but from the once 25 churches only nine are remaining today. A point of interest for tourists are also the impressive bourgeois houses from the 16th century that now partly contain museums, as well as the Market Halls and the Town Hall. The charming narrow lanes with their old half-timbered houses invite for a pleasant stroll.
There is no lack of museums at Troyes. Worth visiting are the House of Crafts and the Museum of Knitwear that provides a good idea of the history of Troyes. But the "Museum of Fine Arts" too, with paintings and sculptures from the 15th to the 20th century, and the "Museum of Modern Art" with works of famous painters like Braque, Matisse, Cézanne and Picasso are worth a visit.
One may then recover from long visiting tours at Troyes in the town's wonderful environment. Only 25 km away, there is the nature reserve and holiday resort "La Forêt d'Orient" with three big lakes that invite for bathing, sailing, fishing and motor sports. This is a conservation area for various birds, and visitors are offered many possibilities to study the fauna and flora of the woods and lake district in theme parks and round tours.
In the gastronomy, even gourmets are being satisfied, as they can try a whole range of regional specialties like for a instance "Andouillette", a special sausage, "Chaource", a regional cheese, and of course champagne and other famous wines from the region. Great festivals, organised all over the year, provide interesting entertainment: for instance the festivals "Ville en Musique", “Ville en Lumière” and "Nuits de Champagne".