We woke at 05:50, as in a zealous fit of travel planning had booked an 06:42 train from Gare de L’Est to Troyes. I don’t recall whether I showered or not but we stumbled into the train at Pyramid, and travelled North to get to the train to Troyes. We bought coffee (and a green tea, for Dan) and pain au chocolat before boarding. Only after we’d sat down I opened the brown paper bag to see only one pastry. We didn’t really need one each anyway. I fell asleep but only for 10 minutes.
We arrived to a quiet early Saturday morning in the small city. In our planning I’d declared (without any research) that it was France; there’d be many cafés already open, with croissants and good coffee spilling into the streets. This was not true. The cafés were setting up, but only one Tabac was actually open. Not even the Office de Tourisme was open that early. We walked around, got our bearings and took plenty of photos of buildings made from annoyingly haphazard pieces of wood, the gaps in between filled with plaster or something. I presume the random diagonal pieces of wood offer some structural importance, maybe reducing the sideways falling-over of some of the buildings. The lack of immediate pattern frustrated me.
At 09:31 we walked into the Office de Tourisme and bought Pass’ Troyes. It’s a voucher booklet which we tore into. First we visited the Maison de l’Outil, a really well setup museum of various tools of trades. We chose to get audio tours, which gave way too much information so I skipped ahead. I had no idea that chair-bottoming was a thing. It opened at 10 am and we spent 90 minutes there, twice as long as our usual visit to any museum or gallery. We were the first visitors but the place picked up.
We then walked across the water to the Apothicairerie de L’Hôtel-Dieu-le-Comte. It was just two rooms, the larger room housing a lot of boxes and ceramic containers with curious French labels, like Sang dragon. We were hungry by then and walked back over the water to find food.
After lunch we tried the free chocolate and champagne vouchers and watched the 14 minute film at the tourist office, with its hilarious and mis-timed English dub version, before trading our voucher for 2-hour bicycle rental, and cycled anti-clockwise around the water. The film suggested that the town was serendipitously shaped like a champagne cork but really it looks like a vandal drew a penis.
We had time before the return train to Paris to eat more crepes. And drink another coffee.