THE DUKES AND COUNTS... ADMIRABLE CITIES


The Route of the Dukes of Burgundy

Colmar This route is a veritable museum of 14th and 15th century European culture, with its gems, the ducal palace of Nevers, the chateau of Rochepot. Commanders of war and great patrons, the dukes commissioned the greatest talents: Claus Sluter came from Harleem to sculpt the carthusian nun of Champmol, Italian architects, Flemish sculptors, Burgundian stone masons built the palaces with their roofs of dazzling colours. Dijon, town with a wealth of art, has rctained much of the influence of the era when it was the capital of Flanders and Burgundy The Museum of Fine Arts is one of the finest in France - the dukes tombs, the famous nativity of the Master of Flemalle and the Granville donation including the works of Nicolas de Stael. A stroll through its streets to admire the old houses and wealth of private dwellings with glazed roofs, is a must.

The Counts of Champagne in Troyes

Troyes a very important part of France's heritage, the historical capital of Champagne, major intellectual center...

Their name evokes the town; they were called Rachi de Troyes - the Talmudic interpretations of which are still referred to world-wide - and Chretien de Troyes, an immensely gifted poet to whom the French language owes so much. People from the north and the east would flock here to the medieval fairs. Troyes is a poem of stone Cathedrale de Metz and of wood. Its numerous churches display master- pieces such as an outstandingly rood screen sculpted out of stone... The timber framing of its buildings - a style of architecture unique in France. Its museum of Modem Art is one of the finest in Europe. Capital of hosiery its story is told in a museum housed in a superb private dwelling. Especially worthy of a visit is its Musee de l'0util et de la Pensee ouvriere (museum of tools and workers thought): a Veritable voyage of companionship through the centuries.

The Dukes of Lorraine and Superb Architecture

The flamboyance of its cathedrals.. Toul, Saint Nicolas de Port, Metz embellished with Chagall's stained glass windows.. Nancy, with its admirable old town that the dukes rendered unique with their palace, the Place Stanislas, Place de la Carriere and the Place de l'Alliance where the wrought iron of the huge gates defines the space. Lovers of art nouveau, this is for you. The School of Nancy founded by Emile Galle, has produced some famous rivals: Majorelle for his furniture, Gruber for his florid stained glass windows, the Daum brothers for their "pate de verre" (decorative sintered glass).

Towns to Visit

Reims, with its wealth of art and history and its splendid gothic cathedral where the kings of France were anointed. Star-town of Champagne with its cellars...Also to be seen, the 11th century basilica of Saint Remi, the museum and the Foujita chapel.

Strasbourg Strasbourg, the European headquarters of the Council of Europe. The Rhine has a port here...The genious of masterpieces from France and the Rhineland was brought here... The cathedral and its astronomical clock, overlooking the Maison Kammerzell (15th century), the pharmacy of Cerf, the oldest in France. Petite France with its half-timbered houses lining the canals is the former district of the tanners. The Rohan Palace, museum, church and sirnagogue dating from 1230.

Colmar, artistic and cultural center, winding road multicoloured houses. The Musee Unterlinden with Issenheim's remarkable altar piece painted by Grunewald.

Mulhouse, former industrial city with its town hall described by Montaigne as "a magnificent golden palace". Also to be seen - the Temple of Saint-Etienne, neo-gothic. Do not leave the town before you have admired its museum of the automobile and discovered its museum of the railway.

Besancon, the first green town in France, is the capital of clock and watch making and the birthplace of Victor Hugo. Its citadel overhangs the old town.. it can be viewed from the bateaumouche at the Vauban quays.


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