Appropriately for a city planted firmly in the Champagne region, some claim the map of Troyes is shaped like a bouchon, or champagne cork. Troyes suffered a major fire in 1524, and most of the buildings in the city centre date from the rebuilding that occurred after this catastrophe. These half-timbered edifices are what make Troyes so attractive - as long as you're walking and not trying to drive down the narrow streets.
Apart from the charm of the old town, one of the city's greatest assets is the Museum of Modern Art, inside the Palais Episcopal, with an impressive collection of 20th-century European art. And just next to the Museum of Modern Art and the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, remarkable for its stained glass, is Le Champ des Oiseaux. The hotel is housed within several half-timbered buildings, beautifully and sympathetically renovated.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Le Champ des Oiseaux is within easy walking distance of the centre of the city at 20 Rue Linard Gonthier, 10000 Troyes (00 33 3 25 80 58 50, www.champdesoiseaux.com).
Getting there: Troyes is 150km from Paris; a train each hour from the Gare de l'Est takes 85 minutes. It is a four-hour, 400km drive from Calais.
The nearest airport is Reims, an hour's drive away; Ryanair (0871 246 0000, www.ryanair.com) flies daily from Stansted until 14 Jan.
ARE YOU LYING COMFORTABLY?
There are 12 rooms in the hotel, including two suites; Les Bengalis and La Suite Medievale. The latter's bed has a beautiful antique oak panel as a headboard. These are at the top of the building under wooden eves. Although the furniture is antique, the bathrooms are thankfully very modern. Eleven more rooms are in an adjoining building.
The hotel has no restaurant, but the staff can recommend good places to eat nearby. There is a small sitting room where you can have drinks before you head out.
Freebies: The soap and shampoo are all natural products made by Esteban.
Keeping in touch: Direct-dial phones in all the bedrooms
THE BOTTOM LINE
The rooms range from €90 (£63) to €170 (£119).
I'm not paying that: try Le Royal, handy for the train station, and situated at the base of Troyes at 22 Boulevard Carnot.
The hotel (00 33 3 25 73 19 99, www.royal-hotel-troyes.com) has double rooms from €70 (£49). It is also possible to dine in this hotel.Reuse content