A Booming Market Town

[Photo Credit: Reinhardhauke, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.]

Provins was one of six towns where the ruling Counts of Champagne held their annual cycle of trade markets in the 12th and 13th centuries.  Known as the Champagne fairs, these events attracted merchants from all over Europe. Julia toured Provins’s 13th-century Grange aux Dîmes [tithe barn], which had a warehouse on its lower floor, a covered market at street level, and a residence in its upper story. She described the building to the LeBruns on 31 July 1898: “One called the Grãnge aux Dîmes is a beauty – the 1st story a great vaulted hall [with] the chimneys at each end . . . and an upper story with . . . sets of windows on [its] façade and one on the end – [with] the stairs outside on the side – [and] the upper room open to the top of the steep roof. . . .” In the 17th century this building was used to store the local farmers’ tithes (rental payments of harvested grain—generally ten percent of their total crop).