© Place De La Republique Pan De Bois Reflets © Teddy Picaude | Teddy Picaude
Be amazed by a

unique architecture

Châlons architecture is a real patchwork, which is what makes the city’s heritage so original and unique. Produced in wood, stone, chalk, brick, metal, and concrete, the buildings of Châlons boast a wide range of materials and styles.

The medieval architecture

Wood, a symbol of medieval architecture, is the material most frequently used in Châlons’ architectural style, notably with the “pan de bois”, visible timber-framed façades filled with cob.

In the 20th century, pan de bois was no longer in fashion and was covered with plaster. In consequence, there are many houses in Châlons featuring pan de bois, hidden under the plaster.

In Place de la République, you will find timber-framed houses that reflect the trading importance of this area in medieval times.

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Corbels

Corbels are a kind of projection, jutting out over the street. They protected the shop below from the elements and made it possible for larger floors to be constructed without paying more taxes. At the time, owners paid an annual tax proportional to the width of their house on the street. For economic reasons and to make the most of the space, houses were built with corbels.

In the 20th century, when urban development was underway, some of the timber-framed houses were in danger of being destroyed, such as Maison Clémangis and Maison de la Petite Juiverie, which is now home to the Tourist Office. As a result, they were dismantled and rebuilt a few years later.

Maison Clémangis

This distinguished house is a late 15th century timber-framed building, formerly located in rue Clémangis. It was dismantled in 1970 and rebuilt a few years later in its present location in rue Nicolas Durand, a few steps from the museum and the garden of the Cloister of Notre-Dame-en-Vaux.

Many bridges were also built in wood but over time were replaced by stone versions.

Pont Putte Savate

The “Putte Savate” bridge, today made of stone, was for many years made of wood.

Its name comes from the medieval period, due to its location close to the guild of tanners and shoemakers, and the stench that was emitted… (“Putte” comes from “puter” in old French, which means stink).

The classical architecture

Savonnières stone (limestone originating from Lorraine), chalk or brick were often used in the classical constructions of the 16th and 17th centuries, particularly for private mansions.

The private mansion was a type of residence that appeared in the 17th century. It reflected the high social standing of its sole owner. The entrance was usually through an imposing and elaborate porch, allowing the arrival of carriages into the courtyard.

Go to 2 Rue d Chastillon to see a fine example built in chalk. Just next to the Hôtel de Ville, Hôtel Dubois de Crancé and then Hôtel Nicolas Durand at 68 Rue Léon Bourgeois are both built in Savonnières stone.

 

Focus on… Sainte-Marie Convent

The brick and chalk façades in alternating layers sometimes represent simple horizontal lines or create more original and complex geometric patterns. Sainte-Marie Convent, which today hosts the Departmental Council, is one of the finest examples of Champagne’s architecture along the banks of the Mau. It can be found at the intersection of Rue de Chastillon and Rue de Jessaint or viewed during the Eau’dyssée boat trip.

Focus on…The Garinet Residence

Located at 13 rue Pasteur, this is the oldest stone residence in Châlons. Today it houses the Musée Garinet, one of the city’s three public museums. Built in the 16th century, you can still feel the bourgeois atmosphere of the time.

Chalk is a fragile, crumbly and permeable material. In order to improve its resistance, it was often combined with brick, which is known for its solidity. This combination of brick and chalk is known as the “Champenois appareillage” and is typical of our region.

The contemporary architecture

In 1882, part of the Mau was covered in order to gain space. New halls were then built and became the covered market. Combining steel, cast iron and glass, they are reminiscent of the Parisian halls designed by the architect Victor Baltard.

Focus on…the covered market

The market has a classic steel construction, typical of the end of the 19th century. Its decorations, however, give it a certain originality, including the city’s coat of arms displayed with large baskets of fruit. The lion’s mouth reminding us of the Châlons motto “gloire et force” (glory and strength) is nestled at the top of the outer posts.

At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, Art Nouveau appeared. This style promoted modernism and broke away from a very symmetrical and rather austere architecture. The aim was to combine beauty and practicality, drawing inspiration from nature.

A few decades later, the Art Deco movement appeared, following the 1925 International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris. After the First World War, the trend was a return to order and tradition, in contrast to the floral Art Nouveau style with its curves and volutes. Visit 7 Cours d’Ormesson. Built in yellow brick, limestone and concrete, it is one of the most beautiful examples of this architectural style in Châlons.

Then, at the end of the 19th century, an innovative process appeared, reinforced concrete, made of concrete and steel bars.

Focus on… The Historical Circus

The Historical Circus, located 1 rue du Cirque, is one of the last eight permanent circuses remaining in France. The decor on the main facade is inspired by circus performances: horses emerging from the pediment, clown heads bursting through a hoop, juggling, musical instruments, and more.

Renovated in 2010 to make it more suitable for shows and artistic education, the Historical Circus is now a resource and research establishment for higher education.

It hosts the shows of the CNAC, Centre National des Arts du Cirque (National Cener of School Arts), an elite international circus school.