Vitry-le-François, the new town
Linked to Lac du Der by a cycle path, Vitry le François is the main town in the Perthois area and the winner of 3 flowers in the national floral competition. It lies at the gateway to the Champagne vineyards, at the centre of several major road networks and at the confluence of three canals.
Once known as “Vitry en Perthois”, the old fortress was demolished on the orders of Charles V in the late 12th century. François I then founded the town again in 1545, naming it after himself and giving it his emblem (the salamander). It was an Italian architect, Girolamo Marini, who designed the town’s geometric, checkerboard layout around its central square, a town accessed through gates at the four cardinal points of the compass.
It suffered damage to more than 90% of its buildings in the Second World War and Vitry-le-François was then totally rebuilt, although its square layout was retained. Among the historic buildings well worth a visit are the former Recollects Convent (now the Town Hall) and its garden, the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame on Place d’Armes, the largest Classical church in Marne, and the “Bridge Gate” (Porte du Pont).
With a population of 16,000 people, Vitry le François is continuing to expand and it boasts a range of leisure activities. There is a marina for river boating and entertainment such as a modern music festival (l'Orange Bleue), the Vitry Festival and the Martinmas Fair. Before leaving the town, try one of the local sweet or savoury specialities such as the nut macaroons.
Because of the colours of its pavements, Vitry le François is known as the “pink town”.
Office de Tourisme
6, Boulevard François Ier
51300 VITRY LE FRANCOIS
Phone: +33 (0)3 26 74 45 30
Fax: +33 (0)3 26 74 84 74
Le Champagne : Les Coteaux Vitryats