The historic fortified town of Provins in Champagne is an outstanding and authentic example of a town where fairs were held during the Middle Ages. The Champagne region was an important trading hub, and the development of the fairs in the 11th century mark the start of international commerce in Europe. The fairs guaranteed the protection of goods being transported over long distances between Europe and the Orient. They led to the development of activities such as banking and money changing, as well as manufacturing activities such as tanning, dying and woollen cloth production. Provins is an outstanding example of towns built specifically for these purposes; significant features include merchants’ houses, warehouses, open spaces, and religious complexes. The town is also famous for its well-preserved defence system, constructed to protect the fairs.
Criterion (ii): One of the great trading fairs of Champagne was held in Provins, which is thus directly linked to the economic, commercial and cultural development of Europe from the 11th to 13th centuries, with a lasting influence on Europe and the Mediterranean basin.
Criterion (iv): The site comprises a large number of almost intact spaces specifically involved in the fairs, notably vaulted caves and warehouses, as well as open spaces where trading took place, bearing outstanding, if not unique, testimony to one of the greatest mediaeval trading fairs in Europe.