The original site of the city limited itself to what is known as the "quartier de la cité", a square shaped area, bordered on the west by the canal's embankment, on the south the rues Linard Gonthier and Salengro, on the east the rue Simart, and on the north the rue St Lambert and its canal.

This first site, called Augustobona under the Roman Empire, was cut through from west to east by the roman Agrippa Way, which linked Milan to Boulogne; this antique major road is nowadays three metres deep under the rue de la Cité. Despite a notable development of the roman city, its remains are quite rare today. The walls of Augustobona were used for the foundations of many buildings in the town, including the Bishop's palace, now a museum of modern art. Still, some remains were extracted from various building sites and can be seen in the St Loup's museum.

The streets of Troyes offer many examples of architecture and construction from the Middle Ages. There are in addition some local features:

The Damier Champenois, a clever and aesthetic mixture of brick and calcareous stone, allows the retention of heat inside (thanks to the bricks), and the absorption of moisture (thanks to the calcareous stone). This useful checkerwork was mainly found in hotels belonging to rich families.

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Another regional curiosity is the painted tiles which decorate some of the roofs of the city. One finds many examples of such roofs in Burgundy, but the pattern known as "Count Henri" can also be admired in Troyes, on the roofs of Saint Nizier's church and Marisy Hotel for example.
Timbered houses dominate in the centre of town; made of wood beams and cob (a mixture of compressed earth reinforced with straw), they burned very easily and quickly, as it happened during the great fire of 1524, which destroyed a large area of the city. Houses which were built after this date were separated by a stone wall, supposed to reduce the spread of flames (some examples on rue General Saussier and rue Emile Zola). One also notices a base of stones, bricks or flint, which enabled citizens to protect their houses from the floods; frequent because of the many canals that crossed Troyes in the middle ages. The corbellings on these houses comes from a tax on land which was calculated according to the ground area of each property...

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Bordering many streets and carriage entrances of some mansions, one often finds these low stones, called "Chasse Roues", and which were used to protect walls and gates from the spades which stuck out from the axles of carts and other carriages.

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Many buildings of Troyes were destroyed during the passing of the centuries; their stones were then re-used to build other houses. One can see a piece of column on the wall of the Hotel Dieu, coming from, who knows, the Counts' palace, or even the nearby St Etienne's church, both destroyed in 1806...

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Centuries and fashions transformed the city. In the 17th and 18th centuries, many beams' heads were cut off then cased to adapt the medieval houses to the smoother and more regular styles of those times... The revolution also destroyed many Saints from houses...

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Gargoyles, in addition to their functions of "protection" against evil spirits, which they were meant to frighten, were also used as gutters.

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