Troyens are immensely proud of their heart, and it is a favourite photo opportunity for the tourists who come to the city. Children love to splash around in the water jets that surround it. Indeed, it has quickly become the city’s new emblem. The Heart of Troyes has taken pride of place on the banks of the former canal, opposite the Théâtre de Champagne. This stainless steel lace-work structure is the brainchild of a pair of artists from the Aube département (Michèle and Thierry Kayo-Houël), and was produced in a factory in the city itself (Sotralinox).
It is a truly elegant work of art that belies its true weight (2 tonnes), yet boasts dimensions that are of potentially record-breaking proportions (4 metres wide, 3.5 metres tall and 2 metres deep).
Although artificial, it is nevertheless a highly emotive piece, glowing red at night as you approach it, thanks to a clever lighting trick.
This monument, situated at the very heart of the city between the head and body of the champagne cork, symbolises the romantic side of the old town. Just a stone’s throw away is the delightful footbridge that straddles the canal, reminiscent of Paris’s Pont des Arts with its padlocks attached by pairs of love birds. The “Tree of Love”, planted on Place du Préau, provides further symbolism of eternal commitment and bonds.
Each day, passers-by stop here to declare their passion to “Lili, la dame au chapeau”, sitting discreetly next to this delicate young woman, lost in wandering thoughts. After a quick photo opportunity, it’s time to leave the pretty lady to her book and her daydreaming.
For those of a more carnal disposition, then “La jeune fille qui donne un baiser” might be just the thing you’re looking for. She is less reserved than “Lili”, and certainly more mischievous.
To find her, simply cross the street where the swing bridge attendant’s office once stood, and step into the embrace of this pretty young woman ready and waiting for your kiss.
Our gratitude goes to Hungarian sculptor Andras Lapis, the man behind “Lili”, and Dutch sculptor Sjer Jacobs, who created “La jeune fille qui donne un baiser”, for their charming additions to the Troyes family.