Few cities in France can boast of having given a pope to Christianity. Champagne is an exception, with two pontiffs: Urbain II, born in 1042 in Châtillon (Marne), and Urbain IV, born in 1185 in Troyes in a house which disappeared to make way for the Saint-Urbain church.
A masterpiece of Gothic art with its superb proportions, its stone lace and its immense canopies, Saint-Urbain is called "the Parthenon of Champagne". The vast portal, covering the entire western part of the building, was completed in 1905, but the tympanum, on which there is a magnificent Last Judgment, dates from the 13th century.
Upon entering the church, one is struck by the elegance, the sobriety and the brightness of the place. The surprisingly light transept and choir have retained their magnificent original stained glass windows, dating from around 1270 and restored in 1992 by the Trojan workshops Le Vitrail. The statuary is also admirable, notably the famous Virgin of the Grapes (chapel on the south aisle) whose finesse and meditation are typical of the Trojan School of the 16th century.
In 1935, the remains of Urban IV were transferred to the church, which received the title of basilica in 1964.