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Historical heritage

Here is a selection of the most outstanding timbered houses dating back to the middle Ages, and 18th century mansions in the center of town:



City hall

Hôtel de ville de Sens

A luxurious building built in the 3rd republic. Its tower, a symbol of the civilian power, was meant to compete with the one of the cathedral, a religious symbol. It’s topped with a statue of Brennus, a Gallic leader who conquered Rome around 390 bC.


The synodal palace

Palais synodal à Sens

It was built between 1230 and 1240 by the archbishop Gauthier, and restored by Viollet le Duc in the 19th century.

The Ecclesiastical court (salle de l’Officialité) and the jails, where you can see the evidence of numerous messages on the walls dating back to the middle ages, are on the first floor.


The huge room where the synods and the ecclesiastical meetings were held, built with diagonal ribs, widely lit by the twin bays, topped with a multi lobed rosette is on the second floor.

That is where the summer exhibits are held. It is part of the Museums guided tour.



The covered market

Marché couvert

Inaugurated in 1882 it is a typical example of the 19th century metallic architecture.  This Baltard type, triangular covered hall is among the very few in France. The cellars host various exhibits and events.


The house of Abraham

maison d'Abraham

Built in the 16th century for a tanner, this house is one of the most interesting historical places in Sens. The corner pillar is a pole carved as the Tree of Jesse.

The house is also called “the house of the four winds” being at the crossroad (it is also called in certain scripts the house of torches), nothing to do with Abraham but only with Jesse. The actual name dates back to a mistaken interpretation dating back at least to the beginning of the 19th century. Théodore Tarbé in his “History of Sens” wrote: “ We can notice a house, which has a very strange carpentry work on its angle. The post at the angle represents the genealogy of our father, from Abraham to the Virgin Mary.”


Ramparts and Garnier des Prés postern


This generic word includes the wall, the house (with its low room) next to it and the Postern itself. This huge monument, the oldest one in Sens is the proof of the city history since the Gallo roman times.


A heavy fortification of roughly 3kms was built after the invasions of the 3rd century to protect the center of town. We can still see on the base of the walls, blocs of stone coming from the thermal baths, temples or funerary monuments. (Such relics found in the parts of the ramparts which had been broken down in the 19th century contribute to the rich variety of the museum of Sens). Smaller stone separated by layers of brick are on top, according to the roman building method.


The theater

The theater was built in 1882, same time as the covered market, but in a totally different style. A very classical outside architecture, but a typical Italian one inside. Balconies, gold and paintings make it worth a visit as well as going to attend performances that are still played nowadays.