so here's a picture of a castle:
OK, it's not reeeeeally a castle. I took this on the way to work yesterday. It's the Hôtel de Vauluisant in Troyes. It was originally built to be the Troyes home of the Vauluisant Abbey near Sens, in order to be closer to the Count of Champagne (and better benefit from the closer proximity, of course!). I should note that “hôtel” doesn’t always mean the same thing in French as in English; in this sense it’s meant more like Manor. Anyway, it had become a private residence by the end of the 15th century.
Today it houses the Museum of Hosiery and the Museum of Troyen Art, which was extremely influential during the Renaissance. The Museum of Hosiery (Musée de la bonneterie) sounds like a pantyhose museum, but Troyes was a very important textile center from the middle ages up until the industrial revolution. All manner of stockings and caps were knit by hand - until 1746 when the first knitting machines were installed in Troyes - and the museum showcases some examples that have survived the test of time, including silk and pearled stockings that are amazing to admire, especially if you're a knitter!