ramparts of Meaux!

I have to come back to this sentimental city seldom visited even if the history and monuments are rich very much related to Royal France. Here is a bit more of the history I like of Meaux and especially the Gallo-Roman ramparts. I give you one day and one night time picture.

I have written several posts on this city in my blog and for good reason. However, taking the fact that will show you pictures of the ramparts as of today; let me tell you a bit of old history I like on Meaux


The original known settlers here were the Meldes, a Celtic people, who had made Lantinum their capital. After the Roman conquest, of “Iantinum civitas Meldorum” only the name of the Meldes remains and the city takes the name of Meldis. The inhabitants are of the Meldois!

The Gallo-Roman city of Lantinum was established under the High Roman Empire following an orthogonal grid extending from the Marne river in the south to the Saint-Faron district in the north, that is to say in the old meander of the river , currently Le Brasset . A large number of large public buildings are attested, such as forum, theater, amphitheater, thermal baths, as well as a suburban cult complex at the place of the Bauve with a fanum and amphitheatre. Under the Lower Roman Empire, due to increasing political instability and the threat of invasions, a fortified enclosure was built in the southern part of the city (these are the ramparts and can see the vestiges by boulevard Jean-Rose ) and the extra-muros part of the city was gradually abandoned. Christianity was preached among the Meldes from the 3C by Saint Denis . His successor, Saint Saintin, would be the first Bishop of Meaux.


In 861, the Normans plunder Meaux, and the whole region. In 887, Meaux, who was commanded by Bishop Segemond and Count Thibert, was constantly attacked, night and day, by the Vikings. The city resisted for a long time, causing heavy losses to the besiegers. However, the city was taken, Thibert killed, and Bishop Segemond taken into captivity. The wealth of the city and the failure of Charles II the Bald to pay compensation to the Vikings at the fortress of Oissel made them occupy the city especially in 852 and 886.

Meaux was from the 10C the possession of the Counts of Champagne who were also called Counts of Meaux and who were assisted by the Viscounts of Meaux; the city returned to the crown under Louis X King of Navarre in 1305, King of France from 1314 to 1316, son of Philippe le Bel and Jeanne de Champagne-Navarre.

The Hundred Years War was particularly heavy with its procession of looting, plague and famines. This instability led the peasants to the uprising in 1358 under the leadership of Guillaume Callet , this is known as the Grande Jacquerie (short jackets, say jacques revolt by farmers). The inhabitants of Meaux are favorable to their demands. By surprise, the royal troops seized the fortress. On June 9, Gaston Fébus, Count of Foix and the Capitaine of Buch arrive with a troop of knights and massacre a part of the Jacques and Parisians (came to help the Jacques) who flee.

In October 1421, Henry V of England and his troops, consisting of 24,000 soldiers, laid siege to Meaux. The city held out for five months, but preferred to surrender on May 10, 1422. The English were merciless: the defenders of the city were hanged or had their heads severed. It was owned by the English from 1421 to 1436, then later reunited definitively with the Crown of France, after the events following Jeanne d’Arc.

Meaux is one of the most active French cities in terms of Protestantism in the 16C. Thus, the cenacle of Meaux was founded in 1521 at the request of bishop Guillaume Briçonnet by his friend and humanist Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples while Jean Leclerc preached there in 1523. In 1562, freedom of worship was granted to Protestants, but the latter were trying to take control of the city. In 1567, during the surprise of Meaux, the Royal family owed it only to the hundred Swiss to escape capture by the Protestant troops of the Prince of Condé. Meaux took the side of the League before going to Henri IV in 1593.

In 1681 Bossuet was appointed Bishop of Meaux and remained so until his death in 1704. In the meantime , been the confessor of king Louis XIV!; and known as the Eagle of Meaux. The Royal family (Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette) , during the dramatic return from the Varennes flight, spent a night in Meaux. In the 19C, the Marquis de Lafayette was a deputy for the district of Meaux, especially in 1827.  During WWI or the Great War (1914-1918), Meaux was the scene of the First Battle of the Marne, which shook the Seine-et-Marne region.

Lately, because of the Gallo-Roman past, certain districts of Meaux and its surroundings systematically undergo preventive archaeological excavations during works giving access to the ground, such as roads or during a demolition / construction. This allows the discovery of many vestiges. In 2007, discovery of an artisanal district of the High Roman Empire in the Saint-Faron district. In 2009, on the Villenoy plateau, during excavations, discovered an important section of an underground aqueduct which supplied the city before being now covered by the Pays de Meaux Activity Park.

Some famous battles here were: “Battle of Meaux” is a term that can refer to different events such as:

The Siege of Meaux (1358) or “Battle of Meaux”, during the Great Jacquerie. the siége of Meaux of 1421 and 1422, on the other hand, was not designated by the term “battle of Meaux”. The Surprise of Meaux or “Battle of Meaux” (1567), where Louis I of Condé (Protestant) tries to kidnap King Charles IX (Catholic), during the wars of Religion. The Battle of Meaux (1814), March 27, 1814, during the French Campaign, opposing Napoleon I and the Prussian and Russian armies. The “Battle of Meaux” (1892), journalistic term to designate a brawl between officers of the 8th regiment of dragons, August 30, 1892 in Meaux, which occurred following the acquittal of the Marquis de Morès of a duel to which he had participated ten days before. It is part of the beginnings of the Dreyfus Affair. The battles fought on the surrounding municipalities of Meaux (“pocket of Meaux”), during the first Battle of the Marne (1914), between August 30 and September 12, 1914. The Battle of the Ourcq (1914) and the battle of the Marais de Saint-Gond (marshes of) , more decisive, were of a greater magnitude and took place, both between 5 and 9 September, also in the general framework of the Battle of the Marne, but in communes further from Meaux.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Meaux on the walks in the ramparts

Tourist office of Pays de Meaux on the ramparts garden

And there you go a nice walk in old Meaux wonderful monuments all around it. When in town we went by the Cathedral of St Etienne and the Bossuet garden into the ramparts awesome. Even parked my car later by there nice parking with the back of the ramparts! Hope you like the post and take the off the beaten path detour to see this up close.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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