Cholet and its memorials!

Of course , cannot talk about Cholet and not tell you about is memorials past and not so past. This is a historical city of France and even if the history here goes against the French revolution it should be told for the record.

This is Cholet in the Maine et Loire dept 49 of Pays de la Loire. It was deeply involved in the Vendeen(as well as the Chouans of my Bretagne), wars of the west as they are known fighting the revolutionary hordes of destruction and killings , most of it have gone untold. As the history is always of the victorious unless you are like me who like to find the real history.

The memorial of the Battle of Cholet on October 17, 1793. This was the decisive victory of the revolutionary Republicans against the Vendéen white monarchists.It is located towards the villages of Beaupréau and Nantes-Noirmoutier, at the junction of the aerodrome road on the right ;   better to park lower, rather than on this strip. This metallic cross, sealed on a granite pedestal , was erected by the Souvenir Vendéen, and inaugurated on October 17, 1993, for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Cholet. The battle face the Republican revolutionary army against the Vendéen and Chouans who wanted to remain under the monarchy. The Parc du Champ de Bataille or Battlefield Park, with an orientation table memorizing the events of the Battle of Cholet in 1793, was built on the occasion of the bicentenary of the Vendée revolt of 1793. Access to the Park is via Boulevard du Maine on the northern ring road and park best at Champ du Bois by rue de Tours.

More in French from the folks who knows about this history here: Vendéen and Chouans

The very briefly told but you get the idea was that to combat the Republicans, the peasants decided to stand up together: this is known as the Vendée Uprising. It extended from the Vendée countryside to the banks of the Loire with Cholet town centre becoming the capital for this Vendée army. This ‘improvised’ army was led by soldiers as well as noblemen, with sacristans named as generals. Stofflet, La Rochejacquelein, Cathelineau, Bonchamps, D’Elbée and Charrette were among the heroes during this period.  There was merciless fighting between the Vendée monarchist Whites and the Republican Blues. Despite being armed only with pitchforks and scythes, the Vendée army won victory after victory. They destabilised the Republican army which counter-attacked with a devastating wave of murders known as the Colonnes Infernales. This three years of Civil War were to be extremely brutal and destructive for Cholet.

These were about 50,000 fighters who compete north of Cholet. And then will also pay tribute to the city and its surroundings, namely places martyrs of the Revolution. Cholet was 8,400 inhabitants in 1790,  and only 2,200 by 1796. We cannot say that everyone died, but some never returned and lost everything in the Wars of Vendée. It was a civil war. There were about 22,000 Republicans who were called the Blues (as France is known today) and 25,000 Whites (or monarchists), so the Vendeans. It is a territory that covers the southwest quarter of Maine-et-Loire, the northwest quarter of Deux-Sèvres, part of Loire-Atlantique, south of the Loire and the entire northern half of Vendée. Today the sites have completely disappeared. The battle began on what is today the aérodrome or airfield, which was called the Landes de la Papinière. Then, the whole fight developed at the height of the current ring road, between the Treille district and the bois Grolleau wood. This represents approximately four kilometers. In the first phase, the Vendeans repelled the Blues and advanced to Boulevard Joffre and Place de la République. That is to say, they arrive in the suburbs of Cholet. This is where the battle will tip over. At the end of the day, the fatal injury of two of their leaders will cause reflux.

More on this very important event in the history of France and even Europe at least is to read more in French on the Souvenir Vendéen webpage here: Souvenir Vendéen

A more modern war took me this time to take a picture.

The monument aux enfants de Cholet morts pour la Patrie or to the children of Cholet who died for the fatherland. The Place de la République is a large roundabout where 7 streets meet. Mayor Gustave Richard wanted to make a small replica of the Place de l’Etoile in Paris to serve the train station and the new districts in the north of the city. It was done in 1912 and the old Place Victor Hugo then became Place de la République. A monument in the center of the roundabout honors the victims of the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian conflict. At the top of a granite base is the statue of a winged Victory carrying a victim brandishing a broken sword. It is a copy of the Gloire aux vaincus or glory to the vanquished ,made in 1875 by Antonin Mercié which is in the Musée du Petit Palais in Paris.


Hope you enjoy this bit of history as I am trying to find them all. A big task, will take me the rest of my lifetime but have many books and magazines on the subject of French history. We need to know history from all angles to undertand the current history and project ahead to the next chapter. I will be back for more!!!

Hope you can ,also, stop by here and see these places of history as I like. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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