And I present you, Meaux!!!

Always fun and memorable and sentimental to write about Meaux, in dept 77 Seine-et-Marne, in the Ïle de France region of my belle France. You might know, have several posts on this town and its region, as it is the native town of my dear late wife Martine!

This is sort of an introduction I did on November 2017, and would like to update the text and links, with a memorable picture. Hope you enjoy it as I do, and thanks for reading my blog , always appreciated.

And I do present you with Meaux, a historical town east of Paris , near Disneyland Paris and the Champagne region, but most importantly the fields of war of the Great War or WWI and its  wonderful Gothic Cathedral , one of the best in France.

A while back I didn’t even know there was a Meaux, a few years back. That is until I happened to meet a young lady in Paris ! She was a native of Meaux but worked in Paris as a secretary to a real estate company.  The rest is history, wife,and 3 boys, and made many trips to Meaux, over the years.  It would be hard to tell you everything about the town, that I have come to know every bit nook and cranny of it, where my boys roll in baby carriages since age 5 weeks !! for one and 6 mos for the other 2,twins !!! Even along cobblestone streets around the Cathedral!

There is still family in small villages all around it ,and had come back for many visits. Meaux was my first introduction to France; (other than brief one day visit in Paris1972) when every one arriving at CDG or Orly airports rush to see Paris ,etc and I was humbly taken a bus , yes a bus to reach Meaux and hook up with my girlfriend!! ,this was in 1990. Later,  wife of 28 hugely wonderful years.

The bus still does its runs no. 20 Transdev IDF webpage:

Once the habit came back, and drove and took the trains. To come here from Paris, you can take the train at Gare de l’Est to the station in Meaux, or you can drive on the A4 connecting with the A140 straigth into town or do the scenic ride on the N3 from Porte de Pantin in Paris all the way to Champagne country passing thru city center Meaux. Bear in mind nowdays, the N3 is hugely congested. On the way back from Meaux to Paris we parked by a free parking in the Church of (église) Pantin to hook up with the metro Pantin line 5. Lately, the space has brought a paying parking they call it Yespark – Parking Pantin – Eglise Pommiers. However, not a secure place anymore sadly…

For those seeking alternatives from Paris and wishing to visit Disneyland Paris, Meaux is an excellent cheaper base. It is worth spending a night here or more as it is very close to Disneyland Paris. As we came with my parents and too large of a family already there (until sisters married away nearby) we use hotels such as the Campanile hotel ,very good friendly folks used for family gathering over the years, nice simple hotel chain here. webpage:

In city center, the historic Le Richemond is grand and very nice by the Marne river at good prices. Now part of the good inter-hotel chain:webpage:

The town is divided into quartiers or neighborhood some newer away from the Marne river and the old ones from times afar such as the city center or centre ville, and ,the Marché , just across from the bridge over the river, the Faubourg Saint-Nicolas (where my wife lived), the Châage-Saint Faron or area of the hospital (where she was born), and the ave de la Republique/La Croix de Varenne, from where the escapee Louis XVI was brought back to Paris spending a night here!!!

There is a new WWI museum nearby ,actually next to the Monument Americain in honor of US soldiers who participated in the Battle of the Marne here. Well you can read a lot on above on my previous posts.

Here I like to tell you a bit on the St Stephens Cathedral (St Etienne) of Meaux. A wonderful  Gothic Cathedral where only one bishop is buried ,he is the Eagle of Meaux, confessor of king Louis XIV and bishop of Meaux, Bossuet. The Eagle of Meaux as he was called. Two huges statues honor the centenary and bicentenary of his death inside the Cathedral. The old Chapter still is authentic and where the priest elders gave justice; you go in now on guided visit only. The Palace was the home of the bishop and it became a museum in 1908.

The city can claim wholly this beautiful Gothic Cathedral and its episcopal palace now museum , the garden done by André Le Nôtre!!! the remains of the medieval ramparts, and its historical festival recreating the middle ages! A must. Meaux is the biggest town in Seine-et-Marne, and the Cathedral took 350 years to built it, when normally a Cathedral took 100 years. This gives it a unique architecture and one of the rarest in France with remnants of the Gothic in the middle part of the Cathedral, like the Choir, then the Rosary and Organ tribune in a flamboyant style post 15C. Between the two a part of the nave stayed with its primitive style of the 13C; the stained glass are smaller.

The country of Meaux tourist office on the Cathédrale Saint Etienne

You reach the lower rooms ,the Chapel , and the bedroom of the Bishop as well as a reception room. The wooden floor is from the 19C, the windows gives you a view over the garden or Jardin Bossuet bordered with chestnut trees (where gave my first kiss!!). The geometrical shape reminds us of a miter for the Bishops. It was designed by Le Nôtre. This green space link the episcopal palace museum to the walls of the old fortifications and the town.  At the times it was only a garden as well as a part of the town with canons houses; they purchased the land and later the bishop purchased the ramparts to enclosed all and creating the suspended garden in 1642! It was a great idea because today , are the only ramparts still on in Meaux. The whole is to be visit for free as well as the Cathedral, garden and courtyard (very nice).  For individual guided visits they are done from April to November twice per month. They are free access on the weekends from April to October.

The jardin Bossuet from the country of Meaux tourist office

The Jardin Bossuet from the city of Meaux

The museum or Musée Bossuet as I said opened in 1908  in the episcopal palace; today we can see an  aquarelle by Delacroix , and a portrait by  Courbet, given by the son of Chemistry Nobel Prize winner Henri Moissan, before going to WWI in 1914.  The museum , also , gives credit to its biggest donor the neurobiologist Jean-Pierre Changeux, that gave it about 50 portraits and about 20 engravings.  You will see a huge herborist collection of 18 volumes given to the museum by him in the 19C.  In the Chapel , the town has put enclosed glass furniture with archeological items like a collar on shells from the Black Sea dating from  4 000 years BC.  A room is dedicated to portraits representing Bossuet.  The museum is concentrated with paintings from the 17C to the 19C, and has on display between 1000 and 1500 works. Hours are from 10h to 12h and 14h to 17h , closed Sunday mornings, Mondays, and Tuesdays all day.

The official page for the Musée Bossuet

There you go folks, Meaux ,a nice town really! off the beaten path it is but what a punch it carries in the history of France! And now all around the most visited places in France, good for the whole family. You should give yourselves a shot of encountering it. You will be surprise, and I hope you enjoy the post.

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

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