The American monument of Meaux!!

And I get nostalgic and sentimental each time I need to write about Meaux . This one was briefly mentioned in previous posts but felled needed to have it in one post, me think. I like to tell you and me more about Meaux.  A nice town bordering the Marne river in Seine et Marne dept 77,of the Ïle de France region , where Disneyland is located nearby.  There have been so many times here that I lost count, I know the town like if I was born there ever since began my French history when I met a young lady native of the town of Meaux back in 1990, and as the saying goes, the rest is history and a beautiful one indeed falling short due to her cancer that took my dear late wife Martine. And my eternal thank you for giving me 3 wonderful good young men still with me.

I like to tell you about another memorable monument in this neck of the woods, the American Monument of Meaux!!  There you see a huge American monument or Monument Américain, a gift of the people of the USA to France honoring the soldiers of the expeditionary force of Gen Pershing that after landing in now near me in St Nazaire march on towards the Marne to help the French as they have done to the USA in the war of Independence with Lafayette, Rochembau , and admiral Grasse. Gen Pershing cried “Lafayette we are here” upon landing. The oldest friendship of both since 1776.

meaux mon americain arriving jun15

Oh yes, Meaux, you can drive on the A4 from Paris (quai de Bercy )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. There is, also, the train from Gare de l’Est in Paris to the Gare de Meaux (see posts).

The American Memorial, also known under the names of La Liberté éplorée (Liberty in Distress), American monument or monument of Varredes, is located on the Route de Vareddes or the old D603 now D2405A direction Vareddes, the monument is just passing the World War I museum (musée de la grande guerre b2011) on your right hand side. The statue was designed by the American sculptor Frederick William MacMonnies ,and dedicated in 1932 to the Allies from WWI having fought at the first battle of the Marne in 1914, during the Great War or WWI.

meaux mon americain jun15

In 1914, during WWI, the German empire troops advanced through northern France towards Paris. In September of that year, near Meaux, the French 6th Army launched an offensive against the German 1st Army. In the ensuing battle, known as the First Battle of the Marne, French and English troops together force the Germans to withdraw, saving Paris from attack.  In the United States, French sympathizers celebrate this victory. After the end of the war in 1918, a project for a statue to commemorate the battle was born, taking the form of a model competition won by the American sculptor Frederick William MacMonnies. The funds for the construction of the statue are raised in the United States and it is erected as a gift from the Americans to the French people!

The statue, whose construction took 14 years, was inaugurated on September 11, 1932 by French President Albert Lebrun, President of the Chamber of Deputies Édouard Herriot and members of the Association of American Friends of France and the Ambulance Corps, from the American Field Service. On June 3, 2021, lightning struck the monument, destroying the upper part of the statue. The French Heritage Society (an American non-profit organization created in 1982) provides support for the restoration of the monument. Their webpage: https://frenchheritagesociety.org/chapters/

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The American Monument is 26 meters high and each side of the plinth measures approximately 4.5 meters. The statue represents a personification of Liberty, also evoking Marianne or “defiant France”. She is surrounded by dead or dying people and holds a child in one hand and a broken sword in the other.  It symbolizes, in the guise of a naked woman, France breaking free from enemies while supporting one of her sons who has just been killed for her. This woman who mourns his death with, at her feet, the dog that leads souls to death, the rooster representing France and the broken sword symbolizing the heroic struggle.

Joseph Joffre’s slogan of September 6, 1914 is engraved on the front of the base: “As the nation’s salvation begins, it is important to remind everyone that the time is no longer to look back; all efforts must be made to attack and push back the enemy; a troop which can no longer advance will have to keep the conquered ground at all costs and be killed on the spot rather than retreat. ”

An inscription in English is engraved on the back of the base: “Here are still heard, In the silence, the voices, the heroic sons of France, they braved everything, gave everything, during, long days full of pitfalls, while death watched them … They stopped the flood of imminent disaster, and their supreme devotion, has made the world tremble. ” Amén!! I said

meaux mon americain arriving D405 dec18

Some webpages to help you enjoy further this American Monument in France are:

The City of Meaux on the Monument Américainhttps://www.ville-meaux.fr/fr/tourisme/balade-a-meaux/le-monument-americain.html

The Meaux tourist office on the Monument Américainhttps://www.tourisme-paysdemeaux.com/index.php/en/1687-american-monument

The Seine et Marne 77 tourist office on the Monument Américainhttps://tourisme.seine-et-marne-attractivite.fr/4673215-monument-americain

The Circuit of the Battle of the Marne 1914 webpage on the Monument Américainhttps://www.circuit-bataille-marne1914.fr/310-monument-americain

There you go folks, a dandy in a very memorable spot for me, so many times driven by and stopped by for respect. The Monument Américain of Meaux is even nicer to stop by today as it is next to the superbe glorious Musée de la Grande Guerre or WWI museum. And next to my Brie cheese provider see posts!!

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

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