Archive for March 2nd, 2022

March 2, 2022

My walk of Provins!!!

And I take you again to my memorable Seine et Marne and one its precious medieval towns for a walk of Provins. For the walk, will be in my black and white series, no pictures. Another precious town visited long ago with my dear late wife Martine , and need to be back for the memories when possible. Hope you enjoy this famous medieval town of Provins as I.

And I take you to Provins, admit not been here enough to see it all just passing quick for a day but one of the marvels of the Seine et Marne dept 77 in the Île de France region.

They said this was a Roman outpost but no evidence is shown, Provins is high on a hill at the extreme of the plains of Brie and was probably évangélise in the 3C before conquered by Clovis and shown interest of Charlemagne. The Voulzie made turn windmills such as the Durteint brings many tradesmen from the 12C.

The fuller’s earth gave greasy properties to the black sheets of Provins before the coming of wool, The extraction of this earth makes for subterranean cellars and vaulted grottos with sculpture chapters that serves as military and defensive hideouts, You can visit these places today organise from the caveau du Saint Esprit near the porte de Jouy, place du Châtel, Hôtel Dieu at rue Saint Thibault.

There is great commercial activity by the place Saint Ayoul with the Church Saint Ayoul done in 1048 to the relics of the Saint. It was built at the foot of the former Chapelle Saint Médard of 996, It has three portals from the 12C, In the 16C a gallery was done covered in balustrade and skylight staircase turret,

The rue Vieille Notre Dame where the tour Notre Dame du Val the last vestige of the church and cloister built in 1358 joins the Church Sainte Croix, To the north see the pretty gardens jardin Garnier and the bushes of the promenades d’Aligre marking the limits of a medieval rampart of 5 km. From the convent of Cordeliéres not far you have a great view of the city below. Today it is the archive center of the regional press attach to the national library.

You go up the upper town with nice mansions in renaissance style such as Trois Singes, Villegagnon etc with stairs going to the fields below and a view of the Hôtel Dieu former palace of the countess of Blois and Champagne that was turn into a hospital, and takes you to the place du Châtel and the vestiges of the Church Saint Thibault dating from the 12C,

At the center of this neighborhood you have a free town with the old chapters of the counts of Champagne where it throne the Edits stone, Behind it the maison des Quatre Pignons a very prize tavern by the merchants with a new couch recently, The maison des Petits Plaids remind us that the provost of Provins read laws and pleas from here, Around the Place du Châtel the adjoining streets have the hôtel de la Coquille a stop by the pigrims of St James of Compostela, de Savigny, or de la Buffette,

Here Balzac was inspired to write Pierrette while lodging in the salon literature of madame Angebert dating from the 13C, Facing it you see Tour César and donjon connecting to the ramparts, You need to walk this Provins a nice effort on its cobblestone and hilly roads but all worth it me think, There is a lot more.

The Provins tourist office :

The Seine et Marne tourist office on Provins:

There you go folks, another dandy spot in my belle France. This one in memorable nostalgic Seine et Marne and the beautiful medieval town of Provins. Again, hope you enjoy the post and looking forward to revisit soon.

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

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March 2, 2022

My historical sentimental Meaux!!!

Let me tell you about something personal, nostalgic, memorable, will tell you more of the history of Meaux, Seine et Marne dept 77 of the Île de France region in my belle France. I have several posts on Meaux , this one will be in my black and white series, no pictures. Bear with me as history are always long! Hope you enjoy the history as I.

The city of Meaux is very old going back as attest by Gregoire de Tours who said it is beyond our era with findings in the current neighborhood of Pierre Collinet with trails discovered going back 3000 years before Christ! The tribus Melde chose to established themselves here and made it their capital along the Marne river, We came say that Meaux enter in our history with the wars of the Gauls in the 1C BC, We can estimate it had 200 hectares which will put it above Senlis and behind Paris.

The land of Saints, starting with a young girl name Céline,a local lord was very upset of this evangile and she needed the help of Ste Geneviève and take refuge in the Church Notre Dame de Chaage, and there the grille open and close to protect her, The pastron Saint of Meaux was venerated for centuries in Paris, Around 610 the Irish monk Saint Colomban blessed her, At the same time Faron bishop and count of Meaux , later Saint Faron, ordered built the abbey of Saint Croix or Holy Cross that after his death was known by his name, The most welcome in this land of Saints was Saint Fiacre that came here for retirement and received the lands of Breuil and after cutting some trees and digging some holes, the lands expands by a miracle so becoming the patron Saint of the Brie and gardeners,Here three religous parish convene in 845,coming from Reims, Sens, and Bourges.

The Normans that ransacked Paris were coming along the Marne river and made several incursions to Meaux in the second half of the 9C, doing the same ransack and pillage, In the meantime, after , we have the bishop Gauthier Saveyr that goes as far as Kiev to visit the tzar Jaroslav and return with the princess Anne that marries the king Henri I, The bishop starts losing power to the counts of Meaux and later the Counts of Champagne and Brie where a castle was built in 1156, By 1179 Henri I gives Meaux a charter similar to a city today, The capital of the Brie enjoys the fruit of a growing commerce even to be name the granary of Paris, The city is attach to the Royal domain when Jeanne de Navarre marries Philippe le Bel in 1284.

Meaux goes thru the Hundred Years War that was very rude when in 1346 Edward III of England invades the region of today Île de France, However, some made fortune in this period such as Jean Rose in the cereal business, In the year of seditions, the Dauphin future Charles V leaves Meaux leaving a garrison of 300 men, and women in the fortified market, But the local Meldois were in favor of Etienne Marcel in Paris and put a siege on the the city with as much as 10 000 men ! They then received the renfort of Gaston Phoebus and Jean de Grailly corporal of Buch,The final battle was held on the bridge, After the defeat of the locals the population is massacre, the churches destroyed and the city burned,Later the peace came back thanks to the king Charles V and constable De Guesclin and Meaux has peace until the 15C. The English came in the conflict between the Armagnacs and Burgundians and take Meaux until 1439,When the constable Richemont (Duke Arthur III of Brittany !)attack the city in the name of the king of France and the English surrender in 1439.

By early 16C Meaux comes back on a renewal of faith with Guillaume Briçonnet of Touraine who succeeded his father as bishop of Saint Germain des Prés, He was name to the episcopal siege of Meaux in 1515, By 1521, he brings to Meaux, Jacques Lefévre d’Etaples, theologian and humanist, and spread the faith, we name them the cenacle of Meaux, They prohibit the writing of Luther in 1523, When the Reformation, the first martyr was in Meaux, name Jean Leclerc for denouncing the Pope he will be burned alive, The atrocities continue in 1546 when folks taken in the market area were taken to Paris and executed, In 1562 the abbey Saint Faron is pillage as well as the cathedral when the huguenots destroyed the statues decorating the church, Due to this situation the ramparts of the market were demolished by order of king Charles IX, After siding with the League, Meaux was the first city to accept Henri IV as king.

Born in Dijon in 1627 Jacques Bénigne Bossuet was at age 54 name by Louis XIV bishop of Meaux,The brilliant eagle as Voltaire describe him, made anormous sermons and made shake the cathedral,He lived in Meaux or the country house of Germigny , By the Marne river he takes inspiration for his speeches, In 22 year of bishop he goes all over the roads and trails speaking to all who listen, He approved the revocation of the Edit of Nantes in 1685 while enforcing the Catholic faith, He denounces Fenelon that was his disciple , Bossuet suffering stone desease died in Paris rue Sainte Anne April 12 1704, His body was brought back to Meaux and rest in the Cathedral St Stephens near the altar.

On the night of 24-25 june 1791 the bishop of Meaux Pierre Thuin received Louis XVI and his royal family at the episcopal palace, A tragic event occurs here as Meaux was a strategic point in the revolutionary period; troops on their way to the, frontier stop in Meaux to feed themselves, A group of about 600 come to the prison and ask to free the prisioners, Seven priests and other seven detained were massacre including Father Pierre Louis Duchesne refractory father (against the revolution) of the parish of Saint Nicolas.

The French revolution turns to the Empire early 19C, Meaux is the most important town in the department, the canal de l’Ourcq started under Napoléon I is finished in 1825, Before by 1814 the Seine et Marne was the center of battles, the emperor arrived in Meaux and spent the night at the bishop writing 21 letters ! By March 28 it was the turn of Blücher to spent the night in Meaux after the French troops left the town, While in 1815 at the Congress of Vienna Talleyrand or Metternich chose the Brie of Meaux cheese as king of cheeses and prince of desserts ! The railroad line Paris-Meaux is opened in September 2 1849 by the Prince Emperor Louis Napoléon Bonaparte (future Napoléon III),

During the night of Juin 16-17 1920 there was a huge fire that destroys almost all the windmills that were the pride of the Meldois that received nice words from Gérard de Nerval, The WWII starts and Meaux once again in the shoe of the occupant, Finally, August 27 1944 the city is liberated by a column of American armored vehicules under commander Wolner, Meaux today is the most important city in the Seine et Marne dept 77.

You can see in Meaux,(have several posts on them), the episcopal palace with the municipal museum since 1927 but here by 1154-1155, and the Cathédrale Saint Etienne or St Stephens Cathedral, where the framework is original from 1224 !!! The Vieux Châpitre or old chapter end 12C You climb with a monumental stair , The Jardin Bossuet garden it carries his name since 1911, It is said was done by André le Nôtre, The original garden is from the 17C, The ramparts of Meaux done from the Roman lower empire when in older times a promenade took you from the current boulevard Jean Rose to the place Henri IV where you see the statue of General Raoult dead in 1870 in Alsace, it was melted by the Nazis in 1942, The tower on the right of the ramparts and the municipal theater opened in 1845 became a cinema (Majestic).

You have great lands and immense pride in the Marne surrounding Meaux, the battles of WWI or the Great War of great courage and human determination. Especially the battle of September 5 to 12 1914, There is a huge monument to the fallen on the road to Varreddes measuring 21 meters high and offered by the Americans francophiles on the First Battle of the Marne, opened in 1932. You have courageous towns such as Barcy, Chambry (this is where I met the family of my dear late wife Martine, still some living there) where the battle of September 7 where the inhabitants went to the front and saw the zigzag of the Germans marching in the city and then retreating, The cemetery reads here «  Children of Brie in the cemetery go sit in front of the wall of the Zouaves, our history, pray that their glory always remains our hope » At Varreddes fierce battles were held and the town was not liberated until September 9.

If Varreddes, Etrépilly (sister lives here), and Villenoy (mom born here), are considered the daughters of the Bishop, Germigny l’Eveque is the elder of the family, here Saint Louis, Jean II le Bon and Louis XII stayed while bishop Bossuet came often too. Another town Poincy here was where Saint Colomban was received by the count of Meaux, Chagnéric. We go on to Trilport, here lived the Vicount Gustave de Ponton d’Amécourt, here Jules Verne came to see him and he invented in 1862 a vehicule he names the Helicopter ! Then come to Montceaux-lès-Meaux where La Fontaine came to write Le coche et la mouche,or the tick and the fly . Here too Catherine de Médicis buys a domain in 1547 to built a sumptous home that Primatice paints, The domain had 6200 sq meters and was given by Henri IV to Gabrielle d’Estrées,at her death the domain was given to Marie de Médicis, she came regularly with Richelieu and Anne of Austria to hunt,Later Louis XIV does not come and Louis XV never comes, and the domain is demolished to built the tunnel of Armentiéres ! You have Fublaines, where a young Louis XIII came to a Mass, Before, the phylosera of the vines, Nanteuil-Lès-Meaux (younger brother lives here) was a winegrowers village, It was not far from the Market in Meaux and a big bastion of Protestanism, Its neighbor Mareuil-lès-Meaux was sang by Pierre de Ronsard , Very near to Meaux is Villenoy (mom of wife born here) a center of sugaries factories, and then Vignely where the church was founded by Saint Hildevert disciple of Faron that was buried here in 680, You come to Trilbardou a strategic spot where the park was traverse by the canal de l’Ourcq ; after the monument to Maréchal Galliéni that mark his post in 1914 we come into the N3 the old road to Germany and Paris (which I took so many times in those early days of me and my Martine). You come to Chauconin-Neufmontiers (sister lives here) and the road towards Paris .You have also by here Penchard where a fragment of the 3C was found, IN 1622 the canons of Meaux built the convent of Barefoot Carmelites in Crégy-lès-Meaux, from here you have a nice panorama of Meaux with a view of its cathedral.

The Meaux tourist office on its heritage:

The city of Meaux on its heritage:

The Seine et Marne dept 77 tourist office on the heritage around Meaux:

There you go folks, a wonderful town indeed, and one that always will bring nice memories to me. I met my other half here and for 28 years it was memorable indeed and wish could have been more if wasn’t for that terrible cancer. The memories will never be forgotten and my travels, and blog is a constant reminder of those beautiful wonderful times. Meaux is the prime suspect with the Seine et Marne behind it. Hope you enjoy the history and do visit worth a detour me think.

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

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