The wonderful nostalgic streets of Meaux !!!

Here I am in my sentimental mood again, on my belle France where else.  I have written on the city of Meaux, in dept 77 Seine-et-Marne, region of Île de France before on several posts. However, it is never enough on Meaux! Let me tell you why !

I was very much French influence since youth, and maybe it was the reason end up marrying a French women , native of Meaux ! which I visited while dating, got her to marry me in Daytona Beach, Florida USA and then convince me already French citizen to come to live in the Yvelines dept 78 of France. It was, and is , and will be the best decision of my life to have found her, and Meaux, and coming to France, all wonderful. If only I lost my dear late wife Martine to cancer in 2018, guess life cannot be perfect. Meaux would be very sentimental and nostalgic for me forever. There are other more beautiful towns in France I guess, and some with major works of arts, and monuments to boot, but little Meaux will remain the biggest of them all. Let me tell you a bit of some of the streets dear to me there. Bear with me ok

Meaux is a small beautiful town, sitting on the Marne river, wrote Michel de Montaigne in 1580 in his diary of travel. On one side the city and the suburbs, on the other the market, sheltered in a meander of the Marne river. Since the Celtic era, it has been an important religious pole; its name remains associated with the tutelary figure of Bossuet, “the Eagle of Meaux “, and its status as an Episcopal seat has earned it its most remarkable monuments: the Cathedral of Saint-Etienne, the Episcopal Palace (now Bossuet Museum) and the  Vieux Chapitre (old chapter).

A sentimental big street for me is the rue Noëfort, this is where I first met what was to be my wife, my dear late wife Martine at no 36. The main thing here is that at 3 rue Noéfort  there is the Gendarmerie Nationale. The national military police sort of a State trooper or National Guard. It is also, on the next section of historical Meaux. There are so many walks by here ,and pushing the baby stroller with 3 boys of close ages, and shopping the local nearby shops and eateries, so many memories…. If you come to visit they might become yours too,,,

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The Faubourg Saint-Nicolas extends along the great eponymous artery, formerly known as the route d’Allemagne (road of Germany). It is circumscribed by the avenues of  Maréchal Foch, du Maréchal Joffre, de la République, du président Salvador Allende,and the streets of rue des Béguines and rue des Cordeliers , and of course rue Noëfort. It was built at the foot of the promontory housing the Cathedral and the old town, along the rue du Faubourg Saint-Nicolas which brings together the most important buildings of the District such as the former General Hospital, the Church of St. Nicholas, the Protestant Temple. It was separated from the District of the Cathedral by the Brasset, a small arm of the Marne river, now underground.

In the 5C, it was buried Saint Céline, a friend of Saint Genevieve; on her tomb, placed Extra Muros in the ancient Celtic tradition, arose a church that was to endure until the French revolution, the Church of Saint Céline. The suburb also welcomed in the 13C another religious establishment, that of the Franciscans or Cordeliers; their arrival in Meaux is part of the development of the communities of beggars monks in all the cities of Europe. In the 17C, two new establishments settled in the Faubourg Saint-Nicolas: the Priory of Noëfort (on rue Noëfort ) and the General Hospital, founded in 1667 to interne the poor and the vagabonds  in application of the great enclosures  decided by the Royal Ordinance of 1662. The old parish church is indeed moved to the site of the Convent of the Cordeliers, and the primitive Church disappears from the urban fabric from the 19C. Not far from its location is then built the Protestant Temple, 1847. As for the Priory of Noëfort, it is converted into a military building; today is the modern Gendarmerie Natinale (police HQ at 3 rue Noëfort), which no longer has any old vestige. The only pre-19C monuments still present in the Faubourg Saint-Nicolas are the present Parish Church St Nicolas (former convent of the Cordeliers) and the House of the Augustines (former General Hospital).

Another wonderful artery we walked and walked a lot over the years is the one called the boulevard des Anciens fossés (old wells), currently Boulevard Jean Rose, the boulevard that is running along the Gallo-Roman walls of Meaux (ramparts! See post) and great parking area now. The black plague spread over the territory and in Meaux  a third of the population died in 1348. This terrible epidemic upset Jean Rose a local rich merchant, who turned to help the poor and the sick and became the benefactor of the city of Meaux. His wealth, in fact, allowed him to create various pious foundations. In 1356 he built the l’hôpital de la Passion (passion hospital) to accommodate 25 blind and 12 poor, as well as a school for 10 children. It changed its name between the 15C and the 16C. It was gradually called the hospital Jean Rose. It was only in 1647 that the Bishop decided to close the hospital and set up a seminar there. The buildings that housed the Grand Seminary were completely rebuilt in the 18C. Only the Chapel of the Hospital Jean Rose survives today. There is always the crest of the benefactor made up of three roses. Jean Rose is buried alongside his wife Jeanne Rose in a Chapel of St. Stephen’s Cathedral (St Etienne). It is a side chapel dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament that our benefactor built, at his expense in 1331 following the death of his wife. In 1848 the town of Meaux decided to honor the memory of Jean Rose by giving its name to an artery of the city: the present Boulevard Jean Rose. Well done! Up against the ramparts at Boulevard Jean Rose there is a very active market right over the parking area on Tuesday mornings.

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Another venerable street is the  Cours Raoult, this is where the old Ford dealership was in town and where I purchase my first car in France ! (Focus break or station wagon),  Now there is Monop convenience store there as the dealer has move to outer limits of the city. This is a short street taking you to the Place Henri IV, and along the Rue du Général Leclerc on one way and across the Quai Jacques Prévert (road D603) to the banks of the Marne river. Indeed a very nice place to walk and shop; there is an even bigger market across the river. There each Saturday, under the historic metal covered cheese market of Meaux built in the second half of the 19C you can have the real cheese Brie de Meaux amongt other things! Magical and nominated for one of the best markets in France! 

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Moving right along, you come to the  Rue du Général Leclerc which is pedestrian from the Cours Raoult or Pl Henri IV to the Cathedral at Parvis St Etienne. The Rue du Général Leclerc was call before the rue de la Savaterie, and was well known for commerce from the Middle Ages when it was cut into two section one the rue des Pâtissiers (pastry makers st) and the rue de l’Epicerie( groceries st).

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The place Charles-de-Gaulle (square), is at the foot of the Cathedral of St Stephen (St Etienne) where it was also very animated in the Middle Ages when it was called the place des Quatre-Vents, before becoming the Parvis Saint-Etienne, and now the Gen de Gaulle. Very quant pedestrian area with many shops and restos/bars a must to walk it in town. The Cathedral a monument of Gothic France! The Rue St Etienne goes into Rue St Pierre all around the Cathedral. On one side there is Rue Bossuet that takes you to the ramparts and bd Jean Rose . All worth the walks into medieval France and great for shops and restos/bars too.

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The place Henri IVis another memorable place as here we went to the movies for the first time in France at the Majestic cinema. It is now part of the cinema group UGC and has a great auto parking above and below ground. Also, at Christmas time there is a nice market here with ice skating ring. The square is name as such because it was to mark the coming of king Henri IV in 1599 when the city was in the middle of the 30 years war of Religions,and decided to rally in favor of the king. King Henri IV was a Protestant, and the city of Meaux , Catholic, and when the king converts to Catholicism, the locals (who are call by their celtic name, the Meldois) decided to signed the peace accords.

The city of Meaux on its heritage : https://www.ville-meaux.fr/fr/tourisme.html

The Meaux country tourist office on the must to seehttps://www.tourisme-paysdemeaux.com/index.php/decouvrez/les-incontournables

You might keep in mind , Meaux is reach very easily from Paris Gare de l’Est train station direct and also, a great home and inexpensive spot for visits to Disneyland nearby. Anyway, the streets of Meaux are eternal !!

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

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3 Comments to “The wonderful nostalgic streets of Meaux !!!”

  1. The roads of Meaux are looking wonderful well shared! With photos and description !

    Liked by 1 person

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