Archive for May 20th, 2023

May 20, 2023

Curiosities of Melun !!!

The town of Melun is located in the Seine-et-Marne department 77 in the Île-de-France region of my belle France. It is about 41 km from Paris, and 56 km from my nostalgic Meaux, I happened to be by here again after many years and finally pictures ! Let me tell you about the curiosities of Melun !!!  Hope you enjoy this post as I.

Melun rue Saint Aspais may23

Melun Seine river peniches over bridge may23

The different neighborhood or quartiers and what is on them to see me think are

On the quartier Île Saint-Etienne Island you have the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame, at Place Notre-Dame. This is a former collegiate church located rue de la Courtille was founded between 1016 and 1031 by the King of France Robert II the Pious on the site of a previous Notre-Dame church,  The prieuré Saint-Sauveur or priory on rue Saint-Étienne is one of the oldest buildings in Melun. Recent excavations have shown the presence of 10C crypts located under the choir of the priory church. Its construction is said to have been completed during the reign of Robert II the Pious. In the 12C, the collegiate church was transformed into a priory. The Gallo-Roman ovens on Square Notre-Dame. In refractory earth. Date: 1C or 2C later installed near the Notre-Dame Collegiate Church.  The municipal museum in the hôtel de la Vicomté, It contains collections of archaeology, painting, drawing and ceramics from the history of the town, former residence of Nicolas Fouquet before he lived in the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte. from 1654, allowing him to monitor the progress of his work at the Castle between 1656 and 1660. In the 20C it housed the municipal library until the media library was built on the west of the island.

Melun ch coll Notre Dame front may23

Melun ch coll Notre Dame belltower may23

Melun prieuré Saint-Sauveur tower may23

Melun prieuré Saint-Sauveur front may23

The quartier Saint-Aspais , its the neighborhood in the current City center/downtown of Melun , Here you have the Saint-Aspais Church on Rue Saint-Aspais (RD 415) This is the only church in France dedicated to Saint Aspais, evangelizer of the city at the end of Antiquity, whose life is unknown.  The City/Town Hall located at rue Paul-Doumer. In stone and brick. The site was occupied by the Hôtel des Cens, inhabited by the Benedictines of Trainel from 1629 to 1652. Construction of the current City/town hall was from 1847 to 1848.  The Porte de l’Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques gate located at corner of rue Carnot and rue Saint-Jacques. Made of stone and probably dating from the 15C. One of the rare vestiges of a hospice whose existence is attested in 999.

Melun ch Saint-Aspais front may23

Melun ch Saint-Aspais side back may23

Melun ch Saint-Aspais arriv may23

The quartier Saint-Liesne is located on the sides along which flows the Almont river, from the neighborhood of Almont to the Seine river, Here you see the Former convent of the Récollets at rue Fréteau de Peny, The Récollets obtained the right to settle on land given by the Marquis de Rostaing in 1606. The king gave permission to rebuild their convent in 1616. In 1793, the buildings welcomed the patients of the Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques and Saint-Nicolas, which were abolished. The convent was transformed into a hospice, then a mixed hospital until 1940, when only its function as a hospice continued. In 1980, the hospice was transferred for security reasons. The chapel remains in use,

The quartier Saint-Barthélemy, here you see Saint-Barthélemy Church ; the demolition of the church was decided in 1807, with the exception of the bell tower. It was purchased by the city of Melun in 1835, Today, you see the belltower,

The quartier Saint-Ambroise ; here you find the train station or Gare at Place Gallieni, This stone and concrete building dates from the mid-19C. It has been extended and modernized several times, the last of which was in 2011.We passed by it for the record !

Melun gare train station passing ave Thiers may23

Melun a not so popular City in tourism terms has seen some of the greatest painters of all time do justice to it in several portraits, I give you my favorites,  Jean Fouquet, Melun Diptych, (circa 1450) intended for the Notre-Dame Collegiate Church and present until 1775. Today the left pane is in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, the right pane in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp and the medallion self-portrait of Jean Fouquet, which adorned the frame, in the Louvre Museum in Paris. Paul Cézanne, The Pont de Maincy bridge, near Melun (circa 1879-1880), Musée d’Orsay. The bridge, which still exists today, marks the boundary on the Almont between Melun and Maincy (near the castle Vaux le Vicomte). Again, Paul Cézanne, Landscape of Ile-de-France (circa 1880), private collection, and also, Paul Cézanne, Place de village (circa 1881) , the Barnes Foundation, Maurice Utrillo, The Church of Notre-Dame de Melun, known as The White Church (circa 1910-1915), National Museum of Modern Art – Centre Georges-Pompidou; and Maurice Utrillo, Place Saint Barthélémy and Church (circa 1922), private collection.

A bit of history I like

During the reign of Emperor Charlemagne, calm returned, but on his death, the city once again suffered civil war between the Emperor’s successors and then the ravages of the Normans. The wealth of the city made the Normans return several times. Their raids affected it cruelly, especially in 845 and 886. The castle of Melun being a royal fief, Hugh Capet raised his vassals, Foulque Nerra, Count of Anjou, son-in-law of Bouchard, and Richard I, Duke of Normandy.  The Church of Saint-Aspais was built, the abbey of Saint-Père was restored, and the town of Saint-Aspais extended The first Capetian kings often resided in Melun, which acquired a stone fortified castle, located on the tip of Île Saint-Étienne (this castle will disappear around 1833). After the death of the son of Bouchard I, Renaud de Vendôme in 1016, the city of Melun is attached to the French royal domain, Robert II, king of France, dies in 1031 in the castle of Melun; his widow Constance of Arles died there in 1032, then their son Henri made it his main residence. Louis VIII and Louis IX regularly passed through Melun, but did not stay there. Philippe II Auguste was born on August 21, 1165, was probably born in the castle of Melun, we know that he lived in the city from time to time. The Queen of France Blanche de Castille, wife of Louis VIII the Lion, and mother of Louis IX, (Saint Louis) who liked Melun very much, died there on November 27, 1252. In 1255, the city was the place of celebration for the wedding of Thibaut II of Navarre with Isabelle, daughter of Louis IX.

The department of Seine-et-Marne was formed on March 4, 1790 by assembling parts of Île-de-France region,such as Brie, Champagne and Gâtinais. In July 1790 , the voters of the department choose Melun as the capital. Under the Directory, nothing significant happened in Melun or during the First Empire (Nap I) , at least until the invasion of France in 1814 by the Allied armies. The city was occupied from the beginning of April to the end of May and the requisitions followed one another heavily, During the First Restoration (1814-1815) , the town paid homage to Louis XVIII and then to the Emperor when he returned from the island of Elba before to renew his sentiments to the King at the Second Restoration.(1815-1830) After Waterloo the Russians then the Austrians occupied the city and Alexander passed through !  The bridges over the Seine were rebuilt in the 1830s: to the north, the stone bridge, current Jeanne-d’Arc bridge in 1836-1838 and to the south, the iron bridge,  current General-Leclerc bridge in 1837 (and walked over both lol ). The second bridge was rebuilt in 1870-1871. During the war of 1870, the Prussians appeared in Melun on September 15, 1870. After the signing of the Treaty of Frankfurt, the Prussians left the city on September 9, 1871. In 1944, the city fell victim to a Nazi retaliatory bombardment. Many houses are destroyed. The Saint-Aspais Church was very badly damaged: the bell tower was burned down, the nave destroyed, the organ blown. The two historic bridges, also destroyed, were replaced by the current structures in 1948-1950, A ring road was put into service in 1964 to the north of the city. It was completed in 1971 by a penetrating road skirting the city from the west, to the south bank of the Seine, which is crossed by a viaduct, these are the D605, and the D606 that take from Meaux and the A4 ; Two other bridges were also built in parallel with the historic bridges in the 1970s to allow better traffic in the city of Melun: the Lattre-de-Tassigny bridge, inaugurated in 1970 and the Notre-Dame bridge, inaugurated in 1975.

The City of Melun on its heritage

The local Melun Val de Seine tourist office on the Melun heritage

There you go folks, another dandy ride in my road warrior mode,again, I believe not been back to Melun since coming visiting France in the 1990’s !! Always passing by but so much to see in my belle France until now, This is the curiosities of Melun, and they are plenty, Again ,hope you enjoy the post as I

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

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May 20, 2023

Château Vaux le Vicomte and Le Nôtre !!!

This is awesome, another reason to visit my belle France, in all its splendeurs! A must to visit indeed.  Another wonderful memory of my dear late wife Martine, and I traveling in her native department the beauty is amazing. We came here the second year after marriage in 1992 and have been coming here regularly in our visits from the USA, and ,then, while living in France. This is a wonderful story and a beautiful castle still in private hands ! Do see my other posts on the castle in my blog, as this will be short and sassy with new pictures ,and this one new text.This is all from our latest visit this week. A reminder, the Château Vaux le Vicomte is in the village of Maincy, Seine et Marne dept 77 of the Île de France region, of my belle France.  Hope you enjoy this post as I ,on a person not given the full credit he deserves me think. This is the sublime Château Vaux le Vicomte and Le Nôtre !!!

Vaux le Vicomte castle walking to ticket office inside may23

The Château de Vaux le Vicomte gardens  confirmed to Louis XIV the renown of André Le Nôtre that gives him the order to do Versailles for the next century the heirs of Le Nôtre spread to all of Europe the principals applied in Vaux le Vicomte.

Vaux le Vicomte castle permanent collection on André Le Nôtre gardener entr may23

Vaux le Vicomte castle permanent collection on André Le Nôtre gardener bust may23

Contrary to what has always been said, Le Nôtre intervened very early in the design of the entire estate, from 1639, advising Fouquet, even before the deed of purchase of Vaux had been signed. However, most of the work did not begin until the land was acquired and sufficient resources were available. Fouquet’s remarriage in 1651, and his numerous and judicious investments, ensured him unparalleled financial power, while his appointment as Superintendent of Finances in 1653 provided him with the social base justifying the creation of an exceptional ensemble, All the elements specific to the art of Le Nôtre, and which were to constitute his “trademark”, were brought together here in a masterly demonstration made of balance and elegance, masking the complexity of the desired effects behind a line of a limpidity which fascinated his contemporaries. His success also rested on a professional organization which found in Vaux his first attested illustration, consisting in working with men he knew for having trained them or for being his parents. The success of this achievement and the means that the king or the great ministers would give to Le Nôtre enabled him to refine the secret of his art and to decline it in constantly renewed and spectacular combinations.

Vaux le Vicomte castle permanent collection on André Le Nôtre gardener hist of gardens may23

Vaux le Vicomte castle permanent collection on André Le Nôtre gardener map may23

The seminal work of French Formal Garden”, housed in the basement of the château, is a large audiovisual display, in which Le Nôtre himself explains to Nicolas Fouquet the different stages of landscaping the estate. This room will help all to better understand the genius of Le Nôtre, and to more fully enjoy their walks in the gardens. Don’t miss it! It is situated after the kitchens, and will help you discover Le Nôtre’s tricks and optical illusions in the French Formal Garden of Vaux-le-Vicomte, considered as his masterpiece! Indeed worth the trip alone, the gardens! And do do see this expo recommended !!!

Vaux le Vicomte castle permanent collection on André Le Nôtre gardener on gardens 2 may23

Vaux le Vicomte castle permanent collection on André Le Nôtre gardener on gardens may23

The official Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte:

The Seine et Marne dept 77 tourist office on the castle

There you go folks, another dandy road warrior trip this time only with my 3 young men and dog Rex , less but nevertheless, a wonderfully trip down memory lane in Seine et Marne, dept 77. The Château Vaux le Vicomte have written plenty on it in my blog but , never enough on this marvel of our belle France ; of course I am friend of the castle since 2004 and have come more times that I write about it as many in our official visits pictures are not allowed, You must come here to the Château de Vaux le Vicomte and enjoy the wonders of my Seine et Marne, The expo on the genious of Le Nôtre is wonderful and well done me think, one not to miss in your visit . Again, hope you enjoy the post on the Château Vaux Le Vicomte, and Le Nôtre as I

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

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