Meaux

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Meaux
Façade of the Meaux city hall (built in 1900)
Façade of the Meaux city hall (built in 1900)
Coat of arms of Meaux
Coat of arms
Meaux is located in France
Meaux
Meaux
Coordinates: 48°57′37″N 2°53′18″E / 48.9603°N 2.8883°E / 48.9603; 2.8883Coordinates: 48°57′37″N 2°53′18″E / 48.9603°N 2.8883°E / 48.9603; 2.8883
Country France
Region Île-de-France
Department Seine-et-Marne
Arrondissement Meaux
Canton Meaux-Nord and Meaux-Sud
Intercommunality Pays de Meaux
Government
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Jean-François Copé
Area
 • Land1 14.95 km2 (5.77 sq mi)
Population (2012)
 • Population2 51,398
 • Population2 density 3,400/km2 (8,900/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 77284 / 77284
Elevation 39–107 m (128–351 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Meaux (French pronunciation: ​[mo]) is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in the metropolitan area of Paris, France. It is located 41.1 km (25.5 mi) east-northeast from the center of Paris.

Meaux is a subprefecture (sous-préfecture) of the Seine-et-Marne department. In France, a subprefecture is the chef-lieu (the seat or administrative capital) of an arrondissement: Meaux is the subprefecture of the arrondissement of Meaux.[1] It is also the chef-lieu of two other smaller administrative land divisions: the cantons of Meaux-Nord and Meaux-Sud. Finally, since its creation in 2003, Meaux has been the center and the main town of an agglomeration community, the Communauté d'agglomération du Pays de Meaux.

Demographics[edit]

With a population of 51,398 inhabitants (2012 census),[2] Meaux is the second most populated city in the Seine-et-Marne department after Chelles (53,090 inhabitants in 2012).[3]

History and Culture[edit]

Inhabitants of Meaux are called Meldois. Both names Meaux and Meldois originated with the Meldi, the Latin name of the original Gaulish tribe who occupied this area of the valley of the Marne river. Although during the Roman period the city was called Iantinum by the Romans,[4] the name of the Meldi persisted and was finally kept for naming both the city and its inhabitants.

The episcopal palace (bishop's palace). Behind the palace can be seen the Meaux Cathedral

Historical buildings and monuments in Meaux are mainly located in the old city, inside the old defensive walls, still nowadays partially kept thanks to an important segment of the original surrounding wall from the Gallo-Roman period. A meander of the Marne river divides the old city into the North Quarter (called among the Meldois as the Cathedral Quarter) and the South Quarter (known among the locals as the Market Quarter). In the North Quarter there is the Meaux Cathedral, the episcopal palace and its gardens (outlining the shape of a bishop's mitre), the old seat of the chapter (le vieux chapitre), part of the defensive walls (as mentioned), some keeps and towers, and the archaeological remains of the sanctuary of La Bauve, all-embracing the Gaulish period (4th, 3rd and 1st centuries BC), the era of the early Roman Empire (Gallo-Roman: 1st, 2nd and 3rd centuries AD) and the early Christian Era and subsequent centuries (from the 3rd to the 18th centuries, with the remains, among others, of the Saint-Faron Abbey, demolished during the French Revolution). The South Quarter of the old city mainly includes the historic covered market and the Canal Cornillon, built during the Middle Ages, in the year 1235.[5] Centuries later, in 1806, during the Napoleonic era, was built the Canal de l'Ourcq, destined to the inland navigation when the Marne river is not navigable because of temporary sandbanks.

Meaux is nowadays mainly known for Brie de Meaux (a variety of Brie cheese) and the local variety of mustard. Following the official administrative French AOC there are two designations of Brie de Meaux: Brie de Meaux fermier ("farm Brie de Meaux", made out of the milk from the cows of a single unique producer) and Brie de Meaux laitier (laitier, that is from the French lait, "milk", which designates here an agreement, a mixture of the milk of different producers). The Moutarde de Meaux ("Meaux Mustard") recipe is since the 18th century a label commercially owned by the Pommery company and is nowadays derived not only in its traditional well known form but also in a variety of new different ingredient combinations: Honey Mustard, Green Pepper Mustard, Moutarde Royale (that latter including Cognac in its composition) etc.

Several festivals and concerts are celebrated in Meaux, venues for live music like the Music Festival "Musik'elles" (usually at the end of every summer). There's a local public concert band in Meaux: L'Harmonie du Pays de Meaux. It is constituted by three different ensembles, following different ages: Les Minimes (children), Les Juniors (teenagers) and L'Harmonie de Meaux (adults). The band is also one of the two official music academies of the town. The other one is the conservatory of the city.

Also, every summer for more than 30 years, during several weekends per summer, a show is played by stage actors in the esplanade situated between the cathedral and the episcopal palace: the Spectacle historique ("History show"). The show represents the history of Meaux all along the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and also, more recently, during World War I (the German advance had been halted at Meaux in 1914 during the First Battle of the Marne).

There is only one cinema in Meaux: The Majestic, a former stage theatre. In modern days there are three stage theatres in the city. One is the Théâtre Gérard Philippe, a private theatre, situated close to the covered market.[6] Not far from the market, in the same area but in a bigger and more recent building, there is the official subsidised theatre of the city, the Théâtre Luxembourg, divided in two separated auditoriums in the same building: the Salle Luxembourg (601 seats) and the Salle du Manège (107 seats). In an eastern area of Meaux, the Beauval quarter, there is the third stage theatre of the town, the Salle Champagne (200 seats), located in the Espace Caravelle, a building dedicated to cultural activities.[7] Private theatre companies and community arts associations play in all three theatres.[8]

Two museums can be found in Meaux: the Musée Bossuet (located in the episcopal palace, this is the art and history museum of Meaux) and the Musée de la Grande Guerre du pays de Meaux [fr] (the largest World War I Museum in the world).

Relevant historical episodes[edit]

La Liberté éplorée or "The American Monument", erected to the memory of the French casualties during the Battle of the Marne
The inscription in the slab, at the pedestal of the monument, in the rear side. The front side inscription is in French

Middle Ages: Siege of Meaux[edit]

The Siege of Meaux was fought in 1422 between the English, under Henry V, and the French during the Hundred Years' War. The town's defence was led by the Bastard of Vaurus, by all accounts cruel and evil, but a brave commander all the same. The siege commenced on October 6, 1421, and mining and bombardment soon brought down the walls. Casualties began to mount in the English army, including John Clifford, 7th Baron de Clifford who had been at the siege of Harfleur, the Battle of Agincourt, and received the surrender of Cherbourg. The English also began to fall sick rather early into the siege, and it is estimated that one sixteenth of the besiegers died from dysentery and smallpox. On 9 March 1422, the town surrendered, although the garrison held out. Under continued bombardment, the garrison gave in as well on 10 March, following a siege of 8 months. The Bastard of Vaurus was decapitated, as was a trumpeter named Orace, who had once mocked King Henry. Sir John Fortescue was then installed as English Captain of Meaux Castle.[9]

World War I: First Battle of the Marne[edit]

During the First Battle of the Marne (September 1914), the German troops were stopped at the gates. This heroic action not only prevented the city from being taken by the Germans but also changed the course of the war. In 1932, in the place of the Battlefield, at the gates of Meaux, the United States of America erected a monument in the memory of the French soldiers fallen in action. Called, in French, La Liberté éplorée ("The Tearful Liberty"), the sculpture by Frederick MacMonnies is popularly known among the French as Le Monument américain ("the American monument"). In 2011, besides the Monument, was built the World War I Museum (Musée de la Grande Guerre du pays de Meaux [fr]).

Sports[edit]

The town is represented by the CS Meaux association football club. Many other sports are also practiced in Meaux, especially water sports. There are in Meaux, for example different sporting clubs dealing with canoeing (mainly practiced in the Canal de l'Ourcq), scuba diving (the club "Asterina", named after a starfish genus, trains in the swimming pools of the city), swimming (Club sportif Meaux Natation) etc.

Transport[edit]

Meaux is served by Meaux station on the Transilien Paris – Est suburban rail line and on several national rail lines. The rail line connecting Paris to Meaux was established in 1849. The nowadays SNCF train station, still in use, was built in 1890.[10]

Alongside the Meaux train station there is also the main bus station in the city, with more than 30 bus lines serving the whole eastern Paris metropolitan area.

People[edit]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Meaux is twinned with:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Patrice CROISY : Bibliographie de Meaux (Meaux, 2006–2009). This database includes over 8 000 articles and books on Meaux and neighbourhood. Some of them are in English.