Meaux > Provins
07/25/2022 - Stage 2 - 136,5 km - Flat
On the road
ILE DE FRANCE REGION
Departments : Essonne, Hauts-de-Seine, Paris, Seine-et-Marne, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val de Marne, Val d’Oise, Yvelines.
Population : 12.2 millions
Prefecture : Paris
Superficie : 12,011 km2
Specialties : Paris ham, Paris mushroom, brie de Meaux and Melun, Coulommiers, Paris-Brest, Meaux mustard, Argenteuil asparagus, gâtinaise hen, Houdan hen.
Sport clubs: Paris Saint-Germain, Paris FC, Red Star (football), Racing Club de France (Lagardère Paris Racing), Racing 92, Stade Français (rugby and omnisports), Paris Saint-Germain (handball), Ivry, Tremblay, Pontault-Combault (handball)
Competitions: Tour de France finish, French Open, Six Nations Championship, 2024 Olympics, 2019 woemb’s world Cup, Paris Tennis masters. Race courses (Auteuil, Longchamp, Saint-Cloud, Maisons-Laffitte, Vincennes)
Economy: first European region for its revenue. Tourism (Paris first destination in the world), administrations, universities, commerce and services, automobile, energy, research, fashion and luxury industry. Festivals : Banlieues bleues, Solidays, Rock en Seine, Fête de l’Humanité, Suresnes Cité Danse, Paris Plage, Fête des Loges, Foire du Trône.
Tourist sites: Paris (Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, Orsay, Orangerie, quai Branly, centre Pompidou museums), Saint-Denis basilica, Versailles palace, castles of Fontainebleau, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Vincennes, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Rambouillet. Medieval city of Provins.
Sub-prefectures : Fontainebleau, Meaux, Provins, Torcy
Surface area: 5,915 km2
Personalities: François Mansart (architect), Jean-François Copé (politician), Guy Drut (Olympic champion), Alfred Sisley (painter), Jacques Marinelli (former cyclist and mayor of Melun), Joop Zoetemelk, André Leducq, René Pottier, Laurent Fignon (cyclists). Paul Pogba (football).
Specialties: brie de Meaux, mustard of Meaux, Coulommiers, niflettes of Provins, chasselas of Thomery. Saffron and honey of Gâtinais.
Sport: Team 77 Olympic destination, Engie Open tennis, international fencing weekend, Saphir Dance Cup.
Patrimoine: châteaux of Vaux-le-Vicomte, Fontainebleau and Champs-sur-Marne, cathedral and episcopal palace of Meaux. Commanderie in Coulommiers, Gate of Samois in Moret-sur-Loing, Bourdelle garden-museum.
Economy: with 335,000 ha (56 pc) of its territory dedicated to agriculture, Seine-et-Marne is special in the Ile de France region, in which the sector is almost non-existent. Industry employs more than 50,000 workers, especially in the glassware industry (in the south) but also in food industry, chemicals, printing and publishing while Melun hosts the Safran Aircraft Engines research centre, occupying nearly 4,000 employees, the largest industrial site in the department.
MAGNY SAINT-LOUP (Pop: 880 in BOUTIGNY)
It is in the castle of Magny-Saint-Loup, now dismantled, that Jean de Lafontaine is said to have lived and written several fables. The hamlet of Magny-Saint-Loup belongs to the commune of Boutigny, where the château de Bélou (17th and 18th centuries) is located, the façade of which is listed as a historic monument.
BOULEURS (Pop: 1,680)
The church of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine has two stained glass windows which are listed as Historic Monuments.
FÉROLLES-ATTILY (Pop: 1,260)
The commune has two listed sites, the park of the Domaine de Forcille, now a hospital, and the park of the Château de la Barre. The Bois d'Attilly zoo is also located in the commune.
Château de la Barre
Construction: 17th century, rebuilt in the 19th century.
Listing: Historical Monument (the park)
History: acquired in 1638 by Antoine Lefebvre de la Barre (Councillor at the Parliament of Paris and Provost of the merchants of Paris). It was at the château that was born a century later Chevalier de la Barre, a 19-year-old aristocrat who was executed for blasphemy in 1766 and who became an anti-clerical symbol, defended by Voltaire.
CRÉCY-LA-CHAPELLE (Pop: 4,710)
Catherine de Medici had a residence in Crécy, where she grew melons. Novelist Michel Houellebecq also spent part of his childhood in Crécy-la-Chapelle, which he mentions in Les particules élémentaires (Atomised) and in several poems. The town is also known for its collegiate church, listed as a World Heritage site since 1846.
Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame
Construction: 13th to 15th century.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1846.
History: in 1202, Anseau de Garlande, bishop of Meaux, changed a modest priory into a collegiate church, built throughout the 13th century, then rebuilt in the 15th after the destruction caused by the Hundred Years' War. The collegiate church was then remodelled and consolidated in the 19th century.
Characteristics: the general plan of the church includes a nave of six bays and a choir ending in a heptagonal apse. The two aisles framing the nave are finished with sloping absidioles. The chancel is covered by a single ribbed vault with twelve branches radiating from a central keystone. The apses are covered by a seven-pointed ribbed vault dating from the 13th century.
VILLENEUVE-LE-COMTE (Pop: 1,500)
The village has two listed monuments, the church of Notre-Dame-de-la-Nativité and an 18th century obelisk considered a symbol by esotericists.
Church of Our Lady of the Nativity
Construction: 13th century.
Listing: Historical Monument in 1849 and 1862.
History: built between 1205 and 1240. At the time of its construction, the church had a porch-belfry and a belfry tower. The porch-belfry, considered too dilapidated, was destroyed in 1516. The belfry tower was raised by a double barrier bell tower and then, between 1760 and 1770, the bell tower was modified again by the addition of a level on which a needle rose to 52 m. Between 1865 and 1870, the building was restored under the impulse of Viollet-le-Duc.
Characteristics: the church is of the transitional Gothic type and is made up of three main materials: sandstone pillars and buttresses, the window frames in limestone ashlar bonding and the filling in with plastered millstone. The whole building is vaulted on ribbed ceilings. Some keystones and capitals in the choir and apse are decorated with sculpted heads.
Special features: the church has interesting furnishings as some elements are listed as historical monuments, including several medieval funerary slabs (13th to 17th century) and a 14th century Virgin and Child.
Obelisk of Villeneuve-le-Comte
Listing: Historical Monument in 1921.
History: erected at the highest point of the state forest of Crécy to celebrate the meeting between Louis XV and the Duke of Brandenburg in a nearby hunting lodge.
Trivia: the monument is revered by occultists because it appears in a work by "alchemist" Fulcanelli, Les Demeures philosophales. The obelisk is said to symbolise the destruction of the world by water and fire.
NEUFMOUTIERS-EN-BRIE (Pop: 1,500)
At km 27, Les Lycéens is a medical and educational centre for adolescents built in 1955 on the premises of the 19th century Château du Chemin, which had previously been converted into a sanatorium.
LES CHAPELLES-BOURBON (Pop: 490)
Two châteaux, partially listed, are located in the commune: château de Beaumarchais, an Anglo-Norman style manor house built in 1927 to the plans of architect Henri Jacquelin by Louis Boucheron, a jeweller on Place Vendôme, on the site of a 16th century château; and château du Ménillet (14th and 16th centuries), of medieval appearance, which belonged to the Duke of Montpensier.
CHÂTRES (Pop: 700)
Listing: listed as a historical monument in 1946
History: built in 1785 by architect Nicolas de Girardin for Claude Bélanger, a high ranking official in the household of King Louis XV. He had the existing buildings razed to the ground for a fashionable castle, before being driven out by the Revolution.
Characteristics: the castle was inspired by Hôtel de Thun built in 1771 by Etienne-Louis Boullée in the Chaussée d'Antin in Paris. It is a white parallelepiped with a ground floor topped by a second floor, whose roof was originally supported by a light frame with small timbers, today by a balustrade.
LIVERDY-EN-BRIE (Pop: 1,300)
An imposing castle is located on the territory of the municipality, the castle of Monceau, whose origin goes back to the end of the 12th century. The present castle, built at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, is set in a beautiful park with trees from the 16th century and is used for weddings and film shoots.
The 13th century church of Saint-Etienne is a listed building.
COUBERT (Pop: 1,900)
The park of château de Coubert (19th century) is a listed building.
MAINCY (Pop. 1,800)
Known for its proximity to Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, but also for a painting by Paul Cézanne, The Bridge of Maincy.
Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte
Construction: 1656 to 1661
Listing: Listed as a historical monument in 1929.
History: built for Louis XIV's superintendent of finance, Nicolas Fouquet, who called on the best artists of the time to build the castle: architect Louis Le Vau, the king's first architect (1656), painter Charles Le Brun, founder of the Academy of Painting (1648), landscape architect André Le Nôtre, general controller of the king's buildings (1657), and master mason Michel Villedo. Their talents had already been brought together by the young Louis XIV to build wings for the Vincennes castle in 1651-1653. The king called on them again to build the Versailles Palace, with Vaux-le-Vicomte serving as a model. Jealous of Fouquet's influence and splendour, Louis XIV had him arrested in 1661, leaving the château unfinished. Offered to Marshal de Villars at the beginning of the 18th century for his military successes, it was rehabilitated, but came close to demolition during the Revolution. Its purchase in 1875 by Alfred Sommier, a wealthy sugar refiner and art lover, saved the castle from ruin.
Characteristics: the castle has about a hundred rooms with a surface area of 2,500 m2, spread over three levels under a 3,500 m2 roof. The castle retains the traditional French feudal layout of a rectangular platform surrounded by a wide moat, which it occupies to the south. The wings are almost non-existent, this type of architecture having appeared in the first half of the 17th century. The castle has a central body with three forebays on the courtyard side and a rotunda room in the centre of the façade facing the gardens. There are four pavilions, two rectangular on the garden side and two square on the courtyard side, which, seen from the side, appear to be twins, a tradition of French architecture.
However, there is an innovation here, as French châteaux usually have a series of rooms in succession. In Vaux, the architect was innovative in organising the interior space with a double row of parallel rooms with aligned doors. This type of building organisation had already been used by Louis Le Vau in the Hôtel Tambonneau in 1640 and by François Mansart in the Hôtel de Jars in 1648, but this is the first time it had been applied to a castle.
Special features: this masterpiece of classical architecture from the middle of the 17th century is today the largest private property in France listed as a Historical Monument since its purchase in July 1875 by the patron Alfred Sommier. It now has an annual budget of 8 million euros, employs 75 full-time staff and provides more than 300,000 visitors each year with the experience of the French Grand Siècle.
MOISENAY (Pop: 1,400)
The church of Saint-Martin (12th and 13th centuries) has been listed since 1899. The village also has the distinction of having an Orthodox church.
BLANDY (Pop: 750)
The village is worth a visit for its beautiful medieval castle with five towers and its Gothic church of Saint-Maurice, a major centre of Protestantism in the 16th century, where the marriage of Anne de Clèves and the Prince de Condé took place in 1572 in the presence of the future King Henry IV.
Castle of Blandy-les-Tours
Construction: 13th and 14th centuries.
Style: medieval fortress.
Listing: Historical Monument in 1899.
History and characteristics: the Viscounts of Melun were the first builders of the castle in 1220. The building was reduced to a fortified manor and an irregular enclosure, flanked by four towers: the square tower (gate tower) and two circular towers, the north tower, the tower of justice, and the master tower (first keep). In the 14th century, the Counts of Tancarville made improvements to the castle with the help of royal subsidies: a new gate tower with a drawbridge and three large round towers (the Guard Tower, the new keep, the Archives Tower). The Tancarville estate then passed to the families of Orléans-Longueville, Bourbon-Soissons, Savoy and Nemours. It was abandoned from the 17th century onwards, when Vaux-le-Vicomte replaced it, and was restored in 1992 when it was bought by the Seine-et-Marne department.
CHAMPEAUX (Pop: 720)
The village developed around its collegiate church of Saint-Martin and tchâteau d'Aunoy.
Collegiate church of Saint-Martin de Champeaux
Construction: 1160 to 1315
Listing: Historical Monument since 1840.
History: on the site of an abbey founded in the 7th century by Saint Fare, it became a chapter and a collegiate church in the 12th century. It survived the Revolution and was listed in 1840, which made it possible to restore it.
Characteristics: of a very imposing size, it is the last remnant of a community created by Saint Fare (abbey of Faremoutiers). With a length of 65 m, it is one of the largest Gothic churches of the 12th and 13th centuries in Île-de-France. This also explains the slowness of the construction, which was interrupted between 1220 and 1270, and the austerity of the architecture. Listed since 1840, it was finally restored in the 20th century.
Castle of Aunoy
Construction: 18th century.
Style: medieval fortress.
Listing: listed as a historical monument in 1986.
History: built on the ruins of a medieval castle destroyed by fire in 1750. Acquired in 1731 by the Parisian financier Jean-Baptiste Chabert, who took advantage of the fire to build a residence in the fashion of the time, in the form of a Parisian mansion adapted to the countryside. Its English-style park, laid out in the 1760s, is one of the oldest in France.
Special feature: Ahmed Ben Bella and his fellow prisoners from the Château de la Fessardière in Turquant, Mohamed Boudiaf, Rabah Bitat, Mohamed Khider and Hocine Aït Ahmed were held under house arrest in Château d'Aunoy from December 7, 1961 to March 20, 1962.
BOMBON (Pop: 960)
Famous for its castle, which served as a command post for Foch in 1918 and was still one of the three command centres of the French army in 1939. Lenin stayed in the village with his mother and sister in 1909 and was remembered as a kind man. In 1926, the village was also the scene of an extraordinary incident: Abbé Denoyer, the parish priest of Bombon, was tortured by members of a sect who accused him of having bewitched their high priestess, Marie Mesmin. The incident gave rise to several popular songs.
The church of Saint-Germain (15th century) is a listed building.
Construction: 18th century
Listing: listed as a historic monument in 1949.
History: this complex was probably built on the ruins of a medieval castle, of which no trace remains, on the initiative of Sire Anthoine de Brenne for his wife Claude de Courtenay. In June 1918, the Headquarters of the Allied Armies was set up there. On 18 July, General Foch launched the great counter-offensive that reversed the fate of the arms and pushed the German front back across its entire width until the second victory of the Marne. It was also at Bombon that Foch received his marshal's baton on August 7. In 1939, the castle once again became the headquarters of the armed forces. In 1985, the castle became the property of Félix Houphouët-Boigny, President of the Republic of Ivory Coast, then in 1993 of the Grunitzky family of the former President of Togo.
Characteristics: Château de Bombon is a private property built in the 18th century, surrounded by a moat of white water, and set in a green setting of more than 30 hectares of gardens and woods.
Construction: 13th century
Style: medieval fortress.
Listing: listed as a Historic Monument in 1981.
History: its origins are very old, as it was mentioned for the first time in 1285, in the charter of partition of the viscounty of Melun. In 1878, for the World Fair, the Époisses estate became famous when an exhibition of agricultural equipment was held there. The Minister of Agriculture and several personalities discovered the first harvester there. From 1970 onwards, the site was used for musical events: in 1975, Mstislav Rostropovich gave a concert there.
Current destination: company seminars.
LA CHAPELLE-GAUTHIER (1 440 inhabitants)
Castle of La Chapelle-Gauthier
Construction: from the 12th century.
Listing: listed as a historic monument in 1990.
History: in the 14th century, the castle belonged to Jean Juvénal des Ursins, provost of the merchants of Paris. It was rebuilt after 1616 by Louis de Bourbon-Soissons, Prince of Condé. The castle; moat; bridge; fence; roof; interior decoration; gate; retaining wall have been listed as historic monuments since 10 April 1990.
Current use: part of the castle is occupied by the town hall and the municipal library.
FONTENAILLES (Pop: 1,050)
Famous for its Bois-Boudran castle, where Countess Greffuhle (1848-1942), Marcel Proust's muse, held her salon. Proust frequently stayed at the castle and was inspired by his hostess to create the character of the Duchess of Guermantes. The countess, considered the most beautiful woman in Paris, received the greatest names in the arts and sciences (Édouard Branly, Jean Cocteau, Édouard Detaille, Edmond de Goncourt, Anatole France, Stéphane Mallarmé, Abbé Mugnier, Marcel Proust, Maurice Ravel). Gabriel Fauré dedicated his Pavane to her.
NANGIS (Pop: 8,900)
The church of Saint-Martin and Saint-Magne has been a listed monument since 1989. The Motte-Beauvoir castle (15th century) is located in the heart of the town of Nangis. It protected the population of the seigneury during the Hundred Years' War. Today it houses the administrative services of the town hall.
Singer Pierre Perret lives in Nangis.
RAMPILLON (Pop: 850)
Church of Saint-Eliphe de Rampillon
Construction: 13th century.
Listing: listed as a Historical Monument in 1846.
Characteristics: it is of great simplicity and architectural purity. Remarkable portal representing the Last Judgement, as well as a beautiful agricultural calendar. Traditionally, representations of the Last Judgement show the Elect on one side and the Damned on the other. The particularity here is that there are no Damned.
History: The church, which was part of a commandery of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, was built in the 13th century. A round tower known as the "Templar Tower" is attached to the northwest corner of the building.
MAISON-ROUGE (Pop: 820)
The commune has two beautiful churches, the church of Landoy (listed as a Historical Monument in 1980), and the church of Maison-Rouge, in Romanesque style, which contains listed elements.
SAINT-LOUP-DE-NAUD (Pop: 870)
Built around a Benedictine priory, the village still has a church dating from the 11th and 12th centuries, considered to be one of the most beautiful Romanesque buildings in the Ile-de-France. It has a barrel-vaulted nave and a portal in primitive Gothic style with a remarkable tympanum on which a Christ in majesty is enthroned between the symbols of the evangelists. New for the time, statues of saints and prophets adorn the sides of the portal. This tympanum is said to have inspired Proust's description of the portal of the church in Balbec, which he wrote in À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time).
Construction: 11th and 12th century.
Listing: listed as a historical monument in 1846.
History: around 980, a priory was founded on the initiative of the bishop of Sens. The construction of the church began at the end of the 11th century, with the construction of the choir, the transept and two bays of the nave. In 1160, the archbishop of Sens, Hugues de Toucy, offered the priory a relic of Saint Loup. It was at this time that, thanks to the Count of Champagne Henry the Liberal, the nave of the church was extended by four new bays and the west portal with a tower was built in a transitional Gothic style.
The priory fell victim to the Hundred Years' War and the Wars of Religion, before being dissolved during the French Revolution. Listed in 1846, the church has since undergone several waves of restoration.
Characteristics: the building is established at the top of the hillside, dominating the Dragon valley, where the village centre is established. Topped by a bell tower erected above the transept crossing, its general appearance is sober, even austere. The apse is pierced by three windows, with no ornamentation. However, the porch houses a portal, created around 1160, with particularly remarkable sculpted decoration, notably its early Gothic column statues