the advisor and teacher in religious matters of king Louis XIV was bishop Bossuet, the eagle of Meaux ,where he serve as bishop for many many years, he is buried in the cathedral.This is the native town of my wife, obviously been here so much...
The cathedral is considered as in the top 50 of all Cathedrals in France, and the complex around it includes the old palais episcopal, now a museum of the city,and the jardin Bousset gardens (lovey times spent there in love ...)
A plaque commemorating the sacrifice and efforts of more than 2,5 million British in WWI Battle of the Marne is inside the Cathedral and many war memorials around the city for British and Americans.
the story of the Cathedral
The construction of the Cathedral began in the 12th century to end four centuries later, in the middle of the 16th century. The construction of the Gothic Cathedral began with the choir, between 1175 and 1180. In 1198, the widow of the count of Champagne Henri le libéral was buried in the Cathedral, and before 1200, the ambulatory, three radiating chapels, the double aisles of the choir and the floor of the stands located above the inner aisles were built.1215 And 1220, large batteries of the transept crossing were high, as well as the upper choir levels i.e. the triforium and clerestory windows. More the choir was covered with vaults of warheads. This is shown by a drawing from the vicinity of 1220, made by Villard de Honnecourt, and representing this primitive choir with three radiating chapels.A new architect built the transept and the last two spans of the nave from 1220-1235, and in 1235, the chapel of the right of the nave, aisle at the level of the last span was created.Barely 50 years after the construction of the choir, it was necessary to carry out its reconstruction-restoration. The current choir, radiating Gothic style, was built between 1253 and 1278 by Gautier de Vainfroy. The latter who worked on the construction of the Cathedral of Evreux signed a contract with the Bishop and the cathedral chapter of Meaux. This contract, currently preserved mentions a salary of 10 books a year, plus some other benefits. A new campaign of construction began in 1266 and was funded by Jeanne of Navarre, last heiress of the County of Champagne and future wife of Philippe IV le Bel. In 1317, the King of France Philippe V le Long gave land to build two additional radiating chapels. Then in 1322, Charles IV le Bel, also made a donation.To 1331-1335, a bourgeois of Meaux, Jean de Rose, subsidia the last side chapel to the right of the nave.In 1335, King Philippe VI authorized the extension of the nave with three spans, the last, located to the West of the building. Shortly thereafter, the hundred years war began and, as almost everywhere in France, the work stopped.They recaptured in 1390, with the construction of the left side of the first three bays, which lasted until 1410. Then the military situation of the France deteriorated seriously (reign of Charles VI the fool) and the work stopped again, following the occupation of the city by the English (1422-1439). The first three bays of the nave were therefore completed during the second half of the 15th century.Other works followed yet: the fourth and fifth bays of the nave were modified in flamboyant style, at the end of the 15th century. The right tower was finally completed after a long campaign from 1505 to 1540 As the left portal, it was completed until 1506. It is the first left Chapel of the nave.In 1562, the Cathedral was looted and damaged by the huguenots. In very poor condition at the beginning of the 19th century, a long restoration took place from 1839-1894. The circumference of the choir was rebuilt and the flying buttresses of the nave. The third Bay of the nave in the flamboyant style was modified so that it resembles the other bays.
St. Stephen's (St Etienne) Cathedral has an organ dating back to the 17th century. It is located at the western end of the nave, to the other side of the façade, under the escutcheon. Its buffet dates from 1627 and was built by Walram of Heman (1584-1620) , one of the most important factors of organs of the time. At the end of the 18th century, François-Henri Clicquot realizes important works, followed by three generations of the family Dallery. In 1895, changes in depth the instrument, as is customary at the time: House Brisset removes full-games and mutations, achieves an expressive narrative, pneumatise the traction of the instrument. The composition is reduced to 33 games over 2 keyboards and pedals.Again following modes, this is Victor Gonzalez who in 1934, rebuilt the organ in the nascent neoclassical aesthetics, among others by placing a great expressive narrative in 16 feet. The organ has then 3 keyboards, and is equipped with a new pneumatic traction. The Gonzalez House Danel enlarges the organ to reach 5 keyboards and 67 games and installs a new mechanical tensile steel ribbons. Concerts are held regularly on this instrument whose holders are Domenico Severin and Olivier Mainguy
Its another magical Cathedral of France.
a wonderful new museum in my wife's native town, i know pictures but hey I come here so much ..weell
this is a museum re enacting the events of WWI and especially the Battle of the Marne.
It is very easy accessable fromParis gare de l'est,and walk from train station here is easy.
Recently the Monument Americain is being renovated, that I passed so many times,this is a monument offered to France in honor of the American soldiers who died here in the battle of the Marne in September 1914, and its a sculpture of 22 meters high done by the American artist Frederick MacMonnies (1863-1937).
50 000 objects consider by many the best WWI museum in Europe with articles from 35 countries
There is a nice cafe inside for snacks and light meals. you can come as said above and take bus M6 for 10 minutes to the museum, and ,also bus lines 10, 11, 63 and 65. From disneyland, marne la vallée you come here taking bus no 19 to the gare or train station de Meaux
Adult tariff is 10€ and the hours are from may to september from 9h30 to 18h30 and from october to april from 10h to 17h. close Tuesdays and Jan 1, May 1, and Dec 25.
a wonderful place full of history of a glorious sad event
The cathedral and ramparts will certainly not deceive the visitor, but the streets of Meaux do not have a big medieval character, many old houses have been demolished and if it is enjoyable to walk in the streets, they are not really “medieval”; rue St Remy has a few half timbered houses, and offers a nice perspective to the cathedral (picture 1). The streets next to the cathedral are nice to walk (picture 2, rue St Etienne), and other streets like rue Bossuet from the tourist office to the cathedral (picture 3) are very very quiet, and not very medieval! The little statues at the corners of houses they protect are always nice, and there are probably more than the one I photographed (picture 4), and a few classical buildings are worth a look, not only for architecture, but also because some important character is linked to the building; on picture 5, is the city college (equivalent of secondary school) where Georges Courteline was a pupil and where he probably wrote his first attempts of theatre screenplays; Courteline is very famous in France for his humorous social critics he put in his screenplays.
When you finish (or begin, depends which way you prefer) the ramparts tour, you find the tourist office of Meaux, where a lot of information about meaux and surroundings can be found.
At the tourist office, the young employees will inform you about guided tours in the city, guided visits of the cathedral, and here you will find maps which help to orient in the city, flyers about cathedral, museum, and other “must see” in the city, find some restaurants. . . And at the tourist office you will find information about accommodation in the city.
The Tourist office is located on the northern side of the medieval city, Place Paul Doumer where you will not miss the monument to the dead of the wars.
The old city of Meaux is partly surrounded by ramparts some of which date from Roman times, and some remains of that time are still there; they have been rebuilt or renovated during history and today they look a bit like bits and pieces, but I like a lot these ramparts with dark green lawn and multicoloured iris flowers (picture 1). It is very pleasant (and not very long) to walk along the ramparts, see nice towers which are inhabited (picture 2), some Christmas décor left on the cypress trees capping other towers, in winter or spring (pictures 3 and 4), and come back to the roman part of the ramparts (picture 5); it takes about 20 mn to walk slowly along the ramparts, see the towers, read explanatory boards fitted on some parts of the walls, in spring or summer, it is just nice.
You can enter the big yard, or place, located between the cathedral and the bishop’s palace (museum) from the East side, or the west side; it is a closed yard, surrounded by buildings and, if the cathedral dominates the place, there are a few other buildings which are very interesting to look at.
When you enter the yard from the East side, you pass under this little half timbered bridge-house (picture 1) which links the cathedral (I did not hear about a passage from that house to the cathedral) to the “Vieux Chapitre”, a 12th century mansion which you see from the yard side on picture 2, with a 15th century covered staircase; you see this “Vieux Chapitre” again on picture 3, with a small gothic chapel on the left and a well in the foreground. In the yard you have a look on the Episcopal palace, with its windows (picture 4), and of course on the Northern side of the cathedral, and at the tower climbing high in the sky (picture 5).
A visit to the diocese garden is a nice break during a visit in Meaux, between museum and Cathedral. It is not a very big “Jardin à la Française”, but with its surroundings it has some character and the bishop’s palace and the cathedral offer nice backgrounds to the rose gardens and small hedges. Even under grey sky of winter (picture 1) it looks nice, with its perspectives, and in spring (picture 2), the flowered alleys look very long. When you walk along the sides, you always can have a view on the cathedral (picture 3) between the shrubs, above the rhododendrons, next to the lime tree leaves. . .
The Bossuet roses were not blooming when I visited the garden (picture 4), and I still do not know how they look like; other roses were blooming beginning May (picture 5), and the Episcopal palace looks bright with the flowers. In this garden is a small fountain in the centre, but walking under the lime trees surrounding the garden is a real pleasure, looking at the cathedral, palace, flowers. . . listening to the birds, looking at people who like to visit this garden in Meaux.
The day I visited the museum, there was a temporary exhibition about WWI, as the Meaux municipality was promoting a future museum dedicated only to WWI; so all the items of this temporary exhibition would soon go to the museum which is under construction.
I did not take time to visit the permanent collections (which were not accessible when I wanted to visit). The museum of Meaux hosts a number of classical paintings and sulptures I may visit one day; I can only show the building a bit of itys architecture and about the temporary exhibition.
The museum is located in the former bishop’s palace, separated from the cathedral by a wide yard; the building, partly a chapel an partly a 16th century brick and stone building (picture 1).
Interesting is that there is no staircase, but a ramp made of bricks which leads to the first level (picture 2), and the ceilings of the rooms and corridors are nicely ornate with fine arches. (picture 3)
There is an introduction to the permanent collections of the museum in the website, and I show here two pictures taken in the temporary exhibition; this exhibition was very interesting in that it showed lots of items from WWI and was neither a weaning exhibition, as sometimes are about wars, neither a winning exhibition, as the French often forget they won the wars with allied troops help; this exhibition was based on daily life (and death) of soldiers of all nationalities, and I show an Uhlan from the German cavalry (picture 4) and a well equipped rider of the British cavalry (picture 5).
The doors of the cathedrals tell a lot of stories, and to learn what these stories tell, it is better to visit the cathedrals with a guide; I did not visit with a guide, but you can enquire for a guide at the tourist office or at the bishops office.
I noticed that the low reliefs of the tympanums, the statues were in very bad shape, many statues broken; a bit sad, and the scenes they represent are difficult to depict sometimes.
On picture 1 is a general view of the arches and tympanum above the main central door (The Judgement door), where you see on the left the glasses wearing monk and the other character on the right; many statues are broken, but interesting is the lintel representing the doomsday, and right, you see the hell where the sinners are cooking and left is the paradise, with the quiet small boxes for the well deserving (picture 2).
The left façade door is dedicated to St John the Baptist, easily identifiable, with his sheep (picture 3); difficult to “read”, but apparently on the lintel (lower part) on the left John is beheaded by a soldier, and on the right, his head is brought to Salome (?)
The right façade door is dedicated to the Virgin, and in the middle, the angels apparently are taking her soul to the paradise. . . (picture 4)
The door on the southern side of the cathedral is for St Etienne, who gave his name to the cathedral; Etienne was the first Christian martyr, he has been stoned as you can see on picture 5.
Tourist office: 01 .64.33.02.26
Diocese (Bishop’s office): 01 64 36 41 00
As was written at the beginning of this page, Meaux suffered from three wars in recent times, and a big part of the fragile windows has been lost; A few of them have miraculously survived and with recent renovation, they look again beautiful; a few medieval stained glass windows are preserved in the choir of the cathedral of Meaux.
The most famous is the 14th century window of the choir, which has been restored recently (picture 1); the blues and reds are still there, and the medieval style of the drawings is preserved too!
A group of three windows is also preserved, and few parts of windows have been saved here or there, but most of the windows of the cathedral are white. . . . .
The famous window of the 14th century represents St Denis, St Etienne, and Christ, on top, sitting on a rainbow;
The three windows, represent scenes of the life of Jesus, apparently not in the chronological order I know (picture 2);the visit of the wise kings (picture 3), the annunciation (picture 4). But I like most the expressive faces of the oxen and donkey (picture 5), they look really happy on this Nativity. . . .
Open every days, 8 am, 8 pm; masses every day; visit, but do not disturb.
Gargoyology? Even if it existed as a science, I could not write a lot about, but I wanted to show a few of the hundreds of gargoyles of St Etienne cathedral. Walk around and look high. . . “des diables en pierre qui décrochent les nuages. . . “ I quote Jacques Brel who song about the cathedrals in his “Plat Pays”, lots of these devils can be seen in same time, but looking close (irst picture), each one is different, they can be birds, mammals, reptiles, human. . . . Here are a few of them, and more are in a travelogue. Did you notice (not only here, in Meaux) that gargoyles are very often expressing great suffering? Great pain? A tip for “gargoyology” or “stained glassology”? Bring along binoculars when you visit cathedrals, it is worth!
When you enter the cathedral St Etienne, what you remark at first is its austerity; it is unusual in a catholic church, and this austerity underlines very well the shapes, lines and perspectives of the cathedral; very high pillars and arches surmounted by another flight of arches and windows give the nave (picture 1) a real high and narrow appearance, and the ceiling is as far as the sky. . . The low sides (picture 2) are not that low. . . and they look very elegant, if one can use this word in church architecture. The high pillars at the junction of choir and transept (picture 3) are very fine, like many pillars together. This cathedral has wonderful perspectives, thanks to the high windows and if you look in detail (picture 4) in the low sides of the choir (two concentric ambulatories) you see very fine arches and circles, the columns opening on top like palm trees. . . I like a lot these lines. The ceiling of the choir offers beautiful lines (picture 5). There are not many visitors in the cathedral, and it is very pleasant to visit slowly, taking time, having the cathedral for you alone or almost.
The cathedral is small, compared to Paris but its tower is 68 m high, one metre less than Notre Dame towers. The ceilings of the nave are 31 metres high, and the sides, 15 m high; this explains the luminosity of this building.
Open every days, 8 am, 8 pm; masses every day; visit, but do not disturb.
I do not think it is William of Baskerville on the first picture, but when I discovered this statue, I immediately thought of him! Haha! William of Baskerville is a character of the famous novel “The name of the Rose” by Umberto Eco, a middle age thriller taking place in the library of a monastery; William of Baskerville was using glasses to read more easily some manuscripts and look at indices to solve the mystery of some deaths. . . . Well, whatever, this sculpture of “the monk with glasses” dates from the 15th century, and it indicates scholars used glasses at that time. . . and I defy you to show me many medieval sculptures or paints where people wear glasses. . . . ! On the second picture you see this sculpture is in double danger: it is already deeply weathered, first danger, some parts are missing, and the second danger is bad restoration, as you can see just behind the light coloured part of the belfry where the gargoyles are not anymore as beautiful as the old ones! This monk is on the left side of the arch of the middle door of the façade (picture 3); on the right side is another character (picture 4), not at all looking like a monk, but rather like a secular character, a lawyer? A salesman? A judge? On the south side of the cathedral is also a head which does not look very religious (picture 5). There are certainly many more sculptures hidden here or there in this cathedral, take your time walking around, there are lots to discover.
The Cathedral St Etienne of Meaux is by far not as famous as Reims, Chartres, Paris, Strasbourg, and I can guarantee you, once you have visited it you do not understand why! You, I don’t know, but me, I do not understand why it is not as famous as Sens, Beauvais, Soissons, . . . . Well, you understand I find this cathedral just beautiful, but may be I have a too personal taste. . . or I found it like an oasis after two and a half hours biking. . . . .
Beginning in the 12th century, the building of the cathedral took four centuries, but there were many interruptions due to wars, mainly.
It is worth to walk around, before entering, and look at the façade, with the three doors and arches, and the high belfry; it is typical gothic, and some parts like the rose-window and the belfry, in general, are flamboyant, with fine carvings and geometries. On the South side, and the cheviot, on the East side the narrow high windows and the buttresses underline the height of the building (picture 2). On the North side, the windows are wider, and it looks more austere (picture 3), but it may be the light. . . .
We come back to the façade, ad see the flamboyant style of the rose window, dominating a beautiful gable, above the main entrance (picture 4), and the tympanum is very richly decorated with low reliefs (picture 5); these low reliefs and other sculptures suffered a lot with time, weathering, but also revolutions, religion wars, and more recently wars with Germany and pollution. But it is still beautiful and just a bit imagination helps to figure out how it was in its splendour. . . .
The city hall of Meaux is a very classical building of the French Third Republic; this city hall has been built in the end of the 19th century on an older city hall building and a former castle of the counts of Champagne; campanile, columns with ionic capitals, big clock surrounded by baroque sculptures. . . . . there are plenty of buildings of that style in France, but the city hall of Meaux, is quite big and impressive. On picture 1, the façade in winter, on picture 2, in spring, seen from the banks of the Marne, with the cathedral in background, and same view with a dark sky on picture 3.
You certainly noticed this blue sculpture on the pictures, and on picture 4 is a close up of this sculpture, I would say a “three dimensional stained glass window”, from Jean Verame inaugurated in 2000. The Meaux website says it is lit at night, from the inside. . . . . I like unusual things where we do not expect them. . . . ! Ah, on the picture we see art or architecture from middle age, third republic, modern art. . . why not? And another view on the last picture.