Meaux Things to Do

  • The cathedral watches. . .
    The cathedral watches. . .
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  • Texture, colour, bubbles, softness. . . . .
    Texture, colour, bubbles, softness. . ....
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  • Nativity
    Nativity
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Most Recent Things to Do in Meaux

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    Strolling in the streets

    by kokoryko Written Jun 10, 2009

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    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.

    Biking up rue St Remi South side of cathedral Quiet rue Bossuet Little statue at a street corner College
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    Get documentation at the tourist office

    by kokoryko Written Jun 10, 2009

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    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.

    Address: 1 place Doumer

    Phone: .64.33.02.26

    Website: http://www.ville-meaux.fr/-Office-de-tourisme-.html

    Next to the ramparts Tourist office Monument to the dead, front of the tourist office
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    Walk along the ramparts

    by kokoryko Written Jun 10, 2009

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    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.

    Directions: Old city East and North side

    Pacific ramparts. . . . Crossbowmen tower After Christmas Spring: Christmas decor still there! Next to the tourist office
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    In the yard of the archidiocese.

    by kokoryko Written Jun 10, 2009

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    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).

    Pass under this porch to enter the yard Vieux Chapitre with its staircaise A well in the yard Windows of the episcopal palace Cathedral from the other side.
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    A walk in the archidiocese garden

    by kokoryko Written Jun 10, 2009

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    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.

    Address: 5, place Charles-de-Gaulle

    Directions: Palais épiscopal

    Phone: 01.64.34.84.45

    Website: http://www.ville-meaux.fr/Musee-Bossuet.html

    In winter Early spring Cathedral behind the Rhododendrons There is a rose which has Bossuet's name This rose is not a Bossuet.
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    Visit the Bossuet museum

    by kokoryko Written Jun 10, 2009

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    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).

    Address: 5, place Charles-de-Gaulle

    Directions: Next to the Cathedral

    Phone: 01.64.34.84.45

    Website: http://www.ville-meaux.fr/Musee-Bossuet.html

    Archidiocese palace: the museum A ramp leads you up Ceilings in the corridors Uhlan British cavalry
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    The Cathedral door tympanums tell stories.

    by kokoryko Written Jun 10, 2009

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    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

    Website: http://www.ville-meaux.fr/-Office-de-tourisme-.html

    Doomsday door Detail of the lintel John the baptist door The Virgin's door St Etienne door
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    Beautiful stained glass windows

    by kokoryko Written Jun 10, 2009

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    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.

    Famous choir window South low side Wise kings Annunciation Nativity
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    A bit of gargoyology?

    by kokoryko Written Jun 10, 2009

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    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!

    Diable de pierre A group of gargoyles Another devil Barking. . . Suffering. .
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    Rarely gothic looks so sober. . .

    by kokoryko Written Jun 10, 2009

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    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.

    The high nave The low sides are. . .high! Transept Fine carvings and perspectives As high as the sky. . .
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    Cathedral: A very special sculpture. . . .

    by kokoryko Written Jun 9, 2009

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    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.

    William of Baskerville? Another view of the monk Another view A judge? A smiling face on the southern side.
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    Walk around St Etienne cathedral

    by kokoryko Written Jun 9, 2009

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    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. . . .

    Directions: If you can't find, you are definitely lost for the traveller's world. . :)

    St Etienne facade Butresses, south and east North, archidiocese yard Gothic rosace and gable St John's door tympanum
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    Look at the city hall

    by kokoryko Updated Jun 9, 2009

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    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.

    In Winter In Spring With the Cathedral A modern glass work And leaving the city hall . . .
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    Brie de Meaux, the King of Cheeses!

    by kokoryko Written Jun 9, 2009

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    Aaah! What a wonderful cheese! On the first picture, you see the essentials you have to know: shape, colour, texture, and from the tags you see it is of certified origin (appellation d’origine controlee, like for wines and other products in France) and also the tag mentioning it is made with raw cow milk.
    Real food is not plastic food: on picture 2, you see the dairyman (?) wears no gloves, the cheeses are exposed, some are already wrapped, but cheese is a natural product, and natural products are best as nature does them. . . . . behind his right hand, you see the beige very old cheeses, very strong, impossible to eat raw, but wonderful in many dishes like quiches, filet mignon. . .
    Don’t they look wonderful on picture 3? Brie de Meaux are the big thin wheels, and there are also Coulommiers, another cheese of the area, Brie de Melun, Camembert, and other cheeses. It is too difficult to write about without eating a piece! On picture 4 is the Brie de Melun, a wonderful cheese too, but a bit sweeter, and on its left is a Brie de Meaux, a bit old, brown, must be strong. . . .
    I cannot resist to show you a close-up of this cheese (picture 5): look the consistency, texture are just perfect: almost flowing, but not flowing, fat appearance, shining, fermentation bubbles, but not too much etc, etc. . . . Bon appétit!

    Directions: Market, crèmeries.

    Are they not beautiful? Is ithis piece all right mam? More cheese! The little brother, wonderful, too! Texture, colour, bubbles, softness. . . . .
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    A tour in the market hall

    by kokoryko Written Jun 9, 2009

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    The market hall is located in the middle of the area comprised in the meander of the Marne river; this hall has been erected in 1879, and is made of steel and glass.
    In this hall is where the locals come to buy fresh food for their week ends; only the general view already is mouth watering. . . .
    You find of course the famous cheese on the market (next tip), but it is very well stocked, with local vegetable and fruit production; all usual meat poultry, etc. . . but there are lots of local products, and many peasants sell their production, not only retailers; and food markets are so nice, just walk between the stalls, look, enjoy. . . . . and may be you find something for the picnic you will have on the banks of the river. . . ?

    Directions: Left bank, walk from the bridge, 150 m

    Market hall; food stalls fruits and vegetables More Outside view of market hall Market hall and market
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