Our Barge, Odysseus

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Meandering Toward Paris June 23-29

Meaux (pronounced moe) is at a large bend in the Marne River, just about 50 river kilometers from Paris. It was founded over 2,000 years ago as a capital city of the Gallic Meldes tribe. Now it's city center contains a majestic 13th century church and bishop's house and very nice marina within walking distance of the city center. Again, free with water and electricity.

One of the first stops had to be the Saint-Etienne Cathedral, built over 300 years from 1180 to 1540.

We chuckle over the fact that the black tower (tour noir) on the right was intended to be replaced by a tower similar to the one on the left. The "temporary" tower has lasted only 400 years!
Inside, another gothic masterpiece.

Right behind the church is the Bishop's Palace, Old Chapter House and the Bossuet Garden, unusual in that, when seen from above, it is the shape of a bishop's mitre.

Another feature of Meaux is the Canal de l'Ourcq. The River Ourcq was originally canalized in the 15th century and used by barges carrying firewood into Paris. Over the years it has had it's ups and downs and is now used as a cruising grounds for hireboats. There is no direct connection betwen the Marne and the canal, even though in some places they're very close. From here we'd have to go all the way into Paris and double back. One of it's best features is a towpath, originally used by the horses that towed the barges. It now makes a great bike path and we put it to good use.

The weekend coming up features another festival (as I've said before, there's no shortage of fetes during the summer months), this one, the Festival d'Eau, all about the water. The marina in Meaux will be closed for the weekend because they'll be using the pontoons for the fete so we have to move on. Toward Paris!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great blog Don and Cathy Jo, you certainly have done some miles since we met you in Meaux.

We leave Paris tomorrow (3 august) and head towards Briare.

cheers Yvonne Lehman and Don Lello - Syracuse