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L'histoire de Charleville-Mézières

Visite.org 08000 Charleville-Mézières (Ardennes)
Including a main town and five districts, Charleville-Mézières is a genuine patchwork quilt of history. Mézières, the original main town, started life in 899 as a fortified town. The Porte de Bourgogne (Burgundy Gate), the Tour des Liégeois and the Tour du Roy all bear witness to a turbulent past. With the wars over, buildings grew up around the ruins. The artist René Dürrbach, an expert in the use of colour, gave the Gothic and flamboyant basilica of Mézières its symbolic stained glass windows dedicated to the black virgin.

The Ecole Royale du Génie (Royal School of Engineering) where Rouget de l'Isle studied and where Monge taught has now become the home of the Préfecture and the Conseil Général (district council). One morning in May 1606 in the Palais des Tournelles of Mézières, Charles de Gonzague created Charleville. An independent principality less than a league away, the architect Clément Métézeau revealed a novel new form of architecture for the new town, and one worthy of a visionary town planner.

The Place Ducale in the centre of the town today remains a rare example of ordered architecture from the early 17th century. These two towns, which were twinned in 1966 have been joined by industrial Mohon, rural Etion and Montcy Saint-Pierre la Mosane.

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