Monday, April 14, 2008

Montreuil sur Mer

It used to be on the sea via a navigable river, but this fine walled town is now miles inland with a silted up river. We were surprised to find free parking. we all walked the city walls and were surprised to see there are no barriers to stop the careless falling off. When after lunch we went to visit the citadel it was shut until 3 pm so we missed seeing where Protestant women who refused to recant were imprisoned by the Catholic state after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. France never recovered from her persecution of Protestants. England benefited from the resulting Hugenot refugees. We tried the church. Shut too like nearly all the shops. is Monday a secular sabbath in France?
By 1567, military engineers had made Montreuil a French border stronghold against the might of Spain - with a bastions along the walls, earthworks, and a new citadelle on the weakpoint where there was a gentle slope to the river. Only two entrance towers remained of the old medieval castle.

By the 19th century, Montreuil was a sleepy medieval town on the coaching road from Calais to Paris. Famous writer Victor Hugo spent a brief stay here and was inspired to use it as the setting for his famous novel about the turbulent years of the Napoleonic Empire and the 1830 revolution. You can see an outdoor spectacle based on the novel, and tours of places in the town connected with the story.
Later, Montreuil was the headquarters of the British Army in France during World War I. General Haig stayed in a chateau near the town
The citadel has ts own moat.
Gate of the citadel.

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