By reservation at the Tourist Office | By phone : 03 24 55 69 90 | By email : firstname.lastname@example.org | Visit in French from 5.30pm to 7pm | Adults and children from 12 years old | Price : 5€/person | Appointment : Square in front of the Basilica Notre Dame d'Espérance
The medieval city by torchlight
It is a small old commune, nestled on a hill in one of the loops of the Meuse. I'm talking about the small town of Mézières.
Enter through the Porte de Bourgogne, walk along the Tour Millard and enter the newly renovated Tour du Roy. Let yourself be carried away by the citadel of Mézières, housed in the heart of one of the Meuse's meanders, the cradle of a very active trade. Listen carefully! You might be able to hear the merchants and traders of the town, you are in their courtyard!
Inspect all around you, the remains of a prosperous medieval city that time has never spared.
Come and meet the Chevalier Bayard, who awaits you there, at the very top of his pedestal. Hero of the tales that soldiers are content to tell to distract boredom. Bayard who defends Mézières with a master's hand against the imperial troops of Charles V in 1521.
Yet this siege of 1521 had a heavy impact on the development of the town. It demonstrates the importance of this fortified city for the defence of the kingdom of France. Mézières remained enclosed within its ramparts, limiting the numerous possibilities of trade.
And with the creation of Charleville, the ideal city wanted by Charles de Gonzague, the possibilities are still shrinking. Mézières sees its population decreasing, Charles condemned it!
But beware, Mézières doesn't fall so easily!
Today, the city conceals many treasures. The Basilica of Our Lady of Hope, in flamboyant Gothic style, which saw the marriage of King Charles IX of France and Elizabeth of Austria. But also these extraordinary stained glass windows, which were made by the painter and sculptor René Dürrbach, a collaborator and friend of Picasso, not to mention his remarkable organs.
And recently, the sacred art treasure of the Ardennes is also installed in Mézières. In the former sacristy of Notre Dame, precious objects, jewels of religious art testify to the know-how of the craftsmen of the 13th to 19th centuries in the department.
Finally, I won't even tell you about its absolutely remarkable art deco district! That will be the subject of another visit!