Charleville-Mézières (unchanged)

It’s over a week now that we are in Charleville-Mézières. Therefore we’ll take some time to pay attention to Charleville’s founder, in 1606, Charles 1er Gonzague. As always, stories about people like this are highly interesting – especially for those interested in history. See therefore,_Duke_of_Mantua_and_Montferrat, in any language you prefer. We are probably not the only ones that have experienced a never ending reading session when ‘diving’ into Wikipedia.

Last Monday it was a milestone birthday for the female half of the two of us. We were visited by dear friends, completely by surprise, and our daughter and grandsons, a surprise as well – for their (grand)mother in this case. It was a great day…

…and the waitress even reacted properly after she became to know the occasion. Chapeau! The same happened in Paris a year ago.

  • Sean

    What does one do when there’s a possibility to rent an electric driven boat – a ‘whisper-boat’? As there’s a risk of finding one’s mooring-space occupied when…

  • Liam

    …returning from a round-trip using one’s own ship the alternative is to have a look at the surroundings by whisper-boat. Only for men – the women refrained from joining.

We were asked to move away from our mooring on the 13th of July because we were supposedly too close to the fireworks, on display that night. So we moved backwards, next to a permanently moored ship (Thór) and another one that was also ‘chased away’. The open space is clearly visible here. Both other boats are still where they were before, because their owners were absent – or lying flat on their stomachs on the bottom of their vessels…

Of course this is more of the same, but we like the picture. The ship in the middle is called ‘Hielkje’, in case someone wonders. Charleville has its fireworks, related to France’s most important national yearly celebration ‘Le Quatorze Juillet’, already on the evening of the 12th. That’s odd, we thought, because to our knowledge the fireworks are executed during the evening of the 13th or on the 14th itself. So we visited the Tourist Office and were told that the other half of the present combined municipality of Charleville-Mézières (since 1966), being Mézières, has the military parade on the 14th. Ah, that’s why…

  • Hebbes

    Even two more, will it ever stop? Yes, don’t you worry! We loved ‘Hielkje’, a former fishing-boat. She’s slightly longer/narrower than 'Hebbes'. Did you…

  • Hielkje

    …know that the star on its bow means, at least: meant in the past, that the ship was paid for – meaning no mortgage or something similar to pay for.

Later on that evening, about 10:30PM, the crowd gathered at the opposite bank and all public lighting was switched off. Only the next evening we learned what atrocity a single misguided person (expressed as civilized as possible) is able to inflict.


Exactly at the 18th second this short video makes it clear, leaving no room for second thoughts, why we had to move away from our mooring-spot. We were able to return the next morning. All fire-arms were removed by then.

  • Colour (I)

    This is what the sun does, colour-wise speaking, later in the afternoon. The two ships that are moored at the island on the opposite side were removed, too, as the fireworks were launched (vertically that is!) from the quay in front of where they are re-moored…

  • Colour (II)

    …and a second picture of the beauty that is created on a regular basis by the most important celestial body we know off: the sun. Combined with the earth’s atmosphere, of course.

  • Flat...

    Our folding bikes were bought in 2007. Brompton, fabricated in England, exported to The Netherlands, bought in The Netherlands (2007), brought back to the UK that same year, carried with us to the Continent in 2012 – and still going strong. Every now and then, well this time is the third time, one’s confronted with a flat tire. Never her, always his bike! Does that tell us something?? The leak was this time situated immediately next to the valve. Difficult!

  • ...tire

    A precious piece of adhesive rubber (still from a bike-reparation-set, bought from Halfords in the UK!) was created using a pair of scissors and glued onto the leak area. Done!, we thought, and replaced the inner tube. Alas, when using the bicycle pump after adding some pressure a sibilant sound started – initially softly but rapidly getting louder. So we had to buy a new inner tube for € 4,90. By the way, an inner tube in French is named a ‘chambre à air’. Honestly! We tried it in the bicycle-shop and the guy did not look surprised at all.

We had never been in the Mézières-part of Charleville-Mézières and combined our visit to the bicycle-shop with a walk into Mézières. Well, it was not all that interesting, to be frank. Having said that there’s always something – and what is more obvious than a church? We’re in France, aren’t we? So here is a picture of Mézières’ gothic/renaissance-style basilica Notre-Dame d’Esperance. And we were lucky too: a wedding was going to start, only the bridegroom was still lacking.

All visitors took their chance to have a picture with the bride – and waited more or less in line for their turn. Our attention was attracted by the mirror-imaged tattoos on the calves of one of the attending women. (We never saw the bridegroom arrive. Hopefully he did.)

  • Notre Dame

    Another picture of the basilica. It’s a pretty combination of flowers, stairs and colours…

  • d'Esperance

    …and here’s the prove of its age; built from 1499 through 1610. In those days a decade was just peanuts!

When leaving Mézières (or entering, of course) the present préfecture-building, situated on the Meuse-bank, becomes visible. For préfecture see: It is the former ‘Palais de Tournelles’, related to the Dukes of Burgundy – and more. It’s too much to reproduce here, of course. For more it’s perhaps an idea to start reading this:École_royale_du_génie_de_Mézières because that’s what the palace eventually became. Before being the present use of it that is. There’s a connection with the guy on the 1st picture. Search and thou will find…

Back to the Charleville-part again. Here is, again perhaps, its lovely Place Ducale. This stunning square is built after Paris’ Place des Vosges. Just a tad smaller.

The square is entirely open, except for this two storey merry-go-round. We noticed more elderly people sitting around it than children inside. It is a beautiful piece of nostalgia, though, dating from 116 years back. A few times repainted is our guess.

  • Vespa 2016

    We noticed two parked Vespa’s on the Place Ducale. We still love them profoundly…

  • Vespa 1966

    …as proven by this picture. Yes it’s really us, the recent birthday-girl included. Bye bye.