FRANCE | 90 minutes in Charleville-Mézières

The 21st of July is Belgium‘s National Day. This date was chosen as on July the 21st, 1831, Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha took the Constitutional Oat to become King of the Belgians. Being a public holiday with many shops and catering options closed, Oriol and I decided to go to Sedan just across the border in France. Sedan had been on my wish list for a while and it was near our FlorenvilleOrvalBouillon weekend in the Belgian Ardennes

After Sedan, we could drive to Verdun or to Charleville-Mézières. We chose Charleville-Mézière. We stayed there for 1.5 hours or 90 minutes, the time we could park there for free. 

Charleville-Mézières is a commune or municipality of northern France and is the capital of the Ardennes department, Grand Est. Charleville-Mézières is located on the banks of the river Meuse

Charleville and Mézières were originally separate communities on opposite banks of the Meuse, about 1.2 km (0.75 mi) from one another.

Charleville was founded by Charles Gonzaga, the 8th Duke of Mantua, in 1606. Its inhabitants were known as Carolopolitans (Carolopolitains or Carolopolitaines). It was prosperous from the 17th century, although its fortifications were dismantled under Louis XIV in 1687 and it passed into French hands in 1708. 

It was plundered by the Prussians in 1815. France’s royal armaments factory was formerly located there and gave its name to the Charleville musket, before being relocated and divided between Tulle and Châtellerault. In the 19th century, the city continued to produce arms through private firms, as well as nails, hardware, wine, spirits, coal, iron, and slate. It boasted a spacious port, a theatre, a large public library, and a museum of natural history.

The inhabitants of Mézières were known as Macerians (Macériens or Macériennes).

By the mid-19th century, the two towns were linked by a suspension bridge.

It was occupied by the German Empire in World War I and by the Third Reich in World War II. The present commune was established in 1966. Another commune, Le Theux, had already been merged into Mézières in 1965. It has a population of about 51,000. 

90 minutes in Charleville-Mézières

We parked the car near Place Ducale, or Ducal Square. It’s the main attraction in Charleville. The square was lively with estival activities. It’s a pretty square and it looks a fun place to be. 

From there we walked the Rue de la République, the shopping street of Charleville. We walked towards the Meuse, past the City Hall. We saw some medieval ramparts and the Basilique de Notre Dame d’Espérance or Our Lady of Hope Basilica.

Flags and bridges

In the Ardennes, both in Belgium and in France, it’s ‘a thing’ to have many flags on bridges. We’ve seen in in Charleville-Mézières but elsewhere as well. From now on, I will start photographing them (more).

So one day I can distill a post out of it.


Charleville-Mézières was a nice little stop. We managed to be back at the car with one minute to spare. 

Flag of France.

21 July 2022 excursion

  1. FRANCE | Sedan and Sedan Castle.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. elvira797mx says:

    Looks a beautiful place.
    Thank’s Timothy.
    Have a nice day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Timothy says:

      It is. Have a great day, Elvira.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. elvira797mx says:

        Thank’s Timothy, you as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. pedmar10 says:

    You spent more time than I at Charleville-Mézières lol !

    Liked by 1 person

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