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East of Paris Sketches in the Gâtinais, Bourbonnais, and Champagne   By: (1836-1919)

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EAST OF PARIS

SKETCHES IN THE GÂTINAIS, BOURBONNAIS, AND CHAMPAGNE

By MISS BETHAM EDWARDS

CONTENTS

Chap.

INTRODUCTION

I. MELUN

II. MORET SUR LOING

III. BOURRON

IV. BOURRON continued

V. BOURRON continued

VI. LARCHANT

VII. RECLOSES

VIII. NEMOURS

IX. LA CHARITÉ SUR LOIRE

X. POUGUES

XL. NEVERS AND MOULINS

XII. SOUVIGNY AND SENS

XIII. ARCIS SUR AUBE

XIV. ARCIS SUR AUBE continued

XV. RHEIMS

XVI. RHEIMS continued

XVII. SOULAINES AND BAR SUR AUBE

XVIII. ST. JEAN DE LOSNE

XIX. NANCY

XX. IN GERMANISED LORRAINE

XXI. IN GERMANISED ALSACE

INTRODUCTORY.

I here propose to zig zag with my readers through regions of Eastern France not described in any of my former works. The marvels of French travel, no more than the chefs d'oeuvre of French literature, are unlimited. Short of saluting the tricolour on Mont Blanc, or of echoing the Marseillaise four hundred and odd feet underground in the cave of Padirac, I think I may fairly say that I have exhausted France as a wonder horn. But quiet beauties and homely graces have also their seduction, just as we turn with a sense of relief from "Notre Dame de Paris" or "Le Père Goriot," to a domestic story by Rod or Theuriet, so the sweet little valley of the Loing refreshes after the awful Pass of Gavarni, and soothing to the ear is the gentle flow of its waters after the thundering Rhône. Majestic is the panorama spread before our eyes as we pic nic on the Puy de Dôme. More fondly still my memory clings to many a narrower perspective, the view of my beloved Dijon from its vine clad hills or of Autun as approached from Pré Charmoy, to me, the so familiar home of the late Philip Gilbert Hamerton. If, however, the natural marvels of France, like those of any other country, can be catalogued, French scenery itself offers inexhaustible variety. And so, having visited, re visited, and re visited again this splendid hexagon on the European map, I yet find in the choice of holiday resorts a veritable embarras de richesses . And many of the spots here described will, I have no doubt, be as new to my readers as they have been to myself Larchant with its noble tower rising from the plain, recalling the still nobler ruin of Tclemcen on the borders of the Sahara Recloses with its pictorial interiors and grand promontory overlooking a panorama of forest, sombre purplish green ocean unflecked by a single sail Moret with its twin water ways, one hardly knows which of the two being the more attractive Nemours , favourite haunt of Balzac, memoralized in "Ursule Mirouët" La Charité , from whose old world dwellings you may throw pebbles into the broad blue Loire Pougues , the prettiest place with the ugliest name, frequented by Mme. de Sévigné and valetudinarians of the Valois race generations before her time Souvigny , cradle of the Bourbons, now one vast congeries of abbatial ruins Arcis sur Aube , the sweet riverside home of Danton its near neighbour, Bar sur Aube , connected with a bitterer enemy of Marie Antoinette than the great revolutionary himself, the infamous machinator of the Diamond Necklace. These are a few of the sweet nooks and corners to which of late years I have returned again and again, ever finding "harbour and good company." And these journeys, I should rather say visits, East of Paris led me once more to that sad yearning France beyond the frontier, to homes as French, to hearts as devoted to the motherland as when I first visited the annexed provinces twenty years ago!

EAST OF PARIS

CHAPTER I

MELUN

Scores upon scores of times had I steamed past Melun in the Dijon express, ever eyeing the place wistfully, ever too hurried, perhaps too lazy, to make a halt. Not until September last did I carry out a long cherished intention. It is unpardonable to pass and re pass any French town without alighting for at least an hour's stroll!

Melun, capital of the ancient Gatinais, now chef lieu of the Department of Seine and Marne, well deserves a visit... Continue reading book >>




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