Place de l’Hôtel de Ville: the fountain and Saint-Martin's church
Location of Montmédy
|23.49 km2 (9.07 sq mi)|
|• Density||97/km2 (250/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|Elevation||177–336 m (581–1,102 ft) |
(avg. 294 m or 965 ft)
|1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.|
In 1221 the first castle of Montmédy was built on top of a hill by the Count of Chiny. Montmédy soon became the capital of his territory – later it belonged to Luxembourg, Burgundy, Austria and Spain. The original castle was replaced with a fortress by Charles V in the 16th Century.
After Marville and Stenay had been occupied by the French, 30,000 soldiers, including King Louis XIV, attacked Montmédy, whilst 756 were defending it in 1657. They held it for 57 days and surrendered only after the death of the governor Jean V of Allamont. The military engineer Vauban advanced the outer fortifications, the moats and the walls after the siege of 1657.
During the French Revolution in 1791, the fortress was the anticipated destination of King Louis XVI and his family in their unsuccessful attempt to escape from the growing radical republicanism of Paris. The area at that time was overwhelmingly pro-monarchy. The royal party never arrived, however, because they were discovered en route at Varennes and escorted back to the capital city. The King had hoped to establish a counter-revolutionary military base of operations in the citadel from which he could reclaim the country. The citadel has also been used as a fortress during both World Wars.
Buildings, including a church dating back to the 17th century, can be found inside the citadel itself; it still is used as a place to live. Most of the buildings are derelict or already collapsed; some of them are still in use as tenements. An Office de Tourisme (Tourist Office) can be found in the citadel.
A museum is devoted to the painter Jules Bastien-Lepage. The eccentric harpist and composer Nicolas-Charles Bochsa (1789–1856) was born in Montmédy where his father Karl Bochsa was an oboist belonging to the Army. Future President François Mitterrand was stationed as a soldier at Montmédy in 1939.
Avioth is a commune in the Meuse department in the Grand Est region in northeastern France.Flight to Varennes
The royal Flight to Varennes (French: Fuite à Varennes) during the night of 20–21 June 1791 was a significant episode in the French Revolution in which King Louis XVI of France, his queen Marie Antoinette, and their immediate family unsuccessfully attempted to escape from Paris in order to initiate a counter-revolution at the head of loyal troops under royalist officers concentrated at Montmédy near the frontier. They escaped only as far as the small town of Varennes, where they were arrested after having been recognized at their previous stop in Sainte-Menehould.
This incident was a turning point after which popular hostility towards the French monarchy as an institution, as well as towards the king and queen as individuals, became much more pronounced. The king's attempted flight provoked charges of treason that ultimately led to his execution in 1793.
The failure of the escape plans was due to a series of misadventures, delays, misinterpretations, and poor judgments. Much was due to the King's indecision; he repeatedly postponed the schedule, allowing small problems to become big ones. Furthermore, he misjudged popular support for the traditional monarchy. He thought that only radicals in Paris were promoting a revolution that the people as a whole rejected. He believed, mistakenly, that he was beloved by the rural peasants and the common people.
The king's flight was traumatic for France, inciting a wave of emotions that ranged from anxiety to violence and panic. Everyone was aware that foreign intervention was imminent. The realization that the king had effectually repudiated the revolutionary reforms made up to that point came as a shock to people who, until then, had seen him as a fundamentally well-meaning monarch who governed as a manifestation of God's will. Republicanism, from being merely a subject of coffeehouse debate, suddenly became the dominant ideal of revolutionary leaders.Fortified Sector of Montmédy
The Fortified Sector of Montmédy (Secteur Fortifié de Montmédy) was the French military organization that in 1940 controlled the section of the Maginot Line between Sedan and Longuyon, a distance of about 60 kilometres (37 mi). The sector was not as strongly defended as other sections of the Maginot Line, facing the southern Ardennes region of Belgium. Large portions of the Montmédy sector were defended by fortified houses, blockhouses, or casemates. The sector includes only four ouvrages of the type found in stronger sections of the Line. The weakly defended area in front of Sedan was the scene of a major breakthrough by German forces in the opening of the Battle of France. This was followed by a German assault on the Maginot Ouvrage La Ferté, which killed the entire garrison, the only such event on the Maginot Line.Han-lès-Juvigny
Han-lès-Juvigny is a commune in the Meuse department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.Iré-le-Sec
Iré-le-Sec is a commune in the Meuse department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.Juvigny-sur-Loison
Juvigny-sur-Loison is a commune in the Meuse department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.Louppy-sur-Loison
Louppy-sur-Loison is a commune in the Meuse department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.Marville, Meuse
Marville is a commune in the Meuse department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.
An airbase built by NATO hosted fighter squadrons from the RCAF from 1952 to 1967.Ouvrage Chesnois
Ouvrage Chesnois, also known as Ouvrage Chênois, is a gros ouvrage of the Maginot Line, located in the Fortified Sector of Montmédy, facing Belgium. The ouvrage lies between the towns of Montlibert and Thonne-le-Thil. It possesses six combat blocks. It is located between gros ouvrage Thonnelle and petit ouvrvage La Ferté. The position was sabotaged and abandoned by French forces that were ordered to retreat from the exposed position in June 1940 during the Battle of France. The ouvrage is now abandoned and sealed.Ouvrage La Ferté
Ouvrage La Ferté, also known as Ouvrage Villy-La Ferté, is a petit ouvrage of the Maginot Line, located in the Fortified Sector of Montmédy, facing Belgium. The ouvrage lies between the towns of Villy and La Ferté-sur-Chiers. It possesses two combat blocks linked by an underground gallery. The westernmost position in its sector, it was a comparatively weakly armed fortification in an exposed position that left it vulnerable to isolation and attack. After a sustained attack during the Battle of France the position was overwhelmed by German forces and was destroyed with its entire garrison killed. The fighting at La Ferté was the heaviest of any position in the Maginot Line. It is preserved as a war memorial.Ouvrage Thonnelle
Ouvrage Thonnelle is a petit ouvrage of the Maginot Line, located in the Fortified Sector of Montmédy between the towns of Thonnelle and Verneuil-Petit, facing Belgium. It possesses four combat blocks. It is located between gros ouvrages Vélosnes and Chesnois. The position was sabotaged and abandoned by French forces that were ordered to retreat from the exposed position in June 1940 during the Battle of France. The ouvrage is abandoned.Ouvrage Vélosnes
Ouvrage Vélosnes is a gros ouvrage (large work) of the Maginot Line, located in the Fortified Sector of Montmédy between the towns of Othe and Vélosnes, facing Belgium. It possesses four combat blocks and one entrance block. It is located to the east of petit ouvrage Thonnelle. The position was sabotaged and abandoned by French forces that were ordered to retreat from the exposed position in June 1940 during the Battle of France. The ouvrage is abandoned and is administered as a nature preserve.Thonne-la-Long
Thonne-la-Long is a commune in the Meuse department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.Velosnes
Velosnes is a commune in the Meuse department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.Vigneul-sous-Montmédy
Vigneul-sous-Montmédy is a commune in the Meuse department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.Villécloye
Villécloye is a commune in the Meuse department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.Écouviez
Écouviez is a commune in the Meuse department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.