East of Paris

Matilda Betham-Edwards
East of Paris

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Title: East of Paris Sketches in the Gatinais, Bourbonnais, and Champagne
Author: Matilda Betham-Edwards
Release Date: August, 2005 [EBook #8734] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on August 5, 2003]
Edition: 10
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
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EAST OF PARIS
SKETCHES IN THE G?TINAIS, 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 CHARIT¨¦-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 P¨¨re 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 Rh?ne. Majestic is the panorama spread before our eyes as we pic-nic on the Puy de D?me. 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 Pr¨¦ 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 Mirou?t"--_La Charit¨¦_, 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 S¨¦vign¨¦ 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
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