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Title: Cathedral Cities of France
Author: Marshall, Hester, Marshall, Herbert, 1841-1913
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Certain typographical errors have been corrected (see list at the end
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words and names has not been corrected, but left as the writer wrote















_Published September, 1907_


The following chapters are the result of notes put together during
summers spent in France in the course of the last five years. They are
not intended to mark out any particular geographical scheme, though
considered as isolated suggestions they may possibly prove useful to the
intending traveller; nor do they aim at covering all the Cathedral
cities of France.

The authors are indebted for much valuable help from the following
books: Viollet-le-Duc’s “Dictionnaire de l’Architecture”; Mr. Phené
Spiers’s “Architecture East and West”; Mr. Francis Bond’s “Gothic
Architecture in England”; Mr. Henry James’s “Little Tour in France”; Mr.
Cecil Headlam’s “Story of Chartres”; Freeman’s “History of the Norman
Conquest” and “Sketches of French Travel”; Dr. Whewell’s “Notes on a
Tour in Picardy and Normandy”; M. Guilhermy’s “Itineraire archéologique
de Paris”; M. Hoffbauer’s “Paris à travers les ages”; M. Enlart’s
“Architecture Réligieuse”; Mr. Walter Lonergan’s “Historic Churches of
Paris”; the “Chronicles” of Froissart and Monstrelet; and to the letters
in _The Times_ of its war correspondent, 1870 and 1871.

H. M. M. and H. M.


CHAPTER                                                             PAGE

I A FRENCH CATHEDRAL CITY                                              1

II BOULOGNE TO AMIENS                                                 15

III LÂON, RHEIMS, AND SOISSONS                                        38

IV ROUEN                                                              62

V EVREUX AND LISIEUX                                                  88

VI BAYEUX                                                            104

VII ST. LÔ AND COUTANCES                                             128

VIII LE MANS                                                         151

IX ANGERS                                                            169

X TOURS AND BLOIS                                                    181

XI CHARTRES                                                          201

XII ORLÉANS, BOURGES, AND NEVERS                                     218

XIII MOULINS, LIMOGES, AND PÉRIGUEUX                                 245

XIV ANGOULÊME AND POITIERS                                           267

XV LA ROCHELLE AND BORDEAUX                                          281

XVI SENS, AUXERRE, AND TROYES                                        299

XVII MEAUX, SENLIS, AND BEAUVAIS                                     324

XVIII PARIS AND SOME OF ITS CHURCHES                                 348

INDEX                                                                385


Lâon: view from the plain                    _Frontispiece_

St. Martin, Lâon                             _Facing Page_             2

The Quayside, Amiens                           "      "                6

A Street in Perigueux                          "      "               10

The Porte Gayole, Boulogne                     "      "               16

Abbeville                                      "      "               24

The Place Vogel, Amiens                        "      "               28

Evening on the Somme at Amiens                 "      "               32

The Ramparts, Lâon                             "      "               42

Lâon from the Boulevards                       "      "               48

Rheims                                         "      "               54

Soissons                                       "      "               58

Rouen from the River                           "      "               68

Rue de l’Horloge, Rouen                        "      "               78

Rue St. Romain, Rouen                          "      "               84

Evreux                                         "      "               90

The Towers of Evreux                           "      "               96

St. Jacques, Lisieux                           "      "              100

A Street Corner, Bayeux                        "      "              110

Bayeux from the Meadows                        "      "              122

St. Lô                                         "      "              130

The Cathedral Front, St. Lô                    "      "              134

Coutances                                      "      "              140

The South Porch of the Cathedral, Coutances    "      "              146

St. Pierre, Coutances                          "      "              152

Le Mans                                        "      "              158

Nôtre Dame de la Coûture, Le Mans              "      "              164

Angers                                         "      "              176

Tour de l’Horloge, Tours                       "      "              184

St. Gatieu, Tours                              "      "              188

Blois                                          "      "              194

Chartres from the North                        "      "              202

Chartres                                       "      "              208

Rue de la Porte Guillaume, Chartres            "      "              212

Orléans                                        "      "              220

The House of Jacques Cœur, Bourges             "      "              224

Bourges                                        "      "              228

The Musée Cujas, Bourges                       "      "              232

The Hôtel-de-Ville, Nevers                     "      "              236

The Port du Croux, Nevers                      "      "              240

Moulins                                        "      "              248

Limoges                                        "      "              254

Perigueux from the River                       "      "              258

St. Front, Périgueux                           "      "              262

Angoulême                                      "      "              270

Poitiers                                       "      "              274

Entrance to the Harbour, La Rochelle           "      "              282

The Harbour of La Rochelle                     "      "              286

Bordeaux                                       "      "              294

Sens                                           "      "              302

St. Germain, Auxerre                           "      "              306

The Bridge and Cathedral, Auxerre              "      "              310

A Street in Troyes                             "      "              316

Meaux                                          "      "              326

The Old Mills at Meaux                         "      "              330

Senlis                                         "      "              338

The Pont Marie, Paris                          "      "              350

Nôtre Dame, Paris                              "      "              366

St. Germain des Prés, Paris                    "      "              372

Pont St. Michel and Ste. Chapelle, Paris       "      "              378

Chapter One


There are in France to-day three distinct classes of cities--one might
even add, of cathedral cities--and as the bishopric is a dignity far
more usual in France than in England, “cathedral” may serve for the
present as a term inclusive of many towns.

Firstly, there is the town whose local importance has remained unchanged
through a succession of centuries and an eventful history, which has
added a modern importance to that bequeathed to it by Time. Such towns
are Le Mans, Angers, Amiens and Rouen. Secondly, we find the towns whose
glory has departed, but who still preserve the outward semblance of that
glory, though they remind us in passing through them of a body without a
spirit, of an empty house, whose inhabitants are long dead and have left
behind them only the echoes of their past footsteps. These towns are a
picturesque group, and if we go back upon the centuries, we shall find
in them the centre of much that has made history for our modern eyes to
read. Look at Chartres and Bayeux, and Lâon and Troyes, for embodiments
of this type. And lastly, there are the cities which exactly reverse the
foregoing state of affairs, and owe their growth to the kindly fostering
of a later age--an age which has learnt wisdom more quickly than its
predecessors, and has learnt, moreover, to love the whirr of engines and
the busy paths of commerce more than the safe keeping of ancient
monuments and the reading of history in the worn greyness of their
stones. Among these we may count Havre; but of this class it is more
difficult to find examples in France, although in England the north
country is thick with such mushroom cities.

[Illustration: ST. MARTIN, LÂON]

The history of the growth of one Gaulish town may easily serve for that
of another: later days decided its continued importance or its gradual
decay, as the case might be; and, as Freeman points out in his essay
upon French and English towns, “the map of Roman Gaul survives, with but
few and those simple changes in the ecclesiastical map of France down to
the great Revolution.” Thus the history of these cities affected
themselves alone and not, to any great extent, the lands in which they
stood. It is a salient testimony to the lasting influence of ancient
Gaul that in most town-names some trace can be found of the old name,
either of the tribe which inhabited it, or of the territory belonging to
that tribe; and even under the Roman rule the Gallic forms did not
entirely disappear. Later, when the Franks came from the East, one would
suppose that they had names of their own for the conquered cities; but
if this were the case, these names have not come down to us--all of
which goes to show that the Frankish dominion, though it lasted on, and
gave to the land her ablest dynasty of kings, had no real rooted
influence in the country, and that France, as relating to ancient Gaul,
is a formal and almost an empty title.

The Gallic cities owed their origin in the earliest times, naturally, to
their situation. The roving tribes, looking for a settlement, would
choose a camping ground either on a rocky hill, where they could safely
entrench themselves against a possible enemy, or on an island in the
midst of a river or marsh, where the surrounding fens would be an
efficient safeguard; and it speaks well for their choice, that when the
Romans came, skilled in the knowledge of war, offensive and defensive,
they did not destroy the settlements of the conquered tribes, but
rebuilt and fortified them according to the inimitable pattern of Rome,
not effacing but improving what was already to hand. Instead of the rude
Gallic huts, stately palaces rose up, with their marble baths;
aqueducts threw a succession of arches to the nearest water source,
theatres sloped up the hill-side, bridges crossed the river, and where
the grottoes of the Druidic or other primitive faiths had been, rose the
columns and friezes of splendid temples to Jupiter and Diana and Apollo.
Certainly it was a change for the better; and the appearance of many of
these towns under the Cæsars was probably much more imposing, though
perhaps less picturesque, than that which they presented in mediæval
days. In the later Roman era a new element introduces itself. From the
early Christian Church at Rome come missionary saints; not saints in
those days, but often the poorest and meanest of the brethren, charged
with a message to Gaul--Hilary, Martin, Dionysius, and the others.
Fierce conflicts follow, persecutions, burnings, martyrdoms--Dionysius
bears witness at Lutetia, Savinian and Potentian at Sens--and at last
the first church arises within the city, poor and meagre very often in
comparison with the huge pagan temples which it replaces, but loved and
venerated by the faithful few, and, best of all, the origin of the grand
cathedrals which are now the glory of France. “The votaries of the new
creed found a home within the walls of their seats of worship such as
the votaries of the elder creed had never found within theirs. And
around the church arose the dwellings of the bishop and his clergy, a
class of men destined to play no small part in the history of the land.”
In the Christian city, then, we can begin to trace the beginnings of the
mediæval city. Other foundations sprang up in time within the walls--a
baptistery was built, as at Aix and Poitiers, to meet the needs of the
flocks of converts; other churches perpetuated the memory of some saint;
among the river meadows some royal or saintly founder saw a fitting spot
for a convent, and the abbey church arose, with its cloisters,
dormitories and refectories, and all the other fair buildings in which
the early brothers took such a loving pride. Then the bishop himself,
with his dignity growing as the Christian faith advanced, must be housed
as befitted a deputy of the Holy See; and forthwith sprang up those
lordly _évêchés_ which even now serve to remind us of their ancient
beauty, though in some cases the civil arm has taken them over, and
converted them into hôtels de ville. Then came the barbarian inroads,
first of Vandals, Huns, Franks and the rest, next of Normans. These
attacked, but could not destroy, or even permanently harm, the position
of the city; and when the invaders had either gone their way or settled
down in the land, new elements of strength and importance were added to
the township: castles and strongholds were built up for the great men
who had taken possession of the chief cities, and the great civil or
feudal power of the dukes and counts began to exercise its jurisdiction
side by side with the old-established influence of the Church. Then, as
was notably the case at Le Mans and Troyes, the growing commercial
importance of a town would force a communal charter from the seigneur; a
burgher quarter would rise, quite as important as the quarter of the
nobles and the clergy, and thus the city would become trebly
strengthened, except, indeed, when, as was sometimes the case, one power
resented the fancied encroachments of the other and made war upon its

[Illustration: THE QUAYSIDE, AMIENS]

This power within itself was undoubtedly all to the advantage of the
city; but it was fatal to the unity of the kingdom, since it cut France
up into a mass of separate states, any one of which could, on the
occasion of a quarrel with the sovereign--and these quarrels were rather
the rule than the exception--fortify itself by means of its count, its
castle and its city walls, and defy the royal forces at its pleasure.
While cathedral cities in England were drawing closer and closer to the
king as their head, and thereby sinking their own strength in the unity
of the Crown, those in France were striving at a power apart from the
Crown, or, rather, striving to maintain a power which the Crown had
never yet been able to incorporate with itself. Thus a city of France
has a much more varied, a much more individual history than has the
sister city in England; a story less bound up as part of the great whole
of the history of the French kingdom, more concentrated within its own
walls, and therefore more tangible, if it be desired to study it
irrespective of that whole history. This, then, is the story of its
growth from almost pre-historic days. Whether, as an individual city, it
flourished after the Middle Ages had fortified and strengthened it, or
whether it fell into a state of quiet, picturesque and peaceful decay,
depended of course upon particular circumstances, but enough remains to
make of the general history of the French city a fascinating though
almost inexhaustible study, only surpassed by the study of each town in
its separate case.


Wars and revolutions have done their best to destroy what Time had
kindly tried to preserve for our delight; nevertheless, a cathedral town
in France of to-day is a very pleasant place, and offers exceptional
opportunity for the study of French life in almost every aspect. Our
business here, however, is with the cathedrals and the historical side
of the town, rather than with the lighter points of view; and such
things as every traveller will encounter in the course of his journeys,
the crowd outside the _cafés_, the weekly markets, the festivals, civil
and ecclesiastical, the quaint ways and speech of the peasant folk and
the _contretemps_ of hotel life have not only been described before,
times without number, but are such as will be fairly obvious to the
average observer, and, if he has never travelled before, will come all
the more as a pleasant surprise if he is left to find them out for
himself. If, as is more likely to be the case in this enlightened age,
he is an experienced traveller, he will know them all by heart, and
perhaps be inclined to cavil at having them set before him once again in
a light which could not pretend to any novelty.

Chapter Two


Boulogne is perhaps too near the starting point to arrest the
outward-bound traveller; he ranks it with Calais, Dieppe, and Havre, as
a place to be passed through as quickly as possible; and the splendid
train service to Paris naturally makes him hesitate to break his journey
at Boulogne. The general tendency in England is to despise the French
railway service, and some guide-books even now tell us that the average
speed of a French express is from thirty-five to forty-five miles an
hour, also that the trains invariably pass each other on the left-hand
side. As a matter of fact, all the main lines follow the same rule of
the road which obtains in England, and as to average speed, the run from
Calais to Paris equals, if it does not exceed, that of any long-distance
train-service in our own country, covering the distance of 185 miles at
the rate of fifty-six miles an hour.

As a seaport and fishing centre, Boulogne is one of the most interesting
and important towns in France; and its fishing-boats sail out in great
numbers to the North Sea for the cod fishery along the north coast of
Scotland. When the herring fishing begins, Boulogne adds its contingent
to the fleets of Cornwall, to the luggers of the West Coast, and to the
cobbles of Whitby; and on the eve of the departure to the
fishing-ground, the fisherman’s quarter, known as La Beurière, is alive
with the orgies of its sailor population. Dancing takes place on the
quays, and short entertainments are held in an improvised theatre, while
the rich brown-ochre sails of the splendid luggers and smacks are
stretched from deck to deck, forming an awning under which the owners
and captains meet together with their friends to wish success to the
undertaking of those who “go down to the sea in ships, and occupy their
business in great waters.”

Boulogne has the reputation of being the most Anglicised of French
towns, and was in years gone by often associated with the seamy side of
society. Many a stranger found here a convenient refuge, and Mr.
Deuceace and other of Thackeray’s heroes enjoyed the sea breezes of
Boulogne after the mental strain of somewhat questionable financial


The city walls, restored in the sixteenth or seventeenth century,
date back to 1231, and were built on the foundations of the ancient town
of Bononia, generally identified with the Roman Gesoriacum, though not
on very reliable authority. From its position on the high grassy cliffs
of Picardy, guarding the little river Liane and looking out over the
waves to the white line of the English shore, Boulogne in other days had
an importance quite distinct from that which we now assign to it. The
Viking sailing down the English Channel saw it as one of the outposts of
a new and fair land open to the conquest of fire and sword, and in his
primitive fashion of asserting the mastery, destroyed the city on the
cliff. Later on, these ravages were made good under the rule of Rolf,
the “Ganger,” by this time master of Neustria; the city was restored and
became the head of a countship, which dignity it retained until late in
the fifteenth century, when Louis XI. cast envious eyes upon it, and by
a stroke of craft approaching near to genius, united it to the crown of
France, declaring the Blessed Virgin to be patroness of the town and
himself her humble vassal, holding it under her suzerainty, which no man
in France dared to deny. Henry VIII. laid siege to Boulogne in 1544 and
gained it for England; but the day of English prestige in France had
gone by, and her right of possession was of very short duration, for in
the next reign Boulogne was given back to France, and Calais alone
remained to England of the spoils of the Hundred Years’ War.

Above the present town rises the monument known as the “Colonne de la
Grande Armée,” a memorial of the first Napoleon’s encampment at Boulogne
in 1804, and of his magnificent preparations for the invasion of
England. In the Château, which dates from the thirteenth century and is
now used as barracks, Napoleon III. was confined after his abortive
descent upon the town in 1840. It was the second of these desperate
attempts to dethrone the “constitutional king” Louis Philippe and
reinstate the Imperial dynasty. The expedition to Strasburg four years
before had at least been attended by this much success, that the young
aspirant was enthusiastically welcomed by the military portion of the
population; but the descent upon Boulogne, planned at the time when the
body of the first Emperor was being brought from St. Helena to Paris,
was a failure from first to last. The little band of conspirators, about
fifty in number, with their tame eagle--a symbol of the Imperial
power--landed at the port, but found no adherents, and within a few
hours of their landing were under arrest. Napoleon himself underwent
trial before the Chamber of Peers, and after a short imprisonment, as
we have seen, in the Château, was sent to the castle of Ham-sur-Somme.

Three out of the four original gates of the ancient city still remain,
notably the Porte Gayole, the rooms in whose flanking towers were at one
time used as prisons. In the room above the gateway were formerly held
the meetings of the _Guyale_, a _réunion_ of ancient associations of
merchants--what would now be called a chamber of commerce--and from this
the gate-house was called Porte Gayole.

Of the cathedral at Boulogne it is difficult to speak with any
enthusiasm. It stands as a memorial of the Renaissance work of that
period which we should call early Victorian; but like so many modern
churches, it possesses an ancient crypt, part of which belongs to the
twelfth century, showing that the foundations at least are those of a
Gothic church, which was probably destroyed during the Revolution.

On the journey to Amiens the train passes through Abbeville on the
Somme, a place some sixty years ago sacred to geologists, who, led by
the distinguished Boucher de Perthes, Prestwick and Evans, extracted
from the river bed and neighbouring peat and undisturbed gravels, not
only remains of beaver, bear, &c., but also innumerable hand-fashioned
flints and stone hatchets, and made the valley of the Somme up to Amiens
and St. Acheul classic ground to the antiquary and an object of
pilgrimage to the student of pre-historic man.

In the early days of the Frank kings this quiet little town upon the
Somme had acquired enough importance for fortification, and its city
walls were built by Hugh Capet. Later on, after Peter the Hermit had
lifted up his voice in Europe, and every man who called himself a true
warrior turned his face eastward to Palestine, Abbeville was destined to
play her part in the affairs of the great world outside her walls, and
to share in the fortunes of that company of men whose watchword was
“Jerusalem.” In the first two Crusades, when the crusading spirit was as
yet ardent and pure and had not degenerated into a desire for plunder
and rapine, the leaders met within the gates of Abbeville before setting
out to the Holy Land.

One can well imagine the stir their presence made within the quiet
precincts of the little town, the excitement of the townfolk, the eager
crowding of the youth of the place around the standards of these great
chiefs, Godfrey de Bouillon, destined to become king of Jerusalem; dark,
passionate Robert of Normandy, son of the Conqueror; Hugh of
Vermandois, brother to the King of France; Stephen of Blois; Raymond of
Toulouse; Robert of Flanders, he who was called the “Sword and Lance of
the Christians”; and, lastly, Tancred the chivalrous, the very
embodiment of the spirit of the crusaders--and a “very perfect, gentle

For nearly two hundred years the English ruled Abbeville. When, in 1272,
Eleanor of Castile was married to Prince Edward, afterwards Edward I.,
the town was included in the estates which she brought to England as her
dowry; and being near the sea coast, and consequently within easy reach
of England, its new lords were able to retain their hold upon the city
even after the disastrous close of the Hundred Years’ War had given
almost every English conquest back to France. Towards the end of the
fifteenth century it fell into the hands of the Burgundian party, but
the French crown finally reclaimed it in 1477. Since that time it has
twice seen an international alliance concluded within its gates. In
1514, Anne of Brittany, the wife of Louis XII.--“Pater Patria”--died
without having an heir in the direct line, and her husband, unwilling
that the crown should go to François d’Angoulême, determined to take
another wife, and made advances to Henry VIII. for the hand of his
beautiful sister, Mary Tudor; and after the negotiations were completed,
they were married at Abbeville. As far as Louis’s purpose went, however,
the marriage was a failure, as the King died a few months later, and the
Duc d’Angoulême, his son-in-law, ascended his throne as François Ier.
To his reign belongs the second alliance in the history of Abbeville,
the pact signed between the King of France and Cardinal Wolsey, on
behalf of Henry VIII., against the common enemy, Charles V.--a figure so
commanding, so infinitely greater than his contemporaries, that beside
him the brilliancy of François, the gallantry of Henry, and the pomp and
magnificence of his favourite Wolsey, seemed entirely eclipsed, and the
three men appear almost as puppets, unstable and vacillating, now the
closest of friends, and now the bitterest of enemies.

Abbeville still maintains many of the old picturesque landmarks which
made it a favourite sketching ground for Prout and for Ruskin. The
market-place is surrounded by a number of houses with high pitched
gables, coloured in various tints of white, grey and pale green. Some
beautiful drawings by Ruskin, executed in pencil and tint, which have
lately been exhibited to the public, bear testimony to its
picturesqueness, of which a great deal still remains in the side
streets and along the river front.

[Illustration: ABBEVILLE]

The church of St. Wolfran is late Flamboyant, and is looked upon by
Ruskin as “a wonderful proof of the fearlessness of a living
architecture,” for, say what one will of it, that Flamboyant of France,
however morbid, was as vivid and intense in its imagination as ever any
phase of mortal mind. The nave consists of bays having a high clerestory
and a triforium screened by rich sixteenth century carving. The ribs of
the vaulting fall sheer down without imposts or break of any kind. The
low chancel and eastern termination of the church are unworthy of the
splendid carving of the western façade.

The approach to Amiens offers no _coup d’œil_ of clustering towers or
spires such as an English or Norman cathedral city usually gives us, and
the Cathedral itself is hidden as we pass into the heart of the town
along the Rue des Trois Cailloux, a street which is said to follow the
alignment of the old city walls. Ruskin advises the traveller, however
short his time may be, to devote it, not to the contemplation of arches
and piers and coloured glass, but to the woodwork of the chancel, which
he considers the most beautiful carpenter’s work of the Flamboyant
period. Note should be taken of two windows in the Chapel of the
Cardinal de la Grange, built about 1375. These are very interesting as
foreshadowing in their detail that style of architecture--the
Flamboyant--which obtained in France in the fifteenth century and was
contemporaneous with the English Perpendicular.

The two western towers look little more than heavily built buttresses,
and as towers are not very appropriate in design, being not square, but
oblong in plan. They rise little above the ridge line of the nave, whose
crossing with the transepts is marked by a beautiful _flèche_, which
Ruskin, however, describes as “merely the caprice of a village
carpenter.” As he further declares, the Cathedral of Amiens is “in
dignity inferior to Chartres, in sublimity to Beauvais, in decorative
splendour to Rheims, and in loveliness of figure sculpture to Bourges,”
yet it fully deserves the name given to it by Viollet-le-Duc--“The
Parthenon of Gothic architecture.”


The height of the nave and aisles is, according to Mr. Francis Bond in
his book “Gothic Architecture in England,” respectively nearly three
times their span, and the vastness of the fenestration is very striking,
particularly in the clerestory, through whose lower mouldings the
triforium is negotiated, thus dividing each bay into two storeys,
clerestory and pier arch, instead of into three, clerestory triforium
and pier arch. This gives the effect after which the French architect
strove: one vast blaze of light and colour through the upper windows,
coming not only from the clerestory, but from the glazed triforium also;
the magnificent deep blue glass typifying the splendour of the heavens.
On the other hand, in a sunny clime, builders cared less for light, and
preferred the effect of a blind triforium which throws the choir below
into gloomy and mysterious shadow. Thus we see that upon the design of
the triforium depends to a very great extent the effect of the light and
shade of the interior of a great church.

Once, being personally conducted by the dean over one of the cathedrals
of the west of England, the writer was suddenly called upon to give the
derivation of “triforium.” The word is applied to the ambulatory or
passage, screened by an arcade, which runs between the pier arches and
clerestory windows, and is considered to refer to the three openings, or
spaces, _trinæ fores_, into which the arcading was sometimes divided. It
probably has nothing to do with openings in multiples of three, nor with
a Latinised form of “thoroughfare,” as suggested in Parker’s Glossary,
although the main idea is that of a passage running round the inside of
a church, either as at Westminster, in the form of an ambulatory
chamber, or of a gallery pierced through the main walls, from whence the
structure can be inspected without the trouble of using ladders or
erecting scaffolding. M. Enlart in his “Manuel d’Archéologie Française,”
derives the word from a French adjective “trifore,” or “trifoire,”
through the Latin “transforatus,” a passage pierced through the
thickness of the wall; and this idea of a passage-way is certainly
suggested by an old writer, Gervase, who, in his description of the new
Cathedral of Canterbury, rebuilt after the fire, alludes to the
increased number of passages round the church under the word “triforia.”
“Ibi triforium unum, hic duo in choro, et in alâ ecclesiæ tercium.”

On the north side of the Cathedral flows the Somme, and there is perhaps
no better means of realising the great height and mass of the building
than by walking along the river banks, whence we see the old houses,
great and small, rise tier above tier under the quiet grey outline of
this “giant in repose.”


In an extract from his private diary Ruskin gives the following
description of this walk along the river, showing it in an aspect at
once squalid and picturesque: “Amiens, May 11th.--I had a happy walk
here this afternoon, down among the branching currents of the Somme: it
divides into five or six, shallow, green, and not over-wholesome;
some quite narrow and foul, running beneath clusters of fearful houses,
reeling masses of rotten timber; and a few mere stumps of pollard willow
sticking out of the banks of soft mud, only retained in shape of bank by
being shored up with timbers; and boats like paper boats, nearly as thin
at least, for the costermongers to paddle about in among the weeds, the
water soaking through the lath bottoms, and floating the dead leaves
from the vegetable baskets with which they were loaded. Miserable little
back yards, opening to the water, with steep stone steps down to it, and
little platforms for the ducks; and separate duck staircases, composed
of a sloping board with cross bits of wood leading to the ducks’ doors;
and sometimes a flower-pot or two on them, or even a flower--one group,
of wall-flowers and geraniums, curiously vivid, being seen against the
darkness of a dyer’s backyard, who had been dyeing black, and all was
black in his yard but the flowers, and they fiery and pure; the water by
no means so, but still working its way steadily over the weeds, until it
narrowed into a current strong enough to turn two or three windmills,
one working against the side of an old Flamboyant Gothic church, whose
richly traceried buttresses sloped down into the filthy stream; all
exquisitely picturesque, and no less miserable. We delight in seeing
the figures in these boats, pushing them about the bits of blue water,
in Prout’s drawings; but as I looked to-day at the unhealthy face and
melancholy mien of the man in the boat pushing his load of peat along
the ditch, and of the people, men as well as women, who sat spinning
gloomily at the cottage doors, I could not help feeling how many persons
must pay for my picturesque subject and happy walk.”

In his “Miscellaneous Studies” Walter Pater says: “The builders of the
Church seem to have projected no very noticeable towers; though it is
conventional to regret their absence, especially with visitors from
England, where indeed cathedral and other towers are apt to be good and
really make their mark.... The great western towers are lost in the west
front, the grandest, perhaps the earliest, of its species--three
profound sculptured portals; a double gallery above, the upper gallery
carrying colossal images of twenty-two kings of the house of Judah,
ancestors of our Lady; then the great rose; above it the singers’
gallery, half marking the gable of the nave, and uniting at their
topmost storeys the twin, but not exactly equal or similar towers, oddly
oblong in plan as if meant to carry pyramids or spires. In most cases,
those early Pointed churches are entangled, here and there, by the
construction of the old round-arched style, the heavy, Norman or other,
Romanesque chapel or aisle, side by side, though in strange contrast,
with the soaring new Gothic nave or transept. But the older manner of
the round arch, the _plein-cintre_, Amiens has nowhere or almost
nowhere, a trace. The Pointed style, fully pronounced, but in all the
purity of its first period, found here its completest expression.”

Chapter Three


“We passed Lâon in the dark,” is a confession frequently made by
travellers. The Geneva express used to stop here for dinner, and during
the brief interval allowed for coffee and cigarettes many a traveller
has gazed up at the great buttressed hill, silhouetted against a
twilight sky, and wondered what manner of place it might be,
half-fortress, half-church, rising some three hundred and fifty feet out
of the plain with its crest of towers and houses.

If Paris is the type of the island cities of Gaul, surely Lâon may be
called the type of the hill cities. “Lâon is the very pride of that
class of town which out of Gaulish hill-forts grew into Roman and
mediæval cities. None stands so proudly on its height; none has kept its
ancient character so little changed to our own day. The town still keeps
itself within the walls which fence in the hill-top, and whatever there
is of suburb has grown up at the foot, apart from the ancient city.”

Geologically, Lâon is a limestone island in the denuded plain of
Soissonais and Béarnais, and was a Celtic stronghold, as its name, a
contraction of _Laudunum_, shows, _dun_ standing for a hill fortress.
The town resembles in plan a blunt crescent, one horn of which is
occupied by the cathedral and citadel. An electric railway connects the
upper with the lower town, and a street from the market-place leads
through the Parvis to the very beautiful west façade of the church.
Cathedral, strictly speaking, it is no longer, for at Lâon we have
another of those instances, always somewhat melancholy, of a deserted
bishopstool. Here it is almost more pathetic, when we remember that the
Bishop of Lâon was second in importance only to the Archbishop of Rheims
himself, and, going back to the days of William Longsword, we find Lâon
not only a bishopric, but a capital town--one of the great trio of
cities which ruled northern France and fought amongst themselves for the
chief mastery. There was the Duke of Paris in his capital; there was the
Duke of the Normans, an outsider who by force of arms had settled at
Rouen, and was a source of continual trembling to the Parisian duchy;
and there was the King of the Franks on the hill-top at Lâon, nominally
suzerain of both the others, but really in daily fear lest one or other,
or both, should swoop down and storm his hill-fortress and add the
royal city of Lâon to lands which in those days went to any man who
could get possession of them.

Tradition says that St. Béat, who lived towards the close of the third
century, gathered his faithful together in a small chapel hewn out of
the rock, over which was built later on the cathedral church of Notre
Dame. This church, according to M. Daboval, seems to have been still in
existence in the fifth century, and was even then of sufficient
importance to attract thither many scholars who wished to study the Holy
Scriptures. In the twelfth century the cathedral, Bishop’s palace, and
many other churches were burnt down, owing to communal troubles during
the bishopric of Gaudry. The present cathedral has one specially
distinctive feature: the east end, instead of being apsidal, follows the
English type of a square termination. There are other churches in the
neighbourhood built on a similar plan, which suggests the possibility of
English architects having been engaged in their construction. Lâon is,
however, in one important feature, a variant from the common arrangement
in English churches of the eastern wall. It has there a great circular
window only, instead of the immense wall of glass usually adopted in
this country. The bays of the aisles are four-storied, in pairs, with
alternating piers, and of great beauty, the ribs of the vaulting
springing from clusters of light shafts. There is a large ambulatory
over the aisles, “which are built up in two stories, both of them
vaulted, and the upper vaulted aisle giving valuable abutment to the
clerestory wall.” This internal arrangement appears to have been in
favour with the architects of the early French Gothic style.

The twenty-eight side chapels are enclosed by some very lovely screens
of a later date, which, being erected during the latter part of the
sixteenth century, and of Renaissance design, are considered by the
ultra-Gothic mind to clash with the rest of the cathedral. Nevertheless
they are very beautiful in proportion and appropriateness, reticent in
design, and admirable in execution.

Viollet-le-Duc, in his review of the cathedral of Lâon, says that it has
a certain ring of democracy and is not of that religious aspect that
attaches to Chartres, Amiens, or Rheims. From the distance it has more
the appearance of a château than of a church: its nave is low when
compared with other Gothic naves, and its general outside appearance
shows evidence of something brutal and savage; and as far as its
colossal sculptures of animals, oxen and horses, which appear to guard
the upper parts of the towers, are concerned, they combine to give an
impression more of terror than of a religious sentiment. One does not
feel, as one regards Notre Dame de Lâon, the stamp of an advanced
civilisation, as at Paris or at Amiens. Everything is rude and rough; it
is the monument of a people enterprising and energetic and full of great
virility. They are the same men as are seen building elsewhere in the
neighbourhood--a race of giants.

As we approach Rheims from Paris, Lâon, or Soissons, there is very
little sign of the vineyards which one associates with the champagne
country. The “vine-clad” hills lie to the south in the Epernay district.
Here to the north of the city we see only well-watered, well-timbered
country, lush meadow-lands, and even market-gardens, reminding us more
of the upper reaches of the Thames valley than of a wine-growing

Rheims chiefly recommends itself to the English mind as the place where
the kings of France were crowned. It would seem also as though the fact
of being crowned at Rheims was a patent of royalty, so to speak, to the
kings themselves, since, as Freeman remarks, their rights were never
disputed after their anointing with the _sainte ampoule_. “Every king of
the French crowned at Rheims,” he says, “has been at once a Frenchman by
birth and the undisputed heir of the founder of the dynasty. Hugh and
his son Robert, neither of them born to royalty, were crowned, the one
at Noyon, the other at Orléans. Henry the Fourth, the one king whose
right was disputed, was crowned at Chartres.”

[Illustration: THE RAMPARTS, LÂON]

Like Soissons, like Lâon, like Bourges even, Rheims has carried down to
modern times the remains of that prestige which must always attach to a
royal city, even though the royalty have long ago departed from it. It
moreover brings us once again to the story of Joan the Maid. It is the
scene of her mission’s fulfilment, of France’s triumph, of the beginning
of that monarchy which Louis XI. established in its complete form and
which the later Bourbons wrecked; and here, when the crown is safe on
her king’s head and Charles VII. has his own again, does Joan ask her
reward--permission to return to her flocks in the fields of Domrémy. And
but that this boon was too simple to grant, Joan’s story might have
ended with this, her greatest triumph, instead of in the market-place at

After the relief of Orléans, Joan had captured Jargeau and Beaugency,
and defeated the English in a great fight at Patay, in which Talbot, the
English leader, was taken prisoner. Having cleared these last obstacles
from Charles’s path, she now set forth to tell him that all was ready
and to persuade him to make all speed to Rheims. Speed, however, was
what the Dauphin either could not or would not make; and it is always
the most unsatisfactory part of the history of Joan the Maid that when
she had pressed on, scarcely resting by night or day, to win back his
kingdom for him, Charles seemed in no hurry to enter upon his honours,
but preferred dawdling with his favourites in Touraine; and it was with
the greatest difficulty that he was persuaded to ride to Rheims with
Joan. Selfish indulgence, foolish favouritism, petty jealousies--were
such things as these to stand in the path from which the Maid had swept
all other barriers? Joan, however, was resolute. In hopes of rousing him
she withdrew her army into the country, and this retreat had the desired
effect. Charles the Laggard allowed himself to be brought into Rheims,
and on July 17 Joan, banner in hand, stood by his side in the cathedral
while the Archbishop anointed him with the holy oil and crowned him
Charles VII. of France. Here, so far as Rheims is concerned, the story
of Joan is at an end.

Two papal councils were held at Rheims, in the days when the Gallican
Church was rising to its highest power, though it had not yet gone so
far as to resent the yoke of the Papacy. Pope Leo IX. in 1049 entered
the city in full state to consecrate for Abbot Heremas his newly-built
monastery of Saint Remi, and followed up the consecration by convoking
a vast synod composed of nearly every prelate in Europe, archbishops,
bishops, abbots, clergy, and laity from every quarter, who sat at Rheims
for six days; but their business seems to have been connected only with
the usual canonical laws. The later council, which took place in 1119
and was presided over by Calixtus, appears to have occupied itself
chiefly with quarrels between Henry of England and Louis of France on
matters not even ecclesiastical. It further confirmed the Truce of God
which had been imposed at Caen sixty years before, and patched up a
peace between the two kings, after an interview between Henry and
Calixtus at Gisors, in which the English king took care to make his case
good before the Pope and to represent that all his incursions upon the
territory of Louis had been made solely from religious motives.

Rheims boasts as one of its early bishops the saint Remigius, who in the
fifth century baptised Clovis here with great pomp, and who received
from heaven, as the legend has it, a flask of oil wherewith to anoint
his king before admitting him into the Church, with the stern
injunction, “Burn now that which thou hast worshipped and worship that
which thou hast burnt.” This flask was preserved as one of the Church’s
most precious relics until the general devastation at the time of the
Revolution, when it was broken to pieces by a fanatic. At the time of
the consecration of Charles X. it reappeared in a mysterious fashion,
and is now shown in the Trésor of the cathedral with various other

It is a sad fact to record that the most beautiful cathedral façade ever
built is now almost entirely hidden by scaffolding necessary for the
restoration of the building; and, judging by the appearance of the
timbering and the paucity of workmen, it is not yesterday that the work
was commenced, nor is it by to-morrow that it will be completed.


In the early part of the thirteenth century Robert de Coucy was
entrusted with the rebuilding of the cathedral after the complete
destruction of the early church by fire. He built it on a simple plan of
a vast choir, no transepts, and a rather narrow nave. “Cet édifice a
toute la force de la Cathédral de Chartres, sans en avoir la lourdeur;
il réunit enfin les veritables conditions de la beauté dans les arts, la
puissance et la grace; il est d’ailleurs construit en beaux materiaux,
savamment appareillés, et l’on retrouve dans toutes ses parties un soin
et une recherche fort rares à une epoque où l’on batissait avec une
grande rapidité et souvent avec des ressources
insuffisantes.”--Viollet-le-Duc. The beautiful portals, “deep and
cavernous,” record by their thousand sculptures, in a clear and
impressive manner, the creation of the world, the whole history of the
Old Testament, the life of our Saviour and the redemption of mankind,
and convey to all who pass by this great object-lesson of their faith.
The tympana of these porches are glazed instead of being filled in with
stone. This was done to guard against the possible breaking of the
doorway lintel, which, if large, might very well give way under the
weight of the superincumbent mass of stone.

Mr. Bond, referring to the deeply recessed porches of the French
cathedrals--which, if we exclude the Galilees, find few analogues in the
English churches--considers them as lineal descendants of the ancient
narthex. “As a rule we did not care to develop the western doorways. The
reason may be that our churches are all comparatively low; to give west
doorways, therefore, any considerable elevation would be at the expense
of the western windows. We needed western light badly in our English
naves, especially in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and preferred
to develop the western window at the expense of the western doorway,
reaching in the end such a façade as that of St. George’s, Windsor.”

The bays of the nave consist of large clerestory windows filled with
glorious deep blue glass, a small triforium and stilted pier arches; a
very short chancel of only two bays and chevet hardly gives room for the
priests and choristers, the sacrarium is therefore lengthened westwards
and projects into the transepts.

To the south of the Cathedral lies the interesting Abbey Church of St.
Remi, built in the eleventh century. Many of the French cathedral towns
are fortunate in the possession of either an abbey or collegiate church,
which existed some two or three centuries before the cathedral itself
was built. At Nevers is the church of St. Etienne, at Evreux St. Taurin,
at Tours St. Martin. At Angers and other places the old Romanesque
basilicas are still to be found. Rheims has for its parent church the
basilica of St. Remi. The western towers are Romanesque, and one of them
has been left more or less unrestored; the interior has all the
impressiveness of the basilica design; the pier arcades and triforium of
the nave elevation occupy the whole space up to the springing of the
barrel vault, and pilasters are carried down to the pier capitals, where
they rest on quaint corbels of very early design. Like churches
constructed in the early days, St. Remi has double aisles on either side
of the nave; the choir is brought westwards to overlap the nave arches,
an arrangement often found in short chancelled churches; the east end is
periapsidal in plan, and the windows are filled with fine blue glass.
Ferguson does not give France the credit of having many fine Romanesque
churches sufficient to satisfy the splendid tastes of the twelfth and
thirteenth centuries, but he makes an exception in the case of St. Remi,
and declares it to be “a vast and noble basilica of the early part of
the eleventh century, presenting considerable points of similarity to
those of Burgundy.”

Rheims has enjoyed for a long time popularity amongst travellers. As far
back as a hundred and twenty years ago a writer, describing the town and
its hotel accommodation, says: “The streets are almost all broad, strait
and well built, equal in that respect to any I have seen; and the inn,
the Hôtel de Moulinet, is so large and well served as not to check the
emotions raised by agreeable objects, by giving an impulse to contrary
vibrations in the bosom of the traveller, which at inns in France is too
often the case.... We have about half a dozen real English dishes that
exceed anything in my opinion to be met with in France; by English
dishes I mean a turbot and lobster sauce, ham and chicken, a haunch of
venison, turkey and oysters, and after these there is an end of an
English table. It is an idle prejudice to class roast beef among them,
for there is not better beef in the world than at Paris.... The French
are cleaner in their persons, and the English in their houses.”

       *       *       *       *       *

To look at Soissons to-day, with its pleasant walks and modern houses,
few people would guess it to have played an important part in the
history of north-eastern France. Yet that pleasant, modern appearance is
itself a proof of what the town endured in earlier days. So fierce was
the struggle it had for existence, that the old Soissons has almost worn
itself out, and, seen from the outside at least, a new and prosperous
town would seem to have taken its place. It might well be called the
city of sieges, for few towns have suffered more in this respect. From
Roman days down to the Franco-Prussian war the place has seemed good and
desirable from soldiers and conquerors, and has had to pay penalty for
its splendid position on the Aisne. Both Cæsar and Napoleon recognised
its importance as a military station, though a stretch of eighteen
hundred years divided the Soissons of one general to the Soissons of the
other. Like Lâon, it was for some time a royal seat; and it was here
that Clovis the Frank defeated Syagrius, “Romanorum Rex,” in 486, and
turned a Roman into a Frankish kingdom, in which Soissons was for
some time the capital. It was in the Abbey of St. Médard, which, except
for some subterranean buildings, is now destroyed, that Louis le
Débonnair was twice imprisoned by his unnatural children; and on the
walls of one of these dungeons have been found some verses, apparently a
description of the unfortunate prisoner, but dating only from the
fifteenth century.

[Illustration: RHEIMS]

During the “Hundred Days” Soissons was twice taken and twice retaken in
the course of a month. Blücher laid siege to the town in 1814, and but
for a sudden surrender on the part of the governor, which gave it into
his hands for the time, it would probably have been annihilated by
Napoleon, who, as matters turned out, had not time to come up with the
Prussian Army. In 1870 another Prussian force entered the town under the
Duke of Mecklenburg, after a siege which closes the roll of Soissons’

On both occasions of our visiting Soissons, we came away with the
feeling that the interior of the Cathedral of Notre Dame was even more
impressive than that of Rheims. It is, indeed, a worthy rival to its
neighbouring sister church; the beautiful proportions of the nave, the
simplicity and purity of the carved capitals, the splendid glass, render
it one of the most beautiful cathedrals of France. There is a lovely
little chapel in the salle capitulaire at the west end, approached by a
cloister, early Gothic in design, with its vaulting supported by two
graceful columns, which reminds one of some of the chapter houses of our
English cathedrals.

In the Place du Cloitre is a doorway into the Cathedral, with a graceful
pediment enclosing a high-springing Gothic tympanum, which is glazed.
The mouldings of the arch have alternating crocketted courses, and the
capitals are carved to represent vine leaves and grapes. It is not easy
to understand why so beautiful a porch should occupy so obscure a
position, unless it were in the early days some special entrance for the
bishops or for the canons.

On the south side there is a Transition, semicircular chapel or apse,
with a roof lower than that of the rest of the Cathedral. A low
clerestory, with three lights, and a small triforium, whose base rakes
with the main triforium of the church, form the upper members of the
elevation. Below there is a graceful three-arched ambulatory, large and
open, spreading backwards over a vaulted chapel. The main arches, simple
and delicate in design, complete the whole bay.

[Illustration: SOISSONS]

Soissons was laid out on a plan which recalls the plan of Noyon. Its
south transept, as at Noyon, dating from the end of the twelfth
century, is rounded and flanked by a circular chapel. Although it is
doubtful whether the Cathedral of Soissons was built in the latter part
of the twelfth century, or only commenced at that time, it is certain
that the nave and choir have the distinct appearance of
thirteenth-century design. During this period, however, a kind of
uncertainty existed in the planning of the religious edifices. These
were constructed on a vast scale, and emancipated themselves from the
restricted Romanesque design in obedience to the religious movement
which declared itself during the reigns of Louis le Jeune and Philippe
Auguste, but the _cathedral_ type had not yet been created. The
requirements of the nascent ceremonial were not yet fulfilled.

The once magnificent and now ruined Abbey of St. Jean des Vignes is
situated on the hill facing the entrance to the town from the station.
The west end only remains, surmounted by two towers with spires. “These
are a great ornament to the town, and were spared at the entreaty of the
citizens when the ruthless democrats destroyed the rest. The towers and
the portal are probably of the thirteenth century, the spires more
modern.” They were much damaged in the Franco-Prussian war, when the
town was bombarded.

Chapter Four


Rouen is a town with two faces, ancient and modern, and the face which
it apparently considers the most becoming is the modern one. The
ancient, historic face, which the town wore when Joan of Arc rode
through, is hidden away as though it were out of fashion, and it is to
be found, not in the broad streets, but in lanes, courts and alleys,
where the way grows narrow and the houses meet overhead. Rouen, the
_chef-lieu_ of a department and fourth on the list of French ports,
finds more important business on hand than dreaming itself back into the
past, and, sacrificing the old life to the new, or, rather, building up
a new life round the old, has made of itself a busy, thriving commercial
town on the banks of that river up which the beak-headed ships of Rolf
the Ganger sailed a thousand years ago to destroy and to conquer. But
the town’s history is only put aside, not forgotten; indeed, there is
too much of it to forget. The records of Rouen go back before the Roman
era in Gaul; the Romans found it as Ratuma or Ratumacos, and then,
Romanising the name, as they did everything else, made it into
Rotomagus. Even in these early days it was a capital city, the
headquarters of the Veliocassian tribe, though not of primary
importance. Later, by the end of the third century A. D., we find it the
chief city of the province Lugdunensis Secunda, and presently an
archiepiscopal see, with an archbishop (now of course a saint) to guide
it in matters spiritual.

Saint Mellon and his successors made a goodly record for about five
centuries. They were a thoroughgoing race, these early bishops of Rouen,
with the zeal of the Christian Fathers fresh upon them, and their very
names have a strong, vigorous sound: Avitian, Victrix, Godard,
Prétextat, Romain, Ouen, of whom the memory yet remains to Rouen in the
names of church, street and tower. After this long line of bishops came
a bad time for Rouen. These were the days when the lands to the
south-west seemed good and pleasant to the Vikings, the fierce Northmen
who in after days were to give their names to Normandy. England had
already been over-run with them; first by Jutes and Saxons, then by the
fiercer Danes, who in their turn pushed out the Saxons. Only a few miles
south of England was another land just as fair, with a river easily
navigable even to the great Northern ships, and thriving towns, rich and
full of booty for Northern plunderers. Rouen, peaceful and prosperous,
was yet dangerously near the sea, and the year 841 saw the dreaded prow
of Oger the Dane coming slowly up the Seine, scattering to right and
left all lesser craft, while the terrible war song, which England
already knew and feared, rose and fell upon the wind. This was only the
beginning. Long fiery years followed, years of ravages, bloodshed and
burning, when human laws were in abeyance and the only rule was that of
might. Thirty-five years after Oger’s invasion came the famous Rolf the
Ganger, who laid waste the land anew, until, in 912, Charles the Simple
was forced to treat with him at Saint Clair-sur-Epte and to cede to him
the duchy of Neustria or Normandy. Rolf then embraced Christianity, and,
with the land in his possession, seemed determined to show the despised
Franks how a Northman could govern. In point of fact the dukedom, as
handed over by Charles, was practically represented by Rouen alone; that
is, Rouen apart from the Bessin and the Côtentin, and all the adjacent
lands which we now include under the name of Normandy. Further, it did
not really belong to Charles. Neustria was part of the great duchy of
Paris, and the cession of it to Rolf cut off Paris from all access to
the sea. But that Duke Robert had the sense to hold his tongue, probably
from fear of losing Paris as well, there might have been serious
results. As it was, Northern France fell into three divisions--the royal
city of Lâon, the duchy of Paris, and the settlement of Rolf at Rouen.
In these three cities centres most of the subsequent history of

As for what Rolf actually did for Rouen, that remains to be seen rather
from the after state of affairs. “The founder of the Rouen colony,”
Freeman says, “is a great man who must be content to be judged in the
main by the results of his actions.” Rolf is not in the least a vague or
shadowy personality, but it is noticeable how he has grown to us out of
a great tangle of myths and very little fact. All we have to go upon is
the not very authentic Roman de Rou, a few Norse legends, and sundry
brief allusions by later French writers, who class him, together with
all the Rouennais, under the contemptuous term Pirate. It was a
well-ordered, strong, self-dependent colony that he handed down to the
long line of his successors. These carried on bravely the traditions of
their founder and brought up a hardy race of fighters, although Rouen
itself was never thoroughly Teutonic, never at least since the very
early days of Rolf’s colony. The religion, the language, and many of
the customs of the French at Lâon were grafted on to the Northmen of
Rouen by their leader, and thus the town stood as much apart from the
rest of Neustria as from the Franks themselves. After the death of Rolf
and of his successor, William Longsword, Louis from beyond Sea, of the
race of Charlemagne, ruled at Lâon, and cast envious eyes on Normandy,
even occupying Rouen for some time during the minority of Richard the
Fearless. But although Rouen was ultimately to become a town of France,
the time was not yet, and for the present her destiny was averted by an
outsider--Harold, King of Denmark, curiously surnamed Blue-tooth. He
determined to resist the encroachments of Louis, and finally made him
prisoner in the city where he had hoped to establish another capital.

The Norman dukes only deteriorated as rulers when they joined to their
domain the crown of England, won by the hardiest and strongest of them
all. We remember the passionate, self-willed Robert, son of the
Conqueror, and John, called Lackland, that disgrace to the English
throne, the worst and likewise the last Norman duke, for the French
king, Philippe Auguste, confiscated Normandy, together with other
English possessions, and joined it to the crown of France, taking
possession of Rouen after a siege in 1204. From this point the history
of Rouen becomes the history of a French and not of a Norman town. As a
reward for its submission, Philippe Auguste presented the town with a
castle, of which one tower (the Tour Jeanne d’Arc) alone remains
standing. Two centuries later, Rouen was in danger from the English.
Henry V., during his brilliant campaign in northern France, was not
likely to leave to itself such an important place. In 1419 he set up his
cannon outside the walls, and proceeded to blockade the town, which
opened its gates to him after a six months’ siege. Here he also built a
castle, which, in the hopefulness born of youth and victory, he intended
to use as a royal residence when all France should be at rest under his
firm rule. But before the conquest was completed, before he had time to
think about any residence other than his camp, came that last fatal
sickness at Vincennes, and the castle, which seemed, like all his
victories, so sure and so lasting, has been swept off the face of the
earth. The years after Henry’s death, however, were significant ones for
Rouen, now in English hands, and in 1431 we come to the great point in
its history, the trial and burning of Joan of Arc in the market-place.

[Illustration: ROUEN FROM THE RIVER]

Captured near Compiègne, Joan had been sent to Rouen by the bishop of
Beauvais. This was in March. The girl was examined fifteen or sixteen
times, a wearying repetition of question and answer, often going round
and round in a circle and never advancing any further. Joan’s replies
were simple but firm. She persisted in her divine mission, and when
asked whether she was in a state of grace or of sin replied, “If I am
not in a state of grace, I hope God will make me so. How can I be in
much sin while the saints will visit me?” In May matters were delayed by
her illness, which was so serious that it seemed for a time as though
her enemies were to be defeated by death; but on her recovery learned
doctors were sent to her in prison to persuade her of her wrong attitude
of mind. Later came a warning from Cauchon, the bishop of Beauvais, to
the effect that he was about to have her brought forth and made the
object of a public sermon, after which, if she would recant, her safety
would be assured. Worn out with her trials, the poor girl declared her
submission and signed a recantation, for she saw that the end could not
but come soon. A penance of perpetual imprisonment was then imposed upon
her, and she submitted passively to the injunctions laid upon her; but
at her final abjuration she seemed to be overcome by a sudden access of
penitence towards the saints, and resumed her old attitude of
determination, declaring that all she had said in submission was said in
fear of being burned at the stake, of which she had a very natural
horror. After this her fate was sealed. Cauchon handed her over to the
secular arm, and a few hours later she was led to the stake in the old
market-place. It is needless to dwell upon this last scene, because it
is one of the stock dramatic occurrences in our history books, which
nearly always represent Joan of Arc as suffering trial, torment and
death, for the sake of her country with almost unnatural fortitude; but,
on the other hand, the more one reads about her, the more clear it
becomes that the heroism of the Maid of Orléans, though none the less
heroic, was a heroism of the simplest order, born of a pure heart, a
steady, straightforward faith in her mission, and only wavering at the
last from a very human and girlish horror of so infamous and dreadful a
death. And as for her judges, needlessly cruel though they were, yet, as
one writer points out, they were almost bound to condemn their prisoner.
To try her for sorcery and to burn her as a witch seems of course to our
modern eyes not merely horrible, but absurd. Cauchon and his followers,
however, did not live in an enlightened age; in their day the “Black
Art” was a thing to be dreaded above all others, and death seemed a
light thing in comparison with the putting down the power of the Evil
One. Others besides Joan of Arc, for generations before and generations
after, had died at the stake for reputed practice of magic; and in the
case of the Maid, “to acquit her would have been to accept her celestial
mission and place her, with some modern French historians, by the side,
nay, in the place, of the Messiah.” The trial and burning of Joan cannot
be looked upon by the light of a modern world; they are of their time,
and that time was, above all things, a superstitious one. And only after
her death did France realise what the Domrémy peasant girl had done for
her country. The French monarchy, as Louis XI. established it, is
perhaps the best monument to her memory. After, and as some say because
of, Joan’s death English prestige in Rouen began steadily to decline.
Two years afterwards, in 1433, came the death of John, Duke of Bedford,
brother of Henry V., perhaps the only man left with anything of Henry’s
strength and singleness of purpose. Rouen held out against two attempts
at recapture on the part of Charles VII., but in 1449 Somerset was
forced to capitulate to a strong expedition, and the English left the
town for ever.

By the middle of the next century we find Rouen in the thick of
religious troubles. In 1562 it was for six months in Huguenot hands, six
months of warfare, oppression and persecution of all Romanists within
the walls, with worse to follow; for when the Royalists recaptured the
town they repaid the Huguenots in their own coin, and revenged the
Catholic massacres with a terrible revenge. After this the Army of the
League held Rouen until, in 1596, Henry IV. of France effected an
entrance into the town.

Nowadays the first view of Rouen is a smoky, dreary little station,
surrounded by _cochers_ and porters in linen blouses; but Arthur Young,
an agriculturist of the eighteenth century, visited the old city during
his travels, before the days of the “iron way,” and he was more
fortunate in what he saw from his _diligence_: “The first view of Rouen
is sudden and striking; but the road doubling, in order to turn more
gently down the hill, presents from an elbow the finest view of a town I
have ever seen; the whole city, with all its churches and convents, and
its cathedral proudly rising in the midst, fills the vale. The river
presents one reach crossed by the bridge, and then, dividing into two
fine channels, forms a large island covered with wood; the rest of the
vale, full of verdure and cultivation, of gardens and habitations,
finish the scene, in perfect unison with the great city that forms the
capital feature.” To get this view to-day one must climb the long, dusty
hill to the convent of Bon Secours, or rather, half-way only, since the
city, river and meadows, show their beauties just as well from a lower
point, and the modern convent and church upon the hilltop are not worth
a further climb.

From the main street of the town the Cathedral is reached by the Rue de
la Grosse Horloge, which leads underneath the archway of the belfry. The
Tour St. Romain rises at the end of the street like a tall white guide,
and here, suddenly, we find ourselves face to face with the west façade
of Notre Dame. The remark made by an American traveller, that he found
Rome very much out of repair, is appropriate to many of the French
cathedrals. Scheduled as historic monuments, they receive annually a
dole from the Government towards maintenance and restoration, but so
miserable is this contribution, and so inadequate to the possibility of
early completion of the work, that a generation may pass away before the
scaffolding is finally removed. The west portal of Rouen is half covered
by a forest of timbering. Rheims suffers even more, and the same may be
said for Notre Dame at Evreux, St. Urbain at Troyes, and many other
cathedrals. Such glimpses, however, as we get of the west front of Rouen
show us its glory. Ruskin writing of it says: “It is the most exquisite
piece of pure Flamboyant work existing. There is not one cusp, one
finial, that is useless, not a stroke of the chisel is in vain; the
grace and luxuriance of it all are visible--sensible, rather, even to
the uninquiring eye; and all its minuteness does not diminish the
majesty, while it increases the mystery of the noble and unbroken

Of the origin of this Flamboyant style a distinguished French writer, M.
Enlart, in a paper lately read before the Archæological Institute of
Great Britain, has asserted that it is to be found not in France, but in
England; and specialising the west front of Rouen, he further states
that, in the arrangement of its large bay enclosing the rose window and
flanked by tiers of statues, it recalls absolutely the façades, earlier
in date, of the cathedrals of Wells, Salisbury and Lichfield.

With one or two exceptions, viz., St. Urbain at Troyes and a chapel in
Amiens Cathedral, the Flamboyant style did not appear in France until
the last quarter of the fourteenth century, and when it had once taken
root, it maintained its integrity until the Renaissance, having the same
characteristics from one end of the country to the other. It was not the
evolution of any previous French style, but it derived its origin, as
above stated, from a style which existed in England a century before.
Roughly speaking, the features which distinguish the Flamboyant are,
first, the ogee arch which is typical of the style, then special systems
of vaulting, and flowing tracery of windows, forms of arches, “anse de
panier,” &c., arch mouldings dying into piers without impost or capital,
and generally a love of vegetal and undulating decoration. This
“decorative caprice” reigned in France in the fifteenth century at a
time when the Perpendicular style became universal in England and had
completely driven out the ogee arch.

The occupation of the greater part of France by the English in the
Hundred Years’ War would naturally result in an English influence being
noticeable in its buildings, the contact of nations producing an
exchange of art as of commerce. The Flamboyant may therefore be said to
be the by-product of the Hundred Years’ War.

There is documentary evidence that both at Rouen and at Evreux the
foreign occupation did not interfere with the work going on at the
cathedrals; indeed, at Rouen, two canons of York were received with the
greatest courtesy by the chapter, and contributions were made by the
English towards the completion of the Cathedral. The domination of the
English was no hindrance to the progress of art in France, and as soon
as the latter had freed itself and realised its national unity, its
architects applied themselves heart and soul to the development of this
style which was “borrowed from the enemy.”

A long list can be made of buildings where the ogee arch and other
typical features obtained in England, from the end of the thirteenth to
the latter part of the fourteenth century, during which time no
parallels existed in France. One of the most ancient examples is Queen
Eleanor’s Cross at Northampton (1291-1294), where Flamboyant features
show themselves.

The tomb of William de la Merche at Wells (1302), Aymer de Valence at
Westminster (1323), and many other early fourteenth-century examples,
furnished by almost every cathedral, testify to the prevalence of the
passion for the ogee motive of decoration. These are given in detail by
M. Enlart as irrefragable proofs of the English origin of the Flamboyant

The interior of the Cathedral of Rouen is considered by Mr. Bond to be
curiously Romanesque in plan. Its nave bays are four-storied, an upper
and lower pier arch with small triforium and clerestory. The upper pier
arch might also be regarded as a triforium, for a passage-way runs along
the sill of the arch and is continued behind the main piers on an
elegant group of shafted corbels. These were originally intended to
support a vault of a lower aisle. The east end is more dignified and has
simpler factors, clerestory, triforium and pier arch. The glass is
magnificent, dating from the thirteenth century.

[Illustration: RUE DE L’HORLOGE, ROUEN]

South of the Cathedral a narrow street leads eventually to the river by
way of the _halles_, the Place Haute-Vieille-Tour and its sister of the
Basse-Vieille-Tour. The first square is a large open place, fenced round
with solid stone buildings, and having on its south side the Chapelle de
la Fierte Saint-Romain. With this monument, on which a flight of steps
leads up to a Renaissance chapel of six stages, is connected a curious
_privilège_ and legend, both of which have of course been recorded
before, but which are interesting enough to bear repetition. The charter
for this privilege was accorded to the chapter of Rouen Cathedral by
King Dagobert--he who founded the Abbey of Saint Denis. Each year, on
Ascension Day, the archbishop was empowered to release a man condemned
to death; and therefore every Ascension Day the good folk of Rouen
flocked into the streets to watch the procession of the Fierte
Saint-Romain. First came the solemn visit of the arm of the Church to
the arm of the Law, with the annual formal proclamation of the
privilege. Then every prison in the city must be searched, and every
prisoner put on oath and examined as to the cause of his imprisonment.
Finally the election of the favoured prisoner was put to the vote by
the chapter, his name sent to the Palais de Justice, and the paper duly
signed and sealed, after which the “messe du prisonnier” was celebrated
in the Salle des Pas-Perdus; and finally, the prisoner himself was
called before his lords, secular and spiritual, and formally examined;
he then confessed to the chaplain of Saint-Romain, his fetters were
removed, and he followed the archbishop to the Place Haute-Vieille-Tour,
where, in the Chapelle de la Fierte, a solemn service made him once more
a free man. A solemn and magnificent procession then bore him, crowned
with flowers, to the great thanksgiving Mass, after which he was free to
go whither he would. No less curious is the legend connected with the
ceremony. It is said that while Romain was bishop of Rouen a terrible
dragon laid waste all the land and devoured the inhabitants.

No one dared to approach this monster, who was known as the Gargoyle,
until Saint Romain, armed only with his sanctity, set out to subdue it,
accompanied by a condemned criminal--the prototype of those who were
released on Holy Thursday--when the Gargoyle at once submitted and, with
the episcopal stole round its neck, was led by the prisoner to the
water’s edge. The sequel does not reflect much credit upon the
bishop--at least, it seems rather of the nature of meanness to conjure
the beast into good nature and then to push it, all unawares, into the
river to drown. At the head of the Portail de la Calende, the north
porch of the Cathedral, stands the figure of Saint Romain, and under his
feet, with the stole round its neck, is the Gargoyle, craning its head
round to look into the face of the bishop with the expression of a very
hideous but very faithful dog--a most disarming expression if it be
meant to represent that worn by the Gargoyle before it was sent to its
death! In memory of this occurrence, the standard of the dragon was
borne in the processions at the _privilège_--banners similar to those of
the dragons at Bayeux and Salisbury. The legend, however, appears to be
of later date than the festival, which is mentioned certainly as early
as the twelfth century, and continued to delight the Rouennais as late
as 1790.

The Abbey Church of St. Ouen is placed at the head of the collegiate
churches of France so far as its beauty and perfection of architecture
is concerned. In its proportion of nave, transepts and choir it is
considered to outshine Cologne, its great rival and contemporary. The
vast area of clerestory and glazed triforium recalls the interior
arrangement of Amiens. The triforium passage is worked between the lower
mullions of the windows, which are duplicated; but, as is pointed out
by Mr. Bond, care was taken that the inner and the outer tracery of the
windows should be different in pattern. Freeman says: “St. Ouen goes
further to unite the two forms of excellence”--external outline and
internal height--“than any other church, French or English,” and states
that “St. Ouen is the loftiest church in the world that has a real
central tower.”

This central lantern is, according to Ferguson, a very noble feature and
appropriate to its position; unhappily it does not enjoy the admiration
of all writers: Ruskin condemns the false buttresses of the tower, which
he describes as merely a hollow crown, and declares that it needs no
more buttressing than does a basket.

The third church of Rouen is that of St. Maclou. Its most noticeable
feature is the west end, which terminates in a very beautiful porch of
pentagonal form, and might be taken as another example of the rich
Flamboyant ornament seen in the western façade of the Cathedral. The
church itself is a complete specimen of its period, and dates from the
latter half of the fifteenth century.

On the north side of the church, in the Rue Martainville, is the Aître
de St. Maclou, an old parish cemetery of the fifteenth century. There is
a small quadrangle, an old disused stone well with an iron crucifix in
the centre, and round all runs a cloister with two low stories, timbered
in black and white, with the famous “Danse Macabre” carved on the lower
beams. It is now used as a school for the poor children of Rouen, and on
working days is full of life--the life of a growing generation going on
side by side with the relics of a dead and half-forgotten past, for the
quaint seriousness of an old fifteenth-century builder has traced upon
the lintel a constant reminder of death and the grave--skulls, bones,
spades, and here and there a grim skeleton Death bearing away a human
figure in his arms. Many of the most beautiful figures are headless, not
from the ravages of a symbolic Death, but from those of a very real and
equally unsparing hand--the hand of the Revolution.

During the Franco-Prussian War Rouen had unhappily to record its own
chapter of reverses, when the French determined to dislodge Manteuffel.
Faidherbe’s army, together with the army of the Havre and General Roy’s
army of the South, had planned out an admirable scheme, which, however,
was lacking in one essential, actual execution. Manteuffel was to be
routed and driven out of Rouen. The Prussians were equally confident of
success, and it is said that Manteuffel ordered his train to take him to
Amiens to be ready next day at twelve o’clock, by which time he felt
sure that he would have disposed of the enemy.

[Illustration: RUE ST. ROMAIN, ROUEN]

“The battle began before daylight, the pursuit lasted until after dark
and was resumed on the following morning; but the victory was virtually
gained when the first blow was struck, or, rather, the first shot fired.
Here and there, on the road along which they were driven, or on the
wooded heights by which the road is in many places commanded, they made
a desperate resistance, but it was throughout a question, in regard to
the French, of the rate of retreat, never a question of retreat and

Chapter Five


We left Rouen by a “quick” train, that is, one which occupied itself in
stopping at every wayside station that caught its fancy. However, this
mattered little, as the road to Evreux runs through the most enchanting
country, and we had plenty of time to admire it. Wonderful woods stretch
over the slope of the hills and widen out into valleys scattered with
old timbered farm-houses, and here and there a château, seen amongst the
trees of its _propriété_; little poplar-shaded rivers run through the
fields, decked in holiday garlands of loosestrife and meadowsweet and
unmolested by any eager _pêcheur_, whether boy with string and bent pin,
or more “compleat angler” with rod and line. The Seine, divested of
barge and steam tug, greets one by glimpses now and then; and after
leaving the tunnel before Elbœuf, it bursts suddenly into view--a
wide sweep of river, with the busy little town by its side. Then the
valley closes in all at once, and we run under the shadow of chalk
cliffs with steep scarped faces and deep caverns, into whose blackness
we may almost peer from the carriage window. Lastly comes a run up on to
high ground again; and there below, shut in by hills, with three towers
rising from its low roofs, is Evreux. The railway takes a great curve
from one side of the town to the other before running into the station,
so that the place passes in review before one; and it is an impressive
review, seen as we first saw it, in the light of a summer sundown, a
purple haze, “mystic, wonderful,” hanging like a veil over the little

Besides the Cathedral and the bishop’s palace, Evreux possesses little
that strikes one as being either very old or very new; a cheerful, clean
mediocrity prevails all through the town, which, nevertheless, dates
back to very early times. Remains of a Roman settlement have been
discovered some little distance away, at Vieil Evreux, then known as
Mediolanum Aulercolum, and afterwards as Eburovices, whence is derived
the modern name of Evreux. A bishopric was founded at Evreux by St.
Taurin, during the great movement towards Christianity in the fourth
century; later, Clovis destroyed the Roman encampment and founded a town
of his own, which in its turn was burnt and pillaged by the Northmen in
the ninth century. After this it probably shared the bounty of its
former scourge, Duke Rolf, and became part of the Norman duchy and a
Naboth’s vineyard to Count Thibaut of Chartres, who did actually take
possession of it in 962, though Richard the Fearless must have reclaimed
the town, as he presented the “Comté d’Evreux,” which was to pass later
into the family of Montfort l’Amaury, to one of his younger sons. Henry
I. set fire to Evreux for some mysterious reason, but with the full
consent of the bishop, who must have had peculiar ideas on the subject
of his pastoral duties; and in the reign of Cœur-de-Lion John
Lackland gave it up to the French Crown, and afterwards, filled with
remorse, or more probably with alarm, at the news that his brother was
returning from Palestine and might demand what had become of Evreux,
ordered a general massacre of the French garrison quartered there and
ran away himself, leaving his wretched English subjects to bear the
brunt of the French king’s wrath when the story should come to his

[Illustration: EVREUX]

After several vicissitudes of this kind, Evreux was in 1404 finally
joined to the Crown of France, though it still seems to have been tossed
about in the most confusing way, and we hear of it as belonging now to
France, now to Navarre, then sold to the Darnley Stuarts and back again
to France; and so on until Napoleon, having divorced Josephine,
presented her out of his imperial bounty with a part of the Comté
d’Evreux as a compensation for her trials. The modern town, however, has
not at all the air of having been the plaything of kings and states. The
only noticeable traces of its ancient warfare are the machicolated walls
of the bishop’s palace, and the moat below, running between the palace
and the Boulevard Chambaudin. The moat is now filled up by a
kitchen-garden--a striking example of how peace has succeeded war in
Evreux--but it is easy to imagine how it must have looked in the old
days; the dark, still water, the steep walls rising up to their turrets,
the treacherous machicolations, apparently ornamental but in reality
only too useful, and above it all the grey towers of Notre Dame.

The interior of the Cathedral extends in date from the Romanesque to the
Renaissance period. The nave bays offer examples of what is known as
“skeleton construction”; they consist of a Romanesque pier arch (said to
be the remaining work of Lanfranc) surmounted by a large clerestory and
small glazed triforium; the clerestory wall, as Mr. Bond points out, is
so shallow that it “ceases to exist _quâ_ wall.” It is in some way
analogous to the choir of Gloucester in its “attenuated construction.”
The lights are filled in with glass, apparently of the late fifteenth
century. As Whewell says, the transepts and part of the choir are most
remarkable and most ancient examples of the Flamboyant style. The choir,
burnt down in 1346, was restored in the second half of the fourteenth
and early fifteenth centuries; the transept was finished about 1450. The
English took possession of the town in 1418, but this did not in any way
hinder the work from being carried on. In 1422 Tchan le Boy was made
_maître de l’œuvre_, and to him is attributed the Lantern Tower,
springing from a beautiful vaulted base. The _vitrail_ of the Saintes
Maries and its mouldings, probably designed by Le Boy, follows the
English type.

Evreux is, according to Whewell, “a mixture of Flamboyant and
Renaissance. The Flamboyant dies down gradually into Italian, especially
in the series of wooden screens to the chapels round the choir, where
every sort of mixture is noticeable.” In some of the glass and on the
outside panels of the west doors the artists have attempted to show
their knowledge of the newly-discovered science of perspective, but they
pay little regard to the vanishing point. On the north side, the windows
of the aisle, with high pediments cutting the balustrades, are very
beautiful examples of the prevailing style. The western towers “are to
be considered as Gothic conceptions expressed in classical phrases.”

In the far west of the town, at the end of the Rue Josephine, lies
Saint Taurin, the second church of Evreux, in its quiet little square,
screened by magnificent elm-trees, a square and solid-looking building,
with a good deal of work that is very interesting and undoubtedly
ancient. Originally the church formed part of a Benedictine Abbey
founded in 1026; an ancient crypt remains, built, as purports to be the
case with so many churches, round the tomb of the patron, Saint Taurin,
who in the fourth century brought Christianity into the town, and whose
story may be read in the fifteenth-century glass of the choir. His
relics are preserved in a wonderful carved casket of the thirteenth
century, which may be seen by the curious in the church treasury. In
three bays of the south nave the vaulting ends in some curious stone
carving in the form of grotesque heads, which belong to the sixteenth

“Once a cathedral, always a cathedral” was the theory which led us to
Lisieux _en route_ for Bayeux. It seemed almost as absurd that the great
church of St. Pierre should not be counted a cathedral as that St.
Etienne and the other churches of Caen should be churches and nothing
more. In this respect, indeed, Lisieux takes precedence of Caen, for
until the days of the Empire she had a bishopstool of her own, while
Caen never actually possessed the dignity of an episcopal see.

Lisieux is one stage further on the high road between French Normandy
and Norman Normandy, and is some way over the Norman border; at Rouen,
at Evreux even, we were in France, but here all around us, as at Bayeux,
are signs and tokens of a land more closely akin to our own, and we feel
that we have at last reached Normandy proper. Lisieux, both for its
Cathedral and for itself, is full of interest. The general impression is
that of a bright little place with a great deal of life--the life of
shop and market--to be seen on all sides, but none of the modern
commercial spirit, such as dominates a place like Rouen. There is a very
mediæval air about Lisieux, and the old houses, of which there are
plenty, are to be found not in out-of-the-way alleys, but in the chief
streets. The Grande Rue has one magnificent specimen, now a boot-maker’s
shop, opposite the Rue du Paradis; down at the bottom of the hill, in
the Rue de Caen, is a house where Charlotte Corday spent the night on
the way to Paris to fulfil her terrible mission, and the Rue aux Fèvres,
where one seems to have walked straight into the Middle Ages, contains
the “Manoir de François Ier,” a beautiful sixteenth-century house,
from whose name one would at least suppose that François once spent a
night there, whereas he probably never went near the place, and its
chief claim to the title lies in the abundance of carved salamanders
on the splendid house-front, and even these are mixed up with apes and
other grotesque creatures.

[Illustration: THE TOWER OF EVREUX]

The Church of St. Jacques stands almost at the top of the hill, between
the Rue St. Jacques and the Marché au Beurre, where most of the
straggling streets converge. It was built in the last years of the
fifteenth century, and is a fairly complete specimen of the French style
of that period, standing upon a long, wide flight of steps, with a
balustrade running completely round the building. The floor inside
follows the slope of the hill, and slants upwards from west to east.

The church contains some half-effaced frescoes on the nave pillars, and
a very curious old painting on wood, representing the miraculous
translation of St. Ursin’s relics to Lisieux in 1055. This picture hangs
in a chapel in the south aisle, dedicated to St. Antony of Padua, not in
St. Ursin’s own chapel, which is on the other side of the nave.

Lisieux looks like a town with a history, and, like most French towns,
goes back to Roman times, when it was known as Noviomagus or as Lexovii,
from the Gallic tribe which had settled there. Rolf obtained it as part
of his Norman duchy; Geoffrey Plantagenet and Stephen of Blois fought
over it and between them reduced the town to a terrible state of
famine, for which Henry II. of England tried to make amends by causing
his own marriage with Eleanor of Poitou to take place in the Cathedral.
Thomas à Becket took refuge at Lisieux on one occasion and left behind
him some vestments, which are proudly displayed in the chapel of the

During the Hundred Years’ War and the religious quarrels two centuries
later, Lisieux shared the fate of other towns as regards sieges and
conflagrations; but after this we hear little of its history, and may
assume that it emerged from its trials much as we see it now--busy and
peaceful once more, with leisure to turn again to the old-world town
routine which makes the Lisieux of to-day.

The interior of St. Pierre, according to Whewell, “bears a great
resemblance to Early English work, although the French square abacus is
still to be found here. The round abacus is noticeable in the arcades
under the windows of the choir, giving quite an English look to this
portion of the church.” There is at the west end a large interior porch,
which is referred to by most writers on architecture. The two towers
vary in their openings, one having lancet lights and the other small
round-headed windows. The nave is large, consisting of eight bays, and
built, it is said, about 1160. The tympana of the choir triforium arches
are filled with plate tracery, quatrefoil and cusped. The most
beautiful interior elevation, however, is that of the north wall of the
transept. Here the three large upper lights remind one of the well-known
“Five Sisters” at York. The lower double-light window is deeply
recessed, with elegant clusters of engaged shafts supporting the
graceful mouldings round the opening. The transept also possesses an
eastern aisle, which is said to be a rarity in France.

[Illustration: ST. JACQUES LISIEUX]

The church itself is unfortunately situated in a corner of the _Place_,
and a large building which abuts on its north-west tower detracts
considerably from its beauty and importance. The south transept door
opens into the Rue du Paradis--a name which one is glad to see preserved
in the neighbourhood of French cathedrals. It may refer to a garden or
close which has been absorbed by surrounding buildings, or to a
closed-in porch, the upper stories of which have been used either as
libraries, or as lodgings for chantry-priests.

Chapter Six


We read of Bayeux--before going there--as a place where many went but
few stayed, because of the towns behind and before; memories of Caen and
Lisieux, expectations of Coutances and Saint-Lô, which dimmed the modest
light of little Bayeux. It is curious, however, that this should be the
case, when we remember how important was the position it held in the
history of mediæval Normandy. It was the chief town of the country known
as the Bessin, a district lying immediately to the west of Rolf’s duchy
at Rouen, and the conquest of which was the next stage on his westward
road. One interesting point here is that the inhabitants of the Bessin,
even as far back as the later days of the Roman Empire, were not Celts
but Saxons--men of the same race as Rolf, who took possession of Bayeux
in 924, and established there a Danish settlement, which, as Freeman
says, was always a thorn in the side of the Celts, and provoked many
attacks from its Breton neighbours. Saxon and Dane made common cause
against the enemies both to the east and to the west; and thus at Bayeux
there grew up a strong Teutonic colony, without the Frankish element
which, as we have seen, worked such changes at Rouen. The old Norse
religion obtained here long after eastern Normandy had become Christian;
and the Bayeux colony bore much more affinity to the Danish settlements
in England than to that at Rouen, the nucleus of Normandy, which was
hardly Norman at all, whereas, as Freeman remarks, “the acquisition of
Bayeux gave Normandy all that created and preserved the genuine Norman
character.” For this reason William Longsword chose that his son,
Richard the Fearless, should be brought up at Bayeux rather than at
Rouen--so that, living amongst his own people, he might in time come to
be not only Duke of Normandy, but also Duke of the Normans.

The Bessin still preserves this ancient distinction, and both country
and inhabitants bear a great resemblance to those of England. Bayeux
itself is a quiet country town, built up one low hill and down
another--a town of long streets and grey-shuttered houses, possessing
three principal interests--the Cathedral, the Seminary Chapel and the
Tapestry. It is also the birthplace of Alain Chartier, minstrel and
court-poet to Charles VII., and author of that curious document, the
“Curiale,” whose best praise lies in the fact that it was one of the
earliest books selected for publication by Caxton. It is a brilliant and
vivid picture of the court life of the time; and the story says of
Maître Alain that he intended it as an answer to a letter from his
brother Jean, enquiring whether he, too, could not find fame at court.
Certainly it looks as if the favoured brother wished to keep to himself
the good things of life, for although he paints in brilliant colours,
Alain does not spare the follies and vices of court life, and one cannot
help feeling that his object was to put the more obscure Jean “off the

Little is known of the circumstances either of Chartier’s birth or his
death, though of his actual life several records exist. He is known to
have been one of the most brilliant men of letters of his time, probably
rivalled only by Charles d’Orléans, and--since a court minstrel is
always a picturesque figure--he has come down to our times surrounded by
a certain halo of romance. His many writings, both in prose and verse,
are very little known to modern readers, though he had many disciples
among the men of his own time, and his “Bréviaire des Nobles” was
considered such a standard for courtly manners that it was apportioned
out, so Jean de Masles tells us, into daily passages for the youth of
the court--that court of which Chartier knew every turn, every corner,
every glittering folly and every dark intrigue--to learn by heart. A
modern statue in his native town at the end of the Rue Général de Daïs
shows him in furred cap and flowing robe, a pen in one hand, and in the
other a sheaf of papers from which he is apparently declaiming some gay
rondel or pathetic ballad.

His house in the Rue des Bouchers is also shown, with an inscription to
the effect that he was born there with his two brothers, Jean and
Guillaume; but it has now become a very small and dingy shop, and one
goes away with a feeling that a link with the past has been broken. But
although Chartier’s house would scarcely be singled out as an ancient
landmark, one or two there are in the quiet grey line of the Bayeux
streets that seem to belong to a better time, a time when watchmen
walked the streets by night and armed men clattered down them by day:
and among these stands out the really beautiful gabled specimen at the
corner of the Rue St. Martin. Here cross-timbers, black and white, tall
gables and lattice windows call for our admiration on our road to the
Cathedral; and nearer the great church itself is the sixteenth-century
Maison du Gouverneur, and another “Maison d’Adam.” It is curious how
often street and house names in France reverted in this way to our
common origin. In countless places do we find Maisons d’Adam (Eve
sometimes has a share in the patronage of the house), with their figures
of Adam, Eve and the Serpent; sometimes, as at Rouen, a whole street
bears the name of the Père Adam. It would be interesting to know if this
is a cropping up of the Revolutionary _êgalité_--a wooden form of

    “When Adam delved and Eve span,
     Who was then the gentleman?”

If so, the idea is certainly before its time, since many of these houses
and streets were built, and presumably named, when the Revolution was as
yet in its cradle.

The Lanterne des Morts, a quaint structure with a quaint title, raises a
perforated cone on the south-west of the Cathedral. This mediæval
lamp-post had it name from the fact that it was lighted whenever a
funeral procession passed through the town; and it must certainly have
added to the impressiveness of the scene, especially when, as was often
the case in old days, the burial took place in the dead of night, and
this red glowing beacon towered above the low roofs like a great funeral
torch as the chanting of the monks broke the stillness, and the sombre
figures with their burden moved into the church.

Returning to the three principal attractions of Bayeux noticed above,
the Cathedral--the only church of importance--falls naturally into the
first place. Entering by one of the five beautiful gabled doorways, one
stands on a platform above the level of the nave floor. The standpoint
being thus raised, the length of the church is apparently enhanced.
There is a church in Rome and another at Modena where this _coup
d’œil_ is effected by the street level being some twenty or thirty
steps above the nave.

The bays of the nave, especially in their lower compartments, are very
remarkable. Above the twelfth-century round-headed pier arches, and
reaching to the very small triforium balustrade, the whole wall face is
decorated with beautiful diaper carving. This surface decoration is to
be found in Westminster Abbey, but not in the same varied richness as on
the walls and spandrils at Bayeux. On one of the bays the old corbels
which carried the organ in the thirteenth century still remain. The
clerestory windows are beautiful in proportion and constructed in
double planes. The spandrils and tracery of the choir arches show
examples of early plate tracery.

In the treasury one of the most interesting pieces of furniture is a
large _armoire_ containing church vestments, and another example of
early joinery is to be found in the fine door in the south aisle. Here
huge planks, some eighteen feet in length, are fastened together by iron
bands and hinges, without framework of any kind. The two western towers,
together with the crypt, are said to be the only parts remaining of the
old church of Odo, brother of the Conqueror.

We made two unsuccessful attempts to obtain entrance to the Seminary
Chapel; but as it is said to be a very beautiful specimen of early
Gothic, the short description given by Whewell may perhaps act as an
incentive to other visitors, and spur them on to greater importunity
than we used. He considers it to be “the most elegant and complete
example of the Early English style. The details resemble those of the
Temple Church in London, in the shafts, capitals, vaulting, &c. The
arrangement of the east end is remarkable, uniting as it does in a
considerable degree the effect of the polygonal apse and of the east
windows, having diverging vaulting but with eastern lights.”


At the present day it is upon the Tapestry that Bayeux bases its
chief claim to notoriety, and the first feeling is one of surprise if
not of disappointment on finding that it can hardly be reckoned as
tapestry at all. This impression, however, soon disappears when we come
to consider the interest and importance of the work, not merely as a
local but also as an historic monument. Many and fierce have been the
controversies as to its origin--all the more so from the fact that it
was not brought to light until (speaking relatively) within recent
times, so that little can be gained from history or tradition, or,
indeed, from anything beyond the internal evidence. The form of the
Tapestry is well known to all visitors of Bayeux (and without going so
far afield, a very accurate copy may be seen at the South Kensington
Museum)--a long, narrow piece of linen, embroidered in crewel work of
five different colours, setting forth the conquest of England by Duke
William. In 1724 M. Lancelot found a copy of some of the scenes among
the papers of the Intendant of Normandy, and concluding after a close
investigation that everything pointed to the work being contemporary
with the events depicted, communicated his discovery to the Académie
Française. Montfaucon carried on the investigation, and finally
discovered the original of Lancelot’s copy in a length of tapestry which
was hung round the Cathedral at Bayeux on great festivals. The early
authorities seem to have entertained no doubt of its being contemporary,
but later accounts set forth theories so widely different from one
another, and in some cases so flatly contradictory, that it is
impossible to enter into them within a very limited space. Following the
authority of Freeman, who treats the subject in a very complete manner
in his “History of the Norman Conquest” (vol. iii. Appendix, note A), we
may assume that the “Toilette du Duc Guillaume,” as it is called in an
ecclesiastical inventory at Bayeux of the fifteenth century, is
contemporary with the history of the Conqueror, but is more likely to
have been connected with Odo than with Queen Matilda. This theory is
supported by the prominence given in the various scenes to “Turold,
Vital, and Wadard, ” who are mentioned in Domesday Book as vassals of the
bishop, but are in themselves quite unimportant, which would suggest
that the original interest of the Tapestry was intended to be a purely
local one, for the Bishop of Bayeux alone. Freeman thinks it possible
that the work may have been done in England. When Napoleon became First
Consul he sent for the tapestry from Bayeux, and displayed it in the
Louvre as an incentive to Frenchmen to conquer England as Duke William
had conquered it some seven centuries before. After this it returned to
Bayeux, and was formerly shown to the curious visitor rolled on a
windlass; but later days have treated it more reverently, and it is now
preserved under glass in a condition of colour and texture which,
considering its age and its adventures, it little short of marvellous.

Side by side with that of the Conqueror, the other memory which Bayeux
calls up is undoubtedly that of the greatest bishop the little city ever
knew, who governed it during half a century of Normandy’s most stirring
history. Odo’s life-story stands out among those of the men of his time,
indeed, much as does the life-story of his half-brother, Duke William.
In an age when bishops wielded sword as well as mace, he outstripped his
contemporaries not only in ecclesiastical power, but in the highest of
temporal ambitions. Like Wolsey, he aimed at being Pope above all his
other goals. In the meantime Odo despised no stepping-stones to power.
He became Bishop of Bayeux in 1048; fought with William at Senlac, “in
full armour by the side of his brother and sovereign, as eager and ready
as William himself to plunge in wherever in the fight danger should
press most nearly,” and in the following year, when fear of foreign
invasions called the new king back to Normandy, he was left in joint
command of England with Fitz-Osbern, and given the title of Earl of
Kent. Thus we see that Odo had two distinct provinces--a secular one in
England, a spiritual one in Normandy--and his rule seems to have
differed according to the province in which he found himself. As Earl of
Kent, the native chroniclers declare he was harsh, oppressive and
tyrannical; his followers were lawless, and were dreaded through his
territory. The chroniclers of Bayeux, however, show him up as a
munificent prelate, generous in giving, a patron of “learning and good
conversation, ” and, above all, a benefactor to his see in that he
rebuilt the church where his flock worshipped, and where the crypt and
part of the western towers still bear witness of his work. William of
Poitiers, the chronicler of all that William did, extends his panegyrics
to Odo, and declares that he was appreciated and beloved both in
Normandy and England. But this probably results, Freeman points out,
from the immense admiration of William the chronicler for William the
duke, which would probably--so partial were historians in those
days--lead him to believe that not only was the Conqueror impeccable,
but his lieutenants also.

Caen follows as a natural corollary to Bayeux, and once one has embarked
upon a journey in the Bessin and Calvados districts, it seems almost
invidious to stay in one town without paying a visit to the others, both
being so intimately bound up with the story of the Conqueror.

The churches of Caen have never had any pretence to episcopal dignity,
and it is curious that this city, richer in great churches than any town
in Normandy, should never have been raised to a bishopric, more
especially considering the number of cathedral towns which beside such a
city as this rank as hardly more than large villages, and yet which,
because they possess one church of importance, must take precedence of
Caen and other bishopless cities. Apart from its ecclesiastical dignity,
however, Caen should be visited because it is a town both ancient and
beautiful, and in memory of the great duke, who, English sovereign
though he was, yet seems to come before us much more vividly in Normandy
than in England. It was the Conqueror who made Caen--perhaps not as it
is to-day, but at any rate as it was in the Middle Ages. Caen, or
Cadomum as the Normans found it, was a tiny parish lying on the
outskirts of the Bessin district, burnt probably by the first Norman
invaders, and likewise included in Rolf’s conquests, but of too little
importance either to be harmed by the one or benefited by the other.
Then arose the discussion about William’s marriage with Matilda, the
dispensation granted by the Pope for their breach of canonical law and
the conditions under which William might keep his wife--that the duke
and the duchess should each build an abbey church and foundation within
the town of Caen, that of William to serve for men, that of Matilda for
women; and forthwith the little town became a centre of attraction,
alive with workmen, visited no doubt from time to time by the duke and
duchess themselves in order that they might see how the work was going
forward. The Abbaye aux Dames was the first to be consecrated. Matilda
wished to hurry on the work, probably, as one writer says, from feminine
impatience to complete her task. The church finished under her auspices,
however, was too quickly erected to be more than a fragment, “simply so
much as was necessary for the devotions of the sisterhood, ” and its real
completion belongs to a day later than the time of Matilda, though her
original plan was in all probability carried out to the end. William,
however, took his time over the building of his church, and watched it
to the finish. It was consecrated, with the exception of the two western
towers, by Lanfranc in 1077, and stands to-day, in its strength,
simplicity and majesty, a fitting and lasting memorial of the man who
ruled England and Normandy and kept them with hand of iron.

“The church of William, vast in scale, bold and simple in its design,
disdaining ornament, but never sinking into rudeness, is indeed a church
worthy of its founder. The minster of Matilda, far richer even in its
earliest parts, smaller in size, more delicate in workmanship, has
nothing of the simplicity and grandeur and sense of proportion which
marks the work of her husband. The one is the expression in stone of the
imperial will of the conquering duke; the other breathes the true spirit
of his loving and faithful duchess.”

The foundation of the two great abbeys soon led to a growing population
outside their walls. Houses were built around the Trinité on the hilltop
and around Saint Etienne in the plain; various trades sprang up, we may
suppose, within the town; and a castle--always a patent of nobility to
any town--was built on the hill, where William might lodge during his
visits to Caen. These visits became more and more frequent until Caen
was elevated almost to the rank of a royal residence; and even when Duke
William became King of England, he found nothing in his new kingdom so
pleasant as the little city under the hill. He built walls all round the
town; he conceded to the inhabitants commercial privileges such as were
enjoyed by Rouen and other large cities, together with the right of
holding fairs, though the fairs of Caen never attained such celebrity as
did those at Troyes; and finally, it was through the streets of Caen
that his funeral train passed, bearing the Conqueror to his long rest
in the church which he had built in the city which he had loved.

“The death of a king in those days came near to a break-up of all civil
society. Till a new king was chosen and crowned, there was no longer a
power in the land to protect or to chastise. All bonds were loosed; all
public authority was in abeyance; each man had to look to his own as
best he might.” Thus is described the state of feudal England and feudal
Normandy after the death of the Conqueror at Rouen. A state of the
utmost confusion prevailed; and apparently quite as an afterthought,
masses were offered for the soul of him who so lately had kept all in so
strict an order. This confusion was not the outcome of any personal
disrespect to the dead king; it was simply a reaction consequent on the
removal of the one great headstone, the one great reliance of the realms
on both sides of the Channel. In the meantime the body of William was
borne to Caen to await burial. A Norman knight of the name of Herlwin
took upon himself the task of ordering funeral rites proper to the
degree of such a man, since neither kinsfolk nor servants seemed willing
to stir a finger. Once at Caen, however, the Conqueror’s faithful
followers received their dead master with all the honour and respect
which they had shown to him while living. The procession started in full
pomp towards Saint Stephen’s and was met by the Abbot Gilbert, his
clergy, and a number of laymen. The monks fell into file, the solemn
chant arose; but suddenly the orderly progress was arrested by an event
as startling as any in the lifetime of the great man they were burying.
As the crowds filled the streets, a fire broke out in one of the houses;
and as in the Middle Ages fires were easier to kindle and harder to
quench than in later days, the flames spread along from house to house,
till it seemed as though a sheet of fire were pursuing the Conqueror to
his grave. Soon only the monks remained of the great company that had
set out from the monastery, and they went on apparently as though
nothing had happened, whilst the clergy, the lay helpers and the rest of
the crowd dispersed to save their belongings from destruction, the dead
man forgotten in the very real and living present need. “$1
$2 ”

At Saint Stephen’s were waiting a goodly company of bishops, Lanfranc of
Canterbury, Odo of Bayeux, William’s brother; Gilbert of Evreux, the
preacher; and Gilbert of Lisieux, learned in medicine; with Geoffroy de
Montbray, bishop of Coutances; and the saintly pupil of Lanfranc, Anselm
of Bec. The scene which followed is an interesting one. The funeral mass
was sung, the body being borne along the nave and chancel up to the
altar; then Gilbert of Lisieux spoke the funeral oration, setting forth,
as was the custom, the tale of William’s battles and conquests, of his
glory in war and his firm rule in peace, of his defence of the Church
and his zeal against her enemies. “Pray, O people, that his sins may be
forgiven before God, and if he had sinned against you in anything,
forgive him that also yourselves.” At the close of the oration all heads
turned towards Ascelin, the son of Arthur, as he stood forth, and
forbade the body to be buried in land which the Conqueror had wrested
from his father. “I ... claim the land; I challenge it as mine before
all men, and in the name of God I forbid that the body of the robber be
covered with my mould, or that he be buried within the bounds of mine
inheritance.” Certainly here seemed some just impediment. An inquiry,
necessarily brief because of the time and place, was held, and Ascelin’s
witness proved true; and then and there a sum was paid down to the
claimant. Thus the great abbey which he had built was not lawfully his
own until the day of his burial.


Another memory of the Conqueror in Caen remains in the Truce of God
which he imposed upon the Seigneurs of Normandy. Comparing this “Trenga
Dei” with the Crusades, Freeman says: “The call to the Crusade fell in
with every temper of the times; the proclamation of the Truce of God
fell in with only one, and that its least powerful side. Good and bad
men alike were led by widely different motives to rush to the Holy War.
The men who endeavoured to obey the Truce of God must often have found
themselves the helpless victims of those who despised it.” The Truce was
preached first in Aquitaine in 1054, and Normandy was almost the last
country to receive it. When it reached the north of France it was in a
somewhat different form to that in which it had started. The early
preachers began by denouncing all private warfare; but even in an age
quickly fired by enthusiasm for a new movement, and more especially for
a religious movement, obedience to this decree was found to be
impossible. Men had hated one another too long to leap suddenly into a
state of perpetual love; and the decree was modified, imposing
abstention from private quarrels from Wednesday evening to Monday
morning in each week. Even this seemed at first too much for the Norman
spirit--“the luxury of destruction was dear to the Norman mind”--but the
preaching of Bishops Richard and Hagano at length took effect, and at
Caen, in 1042, was convoked the famous Council which was formally to
receive the Truce, and command its observance all through the land.

Since then more than eight centuries have gone by; and yet to-day no
place seems to breathe forth the spirit of the great duke as does Caen.
In the castle on the cliffs at Falaise he was born, at Rouen was his
seat and capital, at Bayeux his victories are preserved in a lasting
memorial; but at Caen he lived and lies buried, at Caen he built houses
and churches and city walls, and at Caen we may still think of him, not
as the usurper of Harold’s throne, not as the oppressor of Hereward the
Saxon and the stern, uncompromising lord of the English, but as the hero
of the Normans, a figure more commanding even than the pioneer Rolf, and
one whose best praise lies in those memories of “le Conquérant” that
still haunt the Normandy of to-day.

After William’s death the history of Caen is practically the history of
every town in Northern France. He had provided it with a commerce of its
own, so that it might be strengthened from within, and he had fortified
it against assault from without; it fell into English hands, like its
neighbour cities, both under Edward III. and Henry V.; it was ravaged by
the terrible “Black Death” in the fourteenth century, and harassed by
the League wars and stirred up by the revolt of the “Nu-pieds” under
Louis XIII.

Finally, we find the Girondist party flying from the “Convention” at
Paris and setting up an insurrection in the provinces, making Caen their
headquarters; and one more page from the awful book of the Revolution
shows us Charlotte Corday setting out from Caen, grim, ungirlish, filled
only with her dreadful purpose, down the long, white road to
Paris--which to her meant Marat.

Chapter Seven


In very early days there was in Northern Gaul a little city on a
hill-top, with a river running below, and this city was called Briovira,
after the name of the river Vire. But in Christian times a certain
bishop of Coutances, a native of Briovira, extended his pastoral
protection to his birthplace, and called it by his own name, Laudus, or
Lô, by which it is known to this day, although the bishopstool has no
longer a place there. Saint-Lô does not strike one, either at first
sight or afterwards, as being a cathedral city. The first view, from the
railway, is a very rural one, and from an artist’s point of view the
place is more or less ideal, possessing as it does two important
qualifications of a “paintable” town--it has a river, and it stands on a
hill. Only the outskirts of Saint-Lô lie about the waterside; the real
town is higher up on the steep frowning cliff, and the Rue Torteron
straggles across the bridge and up the hill, and finally, by means of a
steep little alley, leads out into the Place Ferrier, where stands the
Cathedral. Here, too, the Saturday market is held, and then the
hill-top, usually quiet and deserted, blossoms into life, and the Rue
Torteron is all a-clatter with farmers’ carts and the scurry of
_sabots_. The western half of the market-place is known as the “Place
des Beaux-Regards,” and from it, as its name testifies, stretches a wide
view of the river, fields, and wooded hills beyond; here, also, is the
fountain, crowned by Leduc’s graceful bronze peasant-girl, with
water-vessel poised easily over her shoulder.

Saint-Lô was a Huguenot stronghold during the wars of the League, and
the cliff-face still retains a fragment of the old defences, the Tour
Beauregard, an ivy-covered ruin clinging to the rock, which probably
served as a watch-tower in times when the meadows of the Vire were not
so peaceful as they are to-day.

The year 1575 saw the siege which the little town counts among the great
events of its history, when Colombières, the Huguenot, held out so
bravely against the Catholic army. Colombières had marched into Saint-Lô
some months before in order to place a garrison there in case of
assault, and the townspeople welcomed him almost as a protecting angel.
In the next year the enemy’s forces marched up to the Vire under
Matignon, and demanded the surrender of the garrison. Colombières sent
back a defiant message in answer, and the enemy’s guns were soon
thundering about the rocks above the river. Saint-Lô happens to be
guarded by water on three sides--on two by tributary streams, on the
third by the Vire itself, and this western side is further strengthened
by the steep precipice, falling sheer down to what is now the Basse
Ville. Matignon determined to take a bold line and attack the Tour
Beauregard as well as the Tour de la Rose, which stood in a more
approachable part. All day the artillery played upon the cliff-face, and
all day Colombières cheered on his men to the defence, when a breach at
the Tour Beauregard had considerably detracted from their strongest
position. At last the gallant leader, springing upon the ramparts,
braved the enemy’s fire, and fell dead before their eyes rather than
suffer the indignity of surrender. When his inspiring presence was gone
from their midst the Huguenots seemed to lose heart; their defence
wavered, their fire became less fierce, and at the end the Catholics
stormed the rock and poured into the market-place.

[Illustration: ST. LÔ]

It is interesting to note that during the siege, as at an earlier one at
Beauvais, the women of the town signalised themselves by the good
service they rendered, though it was certainly service of a
blood-thirsty order, since it consisted in pouring down the terrible
streams of boiling pitch and lead upon the heads of the besiegers; a
mode of defence, however, very often resorted to by those who did not
use firearms.

Traces of Huguenot days can still be seen in the west front of the
Cathedral, which has evidently been defaced by some fanatical hand. The
irregularity of its porches gives to this façade a curious one-sided
appearance, that on the north having a round arch and the central and
southern arches being pointed. The two towers are of different periods.
In the seventeenth century, when the Cathedral was rebuilt, the
perforated stone spires were added, the architect finding his
inspiration in those at Bayeux and Caen. The best view of these is from
the Ville Basse, where they come remarkably well into the picture,
standing high above the grey roofs.

Here the Cathedral-church is, as usual, the centre of all that there is
of antiquity in the town. There is one especially beautiful timber
house, known as the Maison Dieu, some little distance from the west
front; north and south of the church are various narrow streets--the Rue
de la Porte Dollée runs over the stream of the same name, and under a
curious old gateway tower; the Rue Henri Amiard leads to the precincts
of the Cathedral, the south flank and its outward trend being well seen
from here; but there is nothing very tangible in the way of antiquity,
and one has an impression that when the bishop departed from Saint-Lô he
must have taken with him the soul of the place.

Notre Dame de Saint-Lô has a very unusual and original plan, widening
towards the east and adding another aisle to the north and south
ambulatories. On the north side is its chief curiosity, an outdoor
pulpit, built at the end of the fifteenth century and probably used by
Huguenot preachers, to whom a sermon was a sermon, whether preached
under a vaulted roof or the open sky. What strikes one most about the
interior of the church is its want of light. The nave is absolutely
unlighted, having neither triforium nor clerestory, and the aisles have
only one tier of large windows, whose glass is old and very fine, though
in most cases pieced together; the nave piers are massive, with a
cluster of three shafts; those of the choir are quite simple, and have
one noticeable feature, the absence of capitals, the vault mouldings
dying away into the pier.


Like Saint-Lô, Coutances is a city built on a hill, and has therefore a
peculiar charm all its own. The steep hill rises very impressively
from the rolling country below, showing the Cathedral on the height, the
towers of St. Pierre and the grey houses and apple orchards on the lower
slope. As a town it has more to say for itself than Saint-Lô; small
though it is, in respect of the part it has played in the history of its
surroundings it can hold its own with many larger towns. Coutances on
its granite rock is the watch-tower of the flat marshy Côtentin. It
looks out to sea on the one side and over its subject towns on the
other; it has seen the sun flash on the winged helmets of the Danes, on
the spears of Englishmen of Agincourt, on the grim figures of the
Huguenot leaders in the days of the League, as each in their day marched
over the plains to Coutances for the sake of plunder, conquest and
religion. Even in Roman times it was of importance; the Gauls called it
Cosedia of the Unelli, but towards the end of the third century
Constantius Chlorus fortified the town and called it after his name,
which it bears at the present day--Constantius--Constance--Coutances.

The son and successor of this Constantius was Constantine the Great,
from whose reign dates the spread of Christianity over Western Europe;
and the Côtentin, as an old saying goes, now found itself divided
between Saint Martin and Sainte Maria. Churches were built all over the
land; bishops--every one a saint in these early days--followed the light
of St. Augustine in England, and journeyed about the country making
conversions and working miracles.

In the fifth century Coutances received its first great church, the
basilica of St. Eureptiolus, built, according to local tradition, upon
the foundations of a pagan temple. Later on, Norman invaders did their
best to undo the good work of the Christian bishops, and we hear that
the bishops of Coutances in particular were compelled to take refuge in
Rouen for a century and a half, until the peninsula finally passed into
the hands of William Longsword in 931, and for a time the churches had

The barons of the Côtentin played a considerable part in the Norman
Conquest of England, being among William’s most loyal supporters.
Taillefer, the famous warrior at the battle of Senlac, the seigneurs of
Pommeraye, Blainville, Pierrepont, all kept up the honour of Coutances
in the lands across the water, as well as Bishop de Montbray, who, like
Odo of Bayeux, held the office of a bishop in his own country and of a
feudal lord in England. History has it on record that he held no less
than two hundred and eighty fiefs in the conquered country, besides the
lands which belonged to his ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the
Côtentin. After the death of the Conqueror various pretenders to the
dukedom of Normandy arose, and Coutances suffered from the local wars,
falling into the hands of Fulk of Anjou and being retaken by Henry I.,
and to complete the harassed state of the Côtentin a dreadful famine
spread over the district and reduced the town to a state of the utmost
misery. In 1203 it was joined to France with the rest of Normandy; but
this practically meant an entire renunciation of its freedom. Philip
Augustus and Louis IX. confiscated its seigneurial rights and set a
French governor to rule over the country instead of the Norman lords,
though the latter king probably made up, in the eyes of the people of
Coutances, for these encroachments by paying a visit to their town,
which honour is remembered by them to-day not only as an act of royal
condescension but of saintly beneficence.

In the wars of Edward III. and Henry V. Coutances had its share.
Standing in the western corner of Normandy, the town came at the end of
a long line of strongholds which one after the other had surrendered to
the English assault. Valognes fell, then the Ponts d’Ouve, then Carentan
and Saint-Lô. Next Edward turned off towards Caen and followed on to
Crécy; so that it seemed at first as though Coutances would escape
altogether. However, the treachery of one of the neighbouring lords was
to attempt what the enemy had left undone. In 1358 there lived in the
château of Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte a certain Geoffrey d’Harcourt,
surnamed Le Boiteux, whose nephew had been treacherously murdered at
Rouen. D’Harcourt resolved to revenge the crime upon the city of
Coutances. He got together an army with the help of the King of Navarre,
and drew up his troops outside the town, with heavy machines for
battery; and he had succeeded in forcing a breach, when the royal army,
arriving at an opportune moment, upset his schemes and sent him back to
his château of Saint-Sauveur. In the latter part of the war, however,
this good fortune left the city. After his victory at Agincourt the
English king marched westward to subdue the towns in the far corner of
Normandy, and Coutances fell into his hands in 1418, remaining under the
same rule until the Constable de Richemont drove out the English in
1449; and it is said that to all those of the inhabitants who had
remained faithful to his cause Charles VII. made reparation for all the
spoliation they had suffered at the hands of the English. This may, of
course, have emanated from that prince’s indolent good nature, which did
not object to granting a favour where it was not too much trouble; but
considering the utter laziness of Charles it seems unlikely that he
should have troubled himself to this extent in the cause of a little
city in the west, far away from Paris, when he was occupied with the new
experience of being king in fact as well as name.

[Illustration: COUTANCES]

The League Wars were the next to touch Coutances.
Bricqueville-Colombières, who, as we saw, was to meet a soldier’s death
upon the walls of Saint Lô some years later, took possession of the town
in the name of the Protestants in 1561, and as the standards of both
armies were followed by crowds of half-savage, ignorant peasants,
thirsty for plunder of any sort, Coutances found itself overrun as it
had been by a tribe of wild beasts. Men, women and children were
massacred without quarter, churches and houses were rifled and, worse
than all, the beautiful Cathedral of de Montbray suffered a like fate
and was despoiled of sculpture, carving, statues and sainted relics, the
bishop and clergy being struck down before they could attempt to quell
these barbarian inroads. This scene was repeated two years later, when
Colombières burnt part of the town, and again in 1566. After such
treatment, it is hardly to be wondered at that the inhabitants of
Coutances declared for the League, in spite of the fact that this
disobedience caused the temporary removal of both their civil and
seigneurial rights, the one passing to Saint-Lô and the other to

In the reign of Louis XIII. Richelieu imposed upon the inhabitants of
Normandy the hateful tax known as the Gabelle, and by this means stirred
up the revolt of the “Nu-pieds.” Coutances shared in several of the
subsequent disorders. One Poupinel, charged with a commission from the
Parliament of Rouen, was murdered in the streets of Avranches; and the
tax-gatherer at Coutances, fearing a like fate, armed all his followers
in the event of a possible disturbance. The worthy man’s extra
precaution, however, proved to do more harm than good; his servants in
their excess of zeal saw an enemy in every harmless farmer come to do
his marketing in the town, and a deadly weapon in every ashen stick, and
the pitch of excitement grew so high that when the bell of Saint Pierre
began to ring for a christening, they took it for the warning peal of
the tocsin, and rushed out into the streets with loud cries, brandishing
their weapons and assaulting in their excitement every innocent burgher
whom they met.

As was but natural, this unprovoked attack roused the dormant spirit of
revolt among the people; Nicolle, the unfortunate tax-gatherer, found
out his mistake too late; the “Nu-pieds,” under their chief, Le
Sauvage, burnt down his house and murdered his brother; and for a few
days, until the popular fury had quieted down, Coutances was thrown into
a state of revolution. The terrible disturbances of the next century,
however, did not work much havoc here. Only twenty-three persons in all
were sent to the guillotine from Coutances during the Terror, and most
of these, we are told, were burghers and not aristocrats, and the
victims of private vengeance rather than of public fury.

Coutances had a good many notable bishops. There was Eureptiolus,
mentioned above; there were Laudus, the founder of Saint-Lô; and Robert
of Lisieux, who built his church on the foundations of the old basilica;
and Geoffroy de Montbray, whose best life-work was given to finishing
what Robert had begun; Hugues de Morville, who restored the Cathedral in
the thirteenth century; and energetic, tenacious Geoffroy Herbert, who
was possessed with a perfect mania for building, in and out of
Coutances, and to whom the town owes the church of St. Pierre.

The Cathedral at Coutances was founded by the widow of Richard the
Fearless in 1030, and completed towards the end of the century by
Geoffroy de Montbray, William the Conqueror’s fighting bishop. After
the union of Normandy to France it was rebuilt, and the work of
restoration extended into the fifteenth century. Entering by the north
porch one is struck by the beauty of the doorway, whose overhanging
mouldings and shafts are designed with great elegance and freedom. The
English type of capital, with round abacus and vigorous foliation,
reminds one of the cathedrals of Salisbury and Lincoln; and the tympanum
with its sadly-mutilated figures is carried on a corbel table of great
beauty. The interior elevation of the bays is composed of three
features--pier arches, a fine triforium with quatrefoil balustrade, and
a rather small clerestory with a passage-way crossing its base. There is
a great deal of exquisite glass in the cathedral, especially in the
transepts. In the choir the love of high clerestories, admitting as much
light as possible to the chancel, to the almost complete extinction of
the triforium, shows itself here as in many other churches already
noticed. The upper windows are in two planes, with a light shaft
supporting the interior arches.

In the ambulatory there is what looks like a blind stone bay, corbelled
out and resting on the capitals of the columns. Probably this is a
staircase leading to the upper passages of the triforium and clerestory.
The lantern, which is octagon in plan, has three tiers of arches, the
over-hanging sides being supported by a simple pendentive with very
slight mouldings.


Beyond the Place du Parvis, where the Cathedral stands, is the Musée,
once the house of Quesnel Morinière, who at his death left to the town
both house and garden. The latter is now converted into a Jardin Public,
which every French town, however small, seems to possess; and sitting or
walking amidst its shady alleys and green lawns, with catalpas and
orange trees in full bloom overhead, one feels very kindly disposed
towards the good citizen who planted them and left this possession for
the enjoyment of his fellows.

During our stay at Coutances one incident took place which may be
interesting as showing how mediæval customs still survive in these
little towns. In the middle of the night we were roused from sleep by
the blast of a bugle in the street below. This was presently followed by
a roll of drums and shouts of “Au feu! au feu!” The deep-toned bell of
St. Nicolas then took up the alarm and echoed out far and wide its
warning notes. In a moment the town was awake. Heads peered out at every
window, and the street was soon alive with the tread of hurrying feet;
café and cabaret furnished their contingent to the excited crowd, and
even children were brought out of their beds to gaze down the blazing
street. The gregarious and sympathetic Frenchman can never allow any
event to take place, be it funeral, festival or fire, without calling
all his friends to assist at it; and the general turn-out into the
streets reminds one of the thousands of Londoners who left their beds to
celebrate the relief of Mafeking.

Chapter Eight


“Each land and city,” says Freeman, “has its special characteristics
which distinguish it from others. One is famous for its church and its
bishops, another for its commonwealth, another for its princes. Le Mans
has the special privilege of being alike famous for all three.” At Le
Mans, church, counts and commune have each made a separate mark upon the
roll of French history. The communal power gave the town strength within
itself; the counts of Maine, whose line dates back to the time of Hugh
Capet, made of it a mighty feudal possession; and the great church above
the Sarthe, whose traditions have been handed down even from Saint
Martin of Tours, stood apart on its hill-crest and watched over the

[Illustration: ST. PIERRE, COUTANCES]

As was usually the case in these powerful cities the commune was the
last element to arise at Le Mans; before its appearance we find both
Church and State fully established on the hill. Julian built his church
under the rule of Trajan; Defensor, the local ruler, lived in his palace
side by side with the great missionary bishop who had converted him to
Christianity; and after him came the line of counts who seem to have
been always at war either with Normandy on the one side or with Anjou on
the other. Considering these two powerful neighbours, it is wonderful
what a prestige Maine did succeed in establishing, by the help of her
bishops, and also by the help of the strong fortress which was her
capital city. But in the reign of the prince from Liguria, Azo, to whom
Maine had descended in an indirect line, a third factor thrust itself
into the growing fabric of the city. It may have been the example of
Italian states which the coming of an Italian ruler had brought before
the Cenomannians more forcibly; it may have been the encroachments of
the Countess Gersendis, regent in the absence of her husband; but from
whatever cause, it was certain that memories of the municipal rights of
ancient Gaul were being kindled amongst the people--murmurs were heard
of a time when, under the Roman yoke, a prince did not signify a
tyrant--and presently the Cenomannian burghers took the law into their
own hands and met together to declare their freedom and--a testimony of
their strength--compelled Geoffrey of Mayenne and all the surrounding
princes to swear their civic oath. Thus was founded the earliest
_commune_ in Gaul, and when, soon afterwards, the Conqueror subdued Le
Mans and the whole state of Maine, the city still retained its newly won
privileges, William binding himself over to respect and observe the
customs pertaining to the same, the ancient “justices” of the city. A
threefold history of this kind leads one naturally to look for a
threefold interest within the town itself; yet this is lacking in the
city of to-day--its past glories lie rather in tradition and association
than in anything more tangible. The church still stands upon the hill,
but it stands alone. Almost every trace of feudal prince and ancient
commune has been swept away, and the old Le Mans has become a city of
solid white-painted buildings and clean, sunny _places_. By the
river-side and near the Cathedral a few old houses and crooked alleys
still remain, and here too may be seen fragments of the old city walls,
built by Roman forethought in the third and fourth centuries. These
ramparts have stood the town in good stead. From its position and
importance, Le Mans has always been coveted by the enemy, and since the
days of Clovis down to the war with Prussia it has known the tread of
besieging hosts at its gates. The Normans had it under the Conqueror,
and lost it under his son, Duke Robert; during the Hundred Years’ War it
was besieged five times; the Huguenots took it during the wars of the
League; after the fall of the Bourbon monarchy it was seized in
desperation by the Royalists of La Vendée, but retaken by Marceau; and
nearer our own day comes the terrible “week of battles” in January,
1871, during which the Prussians occupied Le Mans and defeated the army
of the Loire so severely as to destroy all hope of relieving Paris.

“In the second half of the campaign, in the contest against France ...
both belligerents kept the same goal before their eyes--Paris: the one
in order to dictate peace from within the walls of the conquered
capital, the other in order to gain that victory which would give to the
war the long and eagerly-desired change of fortune.” During the winter
of 1870 the army of the Loire had set out to reach Paris from Orléans;
but a succession of defeats drove it back to the Loire, from whence it
was to retreat upon Le Mans. Pursuit did not follow at once. The
Prussian Army, under Prince Frederick Charles, waited between Orléans
and Vendôme until the New Year, when an advance was ordered, and the
three divisions of the army marched upon Le Mans by their respective
roads. Passing Vendôme, which was the scene of a sharp engagement with
the enemy, they crossed the country between the Loire and the Sarthe
with some difficulty; bad weather had made the roads almost impassable,
and the district was cut up into vineyards, farmsteads and small
valleys. “The invader rarely gets a general view of the country even
from elevated positions; he must renounce any plan of acting with large
displayed masses, especially in the case of artillery; the action of
cavalry is restricted to the roads, and the whole burden of the contest
falls exclusively on the infantry.” Fighting their way through the
scattered French forces two divisions managed to come within ten miles
of Le Mans by January 9, and on the next day the battle began. The
Prussian watchword was “Forward with all speed,” and such speed did they
make that at the end of three days they had advanced upon the French in
their strong position, keeping always to the maxim, “Stand firm in the
centre and act on the offensive at the two wings.”

“On January 11, the French army of the West was completely defeated near
Le Mans by the German Second Army, under Prince Frederick Charles and
the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg, and Le Mans was immediately occupied.”
Such was the announcement in _The Times_ newspaper on the morning of
January 13, 1871.

General Chanzy, who was in command of the French army of the West,
courted defeat by advancing upon Paris, and by his retreat upon Le Mans
invited the Germans to occupy it. Prince Frederick Charles, leaving
Orléans and passing Beaugency and Vendôme, arrived at the latter place
in time to see Chanzy repulsed, but not in time to cut off the French
army, which was now in full retreat towards Paris. A series of
rear-guard engagements followed as the Prussians drove the French before
them towards Le Mans. The storming of Changé was the last of the many
battles around Le Mans. It lies in a hollow with hills curving round it
on two sides, the north and west, and on these hills the French had
taken up their position. They had, apparently, no desire to advance and
clear away the Germans who were attacking them, laboriously marching
through snow and the thick woods which covered the position. The
attacking force ran from tree to tree and sought whatever shelter was
available, making frequent charges whenever an occasion offered itself.
Notwithstanding their pertinacity they failed to carry the heights, and
were for some time in danger of suffering a severe repulse, as the
reserves on whom they relied had not yet come up, but were pounding
their way along the frozen roads from La Chartre to Le Mans. The troops
bivouacked in the snow on the night of the 11th, and when the frosty
sun rose on the morning of the 12th the French outposts had been
withdrawn and retired upon Le Mans. By this time the Tenth Corps had
joined the attacking force, and after heavy fighting in the streets and
squares the town was won in the evening, and on the following day Prince
Frederick Charles established there his headquarters.

[Illustration: LE MANS]

General Chanzy in his defence of Le Mans accomplished all that courage
and gallantry in his dire situation could suggest; he disputed the
country inch by inch before the advancing armies of the Duke of
Mecklenburg and Von der Tann, but he was unable with his raw levies,
with recruits undrilled, unshod and unofficered, to withstand the
furious onslaught of the enemy. Such is the short tribute paid to the
French general by _The Times_ correspondent with the Prussian Army.

The Cathedral of Saint-Julien sits astride a great rock overlooking the
Place des Jacobins--a square wide enough for once to allow of an
adequate view of the great church on its eastern side. It stands so high
that the want of a central tower is felt less than would be the case at
a lower level. The only tower of any pretensions is over the south
transept--originally the north transept possessed one also--but even
this is rather inefficient. It is advisable to enter the Cathedral by
the west door rather than by the south porch, so as to prevent the
uninteresting west wall of the nave from becoming a factor of one’s
first impression. From this point it is the choir that first arrests our
attention; we pass on through the lower, simpler nave and through the
great soaring chancel arch that to look upon makes us giddy, to the
blaze of deep-coloured glass and the magnificent _chevet_ of stilted
arches placed close together and looking from their great height much
narrower than they really are. The same idea of height and light
prevails in the transepts, for by this time the French architect had
begun to gauge the emotional effect of tremendous height, and to dare
greater things than his predecessors had ever dreamed; while the same
insatiable desire for light that we saw in the choir at Amiens has
possessed the builder of Saint Julien, and led him to make his transepts
nearly all window--especially the northern one, which has a triforium
lighted by beautiful fifteenth-century glass--and to put a double
ambulatory round the choir, both lighted by that marvellous jewelled

The Romanesque nave was restored in the twelfth century, but this
restoration was apparently a replacement of a great deal of old work,
with only slight modifications of the original inspiration. A large
door, decorated with sculpture and bearing a strong analogy to the
Portail Royal of Chartres, was opened in the middle of the south aisle.
Further changes were made in the early part of the thirteenth century,
when the ancient apses were destroyed, and the admirable choir, as we
now see it, was built--“a masterpiece of effect”--with its encircling
chapels radiating like the petals of a flower. The vaulting approaches
in construction the “cupola inspiration”; but here, as at Angers and
Poitiers, it is an example of only the last traces which remain to us of
the domical design.

Besides the Cathedral there are two churches worthy of note--Notre Dame
de la Coûture, in the eastern quarter of the town, amongst the shops and
markets; and Notre Dame (sometimes called St. Julien) du Pré, across the
river in the far west. The latter church, in spite of having been a good
deal restored, is extremely interesting. In the nave hangs a little
printed history, which tells us that the church was founded by the first
bishop of Le Mans, Saint Julian, sent as a missionary by Saint Peter. In
honour of his great master Julian built a basilica, which was enlarged
by Saint Innocent in the sixth century and restored about 1050. In the
fifteenth century both church and monastery suffered from fire; two
centuries later the pious Benedictines made some alterations, but
during the Revolution the church was sacked and burnt, and the crypt,
together with the tombs of Saint Julian and Saint Hadouin, entirely
destroyed. The task of restoration was left to the faithful in the
nineteenth century. In spite of the modern work, however, the church
contains a great deal that is very interesting and undoubtedly ancient.
The nave pillars especially, with their carved capitals, are worth
individual notice. In those of the north aisle, from west to east, we
find portrayed:

No. 1. Animals caught in a thicket, turning their heads over their
shoulders to free themselves from the branches. Notice here how the
volute at the corner has suggested to the sculptor a human face.

No. 2. Leaves and curiously twisted arabesques.

No. 3. The same in a simpler form.

No. 4. Volutes and grotesque heads at the angles.

No. 5. [South aisle, east to west] gives a kind of rope-work, with
volutes and human-headed dragons.

No. 6. Is much the same as No. 3.

No. 7. Flat _applique_ leaves, volutes and ball-flowers; and in

No. 8. We return to the wild animals. Both aisles are arcaded on their
outer walls; on the north we find arches ornamented with ball-flowers,
on the south an arcade of some interest, as showing the immense
variety of design in its capitals--dragons, fir-cones, arabesques, and,
strangest of all, winged lions, with a most Assyrian air. Apart from the
capitals, the architecture of the church is quite simple, and whoever
rehandled it has done so much in keeping with the old work. The windows
are round-headed: the clerestory consists of single lights, and the
triforium is a blind arcade.


Notre Dame de la Coûture--the name originally referred to the _Cultura
Dei_--is an old Benedictine foundation, dating from the sixth century,
but destroyed during the Revolution; the church, however, remains, with
most of the old work intact, the two square fourteenth-century towers
rising in quaint contrast to the modern buildings around them. Between
the towers a remarkable Last Judgment confronts the visitor from the
west doorway. The central figure, Justice, weighs a sinner in the
balance, and apparently finds him wanting, if one may judge by the angle
of the scales and the expectantly gleeful attitude of a devil amongst
the “goats” on the left hand. Of the interior, the choir is the oldest
part, and here we find eleventh-century work, especially in the crypt,
which contains the tomb of the founder, Saint Bertrand, and shows the
rudely carved capitals and square-edged arches of an age before
architects had blossomed out into beauty of sculpture and design. The
same simplicity characterises the choir, which has four bays and a
_chevet_ of five-round arches, with massive piers, and the abacus square
and voluted at the angles. The vaulting of the _chevet_ is terminated by
figures of saints, which rest upon the shafts of the clerestory windows.
There is no triforium, its position being taken throughout the church by
corbel tables in the form of human and animal faces. The nave consists
of a single wide body without aisles, and set in the blank wall are
three large bays of relieving arches, their space being filled in with
curious old tapestry, in which appears a medley of Biblical subjects,
pastoral and hunting scenes, and Chinese pagodas.

This quiet little church was in the very centre of the furious street
fighting which followed the first rush into the city of the Prussian
troops, and fulfilled its sacred mission of giving shelter to the
wounded and comfort to the dying who lay stretched in the neighbouring
streets of the town. “We entered,” says the war correspondent of _The
Times_, “the picturesque old church of Notre Dame de la Coûture,
interesting from its quaint mixed architecture, its old choir and
vaulted walls, and were told by the meek-looking priest who sadly showed
us over it, and was busy cleaning it as we entered, that no fewer than
six hundred wounded had passed the night in it.”

Chapter Nine


If Le Mans marks the first stage from Normandy upon the southward road,
Angers may certainly be counted as another stepping-stone to the lands
of the Loire--another landmark in our own history--another city upon a
hill, and yet differing from all the hill cities before it. We are now
in what Freeman calls “before all things the land and the city of
counts,” the city which gave to history the name of Fulk the Black,
warrior and pilgrim and enemy of Odo of Chartres; of Geoffrey the
Hammer, who strove with the Conqueror at Domfront and Alençon; of René
the minstrel and of Margaret his daughter, who carried to England the
spirit of the old Angevin line, and fought with the strength of two for
the inheritance of her husband, meek, scholarly Henry of Windsor, for
whom the shield of faith had more significance than the shield of the

The house of Anjou cannot but have an interest to an Englishman, since
it is the parent stock of our longest dynasty. Long before it came
through Normandy into contact with England it held its own, however, in
Gaul, Roman and Frankish. The Andecavi, who settled on the Maine, were
an important tribe, and their city was of equal importance. In 464 the
Saxons wandered down from Normandy and overran Anjou, but their
occupation was merely temporary, and left no traces in city or people,
as did the Saxon colonies at Bayeux and in England; and when this one
cloud has cleared off, an open field is left for the history of the
counts. Now the Counts of Anjou may be said to stand very near the head
of the list of all the rulers in France at this early time--a long list,
which numbers many important names, Hughs and Roberts of Paris, Williams
and Richards of Normandy, Thibauts of Champagne--yet against whose feats
of arms and feats of policy the Angevins can measure theirs almost one
by one. “The restless spirit of the race showed itself sometimes for
good and sometimes for evil, but there was no Count of Anjou who could
be called a fool, a coward, or a _fainéant_.”

The first count, Ingelgar, received his dominion from Charles the Bald,
in about 870. After him comes Fulk the Red, who enlarged his father’s
borders beyond the river; Fulk the Good, the scholar who defended his
learning with the well-known proverb, “An unlettered king is but a
crownéd ass,” a saying which spread beyond his own realm and found
favour at the court of England; and the warlike Geoffrey of the Grey
Tunic, who repelled the Breton and Aquitanian incursions and fought in
Frankish and German wars besides. Geoffrey it was who gave to the line
the famous Fulk the Black, the first count who appears to any great
extent in French history--the history, that is, of France proper, at
that time apart from the great duchies on her boundaries. His wars with
Odo filled a great part of his reign, and brought him down as far as the
Loire, where, through the alliance of a count of Périgueux, Tours became
his for a short time; also Saumur, after the victory of Pontlevois. On
two occasions he turned pilgrim; and he is also found at Rome, applying
to the Pope for consecration of his new monastery near Loches, which
Hugh of Tours, whose see Fulk had robbed, refused to consecrate unless
the stolen lands were restored. Naturally the Gallican Church resented
this destruction of their privileges; the full wrath of the episcopate
was pronounced against the recreant count, and a legend adds that in
further punishment a wind came from heaven and blew down his newly-built
church. How this uncanonical behaviour must have vexed the shades of
Fulk the pious! Fulk Nerra was followed by Geoffrey, self-christened
the Hammer. He rebelled against his father during his lifetime, but
after his death continued the war with Chartres, and actually got
possession of Tours, the one city for which every Angevin strove. Count
Thibaut was formally deprived of the city by royal command, and it was
handed over to Geoffrey, under the favour, the superstitious chroniclers
make haste to add, of Saint Martin. Notwithstanding this royal grant,
Henry, the Frank king, seems to have been perpetually at war with
Geoffrey, and even to have called in feudal service of the Norman duke
to aid him against the Angevin count. William himself was no friend to
Anjou. The mastery over Maine was a bone of contention to the two great
powers on its north and south borders; and when Geoffrey obtained the
guardianship of little Count Hugh, and came into immediate contact with
Normandy, a definite struggle arose. Geoffrey aimed at the two outposts
of William’s territory, Alençon and Domfront. Alençon, through the
treachery of its lord, surrendered to him; Domfront was also
disaffected, and for a moment it seemed as though the land of the great
Norman were to be invaded by his southern neighbour. But William was
prepared for any emergency. He marched straight to Domfront, where
Geoffrey had already stationed his troops, and laid siege to it. He
remained before the town for some time before news came of the advance
of Geoffrey himself; and when the Count at last arrived, he sent word of
his readiness to give battle. But when the morning broke upon the Norman
host, drawn up before the fortress all expectant of a battle with the
Angevins, lo! no enemy was to be seen. Geoffrey, whose surname of Hammer
by no means maligned his prudence, had thought better of the scheme in
the night, and retired with all his men. The Norman writers, of course,
set this down to cowardice. But one would like to hear the other side of
the story. “Here, and throughout the war, the lions stand in need of a
painter, or rather their painters suddenly refuse to do their duty. We
have no Angevin account of the siege of Domfront to set against our
evidently highly coloured Norman picture.”

“The French yearning to make everything new” has done its work in
Angers, but though Fulk, Geoffrey, René, and the rest would be at a loss
to recognise their old capital in the trim modern town, enough remains
to show us what has been. No city standing as Angers does on rising
ground above a wide river, with a mass of castle bastions sloping up the
hill, could fail to have made history in its day. The modern town may be
disposed of in a few words--it is clean and full of life, and
altogether very far removed from the “black Angers” known to our
ancestors. This mediæval and grim-sounding title, reminiscent of
dungeons and tyrant princes, probably either meant that the ancient town
was closely and squalidly built, or else referred to the dark slate with
which the country abounds, and which might well have been used for
building purposes all over the town, as we still see it in some houses
by the river.

The attractive side of Angers is that facing the water, and the river is
quite worthy of the town on its banks, though Mr. Henry James does
censure the “perversity in a town lying near a great river, and yet not
upon it.” It is true that Angers has not got as far as the Loire; but it
has what is next best, a tributary of the great river--a wide placid
flow, which makes no mean show here, spanned as it is by three fine
bridges. Looking upstream from the lowest bridge one sees the old and
the new together; the clean well-to-do water-front, pleasant boulevards,
and a bright little quay with every house the pattern of its neighbour;
and above this the black mass of the castle, whose solid hugeness makes
the crowning towers of Saint Maurice look as if they were cut out of
paper, so delicately and sharply defined are they against the sky. Down
river there is a long and sunny path, broad green meadows and a stretch
of country beyond, and little fishing boats dotted about on the water.

But what Angers has of the best is its castle, though it be “the work of
intruding Kings,” Philip Augustus and Louis IX., and not of the Angevin
counts. It is, indeed, more massive than picturesque--“it has no beauty,
no grace, no detail, nothing that charms or detains you; it is simply
very old and very big--so big and so old that this simple impression is
enough, and it takes its place in your recollections as a perfect
specimen of a superannuated stronghold.” The huge grim bastions, girded
with iron bands as though to give added strength to their already
giant-like solidity, and the deep moat, filled in old days by the waters
of the Maine, stood there for a very real and terrible use, and even now
are a splendid example of how men in the Middle Ages defended themselves
against all comers. The very steepness and plainness of the vast walls
prevented an enemy from gaining any foothold, even supposing him to have
crossed the moat in safety. But this great house of defence now gives on
to a modern boulevard; a kitchen-garden occupies the moat, and sends the
scent of thyme and rosemary up through those loop-hole windows, whose
most peaceful prospect of old was the black, silent water below, and
whose usual occupants were armed men with cross-bows, or boiling lead,
or something equally quieting to the unwary spirit attempting to scale
those unscalable ramparts.

In the heart of the town is a very comfortable little inn at the sign of
the “Cheval Blanc.” The house has a quiet and rather old-fashioned
atmosphere, perhaps a relic of past days, as the inn itself has stood
there since the sixteenth century, though the present building is quite
modern. Another relic--though the term hardly suits such a hale and
hearty person--is a delightful old waiter, who has been at the Cheval
Blanc for forty years, and wears on his coat with the greatest pride a
minute piece of _tricolor_--the recognition of thirty years’ service.
Close to the Cheval Blanc is the Préfecture, and this contains a hidden
treasure in the shape of an old cloister, which runs along one side of
the court. This cloister was not discovered until 1836, but the remains
themselves date from the twelfth century, and are of extraordinary
interest, not merely from their antiquity, but also from the immense
variety of subject sculpture which adorns them. There are several bays
of round-headed arches, and from their capitals and mouldings dragons
and toads, snakes and winged lions, glare and wriggle at the visitor in
a grotesque medley. In some cases Scriptural subjects are
represented--there is notably the murder of the Innocents, a
marvellously preserved and realistic fresco, reminiscent both in
treatment and colour scheme of some of the Bayeux tapestry; the killing
of Goliath by David, and the presentation of his head to Saul; and
inside a very modern council-room, a wonderful allegory representing the
defeat of Vice by Virtue. The Lamb, enhaloed, is in the centre; beneath
are two lions tearing apart a wild boar; and in the jambs are virtues,
armed with shield and sword, trampling upon demon vices--men struggling
with wild beasts--and adoring angels swinging censers. This is partly
coloured, and the sculpture is very fine, great attention being given to

[Illustration: ANGERS]

Freeman declares the city of Angers to be the headquarters of the
Angevin style of architecture, and quotes as a noticeable example of
that style the Cathedral of St. Maurice, which differs at least as
widely from that of the French churches as from that of Normandy. The
object of the Angevin architect was breadth, and he has sacrificed both
length and height to the attainment of his end. The view from the west
doorway of St. Maurice shows a well-known example of what is termed the
“hall plan”--a single wide nave, having choir and transepts, but without
ambulatories or aisles. That the church originally had aisles, however,
is evident from a plan of Saint Maurice given in Mr. Lethaby’s “Mediæval
Art”; they were removed, it is assumed, in order to simplify the
construction of the vault. The great relieving arches of the nave as it
now stands are divided into three bays only. “In everything,” Freeman
says, “the tendency is to have a few large members rather than many
small ones. There is a certain boldness and simplicity about this kind
of treatment; but there is also a certain bareness, and an Angevin
church looks both lower and shorter than it really is.” The vaulting of
the roof here follows the same sub-domical design as that of Notre Dame
de la Coûture at Le Mans. The stained glass is perhaps the best feature
of the church as far as actual beauty goes; some of it dates from the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and both in nave and choir it is very
fine, particularly in the windows of the apse and in the rose window of
the north transept. The tapestry which hangs in the nave and transepts
represents scenes from the Apocalypse, and is very fine Arras work of
the fourteenth century.

Chapter Ten


So much has been said and written of the Loire country during the past
fifty years that the modern writer has very little ground left to him,
unless it be to avoid calling it the “Garden of France.” Yet
over-written as it may be, Touraine has not lost any of the charm and
romance which must always attach to a wide sunny land, watered by a
great river, and “peopled”--one might almost say--by châteaux, every one
of which has set its mark upon French history. Certainly there is
something very delightful, because so unlike anything else in France, in
the endless vista of grey-green levels--here and there a group of slim
shivering poplars or a flash of sunlight upon the wide waters of the
Loire, which winds in and out of the flats like a great lazy shining
serpent--flying sometimes into a sudden rage and flooding the land, or
subsiding sulkily amongst high banks and stretches of dry sand.

It is these moods and tempers of the great river that prevent any
navigation upon its waters; other smaller rivers--the Seine, for
instance, and our own Thames--are alive with craft of every kind; but
here, on the great boundary stream between north and south, which seems
made for a waterway to the sea, no busy steamers ply up and down with
the tide--no barges and market boats disturb the calm of its wide
reaches. There never was, for its size, such an erratic and useless
river; yet we can afford to forgive it, for the sake of the land which
it waters and the cities on its banks.

The impression one carries away from Tours is one of wideness, and
brightness, and sunshine--shaded by one or two ancient corners. It is
above all things a town really lived in and appreciated by its
inhabitants, many of whom are English. Tours is, or used to be, a famous
educational centre, and for the sake of education, or economy, or both,
whole families have migrated there, besides the unmistakably English
students who have been grafted on to a family to learn French. And the
river-side shows, if not a strenuously busy, at least a very sociable
side of the town life, especially in the summer evenings, when the
Tourangeaux, native and adopted, leave the white houses and busy
streets, and use their river bank for a pleasant walk.

It is curious how in France each step towards the south seems to be a
step further in French history. First there is Normandy, the land of the
early Northern warriors, with the fierce blood untamed in their veins;
then Maine and Anjou, recalling the days of our own Plantagenet kings,
and the close connection of France with England; while Touraine brings
back to us the craft of Louis XI. and the magnificence of François
Ier. Tours itself, however, has never been content to lie fallow for
long; ever since some Roman emperor transported it from the right bank
of the Loire to the left, and made it the capital of Lugdunensis Tertia,
the town has had an important part assigned to it, and has played out
that part to the full. Though in old days Tours was only half of the
place, the _cité_, the _bourg_, built round the tomb and shrine of Saint
Martin and first called by his name, was of equal if not greater
importance, from the many pilgrimages to the resting-place of the great
saint. This is easily understood when one considers in what veneration
Saint Martin was held by the Gauls and their descendants. Saint
Gatianus, the first bishop of Tours, began the good work in the third
century, but to Martin is due the subsequent spread of Christianity, not
only in Touraine but all over France, so that he really shares with
Saint Denis the honour of patron saint. Born of pagan parents in
Pannonia, Martin became a catechumen at ten years old, and five years
later was forced, much against his will, to enter the army. After his
final conversion and baptism, however, he left it to become the eager
disciple and co-worker of Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers; and in 371 he was
consecrated Bishop of Tours. The legend of Martin’s conversion is well
known (at any rate it may be found commemorated in the painted windows
of churches all over France)--how the young soldier stationed outside
the gate of Amiens shared his cloak with a passing beggar, and how the
following night Christ appeared to him in a vision, making known to the
angels of Heaven this thing done to Himself as to one of “the least of

[Illustration: TOUR DE L’HORLOGE, TOURS]

After Martin’s death at Candes his relics were brought to Tours, and in
the fifth century Saint Perpetuus built a splendid basilica round the
shrine. This church became the nucleus of the _bourg_ of Martinopolis,
known to the Middle Ages as Châteauneuf. Side by side with the church a
monastery sprang up, and in the reign of Charlemagne the famous scholar
Alcuin became abbot and founded there his school of theology. Late in
the tenth century the basilica was destroyed by fire; two centuries
later saw the completion of its successor, but this again, after
suffering many evils from Huguenot and Revolutionist hands, disappeared
under the First Empire to make a passage-way for the Rue des Halles.
Two towers--the church originally had five--now look mournfully at one
another across the busy, narrow street: the Tour de l’Horloge, square
and solid, with a leaded roof capped by a small eighteenth-century dome,
and the taller Tour Charlemagne, so called for the rather insufficient
reason that Charlemagne buried his third wife, Luitgarde, beneath its
base. These are the sole relics of the ancient _culte_ of Saint Martin;
though to his memory in latter days a new basilica has reared itself on
the other side of the street.

Until the days of the League, the kings of France always found an
attraction in the sunny Touraine meadows, and occupied themselves a good
deal with Tours itself. On the outskirts of the town is the village of
Plessis-les-Tours, where stood the famous fortress of Louis XI., who
lived, plotted and died within its walls; here also Louis XII. was
proclaimed “father of his people,” and here Henri III. and the King of
Navarre met together for a common defence against the League. To an
Englishman the name naturally associates itself with Quentin Durward,
and calls up a picture of the grim fortress so vividly described by
Walter Scott, with its triple moat and high palisades, its dark walls
and turreted gateways, defended by three hundred Scottish arches, and
the donjon tower “which rose like a black Ethiopian giant, high into
the air.” The castle of Plessis was in old days a terror to the
countryside; the surrounding forest was a perfect network of man-traps,
and the intruder, were he fortunate enough to avoid these, had no chance
of escape from the arrows of the Scottish guard in their iron “swallows’
nests” upon the walls. Hardly less mysterious, indeed, is the central
figure within these grim surroundings--Louis himself, whose character,
with its strange mingling of guile and religious fervour, unfathomable
craft and childish superstition, baffled the men of his own day as it
has baffled posterity. He was feared by those who served him, and he was
obeyed, because a terrible alternative awaited the disobedient; but he
was neither loved nor understood. Of love, indeed, he had little need,
and it was not his pleasure that men should understand him.

Very little, however, remains to-day of the “verger du roi Louis” to
show that it was once the home of kings. It has gone the way of most of
the “illusions ... in the good city of Tours with regard to Louis XI.,”
and only a few fragments and “inconsequent lumps” share with some modern
buildings the site of this royal prison of Plessis-les-Tours.

[Illustration: ST. GATIEU, TOURS]

The western façade of Tours Cathedral, with its two small towers, is a
noticeable example of the waning Gothic style. The detail is so
“charmingly executed as almost to induce the belief, in spite of the
fanciful extravagance which it displays, that the architects were
approaching to something new and beautiful when the mania for classic
detail overtook them.” Looking eastward from the west door one notices
the northerly trend of the Cathedral’s axis, commencing from the
transept arches. The choir spreads outward at its first bay, the side
walls not following the alignment of the body of the church. The glass
is both abundant and magnificent in the nave lights, and the enormous
clerestory windows display it to the greatest possible advantage.
Unfortunately, the fine rose window in the north transept is marred by
the cutting across of a vertical pillar, inserted as a support to the
crest of the arch. In both transepts the triforium arches present a
curious and novel arrangement, the reason for which is not very
apparent. The arches are in a double plane, but the openings are not
directly one behind another.

The pier arches of the nave are plain, with simple panel-like spandrils,
the piers themselves supporting a very large clerestory and glazed
triforium. In the latter the heads of the arches are filled in with rich
Flamboyant tracery, either in imitation of the fleur-de-lys, or with
varieties of wheel tracery in double plane. The choir is much earlier
than the nave, and its bays show a beautiful proportion and harmony in
its members, the whole elevation being supported on clustered columns
with stalk capitals and square abacus. In the apse the tracery is a
slight variant from that of the choir; the arch-heads are here filled in
with trefoil instead of quatrefoil tracery. On the north side of the
Cathedral are the remains of some cloisters, joined to the main body by
two flying buttresses.

To most travellers in France the town of Blois is associated with a
château rather than with a cathedral; it is one of a group of towns
known and visited for the historic piles which tower above their grey
roofs--Amboise and Chambord, Langeais and Chenonceaux, Chaumont and
Montrichard. We count Blois with these rather than with the towns famous
for their churches, and the bishopstool comes rather as a surprise, or
as a thing unconsidered. The Cathedral, built in the seventeenth century
and dedicated to St. Louis, occupies a magnificent position, overhanging
the grey water-front of the Loire in a fashion which seems to call for
some nobler building. However, although built according to a curiously
mixed design in bastard Gothic and Renaissance, there is a certain sense
of proportion in the interior of the church, the vaulting being
especially simple and broad in effect. The nave consists of nine bays,
with a low clerestory, terminating in stone panels, which occupy the
place usually assigned to the triforium, and are left in the rough with
a view to subsequent enrichment by sculpture. The examples of adornment
at the east end, however, make one feel that the church has been
mercifully spared any further fantasies from the chisel of the
Renaissance sculptor.

Far better is the Church of St. Nicolas, whose twin towers stand out
dark and sharp midway between the water-front and the overhanging mass
of the Château. It belongs to the tenth and eleventh centuries, and has
not been much restored except by whitewash, which covers most of the
interior, but allows a good deal of old work to be seen, especially in
the north aisle, where, near the pulpit, we find round-headed windows
very deeply splayed. The nave has five bays, and a blind triforium,
consisting of an arcade of four small arches in each bay, the last two
eastward having only three arches set in the blind wall. These last bays
are much ruder than the others, especially on the south side. The
clerestory has twin lights, with a rose in the head of the arch, as is
seen in the Cathedral at Chartres. The transepts are good, and the
little corbel-tables running the whole way round, form a series of
those grotesque and curiously unecclesiastical faces of men and beasts
which we find so often in early church sculpture. In this particular
series a gridiron plays a prominent part, which is curious, as the
church appears to have no connection with Saint Lawrence. Behind the
choir is an old chapel dedicated to Saint Joseph, which has a Romanesque
apse; and it is noticeable that in this part of the church the roof
groining is simple--that is, without ribs. In the lantern, which is in
the form of a cupola, each pendentive is terminated by the figure of a
saint in its niche.

[Illustration: BLOIS]

High above Saint Nicolas a steep flight of steps leads up to the great
Château which has made history for the town below. The most striking
view is from the other side, where the magnificent “aile François
Ier” rises in imposing fashion above the high road; but the entrance
is in the Louis XII. wing to the east, and here the beautiful inner
court opens out a varied display of richness. The eastern wing itself
contains the private apartments of Louis XII. and his wife, Anne de
Bretagne--these are now converted into a local museum and picture
gallery--and the lower storey is in the form of an arcade, with
unrestored capitals of the fifteenth century. Facing this is the wing of
“ruled lines and blank spaces,” constructed by Gaston d’Orléans,
brother of Louis XIII., upon the foundations of a wing erected by his
ancestor, the poet-duke Charles, whom Henry V. took prisoner at
Agincourt, and whose son became Louis XII. The old castle of the Counts
of Blois had been sold to the Orléans family by the last of the line in
1397, and the new possessors, each in his day, occupied themselves in
restoring and embellishing it. So zealous indeed, in this respect, was
Duke Gaston, that, had not fate intervened, not only the west wing but
the entire building would have been pulled down to make way for his
plans. Happily for posterity, this devastation never took place, and the
François Ier wing, the chief treasure of the Château, is still
preserved to us much as it was at the end of the sixteenth century, at
which time Blois may be said to have reached the zenith of its fame in
the history of France. The Château was then a royal residence, and the
roll of its inhabitants forms a long list of illustrious names, foremost
among which stand those of Catherine dé Medici and Charles IX., Henri
III., and the King of Navarre, and the famous Henri de Guise, who met
his death here through the suspicion and jealousy of the king, his
cousin. In the Guise tragedy the chief interest of the Château appears
to centre. Dark hints concerning “le Balafré” are thrown out during the
progress through a succession of dim, empty rooms--council room and
bed-chamber, oratory and private closet, some flooded with sunshine,
others dark with the strange misty curtain that age will sometimes hang
across an old chamber, and through whose thin veil one seems to see the
shades of those old-time kings and queens, walking, plotting and praying
as they did when the Château was alive with the tread of men. All this
appears to lead up to the scene of the Guise murder, and as the guide
reaches the royal bed-chamber and points through a doorway here and down
a passage there, one seems to have reached the heart of the tragedy.
There, in the long council-room, the Balafré stood, warming his hands by
the fire, when the message came that the king awaited him in a cabinet
at the far end of the wing; here, in an ante-room close by, Henri III.
lifted the curtain and watched the enemy to his death; there in the
dark, narrow passage--too narrow even to allow of his drawing
sword--Guise found himself caught like a rat in a trap; here, in the
king’s own chamber, he doubled back for safety, and met his death at the
foot of the royal bed. It is all very thrilling and very real; and
little as there is to love in Henri de Guise, one cannot but pity the
man for the manner of his death; and there seems nothing but justice in
the murder of the king himself a short time afterwards. This second
tragedy took place outside the old dungeon, a gloomy round tower with
cross-barred windows and a heavy iron door, behind which the Cardinal de
Guise, brother of the Balafré, suffered imprisonment at the hands of his
jealous cousin. In the centre of the dungeon floor is a trap door,
which, considering the general atmosphere of the place, one naturally
associates with an oubliette, but which more probably represented the
head of a well, run up through the building in order that the
inhabitants of the castle should not suffer from want of water in siege

It is curious to note that the historical description to which the
visitor listens to-day as he follows his guide through those empty
chambers at Blois is almost exactly the same as that given a hundred and
twenty years ago. Arthur Young, travelling in France in 1787, paid a
visit to Blois, and gives the following account of the Château and its
history: “We viewed the castle for the historical monument it affords
that has rendered it so famous. They show the room where the council
assembled, and the chimney in it before which the Duke of Guise was
standing when the king’s page came to demand his presence in the royal
closet; the door he was entering when stabbed; the tapestry he was in
the act of turning aside; the tower where his brother the cardinal
suffered, with a hole in the floor into the dungeon of Louis XI., of
which the guide tells many horrible stories, in the same tone, from
having told them so often, in which the fellow in Westminster Abbey
gives his monotonous history of the tombs.”

Chapter Eleven


“Chartres,” says Mr. Henry James, “gives us an impression of extreme
antiquity, but it is an antiquity that has gone down in the world.” It
may be this very decadence that has kept Chartres within itself and
prevented it from growing out into a large pretentious city. Many other
places which rival it in age and association have either swept away all
traces of their antiquity, or else preserved it in dignified contrast to
the modern mushroom town. Chartres has done neither. It is scarcely more
at the present day than a quaint country town with a very old-fashioned
air, a place of steep, twisting streets and quiet little market-squares,
the cathedral rising like a giant from the very midst of the houses.
Round the town runs a boulevard, known as the Tour-de-Ville, and
interesting for the fact that it follows the line of the mediæval
defences--ramparts that kept many enemies at bay when Chartres was a
power in the kingdom of France. Here and there parts of these defences
are still standing, and one fragment in particular forms the foundations
of an old convent. Another remnant of the old fighting days is the Porte
Guillaume, one of the city gates, built when the march of the English
forced every French town to keep itself under bolt and bar. Two round
towers, embattled and machicolated, flank a low archway, and to complete
the mediæval effect, the ancient fosse still remains before the gate,
not grass-grown or choked with rubbish, but filled with a clear stream,
just as it might have been in old days.


Autricum of the Carnutes held an important position in Gaul, ranking
very near the great capital of the Senones. In pre-Christian times it
was a famous Druidic centre; but with the advance of Christianity,
Savinian and Potentian, the patron saints of Sens, extended their
mission to Chartres, converted the inhabitants, and built their first
church, according to tradition, upon a Druid grotto. Later on, the town
passed into the possession of a line of counts, who were a very powerful
factor in mediæval France. The first Theobald or Thibaut is said to have
purchased his domain from the sea-king Hasting, who had penetrated
beyond the coast and colonised the lands around the river Eure. His son
and successor, Thibaut le Tricheur, lived in a state of constant war
with Normandy, and seems to have been regarded as a kind of evil
influence by the old Norman chroniclers, whose hero in Thibaut’s day was
naturally their own Richard the Fearless. Another of the line was the
famous Odo, whose ambition went beyond his own states of Chartres and
Blois, and aimed at kingship in Burgundy and even in Italy. Through the
greater part of his reign he carried on also the struggle with Normandy
which had raged so fiercely in Thibaut’s time, besides the standing war
with the Angevin line, represented by Fulk the Black. It was, as Freeman
says, the fact of this common enemy in the house of Chartres which first
brought Anjou and Normandy into direct contact and perhaps laid the
foundations of Anjou’s subsequent connection with England. Chartres,
like Nevers, was made a duchy under François Ier; later it passed
into the Orléans family, whose nominal appanage it has remained ever
since, the eldest son bearing to this day the title of “Duc de
Chartres.” It is also interesting to notice that Henri de Navarre broke
the long succession of coronations at Rheims by being crowned King of
France in Chartres Cathedral, three years after the town had opened its
gates to his army in 1591. Some three hundred years later another enemy
appeared outside the walls, and once again Chartres found itself in the
hands of a foreign power. Mr. Cecil Headlam, in his very interesting
“Story of Chartres,” gives a description of the Prussian occupation,
part of which may be quoted here as showing the foresight of the Mayor,
who in this terrible time, when the whole French nation seemed utterly
demoralised, thought rather of the safeguard of the city and its one
great monument, than of the doubtful and dearly-won glory of a
protracted defence.

“It was on Friday, September 30, 1870, that the Prussian soldiers
appeared for the first time near Chartres. Three weeks later Châteaudun
fell, after a desperate and heroic defence, for which that picturesque
and ancient town paid the dear price of failure. Two days later the
enemy marched in force upon Chartres. The _tirailleurs_ and _mobiles_
and troops of the National Guard, who endeavoured to defend the town,
after vain marching and counter-marching, with the same generous ardour
and utter ineffectiveness as had distinguished the movements of the
other armies before the disasters of Wissembourg, Wörth and Sedan,
returned exhausted. Without firing a shot they had been rendered
incapable of fighting. Fighting in any case would have been useless. It
was wisely decided to capitulate, and on the 21st the Mayor and Prefect
of the Department drove out to Morancez to save the city and Cathedral,
by surrendering them to General von Wittich, from the inevitable
destruction of which Châteaudun had given them a terrible example. What
they saw on their way of the French defence and the Prussian advance
convinced civilians and military men alike that it was impossible to
hope to defend Chartres.”

At the head of the Rue St. Jean, where it leads into the Place du
Châtelet, one obtains the first and best view of the two beautiful
spires at the west end of the Cathedral. The southern tower, dating back
to the twelfth century and conceived in a style which harmonises with
the broad and massive design of the whole building, is an example of
what was contemplated as a finish to the other towers of the Cathedral.
The northern tower, built in 1507 by Jean le Texier, well deserves its
reputation as the most beautiful Gothic spire ever designed. “The one,
fashioned by the Byzantine chisel, sprang into complete being in the
heroic ages of faith in the days of war ... the other rose, after a long
peace, under the hands of the still Christian architects of the
Renaissance, when all dangers and difficulties had been surmounted.”

On contemplating the plan on which Chartres Cathedral was built one is
struck with the enormous space which has been allotted to the choir.
Here the new religious cult finds its earliest expression, greater
provisions are made for its ceremonials, larger spaces are given both in
choir and transepts for its gorgeous ritual than we find in Paris,
Soissons or Lâon. Bishops, priests, deacons, choristers and serving-men
needed a wider platform for the ministration of the sacred rites of the
Church, and especially to this end was the Cathedral planned out. It is
said that its construction was carried out with incredible rapidity in
the desire to meet the pressing requirements of the people, who demanded
that the Cathedral should be not only the house of prayer for the bishop
and his canons, but essentially the mother church of the humblest of her

The prevalence of a style, more or less uniform, with its main
attributes harmonious and congruous, is the resultant of these forces
working together. The completion of the Cathedral was carried out about
1240, and in 1250 were added the two porches at the entrance to the
transepts. The sacristy was built in the thirteenth century, and a
century later the little chapel of Saint Piat was attached to the
eastern apse. The shortness of the nave is attributed to the desire to
utilise the foundations of the old crypt for the choir and not to extend
the building farther westward than the two existing towers. Between
these two points, the walls of the crypt and the western towers, the
nave had to be constructed and without any possibility of further

[Illustration: CHARTRES]

No less than nine spires were originally designed and their towers
actually commenced. What a magnificent effect would have been produced
had they been completed! Standing on the high ground of the city,
Chartres with its clustering pinnacles would have been one of the
wonders of Christendom. The magnificent glass of the thirteenth century
is so deep in tone that upon entering the building one is conscious of a
darkness that can almost be felt, so much at variance with the effect of
the interior of most large French Cathedrals.

The two porches placed outside the transept doors are the subject of a
panegyric from the pen of Viollet-le-Duc. He considers them as the most
beautiful and harmonious additions ever made to an existing building,
and their architects proved themselves to be artists of the very first
rank. No more beautiful specimen of a portal of the thirteenth century
can elsewhere be found to exist; glorious and rejoicing in colour and in
gold, and of surpassing sculpture and full of impressive and solemn


Near Chartres there are two small towns which might well be taken in a
day’s excursion; both are connected with Chartres historically and both
have a certain interest of their own certainly not devoid of attraction
to one in search of antiquities. One is Châteaudun, whose fall during
the war of 1870 was, as has been quoted above, the signal for the
surrender of Chartres; the other is Vendôme, the township of the ancient
feudal county. From Chartres it is Châteaudun that lies first in our
road. It is a straight, neat little town--most of the streets cut one
another at right angles--and the smoke of the Franco-Prussian war still
seems to hover about the place; one of its chief memories, indeed, is
the great fight in October, 1870, when a bare thousand _franc-tireurs_
of the national guard kept the town for half a day against a Prussian
army of ten times their strength, and the quiet market-square--now
called the Place du 18 Octobre--was transformed into a battle-field. All
the heroism that the day called forth, however, could not save the town
from being sacked and burnt--the last of a long series of
conflagrations, lasting from the sixth to the nineteenth century, that
has won for the little town its cheerful, hopeful motto: “Extincta
revivisco.” Certainly Châteaudun has risen from the flames with a fresh
lease of its quiet life, but it has been completely modernised, and
except for a few narrow alleys sloping down towards the river, which
would seem to have escaped the general devastation, there is little that
does not belong to to-day. This is, however, making an exception of the
Château overlooking the Loire; a great exception, since at present all
that there is to see in Châteaudun consists in this square pile on the
brow of the hill; the rest, whatever it may once have been, is only a
memory; and even the Château itself hardly seems a part of the town,
since it is not until we have left the little white-painted streets
behind that we realise its existence, and then it comes as a gigantic
surprise; a huge, square, turreted mass, on its platform of rock,
looking away over the rolling meadow lands, untroubled through all the
years of siege and conflagration. Thibaut le Tricheur, Count of
Champagne, built it in the tenth century; it was rebuilt in the twelfth
century, and again by its seigneur, the famous “Bastard of Orléans,” one
of the most devoted followers of Joan the Maid. Finally, under Louis
XII., François d’Orléans-Longueville applied himself to fresh
renovations, and built the splendid façade overhanging the Loire.

Considering that the Duc de Vendôme has always been a title of some
importance in France since the early part of the sixteenth century, and
the Comtes de Vendôme a power in the feudal world before that, one
might feel rather surprised not to find the town itself presenting a
more imposing aspect. Vendôme is a picturesque place, but it is more of
a long straggling village than anything else, and it is only the ivied
ruins on the cliff that take one back--with a stretch of imagination, it
must be confessed--to the days of feudalism. Vendôme was originally, it
is thought, a Gallic township under the name of Vindocinum; it was then
fortified by the Romans, evangelised by Saint Bienheuré, and finally
became the seat of a feudal count about the end of the tenth century. In
1030 was founded the abbey of La Trinité, whose church is one of the
first “monuments” of Vendôme. It dates from the thirteenth and fifteenth
centuries; the beautiful Transition façade is well worth notice, and so
is the belfry tower, separated from the church and tapering up to a tall
stone spire. Inside the church there are some fine choir stalls of the
fifteenth century, of which the carving of the _miséricordes_ is very
interesting in its variety and quaintness of design.

The Loire at Vendôme divides into several small streams, and in walking
through the town one appears continually to be crossing a succession of
bridges and coming upon fresh pictures of clear green water fringed by
low-roofed houses and dark _lavoirs_ with their curtains of snowy linen.
Outside the town the river winds smoothly away past the cool quiet of
the public gardens, to join its tributaries and cut its silver channels
through the distant water-meadows.

“The route lay along the plateau until the heights were reached which
enclose the valley of the Loir; the road winds down to the river beside
hanging woods, red with autumn leaves not yet fallen, and crowned with a
ridge of firs. A corner is turned and Vendôme comes in sight, lying
beneath the shelter of the old ruined castle on the hill. As the
horsemen enter the town the people all come to the doors of their houses
and gaze with every sign of interested curiosity. There is an anxious
expression in their faces. They do not welcome, though they obey their
visitors with alacrity. They bring forth bread and meat and wine, and
lay the tables for breakfast, but good cheer they have none to
give.”--_The Times_: “Prussian Occupation of Vendôme.”

Chapter Twelve


“The thought that the name of the city itself is most likely to call up
is that of the Maid who, born far away from Orléans, has taken its name
as a kind of surname.... We have got into a way of thinking ... as if
Orléans had its chief being as the city of the Maid.” Orléans certainly
does share with Rouen the chief honours of association with Joan of Arc,
the “Victrix Anglorum,” as she is described on a memorial tablet in the
Cathedral, and the town is equally full of monuments to her memory,
though the memory in this case is that of a great triumph, whereas at
Rouen it marks the last stage, captivity and death.

Orléans was the key of central and southern France, and if the English
once got possession of it they would certain overrun all the land south
of the Loire; hence its importance to France as a stronghold. Joan set
out from Blois late in April, 1429, in charge of a convoy of provisions
for the beleaguered city, and arrived opposite the town, on the left
bank of the Loire.

From November to the end of April the English had lain before the town,
and, although the inhabitants were not actually starving, provisions
were very scanty, and the bringing in of fresh supplies was practically
an impossibility, since the usual means of approach, the bridge across
the Loire, was blocked by the enemy, who occupied the outstanding
fortress of Les Augustins at the bridge, and on the right bank. On the
Orléans bank the English had built several strong _bastilles_, guarding
the city and effectually preventing any communication by means of the
western highways. The weak spot was on the east side, where the
besiegers had one stronghold only, the fortress of Saint Loup; and from
this point Dunois, the general-in-chief, and La Hire, the leader of
Joan’s army, intended to effect an entrance; but the Maid herself, with
that love of directness which characterises her whole career, desired to
attack the English, not at their strongest, but at their weakest point.
Both wind and stream were against their ferrying over to Saint Loup; and
in the end Joan’s simple tenacity and childish belief in the counsel of
her “voices” carried the day. The army was sent back to Blois, there to
cross to the right bank and attack Orléans from the west, and meanwhile
she herself, the wind having turned, crossed in a boat by night and
entered the town with La Hire and Dunois. She was hailed by the people
of Orléans as an angel of deliverance, and lodged in the house of the
treasurer Boucher, near the Porte Regnart at the north-west angle of the
city walls; and from this vantage point Joan watched the enemy’s
movements, appearing from time to time upon the ramparts and bidding
defiance to the English, who, as was perhaps natural, retorted by
showering insults upon her. On May 4 she rode out in full state to meet
her army which had arrived from Blois. Three days later the great fight
began. All this time the English troops had scarcely moved a finger to
hinder the French operations, but when the enemy crossed the river by a
bridge of boats and made a feint of attacking the fortress on the left
bank, retreating apparently in confusion, the English sallied forth
after them, thus provoking a real attack upon the bridge fort. During
the fray the girl-leader was wounded; never for a moment did she give
in, but stood in the fosse grasping the white banner--sword she would
not wield--and cheering on her companions; with the result that by
nightfall the position was gained, the English were driven out, and Joan
returned in triumph into Orléans by the bridge. The greater part of
her victory was now accomplished. On the following day the French forces
marched outside the walls of the town to meet the English line; but
Talbot and his men had not reckoned with what they, in the superstition
of their time, believed to be “a force not of this world,” and the
morning light shone upon their helmets and spears in full retreat
towards the north. France was saved, and a clear field was left for
Charles the Dauphin--the gates of his kingdom were flung open wide, that
he might enter in and possess it.

[Illustration: ORLÉANS]

But the greatness of Orléans belongs to an earlier day, before Joan
heard the voices in the Domrémy meadows, probably before Domrémy ever
existed. It was Attila the Hun who indirectly brought the town up the
ladder of fame. Aurelianum in the fifth century was a desirable
stronghold, and as such, Attila spied it afar from his Asiatic plains,
and set out to conquer, and, as one authority has it, to “vainly
besiege” it, though Freeman inclines to the opinion that “the business
of West Goth and Roman was, in the end, not to keep them (the Huns) out,
but to drive them out.” However that may be, Attila was eventually
forced to give up his project, and Aurelianum emerged from the struggle
glorious and triumphant, to become the seat and stronghold of kings,
and, until its union with Paris in 613, the capital of a separate
kingdom. Since then it has been the scene of siege, martyrdom and
persecution, down to the days of the Franco-Prussian war, when it
finished an eventful history by a Prussian occupation in October, 1870,
a sequel to the battles of Patay and Bonbay.

Orléans is beautifully placed on a hillside overlooking the Loire. With
this physical advantage, and its long list of historical associations,
one cannot help feeling that it might have done better for itself, and
have become more than just a quiet, unobtrusive and rather dull city,
with all its monuments easily attainable. The Cathedral is an example of
the last lingering phase of Gothic architecture, and was rebuilt, so we
are told--after its destruction by the Huguenots--during the interval
between 1600 and 1829. The building as a mass has great merit, for the
architects have made an effort to clothe it with dignity, and one feels
that the church itself is conceived in a spirit to make it, certainly at
a distance, not unworthy of the stronghold of Clovis and his successors.


The train which we took from Orléans to Bourges was slow enough to
enable us to look out, almost as easily as from a _voiture_, at the
richly wooded country. Here and there a small pyramidal church tower
peeps out from the trees, but, as a rule, there is little sign of
life in this pleasant country, and even the fields and the gorse-covered
commons are bare of sheep and cattle. This _train-d’omnibus_, in
discharge of its functions as a mail train, distributed letter-bags at
every station. Here were waiting young girls acting as postmistresses,
many of whom had come from a considerable distance, having ridden on
bicycles, bare-headed, in the scorching sun, along dusty roads, to
deliver up their heavy loads and to enjoy a chat with the travelling
postman, who was evidently welcomed by them as bringing all the latest
bits of gossip along the line.

About a mile away there is a very beautiful view of the town, and the
general effect is a grey one. Roofs and houses--the latter perhaps
originally built of yellow-white stone--have all weathered to a
beautiful grey, and there is an air of mediævalism about the place.
Bourges, indeed, like many other towns in France, goes back to early
days for its greatness, and belongs far more to the past than to the
present. The fifteenth century saw it at the height of its fame as a
king’s residence; Charles VII., perhaps finding the more northerly towns
too hot for him during the English occupation, took up his abode there
and became for the time being “King of Bourges”; and Louis XI. founded a
university in the town.

Here was born the famous Bourdaloue, and Boucher, the painter of
Versailles before “le Déluge,” Boucher who was

        “a Grasshopper, and painted--
    Rose-water Raphael--_en couleur de rose_,
    The crowned Caprice, whose sceptre, nowise sainted,
    Swayed the light realms of ballets and bon-mots;
    Ruled the dim boudoir’s _demi-jour_, or drove
    Pink-ribboned flocks through some pink-flowered grove,”

and who now, his Grasshopper days ended, lies buried beside his mother
in the Church of Saint Bonnet.

[Illustration: BOURGES]

Perhaps the principal interest of old Bourges centres in the name of
Jacques Cœur, the merchant prince, “a Vanderbilt or a Rothschild of
the fifteenth century,” who in his days of prosperity built a great
house on the hill-side where his native town stands. Cœur, we are
told, founded the trade between France and the Levant; later he became
Master of the Mint in Paris, and one of the Royal Commissioners to the
Languedoc Parliament. He was three times sent on an embassy to foreign
powers, notably to Pope Nicholas V. Charles VII., weak, unstable, and
always in need of money, relied on him absolutely, but with the usual
characteristics of a weak master, was one of the first to desert and
despoil him of his wealth when occasion offered. The beginning of the
end came through a disgraceful and apparently quite unfounded accusation
against Cœur at the time of the death of the famous Agnes Sorel, whom
he was accused of poisoning. Jacques was too prosperous not to have
enemies, and these were, as usual, prompt to use every opportunity
against him. The first steps taken, calumnies of all kind poured in to
defame the man whom France had once delighted to honour, and the rest of
his career is a strange mixture of exile, mysterious captivity, and
equally mysterious escape, honourable reception in Rome, and friendship
with the Pope; the last scene of all, perhaps the strangest and most
foreign to all idea of a peaceful, prosperous merchant--for here we see
him in command, not of a fleet of trading ships laden with merchandise,
but of vessels of war sent against the Turks by Pope Calixtus III.
Rumour has it that, far from dying in poverty and sorrow, Jacques
Cœur, at the end of his life, had acquired greater riches than when
at the zenith of his fame in France, but the fact remains that he died
in exile, with a cloud over his memory which was not cleared away until
many years after, when popular favour again smiled on his name, and he
became, what he remains to this day, the citizen-hero of Bourges.

There is a very charming description--too long to quote here--in Mr.
Henry James’ “Little Tour in France” of the house of Jacques Cœur;
and one point of interest attaching to it is that it is built upon the
old defences of the town, and at the back are many considerable remains
of solid Roman bastions.

It is one of the most beautiful types of a fifteenth-century town-house
that can possibly be imagined--a veritable remnant of the ancient
prosperity of Bourges, of a time when such houses were no uncommon
feature in the streets--when men who had made their fame and fortune
loved to build for themselves a beautiful home in their native town, and
enrich it with every conceivable ornament. Modern _nouveaux riches_
indeed do the same, though perhaps not in their native place, where
their memory as butcher or baker might, in their eyes, tell against
them; but the difference between their “mansions” and the hotel of
Jacques Cœur is the difference between an age when the Renaissance
was in its early freshness and an age when it has suffered the
degradations of many modern horrors in the style that is popularly
designated “handsome.” No one looking upon the delicate sculptures, the
wonderful wood carving, the courtyard with its cloister, the lovely
porticos and galleries, can doubt the taste of the man who built and
lived in this “maison pleine de mystères.”


The Cathedral of Bourges, which, as Freeman points out, is essentially
French, although at the head of the Aquitanian churches, is well seen in
approaching the town, where it rises above a base of grey tiles and warm
white walls--a long flank of choir and nave, unbroken by transepts. The
thrust of the heavy vaulting is stopped by a perfect forest of flying
buttresses, between whose walls are built chapels, either for chantries
or family monuments. From inside the town it is not much in evidence
until one ascends the Rue Royale, where one comes upon it quite
unexpectedly at the end of what Mr. Henry James calls a “short vague
lane,” somewhat in the same manner as one comes upon St. Paul’s bursting
into view at the top of Cheapside.

The absence of transepts accounts naturally for the want of any central
tower or lantern, and as there are no heavy transept pillars supporting
the arches at the crossing, to intercept the view, the elevation of the
Host is visible to every worshipper, and the eye travels in one sweep
through nave and choir to the beautifully jewelled windows of rich old
glass, ranging from the twelfth to the seventeenth century. The east
terminal vaulting springs so low as to mask part of the side-lights of
the apse. This is also very noticeable in the east end of Sens
Cathedral, the beauty of whose windows is marred by the vaults cutting
across the heads of the lights. At Bourges, however, the spandril or
cheek of the vault is pierced by a foliated light, showing a certain
amount of the window behind, and thus taking away the appearance of
depression in the low springing vaulting of the apse.

It is easily recognised that in point of historical importance Nevers,
in comparison with some of its neighbours, dwindles almost into
insignificance, and to the traveller coming from Orléans and Bourges,
fresh from the scene of the triumphs of Joan of Domrémy, and from the
seats of French kings when France was at the height of her power, there
may be a slight sense of disappointment at not finding the same
historical “lions” at Nevers. History, though not passing over the town
entirely, has only touched it with a gentle hand, and Nevers, though
possessed of plenty of material for making itself a name, has never
really risen very far above being the capital of the Nivernais. It
existed in Roman days under the Celtic name of Noviodunum; Cæsar made
use of it as a military depôt in his Gallic campaign, and thought the
town was of sufficient importance to be a storehouse for the imperial
treasure; its countship dates from the tenth century, and it became the
seat of a bishop, although later than many of the Auvergne cities. Yet
the counts of Nevers never made a stir in the world, as did Odo and
Thibaut of Chartres, or the Fulks and Geoffreys of Angers, and nowhere
on its ecclesiastical roll do we find a name like Hilary of Poitiers or
Martin of Tours. Despite these early deficiencies, however, Nevers has
much to interest the casual visitor, and there are four principal
attractions--the Cathedral of St. Cyr, the Romanesque church of St.
Etienne, the ducal palace (now the Palais de Justice), and the Porte du


The early church of St. Etienne, begun in 1063, is a fine example of a
Romanesque building. It is also a very severe example, with a nave of
round-headed pier arches, double-arcaded triforium and small clerestory
lights. The bays of the nave are modified in the choir by the pier
arches being stilted, by a small triple-lighted triforium, and by more
importance being given to the clerestory windows. There are, also,
monolithic columns and hollow-necked capitals, which are unusual in
France. The church is covered by a barrel vault, the crossing of the
transepts being crowned by a dome. Mr. Spiers, in his book on
“Architecture East and West,” says: “The French builders of the South of
France have always had the credit of being the originators of the barrel
vault, with its stone or tile roof, absolutely incombustible, lying
direct on the vault; to them also, I contend now, we owe the
development of the dome, with its pendentives set out in a manner
peculiar to themselves, and in no way corresponding to those found in
the East.”

The Cathedral of St. Cyr is the only church in France--with the
exception of Besançon--which possesses an apse at both the east and west
ends. St. Gall in Switzerland, Mittelzall, Laack and many other German
churches show this remarkable plan of a western tribune or paradise. In
some instances it was used as a tomb-house, with entrance from without
by means of a staircase. In the old basilicas, however, the tribune was
not unfrequently at the west end, so that the officiating priest could
at the same time face the east and also his congregation. The crypt at
the west end, with its fine Romanesque capitals, is very interesting,
and dates from the early part of the eleventh century, being about
contemporary with that of the Cathedral of Auxerre. The original church,
with its two transept arches of the same date, was lengthened eastwards
in the thirteenth century, and later on had the further addition made of
a choir with an apsidal termination; the chancel and nave are not
separated by transepts, but the two merge quietly into each other by
simple contact.

[Illustration: PORTE DU CROUX, NEVERS]

One afternoon, while contemplating this strange church, our attention
was diverted from arch and apse by the rustle of a small bridal
procession entering by a side door and being received by a priest who
was waiting at an altar in one of the chapels. After some formalities of
examining the certificate of civil registry, the ceremony began; and it
was very interesting in its brevity and friendliness. In the English
church the priest addresses the principals, with a kind of austere
familiarity, by their Christian names, be they princes or paupers. But
here such a liberty is rendered impossible by the natural social
politeness of the French, and the contracting parties are reminded of
their marriage obligations under the courteous appellations of Monsieur
and Mademoiselle.

The ducal palace is quite close to the Cathedral. “We find,” Freeman
says, “the two great central objects, State and Church, sitting
becomingly side by side.” The ducal days of Nevers date only from the
end of the sixteenth century, when François Ier, with his usual love
of display, bestowed a peerage upon the Nivernais. Before this its
feudal overlords went by the more mediæval title of count, and the
palace (built a century before the count became a duke) has reared
itself upon the foundation of their ancient stronghold. The fourth
attraction of Nevers, the high square gateway tower known as the Porte
du Croux, may also be regarded as a relic of feudal days, seeing that
it dates from 1398, and was evidently part of the town’s defences. It is
a noble specimen of mediæval defence, a tall gateway tower, protected,
like the Porte Guillaume at Chartres, by its ancient fosse--long lancet
openings running up above a low round archway and two pointed turrets
flanking the hatchet-shaped central roof, with the treacherous line of
machicolation below. In the middle of the sixteenth century Nevers
passed to an Italian master, one of the Gonzagas of Mantua, from whom, a
hundred years later, Mazarin bought it back again, and left it at his
death to the Mancini family, who held it until the Revolution.

Most French towns nowadays fill their shops with a display of local
pottery, good, bad and indifferent; the industry of Nevers, however, is
an old-established one, dating from the occupation of these very
Gonzagas, who came from a land where the faïence industry, as well as
glass-blowing, was fully developed as a fine art, and who founded in
their domain a school of artists which should teach their secrets to
France. The industry has remained in the town ever since, and some of
the modern work is very charming, with its curious trade-sign, the
little green arabesque knot or _nœud vert_, which some fanciful
spirit designed for the sign of Nevers.

Chapter Thirteen


From Nevers an expedition to Moulins is quite practicable, and the
traveller _en route_ to Limoges may think it worth his while to pay a
visit to this town, which stands as a monument to the fallen house of
Bourbon. In the fourteenth century the dukes of Bourbon made Moulins
their residence, and stayed there until the desertion of the Constable
to the cause of Charles V., when the city was annexed by the French
king, François Ier, in an access of righteous indignation. The “Tour
de l’Horloge,” which is the main feature of the town, and looks more
like a Dutch belfry than a French design, formed part of the old château
belonging to this same Constable; and it may be supposed that not only
were his lands confiscated, but his castle destroyed, by way of
punishment for his alliance with the English king and the German

The story of this Constable de Bourbon is an interesting one. He
belonged to the Montpensier branch of the Bourbon family, and in 1505
married Suzanne de Beaujeu, heiress of the reigning line, so that the
title of duke and the rich Bourbon estates passed into his possession,
and therewith Charles became one of the most brilliant figures in an age
of brilliancy and magnificence. His handsome person and military talents
had even in early youth gained him a place amongst the foremost
gentlemen of France; but his marriage brought him such an access of
wealth and influence that even Louis XII. trembled for the safety of his
throne, and refused to risk any increase in his popularity by giving him
command of the Italian army. In 1515, however, when the Duc d’Angoulême
came to the throne as François Ier, Bourbon was made Constable of
France, and for a time seemed to have attained to all that Fortune could
give him. He was the close friend of the king, and in an era of lavish
display that came with the first François, and did not wholly disappear
until it was swept away by the hand of the Revolution, no favours seemed
too great, no honours too high, for the brilliant and much-envied
favourite. To such a height did Charles de Bourbon reach, that one can,
indeed, hardly wonder at his fall, which was bound to come sooner or
later, and when it did come was all the greater, all the swifter, from
the very might of his power at court. The mischief arose in the first
place through the jealousy of the king’s mother--reports and scandals
were in the air, and François was not slow to take note of them--and of
the growing distrust of his favourite at court. Quarrels arose between
King and Constable. Presently the evil reports took definite shape, and
grew into the grossest of insults; and as soon as it was seen that
Bourbon had lost the King’s favour all tongues were loosened against
him. Added to these troubles, he was engaged in a lawsuit with the
mother of François, the Duchess d’Angoulême, who on the death of his
wife Suzanne claimed the heirship to all his estates and fortune. As may
be imagined, on the principle of striking a fallen man, the case went
against him, and the great duke found himself friendless and penniless,
with large sums owing to him from the State, but with little hope of
payment. Men in those days were not over-chivalrous, and the idea of
clinging still to an ungrateful, ungenerous sovereign who had cast him
off like an old glove did not commend itself to a nature like that of
Charles de Montpensier. He resolved, since France would have none of
him, to try his fortune with Germany, and accordingly joined the cause
of Charles V., to whom for a time he gave his best service, and then,
finding the imperial promises, too, like the proverbial pie-crust,
determined to carve out honours for himself and find a kingdom in
Italy. He marched to Rome with a division under his command, and made a
bold attack upon the city walls, but an arrow from the ramparts, shot,
so one story goes, by Benvenuto Cellini, the famous sculptor and court
musician to the Pope, put an end to his ambition, and the Constable died
in harness outside the walls of Rome at the very outset of his gallant
attempt to cast off the yoke of kings and make his fortune by his own

Of Bourbon’s château there remains only the tower bearing the curious
name of the Mal-Coiffée, and a Renaissance pavilion--an appendage found
in the castle of every great noble of this time.

In the eleventh century Moulins was one of the more southerly fortresses
to hold out against William of Normandy. It had been commanded by a
certain Wimund, who surrendered it to Henry, the French king. As an
important outpost it was garrisoned strongly and put under the command
of Guy of Geoffrey, Count of Gascony, presently to become William VIII.
of Aquitaine. The Norman duke, however, was advancing upon Arques, which
was within an ace of surrender from hunger, and with little difficulty
he obtained terms from the garrison. News of this defeat soon flew to
Moulins, and its commander seems to have been instantly seized with an
access either of panic or of prejudice--the two bore a curious
relation in those days--and without giving the Normans time so much as
to come within sight of the town, he withdrew his garrison and left
Moulins with all speed.

[Illustration: MOULINS]

The Cathedral at Moulins has a curious misfit of nave and chancel. The
former is of the thirteenth century, with a high clerestory and rather
low triforium arches; the latter is Flamboyant, with a flat wall
termination to the east end, and seems to have been built without any
regard to the pre-existing nave; at any rate, the main piers do not
meet, and a small bay of no particular style is introduced literally as
a stop-gap.

An excellent hotel--the “Central”--makes Limoges a convenient
stopping-place on the southern road, irrespective of its attractions to
those interested in faïence and enamel work; but there are plenty of
other interests within the town, and Limoges may, indeed, speak for
itself in this respect, by reason of its standing on a hill, overlooking
a river, and containing, in the old quarter at least, ancient houses and
crooked streets enough to satisfy any craving for the picturesque. The
town slopes up a hill rising from the Vienne, and really divides into
two distinct parts, _ville_ and _cité_; the _ville_ is the newer town
straggling up the slope, while the _cité_, the original camping-ground
of the Lemovices, occupies the quarter near the river. So distinct were
these two in the Middle Ages that we even read of war between them as
between two separate states, the _ville_ led by the abbot of Saint
Martial, the _cité_ by the bishop. The great church of the river quarter
is the Cathedral of Saint Etienne, built, so tradition has it, upon the
remains of a former church erected by Saint Martial, and dating from
1273-1327, with a few later alterations. The west end terminates in the
substructure of an old Romanesque campanile, resting on pillars. “The
lowest story,” says Freeman, “after a fashion rare but not unique, stood
open. Four large columns with their round arches supported a kind of
cupola.” Under the choir is a crypt, dating from the eleventh century,
and thus at each end of the later church is a relic of an older time.

Limoges had formerly been favourable to the English, but since the dukes
of Berri and Bourbon had laid siege to the town, and had been aided by
Bertrand du Guesclin, the inhabitants, including the bishop and the
governor, gave up their somewhat wavering allegiance and turned to
France. On hearing of this defection the Prince of Wales flew into a
great passion and “swore by the soul of his father, which he had never
perjured, that he would not attend to anything before he had punished
Limoges; and that he would make the inhabitants pay dearly for their
treachery.” The price they had to give was the safety of their city.
Edward marched upon Limoges from Cognac with a large force; but the new
masters had garrisoned the town so strongly that it was impossible to
take it by assault. He therefore resolved upon another and a more
terrible way. He undermined the fortifications, and set fire to the
mine, so that a great breach was made. Froissart describes the
inhabitants of the town as very repentant of their treachery, but adds
poignantly that their penitence did little good, now that they were no
longer the masters; and certainly it was not rewarded by mercy. The
English troops rushed into the breach and poured down the narrow
streets, massacring right and left, plundering and burning, sparing
neither women nor children; and when the Prince at last turned back to
Cognac, he left behind him ruin and desolation where, a few days before,
had been strength and prosperity. During this terrible time the Church
of Saint Etienne happily escaped from damage, although all the rest of
the old town--“old” even in 1370--seems to have been destroyed. An
interesting reminder of more modern history remains in the name of one
of the streets. The Cathedral is connected with the Place Jourdan by
the “Rue du 71^{ième} Mobiles”; and this street is so named in
recognition of the valour shown by this regiment in the field, and in
the memory of those killed during the Prussian war. It is an assurance
that their heroism and endurance in a hopeless struggle are not
forgotten, and that an equal devotion to their country will be shown,
should the need arise, by succeeding generations of their
fellow-citizens. Monuments are not readily subscribed for, nor are
places where they may be erected easily found. A permanent testimony to
the gallant services of a regiment might be borne by calling a street
after its name. London accorded a great welcome to its volunteers at the
termination of the Boer war. Is there any street or place called after
the name of the City Imperial Volunteers?

[Illustration: LIMOGES]

In a cathedral city like Limoges, where the church itself has a good
deal of interest and the town is not devoid of attraction, one is not
readily inclined to place its industrial interests very high on the list
of things to be seen; yet the fact remains that in this particular place
the chief industry is closely bound up with the town’s history. The
Limoges school of enamel workers had attained celebrity as early as the
twelfth century, when the _champ-levé_, or engraving process, was in
vogue, the ground-work of the plates consisting of graven copper and
the cavities filled in with enamel. This kind of work may well be seen
in Westminster Abbey upon the tomb of Aymer de Valence, Earl of
Pembroke. In the fourteenth century France borrowed from Italy the art
of transparent enamelling, which the artists at Limoges developed into
enamel-painting, and this branch was carried on at Limoges for upwards
of two centuries, until it fell into decay under Louis XIV. and gave
place to the modern miniature style.

Under François Ier this art of enamel-painting attained to a high
degree of perfection. The sixteenth-century taste inclined always
towards the brilliant and magnificent, and the same love of display and
richness which showed both in dress and in architecture found also
expression in the art of enamelling. One of the most famous artists of
this school came from Limoges, whence he was known as Léonard Limousin.
His work became the pattern of excellence after which all lesser artists
strove. “While some of the works were executed in brilliant colours,
most of them were in monochrome. The background was generally dark,
either black or deep purple, and the design was painted _en grisaille_,
relieved, in the case of figure subjects, by delicate carnation. The
effect was occasionally heightened by appropriate touches of gold, and
in many of the coloured enamels brilliancy was obtained by the use of
silver foil, or paillon, placed beneath a transparent enamel.”

At Périgueux we seem to have left Northern France in the far distance
and to have taken the first definite step into the Midi. The
architectural pilgrim as he wanders southward is conscious of the
existence of two distinct styles, possessing features dissimilar in
construction and design; in one case he finds barrel-vaulted churches,
in another large churches roofed with pointed domes, whose origin it is
difficult to determine. Of the latter type the church of Saint Front is
a notable instance. It rises above the old quarter, which occupies the
centre of the town, the modern portion, quite distinct from the rest, as
was the case at Limoges, sloping up the hill, and the remnant of the old
Roman city fronting the river. The original Vesunna of the Petrocorii
stood on the left bank of the Isle; the Roman Vesunna crossed to the
other side, and is now represented by the ruins of an amphitheatre,
dating from the third century, and some second-century baths. The old
Château Barrière is also built on Roman fortifications, and two of the
Roman towers still remain, besides the “Tour de Vésone,” which was
probably part of a pagan temple.


It is a curious fact that here the ancient remains of the Roman city
should be so much more prominent than is usually the case. At Bourges we
saw the house of Jacques Cœur built upon a Roman foundation, and many
other places keep, in part at least, their Roman walls; but Périgueux
has Roman remains which absorb quite half the interest aroused by the
city on the Isle--the other half being devoted to the church. From the
site of the Gallic Vesunna, on the left side of the river, the Tour de
Vésone is the foremost object, so old that, as Freeman says, it looks
almost modern. “It is a singular fact that, while a mediæval building
can scarcely ever be taken for anything modern, buildings of earlier
date often may. The primeval walls of Alatri might at a little distance
be taken for a modern prison, and this huge round, it must be confessed,
has to some not undiscerning eyes suggested the thought of a modern
gasworks.” Then the partly mediæval Château Barrière attracts notice,
dating at its latest from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and by
its name recalling one of the noblest families of mediæval Périgord.

With the rise of the abbey of Saint Front, a new town arose also, and
the old quarter shrank up within itself, remaining still the abode of
the nobles and gentlemen and the clergy of Saint Etienne, but yielding
the real precedence to the vigorous new _puy_ higher up the hill.
“Here, as in some measure at Limoges, the tables are turned. The _ville_
stands apart on the hill, with the air of the original _cité_, while the
real _cité_ abides below, putting on somewhat the look of a suburb.”
Even Saint Etienne, the old Cathedral-church of La Cité, has, owing to
its partially ruined condition, practically renounced its importance
both in intrinsic position and in external appearance. The great tower,
which once stood at the west end, has gone entirely; the cupolas which
crown each bay show the relation to those at Saint Front, and in place
of the eleventh-century apse stands a flat wall, terminating in a choir
of a century later.

The church of St. Front is “the only domed church in France with the
Greek cross for its plan.” The original building is said to have been
consecrated in 1047 by the Archbishop of Bourges and burnt down in a
great fire in 1120. It was not until after this date that the five-domed
church and the tower on the west side were constructed. “By this time
the Church of Saint Mark at Venice was completed, as far as its main
structure was concerned, and already the panelling of the walls with
marble and the decoration of its vaults and arches with mosaic had made
some progress. It was one of the wonders of Europe, and the idea of
copying its plan and general design would appeal at once to a race of
builders who for more than a century, as I shall prove later on, had
been building domed churches throughout Aquitaine, who were perfectly
acquainted with their own methods of building domes and pendentives, and
therefore would not be obliged to trust to foreign workmen to execute
them.”--MR. R. PHENÉ SPIERS.

[Illustration: ST. FRONT, PÉRIGUEUX]

It would be quite out of our province to follow out Mr. Spiers’
arguments in support of this theory, as it would lead us into the
entangled byways of a discourse on methods of “bedding” and centring
arches and pendentives. Suffice it to say that he clearly points out the
difference which exists between French and Byzantine domes, capitals and
voussoirs and the prevalence of the Aquitaine style, and on this
evidence maintains that French, and not Greek or Venetian architects,
built the abbey church of Saint Front. This conclusion is also supported
by Viollet-le-Duc, who expresses his opinion that Saint Front was
undoubtedly built by a Frenchman who had studied either the actual
Church of Saint Mark at Venice or who had had opportunities of seeing
the design of the Venetian architects. Its general conception, it is
true, was Venetian and quasi-Oriental, but its construction and details
do not recall in any way the decorative sculpture or method of building
which obtained at St. Mark’s at Venice. As to the ornament, it belongs
to the late Romanesque style.

Saint Front must indeed have appeared a strange erection and unique in
conception amongst its sister churches, and no doubt exercised a great
influence over the builders of churches north of the Garonne in the
eleventh and twelfth centuries. The infusion of Oriental art into this
part of the country is explained by the distinguished French
archæologist, M. Félix de Verheilh, as partly due to the presence of
Venetian colonies established at Limoges. He says that the commerce of
the Levant was carried into France and into England along trade routes
existing between Marseilles or Narbonne and La Rochelle or Mantes. The
landing of Eastern produce at these ports on the Mediterranean and its
carriage overland to the north-western seaboard of France was rendered
necessary to protect it from the Spanish and Arab pirates who infested
the coasts of Spain and Africa, and also to avoid the risk of storms and
heavy seas of the Straits of Gibraltar.

Chapter Fourteen


Angoulême has at a distance more the appearance of an Italian than of a
French town. The heavy red pantiles, the campanile and dome of the
Cathedral, the little terraces sloping up the hill, all recall the
southern towns; but the river with its fringing poplars finally
proclaims the city’s nationality. There is nothing of especial interest
to be seen in the town itself. Angoulême--Ecolisma of the Gauls--has of
course had its history; it suffered pillage by Visigoth and Norman, was
annexed by England, re-taken by France, occupied again by the English,
and finally made over to its rightful sovereign in 1369.

During the Hundred Years’ War Angoulême was in the possession of the
English, and under the governorship of Sir John Norwich surrendered to
France. The Duke of Normandy lay, we are told, “for a very considerable
time” before the town, and the inhabitants waited daily for the Earl of
Derby, who was to relieve them, but who showed no signs of approach. The
French made a raid upon the English cattle under the guidance of the
seneschal of Beaucaire and captured not merely the beasts, who--strange
laxity--were pasturing outside the walls of the town, but several of the
English who rushed out to recover their possessions. Finally the
governor began to lose hope; Derby was nowhere within reach, the French
gave no signs of withdrawal, and worse than all, the townsfolk began to
murmur and to declare as far as they dared for the enemy. Norwich and
his immediate followers found themselves in some danger; but by a clever
stratagem they escaped from surrendering themselves to Normandy. A truce
was called, and under cover of this the governor and his friends sallied
quietly forth from the gates, passed through the entire French army,
without hurt, and took the road to Aiguillon before the enemy had
realised what they were about. Meanwhile the disaffected within the town
readily gave themselves up to the Duke, and received his mercy.

Here, however, as at Nevers, an up-and-down history has left little mark
upon the town, and Freeman’s criticism is no more than the truth:
“Except we went on purpose for the view, we should hardly go to
Angoulême at all.” Saint Pierre at Angoulême is another example of the
domed church that we left at Périgueux; but while the cupolas carry on
the same half-Byzantine idea as prevails in Saint Front, the tower at
the north transept brings in a train of thought which is distinctly
Italian; moreover, at Périgueux all five cupolas are well seen from the
outside, whereas here only one appears, to balance, or rather to
contrast with, the north tower. Once inside the church, however, the
other domes appear, roofing over the nave, which is without aisles,
after the manner of the Angevin churches. In its original form the
Cathedral of Saint Pierre was begun early in the twelfth century--about
1120--but it has been twice restored, once in 1654 and once, in the
middle of the last century, by M. Abadie.

It was planned simply with a nave roofed by four cupolas and a choir
with four radiating apsidal chapels. Later on in the century the love of
building places of worship larger and more suited to the growing desire
for an enriched ceremonial and elaborate ritual resulted in the addition
of transepts surmounted by towers, which gave to the Cathedral of Saint
Pierre at Angoulême the distinction of being one of the first, if not
the first, of domed churches built on the plan of a Latin cross. Of the
two towers only one, the northern tower, exists to this day, the
southern transept being roofed by a flat conical dome. Certain further
additions were made about the same time, such as the western façade with
its sculptured portal. The black lines of the ashlar work, as if ruled
with a lead pencil, detract very much from the impressiveness of the
interior, as they give undue emphasis to the horizontal joints and
arrest the eye in its first natural flight from floor to vault.

Saint Pierre at Poitiers is a church of a very different description.
Certain characteristics it has which connect it with the Angevin style,
but unlike most of the Angevin churches, it has aisles throughout. From
the outside the appearance is that of a single mass, long and low, and
very wide, for the aisles are nearly as broad as the nave; as at
Bourges, there is no central tower at the crossing; but then at Bourges
we have a great French church, a mighty mass rising sheer up from the
ground, unbroken by any transept; here at Poitiers there are transepts,
but the line of their towers comes below the line of the roof, and the
effect given is one of length without height. Height is also wanting in
the two unfinished and unequal west towers, and the east end literally
falls flat, by reason of its bare terminal wall; the apse, to which one
grows so accustomed in a French church, is seen only from the interior.
It is oblong in plan, showing, as M. Viollet-le-Duc points out, no
sign either of choir or sanctuary. The transepts are more like side
chapels with altars on their eastern walls. There is no sign of northern
influence, and the church is in many of its features unique and without
imitators. Certain details of construction bring it into line with St.
Maurice at Angers; it is an ordinary example of the churches of Poitou,
with their three naves of equal height and Byzantine cupolas.

[Illustration: ANGOULÊME]

To the south of the Cathedral lies what alone would make Poitiers worth
a visit, without the other churches which call for notice--the little
Temple Saint-Jean, said to be the oldest baptistery in France, and
dating probably from the fourth century. Once inside, we can realise the
position of the officiating priest and the place occupied by the rooms
where the converts disrobed themselves and whence they were conducted to
the central basin, fed by a continual stream of water, where stood the
bishop, the typical representative of the first Baptist. Freeman says:
“It is the one monument of the earliest Christian times which lived on,
so to speak, in its own person, and is not simply represented by a later
building on the same site. It is the truest monument of Hilary.”

The name of Poitiers churches really is legion, but there are two more
which should not be passed over--first, Notre-Dame-la-Grande, a
beautiful Romanesque church standing in the market-place, with a long
barrel-vault roof, unbroken by transepts, and terminated by towers
ornamented with “fish-scale” pattern; next the church of Sainte
Radégonde, the queen-saint of the sixth century, wife to the first
Chlothar. She lived among the nuns of her own foundation of the Sainte
Croix, and lies buried in the crypt of her church, which contains also a
marble statue, erected indeed to her memory, but in the likeness of
another queen who had few pretensions to saintliness--Anne of Austria,
mother of Louis XIV.

Fortunatus also became a monk of Poitiers, that he might at least have
the satisfaction of living near this queen, whom he worshipped.

The nuns of Sainte Croix went to England and founded there a sisterhood
on the Green Croft near Cambridge, and this priory remained until the
end of the fifteenth century, when the foundation was suppressed by
Bishop Alcock, and became part of the corporation of Jesus College.

[Illustration: POITIERS]

It is with a certain feeling of apology toward tradition and childish
days that one leaves to the very last the mention of the Black Prince’s
great fight. Not until we have reached fairly mature years do we realise
that Poitiers has a cathedral and a baptistery and many churches; but
there are very few of us who do not associate with the earliest days
of history books the name of the “Battle of Poitiers, 1356.” More
properly it is the Battle of Maupertuis, and Freeman indeed denies its
right to “come into the immediate story of the city.”

A short account may not be out of place here, however, since the battle,
whether in or out of Poitiers, does, nevertheless, stand out as a
landmark in the long struggle between English and French. Having stormed
and taken the Castle of Pomerantin, Prince Edward marched downwards
through Anjou and Touraine; and from the scarcity of fodder on the way
he began to conclude that the French king could not be far off. Arrived
at a village near Chauvigny, on the Vienne, he engaged in a skirmish
with some of the enemy, and learned that John’s army had marched forward
towards Poitiers; therefore, forbidding any further engagement, he
pushed on with all possible speed, and came up with the French some
leagues from the town, on the plains of Maupertuis. The French king
himself was just about to enter Poitiers, but hearing that the English
had come up and were attacking his rear-guard, he turned back into the
fields and there encamped his forces. Meanwhile the English entrenched
themselves in a well-guarded position between hedges and vineyards, and
waited there until the morning, when John’s army rode out into the
plain. “Then might be seen all the nobility of France, richly dressed
out in brilliant armour, with banners and pennons gallantly displayed;
for all the flower of the French nobility were there; no knight or
squire, for fear of dishonour, dared remain at home.” At the last moment
an attempt at mediation was made by the Cardinal de Périgord; but as the
French king would listen to no terms save unconditional surrender, which
the English prince refused, his labour was in vain; and the following
day the armies drew up in line of battle. “When the Prince of Wales saw,
from the departure of the Cardinal without being able to obtain any
honourable terms, that a battle was inevitable, and that the King of
France held both him and his army in great contempt, he thus addressed
himself to them: ‘Now, my gallant fellows, what though we be a small
company as in regard to the puissance of our enemy, let us not be cast
down therefore, for victory lieth not in the multitude of people, but
where God will send it; if it fortune that the journey be ours, we shall
be the most honoured people of all the world; and if we die in our right
quarrel, I have the king, my father, and brethren, and also ye have good
friends and kinsmen; these shall avenge us. Therefore, for God’s sake, I
require you to do your devoirs this day, for if God be pleased and
Saint George, this day ye shall see me a good knight.’” Then the battle
began in earnest, the English shouting “Saint George for Guienne!” The
French answering with “Montjoie Saint Denis!” Froissart gives a very
long and detailed account of the fight in all its part, with lists of
the nobles and knights who were killed and wounded, and in many cases
stories of their several adventures--none of which have place here. It
will be enough to say with the old chronicler himself, that, in spite of
the odds against the Black Prince, “it often happens that fortune in
love and war turns out more favourable and wonderful than could have
been hoped for or expected. To say the truth, this battle which was
fought near Poitiers, in the Plains of Beauvois and Maupertuis, was very
bloody and perilous; many gallant deeds of arms were performed that were
never known, and the combatants on each side suffered much.” The rest is
known to every one, the taking of King John of France, the gallant work
of the archers, and the commendation of the Prince by his father, who
had watched the fight from afar.

Even without the battle the story of Poitiers is a sufficiently varied
one, and connected in a great measure with the story of England, if it
be remembered that Eleanor, wife of our Henry II., was also Countess of
Poitou and brought it to England as part of her dowry; and in English
hands it remained until Philip Augustus saw fit to confiscate all our
French territory in 1204. After the peace of Brétigny Poitou passed to
England once more, only to be surrendered to Bertrand du Guesclin in the
course of the next ten years. Here at Poitiers Charles VII. was
proclaimed King of France; and, in contrast, it is likewise interesting
to note that here also was held a court of inquiry upon the
misdemeanours of Joan of Arc, by whose aid Charles was not only
proclaimed but crowned King. After this the English prestige in France
dwindled to nothing, and therefore the joint history stops at this
point, and the history of Poitou and Poitiers stands for France alone.

Chapter Fifteen


La Rochelle calls to mind two things principally: first, the great
resistance of the Huguenots in the sixteenth century, and then the siege
and the expeditions under Buckingham in the early days of Charles I.
These two events are really part of the same struggle for supremacy
between Calvinist and Romanist, only divided by a period of quiescence
under the rule of Henri de Navarre, who, having professed both faiths in
his day, probably knew how to keep the two parties at peace. Before the
religious wars La Rochelle was known as a flourishing and peaceful
seaport town; but no sooner had Condé and Coligny shown their faces
there in 1568 as leaders of the Huguenot faction, than a spirit of
warfare, provocative as well as defensive, seemed to pervade the town,
and even on the high seas the cruisers of La Rochelle were a terror to
the Romanist, since in the cause of the true faith no Huguenot stopped
at piracy and plunder. From this first struggle La Rochelle emerged
with flying colours, but in the days of Richelieu and Buckingham it was
less successful, and traces of its surrender exist to-day in the mole,
cutting off the outer harbour, which Richelieu laid down to prevent the
English fleet from gaining further entrance to the port.


The first attack on Buckingham’s part was made in the summer of 1627. A
war with France, impending only in 1625, but swift to take definite
shape, was among the inconvenient legacies bequeathed by James I. to his
son. With the utmost difficulty a forced loan was obtained from
Parliament in order to meet the war expenses, and the Duke of Buckingham
was put in command of the fleet which sailed from Portsmouth in June to
the relief of the Huguenots whom Richelieu was besieging in La Rochelle.
This task was not an easy one. Before gaining the harbour the fleet must
pass the fort of Saint Martin on the island of Ré. This island had been
strongly garrisoned by Richelieu, but the English squadron lay between
the fort and the mainland, cutting off all possibility of relief; and
after being blockaded for nearly two months the French commander
signified to Buckingham his willingness to surrender the next morning.
The duke was in the highest spirits when the welcome news arrived, and
lay down to rest that night with the joyful certainly of carrying all
before him, driving the Cardinal from before the port and entering La
Rochelle in triumph. But the morning broke on a very different picture.
During the night an easterly gale had sprung up and had blown a fleet of
French provision boats over to Ré, through the very midst of the English
ships; and once more Saint Martin’s prepared for defence. Nothing
daunted, Buckingham sent to England for fresh troops, and if the supply
had depended upon the king he might still have gained his victory; but
the Parliament, now a growing power in England, and a power whose growth
was making itself felt, overruled the royal pleasure, and found here the
long-wished for opportunity of crushing out the war, of which the
country was heartily tired, by refusing to grant further supplies.
Probably the fact that Buckingham was no favourite with the people also
helped to turn the scale against him. At any rate a French force came up
before any word was sent from England, and the duke was obliged to
withdraw from La Rochelle with considerable losses. The sequel is well
known. In the following year Charles prorogued his troublesome
Parliament, and once more the favourite set off for Portsmouth, never to
reach France, since the dagger of John Felton put an end to his
ambitions and avenged, so said the English people, his country’s
wrongs. Thus La Rochelle was left entirely to the tender mercies of
Richelieu. The Huguenot power was utterly broken by the year’s siege
which followed, and La Rochelle found itself despoiled of the prestige
which it enjoyed as the stronghold of the Protestant faith.


La Rochelle of to-day is perhaps little known to the casual traveller.
Inland France has so many attractions that most travellers never get so
far as the sea-coast; great churches and great rivers draw them
elsewhere, and if they want sea breezes there is always Trouville or
Etretat ready to hand. Nevertheless, La Rochelle is one of the most
beautiful of sea-ports in France; and this is no faint praise, for all
towns of this kind are bound to have a peculiar charm of their own--that
kind of charm which belongs to a harbour, and the coming and going of
ships, and the open sea beyond. To this the town adds certain
attractions of its own, among which are the beautiful colours of the
boat-sails, and the old grey forts guarding the harbour on either side.
These ancient sentinel towers are relics of the prosperity of La
Rochelle, and date back to a day before Buckingham sailed up to the
port, before the name of Huguenot had ever been heard in France. On the
left hand the Tour Saint-Nicolas, built at the end of the fourteenth
century, raises four round crenellated turrets above the harbour; on
the other side stands the Tour de la Chaîne, a grim, solid-looking round
fortress; and farther on still may be seen the stone _flèche_ of the
Tour de la Lanterne, looking from a distance like the spire of a church.
And the mention of churches brings us naturally to the Cathedral, which,
built in the middle of the eighteenth century, has so very little to say
for itself that one cannot help feeling it to be a poor set-off to the
sea-board of the town; though perhaps it might in any case be useless to
look for beauty of this kind in a town whose inhabitants ranked the
adorning of churches as one of the deadly sins of Rome. This cathedral
was, it is true, built long after La Rochelle had ceased to be a
Huguenot stronghold; but when we remember that the beauty of any former
church would have fallen a victim to the fanatic’s hammer, we can
forgive the architect, and cease to mourn for what might have been. The
Cathedral of La Rochelle is not a thing of beauty, but at any rate it
has not displaced anything that might have pleased us better.

From La Rochelle to Bordeaux the road runs by heavy-leafed plantations
of every kind of tree, notably acacias, whose great size is particularly
apparent to an English eye. Then, as the Bordelais comes nearer, we run
down to the smooth, peaceful Charente, winding quietly through its
meadow lands, not unlike the upper reaches of the Thames, and yet very
unlike in one respect, since the water is completely deserted, and even
in the height of summer few pleasure boats disturb its smooth surface.
Boating as an amusement _per se_ has very little place in the programme
of a French country gentleman, though bathing and fishing are both
included in it; and the same thing is noticeable nearer Paris, on the
Marne, where a pair-oar gig, if ever it got there, would part its
timbers through sheer neglect, and break up in a few months.

Bordeaux itself is worthy of its reputation, and is certainly, strictly
speaking, a “handsome” city, with a waterway almost as grand as the
Thames at London, spanned by a beautiful bridge of red-brick and stone,
built in 1822, which might well serve as a model for some of our London
bridges. It is a pleasant place enough when once the fact of its being a
large and modern city is accepted; and although it has not the romance
of the inland hill-towns nor the picturesque situation of La Rochelle,
it has always been a city of note, ever since the Gauls came down to the
river and called their settlement Burdigala. For three centuries it
belonged to England; the same Countess Eleanor, of whom we heard at
Poitiers, brought it to her English husband, Henry II., and for some
reason it does not seem to have been included in the general
confiscation of English territory under Philip Augustus, so it remained
an English town and shared in English victories and defeats until
Charles VII. was crowned, and the English retired by degrees to their
own land. Bordeaux was also the birthplace of poor, weak, well-meaning
Richard II.; and his father, the victor of Poitiers, held his court in
the town for some time. Here he held, too, his conference upon the
affairs of Castile.

Don Pedro was at that time engaged in a struggle for the Castilian
throne with his brother, who was not the lawful heir. Neither prince
seems to have been blameless in his conduct, and Edward declared that he
only upheld the claim of Pedro on account of his lawful birth, and not
from any individual deserts; but this declaration apparently failed to
satisfy the rest of the English and Gascons within Bordeaux, and it was
finally decided to summon a council, composed of all the barons in
Aquitaine, “when Don Pedro might lay before them his situation, and his
means of satisfying them, should the prince undertake to conduct him
back to his own country, and to do all in his power to replace him upon
his throne.” The conference resulted in a decision in favour of Pedro,
and by order of the English king a certain number of knights and
men-at-arms were sent from Bordeaux to escort the claimant back to Spain
and to help him to regain his own, all expenses being paid by Castile--a
frugal method of rendering aid!

The Cathedral is attributed to the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and
as it now stands consists of a large nave, without aisles, which were
swept away for purposes of roof construction, as at Angers and in
Notre-Dame-de-la-Coûture at Le Mans. According to Mr. Bond, an early
tower was built in 550, which was noticed by Fortunatus. In plan the
building shows the influence of the well-known church of the Cordeliers
at Toulouse. “Its western portion is a vast nave without aisles, sixty
feet wide internally and nearly two hundred feet in length. Its
foundations show that, like that at Angoulême, it was originally roofed
by three great domes; but being rebuilt in the thirteenth century, it is
now covered by an intersecting vault ... and an immense array of flying
buttresses to support its thrust, all which might have been dispensed
with had the architects retained the original simple and more beautiful
form of roof.”

Within easy distance of Bordeaux is Libourne, a little town upon the
Dordogne, which, though now overshadowed by the great port of the
Garonne, was in the Middle Ages of almost equal importance in the
wine-growing country, and had a special interest as being one of the
_villes bastides_ found in several places in the south of France,
especially in Guyenne. These really owe their origin to England, for
they were founded by Edward I. during his French wars as refuges for
those unable to take an active part in the struggle.

Mr. Barker, in his “Two Summers in Guyenne,” gives a very interesting
description of these towns, noticing particularly the straight lines of
their streets. “In contrast to the typical mediæval town that grew up
slowly around some abbey or at the foot of some strong castle that
protected it, and in the building of which, if any method was observed,
it was that of making the streets as crooked as possible, to assist the
defenders in stopping the inward rush of an enemy, the streets of the
_bastide_ were all drawn at right angles to each other.” The _bastides_
were built merely for shelter, not, as was the case with other towns,
for defence as well, though in the lawless days of the thirteenth
century it was sometimes necessary even here to put up a wall, palisade
and moat. Libourne has a remnant of such fortification in a quaint old
round Tour de l’Horloge with machicolations and a pointed roof. The term
_bastide_ was also applied to a single work of defence which, although
isolated, formed part of a continuous system of fortification. A single
house outside the walls of a town was also called a _bastide_.

Passing out from Libourne, we reach the very heart of this wine-growing
country--a true country of the south it seems in summer, with the
endless stretches of vineyards--row after row of green, twisting,
climbing wreaths round their stiff, straight poles, under a blazing
southern sky, and every now and then a single hill rising suddenly out
of the plain, whilst the river slips quietly away in the distance to the
sea. On, or rather in, one of these hills the hermit Émilion fixed his
cave-dwelling, far back in the legendary years of history; and
now--strange contrast!--the town founded by this ascetic, abstemious
saint owes its fame to the purple juice of the grape, and sends forth
from its slopes not water from his dripping well, but good red wine to
gladden the heart of man. A visitor to Saint-Émilion in early summer
will find a curious greenness over everything--not only in the freshness
of the vineyards. When evening falls the very labourers rise from their
task and move home through the dusk like so many green spectres--though
from no other cause than from their constant watering of the vines with
sulphur-water to kill off the devouring insects.

[Illustration: BORDEAUX]

Irrespective of wine-growers, Saint-Émilion has many things to be
seen on its crescent-shaped hill. There is the wonderful church, carved
out of the cliff-face, now in ruins, but possessing store enough of
massive square piers and round-headed arches to bear witness to its
ancient grandeur; and a separate Gothic tower and spire of the twelfth
century points a long tapering finger above the narrow creeper-grown
streets and low, crowded roofs on the hill-side. The church to which the
tower really belongs is not this curious monument carved from the rock,
but the collegiate church farther up the hill, now used as a parish
church. Other monuments there are besides--the icy-cold, moss-grown
vault known as the “Grotte de Saint-Émilion,” where superstitious
maidens drop pins into the well to find out when they shall be married;
the ruined convent of the Cordeliers, with its grass-grown courts and
ivy-covered cloister arcades, and the great walnut tree whose branches
shade an empty, silent place where once the brothers chanted and the
novices worked at their simple tasks; and the cave-dwellings, where
seven of the Girondists hid from the wrath of the Terror, sheltered and
fed by a kindly couple who paid later for their good nature by the
guillotine, after four of the seven refugees had been captured and

The ancient Saint-Émilion--the town to which most of these buildings
carry us back--is in reality an old English fortress, growing from the
oppidum of the Gauls to the fortified stronghold which passed to Edward
I. and continued, with a few interruptions, to enjoy the privileges of a
royal borough of England until the fifteenth century.

Chapter Sixteen


The Senones, who settled on the banks of the river Yonne and founded the
city of Agenticum, which we know to-day as Sens, were one of the most
influential people in Gaul--even the Parisii were considered of less
account--and did not submit to the Roman yoke until the final defeat of
Vercingetorix. The change of dominion, however, in no way detracted from
the importance of their capital city, but rather enhanced it, since the
conquerors made the town metropolis of the fourth Lugdunensis, and were
at some pains to rebuild it in a fashion befitting its position. Six
great highways met within its walls; arches, aqueducts and amphitheatres
sprang up all over the city, and Agenticum henceforth became a
prosperous and powerful stronghold, well able to withstand the
incursions of later days, of which there were many, on the part of the
Franks and the Saracens and, finally, of the Normans.

Christianity was introduced by the martyr-saints Savinian and Potentian,
who, as at Chartres, built the first church in the city, thus laying, so
tradition has it, the foundations of the Cathedral which was to come in
after times. The town then became an archbishopric, and later, like most
towns of any standing, a hereditary countship, the proximity of the two
overlords, spiritual and temporal, leading not infrequently to
disastrous results, especially when in the twelfth century a communal
power sprang up and contributed a third factor to the contest.

In 1234 Louis IX. married Marguerite de Provence in the Cathedral of
Saint Etienne, and on his return from the Holy Land, five years later,
with the precious relics purchased from the Emperor of Constantinople,
the reliquary and its contents were paraded through the streets in a
palanquin, borne by the king and his brother, Robert d’Artois, who
walked bare-headed and bare-footed at the head of the procession,
casting aside all their royal state--which, indeed, poor Louis would
have gladly left for ever--to set an example of reverent homage to the
people of Sens. Thomas à Becket lived for some months in the Abbey of
Sainte-Colombe by the river-side, founded by one of the Chlothars in the
seventh century in memory of the young virgin saint who suffered
martyrdom under the rule of Aurelian.

Sens, on its quiet, graceful little river, “bending ... link after link
through a never-ending rustle of poplar-trees,” is a picturesque place,
like most towns which have left their importance behind them in the
Middle Ages, and have come down to modern days unmodernised. Standing on
the far bank of the Yonne, looking across the river reaches, one gets a
very delightful picture of the town, almost like that of some of our
English Cathedral cities--the shining river, the green water-meadows,
and above them the deeper green of the grand old trees, clustering round
the great church, whose high grey tower rises from their midst, watching
the town, meadows and river by day and by night, when men wake and when
they take their rest, as it has watched ever since William the architect
built up its stones and brought their pattern across the water that the
church of Britain’s first Christian city might share the glories of her
sister in France.

Sens is not very well known to travellers, although there is no
cathedral in the whole breadth of France which ought to be dearer in the
eyes of every Englishman, on account of its being in all probability the
parent of the choir of Canterbury. Hither Becket is said to have fled,
and to have sought sanctuary at the altar of St. Thomas against the
persecution of Henry II. Viollet-le-Duc describes St. Etienne as a
cathedral unique both in plan and style of architecture--a mixture of
arches both round and pointed, such as we find in the choir of
Canterbury, showing how much it is under the influence of the Burgundy
school. This is proved by the great similarity of plan between the other
Burgundy cathedrals, and it is surmised that after the eleventh century
Autun, Langres, Auxerre and Sens possessed certain dispositions of plan
peculiar to themselves, which were adopted in the Eastern portions of
Canterbury. There appears to be no precise information as to the early
foundation of the Cathedral of Sens, and the architect who designed it
is unknown. The west front exhibits a number of fine sculptures relating
to the lives of St. Stephen, St. John, and other saints; in the central
portion, which dates from the end of the twelfth century, religion has
given place to the arts and sciences, which are represented by twelve
sculptured figures, now in a mutilated condition--Grammar, Medicine (a
figure holding plants), Rhetoric (giving a discourse), Painting
(represented drawing on a tablet placed on the knee), Astronomy, Music,
Philosophy, &c. Under each figure is sculptured an animal or monster; in
one case a lion is devouring a child, an elephant carrying a tower....
The “encyclopædic spirit” was dominant in the twelfth century, and in
the object lesson of these stones an ignorant and unlettered crowd could
find its elementary instruction.

[Illustration: SENS]

Auxerre, which is about twelve miles from the main line between Paris
and Dijon, may be considered as an outpost lying on the threshold of the
Morvan country. Many of the towns in this district, notably Semur and
Avallon, are built on large granite bosses protruding through the
oolitic formation. Auxerre possesses churches as fine as those of any
other city of its size in France. As one enters the town by the lower of
the two bridges which cross the Yonne, the three churches--St. Pierre,
St. Etienne and St. Germain--suddenly burst into view. On the left is
St. Pierre, with its picturesque tower and forecourt entered through a
Renaissance gateway; the Cathedral of St. Etienne with its single tower,
high nave, and girdle of flying buttresses, stands on the highest ground
in the centre of the group; and further eastwards the abbey church of
St. Germain, detached from its spire, spreads out along the beautiful
river front of the Yonne.

“Towards the middle of the tenth century the Cathedral of St. Etienne
was complete in its main outline; what remained was the building of the
great tower, and all that various labour of final decoration which it
would take more than one generation to accomplish. Certain
circumstances, however, not wholly explained, led to a somewhat rapid
finishing, as it were out of hand, yet with a marvellous fulness at once
and grace. Of the result much has perished, or been transferred
elsewhere; a portion is still visible in sumptuous relics, in stained
glass windows, and, above all, in the reliefs which adorn the west
portals, very delicately carved in a fine firm stone from Tounerre, of
which time has only browned the surface and which, for early mastery in
art, may be compared to the contemporary work in Italy.”--WALTER PATER,
“Imaginary Portraits.”

The interior of the Cathedral offers one very striking piece of
architectural planning: the Lady Chapel and _chevet_ are joined together
by two slender shafts, an arrangement by which the three features,
ambulatory, _chevet_ and Lady Chapel, are united in one broad design.
This conception gives a very beautiful and harmonious effect. The
eleventh-century spire of St. Germain, which appears quite detached from
the body of the church, is one of the very early stone spires which
exist now in France. It springs from a fairly broad base, and has a
slight entasis or swelling to avoid the appearance of any midway
gathering-in of the outline of the spire. The crypt of the eleventh
century is “deep sunk into the ground and very dark,” having aisles, and
is in plan practically a small edition of the choir of Canterbury,
following the true Burgundian type, the details of its capitals
resembling those of the old crypt of Nevers. Mr. Bond, referring to the
crypt, or _confessio_ of St. Germain, remarks that the burial chamber of
a martyr was called a _confessio_: “where lay one who had confessed and
given witness to his faith by his blood.” The term “Martyrdom,” applied
to the north transept at Canterbury, is an exact equivalent to

[Illustration: ST. GERMAIN, AUXERRE]

Saint Germain, the missionary bishop, lived here, and died at Ravenna;
but his body was brought back from Italy to his birthplace by five pious
sisters, one of whom, canonised under the name of Sainte Maxime, lies
buried in the abbey church founded by the great saint; where also, in
the beautiful crypt, is the tomb of Germain himself, surrounded by a
whole company of dead saints, among them the valiant Saint Loup, who,
when bishop of Auxerre, drove out the Huns under Attila, and saved his
city from destruction. One interesting point in connection with this
abbey is that it is the mother-foundation of Selby in Yorkshire. There
is a long and mythical legend on the subject, teeming of course with
miracles, from which may be gathered that one Bernard of Auxerre
wandered from his native town and settled down--why is not very
clear--upon the banks of the river Ouse, where he led the life of a
hermit. The reports of his sanctity attracted to his cell many persons
in the neighbourhood, influential men amongst them; and he attained such
fame that his hermit’s hut became the nucleus of a large monastery.
However much of this is true, and however much legend, enough remains to
show that the monks at Selby did come from Auxerre.

In addition to these three churches, it would be impossible to overlook
St. Eusèbe, a church standing in the middle of the town, especially if
it be the traveller’s lot to stay at the excellent Hôtel de l’Épée, and
to occupy a room giving on its court-yard. There cats, cooks, and
chauffeurs combine to enliven the watches of the night, and when the
morning dawns, and the “web of night undone,” the jackdaws and the bells
of St. Eusèbe announce that sleep is no longer befitting, and he
realises that a restless night is the price to be cheerfully paid if he
desires, as an architectural enthusiast, to do his duty by Auxerre.


Troyes, the ancient capital of Champagne, was formerly another “city of
counts”--the residence of a long line of Thibauts, almost as famed in
their day as the Fulks at Angers, and one of whom, called “le
Chansonnier,” might be compared to the minstrel King René. These counts
of Champagne kept up their state at Troyes until the fourteenth
century, when the countship became merged in the French crown. The city
likewise made of itself a landmark during the Hundred Years’ War. After
the battle of Agincourt it fell into the hands of the allied Burgundians
and English; and the name of Troyes now recalls the triumph, as brief as
it was splendid, of the English arms in France. By this time Henry V.
had set his foot upon the steps of the French throne, and the famous
treaty signed here in 1420 secured the succession to him and his heirs,
and, to complete the alliance, gave him the hand of the French princess,
Catherine, the betrothal taking place in the Cathedral, and the marriage
itself in the church of Saint Jean. Here is a contemporary account of
the proceedings by the chronicler Monstrelet: “At this period Henry,
King of England, accompanied by his two brothers, the Dukes of Clarence
and of Gloucester, the Earls of Huntington, Warwick, and Kyme, and many
of the great lords of England, with about sixteen hundred combatants,
the greater part of whom were archers, set out from Rouen, came to
Pontoise, and then to Saint Denis. He crossed the bridge at Charenton
and left part of his army to guard it, and thence advanced by Provins to
Troyes in Champagne. The Duke of Burgundy and several of the nobility,
to show him honour and respect, came out to meet him, and conducted him
to the hotel, where he was lodged with his princes, and his army was
quartered in the adjacent villages.... When all relating to the peace
had been concluded, King Henry, according to the custom of France,
affianced the Lady Catherine. On the morrow of Trinity Day the King of
England espoused her in the parish church near to which he was lodged;
great pomp and magnificence were displayed by him and his princes as if
he were at that moment king of all the world.”

Ten years later, however, Joan of Arc captured the town on her march
through France, and put an end to the English dominion. In 1525 Troyes
was attacked by the Emperor Charles V., who burnt at least half the
town, with the result that many of the old churches had to be rebuilt,
and date therefore from the sixteenth century, with remains of earlier
work here and there. Soon after the fire the city was overswept by the
great wave of religious controversy which was to break over France in
the latter years of the century, and since most of the inhabitants
declared for the Huguenot cause, their fortunes and ultimate fate were
none of the happiest. In 1562 the whole Huguenot population was driven
out and compelled to fall back for safety upon the town of
Bar-sur-Seine; and another decade saw a repetition of the terrible day
of Saint Bartholomew, when the Romanists in Troyes followed the ghastly
example of their white-sleeved brothers in Paris, and massacred every
Huguenot prisoner within the walls.

Historic interest at the present day divides the repute of Troyes with
something less romantic--the system of weights and measures which we
call “Troy weight,” and which remains as a memorial of the mercantile
fame of ancient Troyes. The fairs of Troyes date back to 1230, when
Count Thibaut IV. granted to his subjects a municipal charter, and laid
the foundations of a commercial repute which could vie with that of any
town in France. From this time onwards Troyes occupied an important
position in the commercial world, and became the resort of wealthy
merchants from Italy and weavers with bales of rich stuffs from
Flanders, to say nothing of the goldsmiths, silversmiths, and workers in
precious stones who must have brought Troy weight into fame. Neither the
Hundred Years’ War nor the wars of the League appear to have affected
the town’s commerce to any great extent, but the Revocation of the Edict
of Nantes, by forcing the Protestant population, which included the
majority of the ablest citizens, to emigrate, struck a blow at the
industry of Troyes from which it never recovered; and now-a-days both
population and commerce have fallen to a state so low that it might
almost be called one of decay, compared with the brilliant busy life of
the mediæval town. What a scene they must have afforded at fair-time,
these narrow-built streets and small close squares, narrower and closer
than ever we can picture them to-day, but alive with movement, laughter,
above all with colour--such colour as your sober work-a-day crowd can
never aspire to in these times!

Picturesque and lively as a French market of to-day undoubtedly is, with
the red and green, russet and pearl-colour of its vegetables, the white
caps of its women, the gay blues and crimsons of the umbrellas guarding
the stalls, the laughter and chatter of the buyers, sellers, and idlers,
it has nothing to compare with the wonderful colour-mass and movement of
a mediæval crowd, above all in such a place as this, the fame of whose
fairs might well have attracted buyers from all parts of Europe.
Stately, bearded Italian merchants--men like Antonio of Venice with
argosies on every sea--in furred cap and gold chain, dark-faced,
keen-eyed Jews, young nobles, exquisite in silk and velvet, wandering
minstrels fantastically arrayed, dancing-girls like bright-hued
butterflies, all the good citizens of Troyes in their gayest holiday
attire, and the inevitable jester in his motley, skimming in and out
of the crowd, shaking his cap and bells in every face--the many-coloured
banners of the town guilds streaming in the breeze above their heads,
and the summer sunshine flooding the whole scene, giving added light to
every street-corner, added brilliancy to every hue. The Troyes of to-day
is a picturesque town enough, with many beautiful timber-framed houses;
but the light and life of the town went out with the departure of the
fairs, and beyond its churches Troyes now has little to distinguish it
from the hundreds of quondam-mediæval towns scattered through the length
and breadth of France.

[Illustration: A STREET IN TROYES]

On our architectural pilgrimage through the town the Cathedral naturally
claimed our first attention; but we had not got much further than
admiration of the splendour of the stained glass, and a short analysis
of the beauty of the interior, when a remorseless sacristan informed us
that the Cathedral was about to close for two hours. Driven outside, the
contemplation of the splendid Flamboyant west portal reminded us of what
we have referred to elsewhere--that these deep-set porches in the French
cathedrals are considered as lineal descendants of the ancient narthex.
Troyes, Lâon, Bourges and many other churches lead one to an attempt to
follow out the evolution of these great porches. In the ancient
basilican churches the narthex was the first section of the building--an
ante-temple, long and narrow, in front of the nave. In the primitive
Church it was especially allotted to the monks and the women, and used
for certain offices, such as rogations, supplications, and night
watches; it was further destined as a place for catechumens and
penitents, who were permitted to assist at Divine Service outside the
Temple. Heretics and schismatics might also here attend and listen to
the reading of the Scriptures, this privilege being accorded them in the
hope of their ultimate conversion; and corpses were placed in the
narthex during the performance of the funeral rites. In the Middle Ages
the denomination narthex was given to closed porches of churches, and
ceased to be any longer applicable to a portion of a religious edifice
lying within the walls. It was ultimately replaced by the word _porch_.
These porches were both open and closed and formed a kind of vestibule.

The baptism of children and not of adults rendered it unnecessary to
provide for the preparation of converts before being introduced into the
Church. There were no more catechumens undergoing their time of
probation, and in consequence the spacious vestibule to which they had
hitherto been relegated disappeared as an essential portion of a large
church, and was replaced by a porch which was either open or closed,
and occupied a position in front of the nave similar to that in which
its predecessor, the narthex, had stood. These porches being reserved
for the faithful remained, _qua_ porches, as very important annexes to
the churches, and formed large vestibules, often closed, which ran along
the outside of the western wall of a church, having sometimes the
appearance of a cloister, as at Toury, which was built in 1230.

Under the porches before the main entrances of many ancient cathedrals
bishops, emperors and honoured citizens were often buried, as the
ecclesiastical law in the primitive Church did not allow people to be
buried inside the walls of the sacred building. Many important services
were held under these porches; prayers for the dead were offered up,
ablutions performed by the faithful before entering the church, relics
and images were exposed, and litanies chanted. Later it became
absolutely necessary to keep them strictly closed on account of the
abuse of the shelter of the porch by the erection of market stalls and
booths on fair-days under the shadow of the church, and the crowd of
buyers and sellers making the air ring with their noisy bargainings.

A further development was to make the porch a kind of arcaded
_avant-porte_ surmounted by a gable with sculptured features. These
decorated canopies were by degrees thrown back into the main wall,
became merged into the mouldings of the doorway, and were finally lost
as a separate feature in the highly ornamented and deeply splayed

Fortunately the ecclesiastical interest of Troyes is not confined to one
corner, and the churches of Saint Urbain and the Madeleine lie in one’s
path to the market-place along the very picturesque streets of
sixteenth-and seventeenth-century houses, which offer every conceivable
variation of roof and gable.

The beautiful details of the unfinished church of Saint Urbain may well
have won for itself the reputation of equalling if not of surpassing
anything of its kind either in France or Germany; and although it is
still in the hands of the restorer, there is now no scaffolding to
prevent one looking in admiration at the graceful choir and transepts.
The detached _pignons_ above the chancel window spring from the
buttresses clear of the wall, and throw a deep shadow over the upper
portion of the windows. This shadow gives an appearance of weight and
stability to the building, which is certainly required as an assurance
against the result of too daring construction.

In the Madeleine, which is not far from Saint Urbain, is a notable
rood-screen, full of luxuriant tracery and sculpture of a late
Flamboyant period. It attracts attention, not because it fulfils any
ceremonial requirements or forms any part of an architectural effect in
the interior of the church, but rather on account of its singular
appearance of being slung between two pillars.

Chapter Seventeen


Meaux is a beautifully situated little town on the banks of the Marne
some thirty miles from Paris, on the way to the Champagne country. Its
general appearance can best be gathered from the delightful public
promenade along the river-side which is entered immediately on the right
of the station. The Cathedral dates back to the early thirteenth
century, but very shortly after it was finished, either owing to the
work of construction being hurried or to the foundations being insecure,
large cracks and actual shifting of the masonry declared themselves, and
a great deal of remodelling and alterations became necessary. The
vaulting and first stage of the choir aisles--or triforium
ambulatory--were removed, the aisles being thereby doubled in height.
The choir elevation is a very beautiful expression of thirteenth-century
design. The transept is short, and has a large rose window and a
richly-decorated portal.

It is said that at one time, namely in the thirteenth century,
architects conceived the idea of covering the walls on the inside of the
porch with some vast design of decoration, by which the colour poured
into the church through the large rose-window should be enhanced by
great spaces of painted wall-surface. This conception, however, was very
short-lived, and towards the end of the century painted subjects were
confined almost entirely to the windows; and the internal decoration of
the _revers_ of the porches was conceived, as at Meaux, more in an
architectural spirit with pilasters, arcading, etc., as motives, rather
than with features suggested by the painter’s art.

Meaux as well as Lâon, Soissons, Beauvais, Noyon and other towns in the
district felt the effects of the Jacquerie revolts in the thirteenth
century. Indeed, many of the ladies who suffered from the horrors of the
persecution at Beauvais fled at first to Meaux to escape the fury of the
rebels; and once having got within the town, they did not dare to leave
it, so that to all intents and purposes they were prisoners within its
walls. Throughout the whole district bands of robbers and furious
peasants infested the roads or lay in ambush to catch the unwary, and it
was thus very dangerous to go from one town to another, even under an
armed escort. Hearing of the plight of these ladies in Meaux, among
whom were the Duchesses of Orléans and Normandy, the Earl of Foix and
the Captal de Buch resolved to go to their aid, and set out forthwith
from Châlons, to find a great host of the peasantry also bound for the
same place. The rebels had heard that Meaux was chiefly inhabited by
refugee women and children, also that it contained a great deal of
treasure; and they were now flocking down every road, from Valois, from
Beauvoisie and from Paris, towards the little town upon the Marne. Foix
and his company were received with the utmost joy, for the peasants had
already begun to fill the streets and to do what damage they could, and
the ladies were naturally in great alarm. “But when these banditti
perceived such a troop of gentlemen, so well equipped, sally forth to
guard the market-place, the foremost of them began to fall back. The
gentlemen then followed them, using their lances and swords. When they
felt the weight of their blows, they, through fear, turned about so
fast, they fell one over the other. All manner of armed persons then
rushed out of the barriers, drove them before them, striking them down
like beasts, and clearing the town of them, for they kept neither
regularity nor order, slaying so many that they were tired. They flung
them in great heaps into the river. In short, they killed upwards of
seven thousand. Not one would have escaped if they had chosen to pursue
them further.”

[Illustration: MEAUX]

Another siege famous in the annals of Meaux is that during the wars of
Henry V., when the English king encamped before the town in October,
1421, and set engines to batter down the gates and walls, having
entrenched his own army meanwhile in a strong position between hedges
and ditches. “The King of England,” Monstrelet tells us, “was
indefatigable in the siege of Meaux, and having destroyed many parts of
the walls of the market-place, he summoned the garrison to surrender
themselves to the King of France and himself, or he would storm the
place. To this summons they replied that it was not yet time to
surrender, on which the King ordered the place to be stormed. The
assault continued for seven or eight hours in the most bloody manner;
nevertheless, the besieged made an obstinate defence, in spite of the
great numbers that were attacking them. Their lances had been almost all
broken, but in their stead they made use of spits, and fought with such
courage that the English were driven back from the ditches, which
encouraged them much.” This state of affairs lasted for six months; the
garrison of Meaux, who seem to have behaved all through with the utmost
gallantry, were in hopes of relief from the Dauphin, but at the end of
April, finding further resistance impossible, they gave themselves up
into the hands of Henry. A treaty was set on foot whereby, “on the 11th
day of May, the market-place and all Meaux were to be surrendered into
the hands of the kings of France and England.” The leaders were made
prisoners of war, and the chief offender, the bastard of Vaurus, who
“had in his time hung many a Burgundian and Englishman,” was beheaded
and hung as a warning on a tree outside the walls of the town. King
Henry himself--adds the French chronicler--“was very proud of this
victory, and entered the place in great pomp, and remained there some
days with his princes to repose and solace himself, having given orders
for the complete reparation of the walls that had been so much damaged
by artillery at the siege.”

Meaux is of course notably associated with Bossuet, the famous preacher,
who was appointed to its bishopric in 1681. The study and garden where
he wrote many of his sermons are still shown among his other memorials
in the Évêché, near the Cathedral.

[Illustration: THE OLD MILLS AT MEAUX]

“Dans les choses nécessaire, l’unité; dans les douteuses, la liberté;
dans tous les cas, la charité.” In these few words one may look for the
keynote of Bossuet’s whole life. Temperate in all things, yet possessed
with an eloquence more moving, it was said, than that of any man since
the days of the Christian Fathers, and employed always in the cause
of the Church he loved so well, the “Aigle de Meaux” well deserves his
place among the greatest ecclesiastics France has ever known, and
France, just at this time, was rich in ecclesiastical genius. There was
Fénélon at Cambrai and Mascaron at Tulle, there were Massillon and
Bourdaloue, Arnauld and Fleury--all of them men of note, both in the
pulpit and in the world of books; but Bossuet stands out before them

He made an early entrance into the cultivated world, preaching his first
sermon, upon a subject chosen at random, in the salon of the Hôtel
Rambouillet, when hardly out of his teens; and the Marquis de
Feuquières, who had introduced him into this society of Précieuses, soon
found reason to be proud of his protégé. The young man was destined to
go on as he had begun; a few more years saw him established as Canon of
Metz, the close friend of Condé and of the Calvinist Paul Ferri, with
whom he never tired of disputing theological questions in a perfectly
amicable spirit, acting up to his maxim of “liberty in doubtful things”;
and finally his reputation brought him to Paris, where he preached
during Lent, 1656, and brought before the world the sermon as he created
it, purified from the profanities of an immoral age, strengthened by his
steadfast simplicity, and quickened by the fire of his eloquence.
Bossuet found that in spite of himself his fame as an orator--a fame
after which he had never striven--was firmly established in the capital,
and after he had preached before the king in the chapel of the Louvre
his success was practically assured. Honours and dignities came fast
upon him; he became Bishop of Condom, and in the following year (1670)
was entrusted with the education of the Dauphin, while the Académie
Française opened its doors to his genius, and in 1681 he was appointed
to the See of Meaux. Hardly had Bossuet settled down, however, in the
quiet little _évêché_, with its pleasant green garden, than he was
called out again into the world of noise and controversy. In 1682 Louis
XIV. convoked the famous assembly of clergy to discuss the breach which
had lately disclosed itself between the State of France and the Papacy.
The king contended for the right of patronage over any vacant sees or
benefices, claiming that so long as they remained unoccupied, their
revenues fell due to the Crown; and called together the clergy of the
realm to uphold his right and to draw up a code of rules that should set
a line between spiritual and temporal authority. Bossuet preached the
sermon which was to open the Convocation; and his clear practical sense
and eloquent denunciation of the encroachments of the Papacy destroyed
the remnants of Pope Innocent’s power in France. He summed up the case
in four clauses. First, “That the Pope has no temporal power over
kings”; secondly, “That his spiritual authority is inferior to that of a
general assembly”; thirdly, “That, in consequence, the use of this
authority ought to be regulated by the canons of the Church and by
customs generally approved”; and last, “That the papal decision on
matters of faith is only infallible by consent of the Church.” Thus did
Bossuet establish the privileges and the liberty of the Gallican Church.

As soon as possible the great bishop disengaged himself from the affairs
of the nation, and was occupied, not in gaining fresh honours, but with
the care of his diocese. The picture of his last years is a graceful and
pleasant one, and shows the great man leading the life of a simple
country priest; writing sermons in his study or garden, directing his
convents, schools and hospitals, visiting his poor and sick people, even
catechising the children of Meaux; and at times retiring into the
seclusion of the monastery of La Trappe, to gather strength and courage
for the better fulfilment of his pastoral duties.

The old timber water-mills behind the Town Hall are the outward sign of
one of the great industries of Meaux. They have withstood for many
generations the rushing torrents of the Marne, which threaten to
undermine the starlings and timbers of the mills and to engulf them in
its waters. These for some reason or other are almost as green as the
outpourings of the Rhone at Geneva. It would be interesting to know if
Meaux possessed any feudal right over the neighbouring peasants,
compelling them to come and wait their turn at the mill, and pay
whatever price might be demanded, and forbidding them, even in times of
heavy yield, to get their corn ground elsewhere. Such oppressions
actually existed in the villages attached to the great châteaux, where
the seigneur had a right to keep huge rabbit-warrens and pigeon-houses,
whose inhabitants devastated, year in, year out, the surrounding crops
of the peasants.

The little city of Senlis, with its girdle of Roman walls and watch
towers, is one of the most attractive places within reach of Paris. It
is situated about thirty-five miles to the northeast, in the midst of
the great forest land of Hallatte and Chantilly. Until the dissolution
of the Carlovingian empire Senlis enjoyed the privileges of a royal
residence, and, indeed, down to the time of Henri de Navarre the kings
of France continued to visit the city, and were lodged in a castle built
on the site of the Roman prætorium. The ruins of this castle, some of
which date from the eleventh century, may still be seen among the
attractions of Senlis; and of even greater interest are the Roman
ramparts which surround the town and which were built when it still held
its position as the township of the Silvanectes. These walls,
“twenty-three feet high and thirteen feet thick, are, with those of St.
Lizier (Ariège) and Bourges, the most perfect in France. They enclosed
an oval area 1024 feet long from east to west and 794 feet wide from
north to south. At each of the angles formed by the broken lines of
which the circuit of 2756 feet is composed, stands or stood a tower;
numbering originally twenty-eight and now only sixteen, they are
semicircular in plan, and up to the height of the wall are unpierced.
The Roman city had only two gates; the present number is five.”

As one approaches the town from the station through the boulevard, the
Renaissance tower of Saint Pierre and the beautiful _flèche_ of the
Cathedral stand right ahead. The first of these two churches is now
desecrated and converted into a large market hall, having previously
been used as cavalry barracks. It is short and broad, having only three
bays to the nave, two to the choir, and an apse of three lights; but it
has one very marked feature, which is also seen, though to a lesser
extent, in the Cathedral of Saint Gatien at Tours--the axis of the choir
trends northwards, making with the nave an angle of some seventeen to
twenty degrees. There is a certain amount of early Gothic work worth
notice, but the prevailing style is Flamboyant; in the two last side
chapels of the choir some curious vaulting is to be found, resembling
rude attempts at fan tracery with heavy keyed pendants.

The Cathedral of Notre-Dame covers during its construction a period of
some four hundred years, and is probably only part of what was
originally designed. The glory of the building is the beautiful spire to
the south-west tower. Rising from a base octagonal in plan, the angles
are lightened by detached pillars supporting a pyramidal canopy; the
upper dormer windows are high and lancet-shaped, with the back of their
gables sloping downwards and forming a sharp angle with the richly
crocketed spire. Internally the church is a mixed product of the
Transition and Flamboyant architects; the large clerestory windows may
have been rebuilt later when the vaulting was constructed. In the
ambulatory behind the altar the twelfth-century capitals remain, showing
archaic Romanesque sculpture; and traces of this early work are to be
found in many other parts of the building. The large west door is of the
Chartres type; in the tympanum are the figures of our Lord and the
Virgin Mary, with a representation of the resurrection of the dead; some
of the figures are flying upwards, while others are being tenderly
awakened by angels swinging censers.

[Illustration: SENLIS]

Long before the train arrives at Beauvais the Cathedral is seen like a
huge fortress in the distance, overtopping the quiet, modest landscape
of the Thérain valley; and its great size is more acutely felt as one
approaches its south doorway along the streets of little white-painted
houses and shop-fronts. The immediate effect of the interior of this
marvellous building is startling. Whatever emotion has been aroused in
the architectural traveller by the glories of Amiens, Chartres, or
Bourges, is for the moment entirely eclipsed by the first view of the
choir of Beauvais, whose clerestory windows soar upwards with such a
restless vitality as almost to pierce the vaulting. These choir bays
look like shafts of masonry so elongated, so delicate, that one trembles
for their stability. And this sensation gradually increases. The sense
of strength and repose gives way to a feeling that this great “church in
the air” is struggling against dissolution, and that its vast flying
buttresses are only just sufficient to withstand the tremendous strain
that is constantly being exerted on the building. It is only fair,
however, to the architect of Beauvais choir to say that he was hampered
by the want of means and probably also by the insufficient site assigned
to him for the planning out of his Cathedral. Had he worked under more
favourable conditions he would have accomplished “an incomparable work,”
for it is not, as Viollet-le-Duc remarks, “the theory” that was fatal to
its construction, but the execution, which is poor and mediocre. The
lesson learnt from the Beauvais architect’s temerity on the one hand,
and from his beautiful disposition of plan on the other, was of the
greatest value to the designers of other Cathedrals executed at the same
time--notably that of Cologne, which was constructed more or less
contemporaneously with Beauvais.

West of the Cathedral is the _Basse Œuvre_, a building which
Fergusson describes as an example of the Latin style, and a
stepping-stone from the Roman basilica to the Gothic church. This
intermediate style is noticeable in the Romanesque church of S. Vicenzo
alle Fontane in Rome, where the bay is divided simply into pier arch and
clerestory, showing in very simple terms an arrangement nearly
approaching to Gothic.

Of the history of Beauvais there is but little to be said, for it
possesses none worthy of the name, or rather--since every town must have
a story of some kind--none which associates itself to any great degree
with outside events. It was established in the Roman era as the capital
of the Bellovaci, under the name of Cæsaromagus; it was Christianised
by Saint Lucian, who for his good works suffered martyrdom within the
town; and later on it became the head of a countship. This dignity,
however, Beauvais did not long retain, for in the tenth century the
temporal power of the count was vested in the spiritual power of the
bishop, and any celebrity which the town may have attained was
henceforth of purely ecclesiastical order.

It did, however, play a prominent part in the peasant revolt known as
the “Jacquerie” in the fourteenth century. A body of peasants, “without
any leader,” says Froissart, rose up with the intent to exterminate the
upper classes--a forerunner of the Revolution--and perpetrated the most
horrible atrocities upon every knight and noble they could lay hands on
in Beauvais. “They said that the nobles of the kingdom of France,
knights and squires, were a disgrace to it, and that it would be a very
meritorious act to destroy them all; to which proposition every one
assented as a truth, and added, shame befall him who should be the means
of preventing the gentlemen from being wholly destroyed.”

When the revolt grew, instead of being crushed, the “gentlemen of
Beauvoisie” were forced to send for help out of France, since matters
were come to such a pass that “in the bishoprics of Noyon, Lâon and
Soissons, there were upwards of one hundred castles and good houses of
knights and squires destroyed.” Aid soon came, notably from Flanders,
Hainault and Navarre, the king of Navarre especially signalising himself
by putting three thousand rebels to death in one day. “When they were
asked,” says the chronicler, “for what reason they acted so wickedly,
they replied they knew not, but they did so because they saw others do
it; and they thought that by this means they should destroy all the
nobles and gentlemen in the world.”

Edward III. besieged Beauvais in 1346, but without success, and it only
fell into English hands in 1420 through the treachery of Bishop Pierre
Cauchon, whose name also appears as one of the witnesses against Joan of
Arc at Rouen eleven years later. The memory of this latter offence so
preyed upon his mind that when he became bishop of Lisieux--having
presumably been ejected from the see of Beauvais--Couchon sought to
expiate his sin by dedicating a chapel to the Virgin in the Cathedral of
Saint Pierre.

Hearing of the siege of Compiègne by the Burgundian forces, Joan had
left Charles’s army, which was still dawdling by the Loire in a state of
inaction, and marched off to Compiègne to relieve his party there.
Arrived without the town, she soon headed a sortie against the
Burgundians; they were driven back, and it is probable that the
expedition would have been attended by the success which, to do her
justice, had up to this moment crowned the efforts of the Maid, had not
a body of Englishmen come up unexpectedly between her and the town and
driven her into a corner. She was of course speedily captured. As soon
as the news reached Paris both the University and the Vicar of the
Inquisition demanded her person. Cauchon, however, stood firm. The Maid,
he contended, had been captured within the diocese of Beauvais, and he,
as the foremost prelate of the English party, claimed the right of
putting her on trial; and after having paid to Burgundy 10,000 livres
for this right, sent the Maid to Rouen, there to stand on her trial for
sorcery, before a court of which Cauchon was president; and this fact
alone might reasonably destroy all hope for poor Joan.

Another fourteenth-century bishop of Beauvais brought his diocese before
the world in no small degree. Jean de Dormans was not only bishop; he
became Chancellor of France, and obtained from Rome the rank of a
cardinal, under the title of the Four Crowned Saints. In Paris Dormans
endowed a foundation which still bears the name of Collège de Beauvais,
though what remains of the building serves as barracks, and the light of
learning has left its precincts for ever. The old college is now united
to its neighbour, the Collège de Presle; but the fourteenth-century
chapel dedicated to Saint John the Evangelist still stands almost
intact, though it, too, has been desecrated, and now serves the use of
the military occupiers. Formerly there stood within this chapel six
life-size figures, representing three men and three women of the Dormans
family, and it is believed that when mediæval fragments were pieced
together to form the chapel of Abélard and Héloise, which is now part of
the burial-ground of Père-la-Chaise, the figure of one of these ladies
of the fourteenth century was used to represent that of Héloise.

One name there is on the page of their history which the inhabitants of
this town remember with a veneration almost equal to that which the
Orléannais regard Joan of Arc, and whose memory even now receives an
annual tribute. It is that of another Jeanne, poor and obscure, who rose
to heroism in the moment of her city’s danger, and who, though she did
not lead a mighty host to victory nor bring a monarch back to his own,
yet saved her city from the encroachments of Burgundy, and gave the
women of Beauvais a right to their country’s esteem. The besieging army
of Charles the Bold probably never received such a surprise as on that
day in the year of grace 1472, when Jeanne Hachette led her
_concitoyennes_ through the streets of Beauvais, menaced the foe from
the ramparts, and actually bore away with her own hands one of the
Burgundian standards. The banner is still kept in the Hôtel-de-Ville;
and every year, on the feast of Ste. Angadrème, a grand procession
marches through the streets, in which the women are given the right of
precedence over the men, in memory of the brave deeds of Jeanne and her

Chapter Eighteen


As a Cathedral city, Paris hardly comes within the scheme of this book.
It has been written about so much and so often, and occupies, both
architecturally and historically, such a position as would scarcely
justify any but a full and detailed description. This great city, the
living, moving source of one of the greatest nations of to-day, and at
one time the mainspring of Europe itself, is not to be passed over with
a few terse remarks; it is as though one tried to compress the history
of France itself into a single chapter. On the one hand, a short sketch
can hardly hope to do justice to Paris; on the other, to describe it at
such length as it deserves would not be dealing fairly by the lesser
towns, and further, this length would be so great as to render absurd
its inclusion in a book of traveller’s notes. Rather let it be regarded
here in the light of _point d’appui_ from which other places may be
visited which do not lie on the direct route from Paris to the
provinces. Without attempting any architectural description, however, it
may be as well, before we pass outside the city walls, to mention three
churches within Paris of which illustrations are given here, and to
offer the briefest possible outline of their early history and
foundation, as well as that of the great city of which they form a part.

“Paris did not, like London, simply grow into the capital of a kingdom
already existing. The city created first the county and then the
kingdom, of which it was successively the head.” In those days Paris
ranked no higher than Soissons, Sens, Lâon, Orléans, or Rouen; and in
ecclesiastical dignity it was inferior to some of them, being, it is
true, an episcopal see, but not a metropolitan. Certainly, as we have
seen, it was approved as a military station by Cæsar, and beloved as a
residence by Julian; and the great position the city now holds in modern
Europe and the modern world is rather apt to bias our estimate of these
early honours, which were undoubtedly shared by many other of the Gallic
cities. Because Paris is now a metropolitan see, the centre of political
and social France, we have a tendency to think that in all times the
city must have ruled her neighbour towns in this way; whereas it was
only by very slow degrees--long after it had become the seat of royalty
and the nominal capital of France--that Paris acquired an influence
beyond the bounds of her own territories. The great lords of Burgundy,
of Aquitaine, of Anjou, of Champagne--they were vassals to the king,
they paid him homage, they gave him their military service, but they and
their domains formed no part of France; they were almost as separate
from any head or centre as were the wide-scattered Teutonic states east
of the Rhine. Nor was this felt to be in any way a disadvantage; the
kings in Paris would doubtless have welcomed the firm allegiance of
these kings in all but name, because it would have meant a fresh access
of power, an added strength wherewith to face their other foes; but no
idea of national unity had any place in their calculation. Paris had
made for herself a dominion, and the time was to come when that dominion
should stretch from the sea on the north, south and west, to the river
and to the mountains on the east; but as yet that time had not arrived.

[Illustration: THE PONT MARIE, PARIS]

One more event which took place after Paris became the capital of France
may be recorded here. This is the attempted siege in the days of Joan of
Arc, which followed as the sequel to the king’s coronation at Rheims.
Having subdued so many cities in the north of France, and given to
Charles VII. the crown of his ancestors, it was but natural that Joan
should be anxious to lead him in triumph into his capital, which at
present declared for the enemy, and was occupied by Cardinal Beaufort’s
English troops and the army of Burgundy. The newly-crowned king,
however, apparently considered that he had borne his share of the burden
in the late proceedings at Rheims, and seemed in no hurry to march upon
Paris. Riding through the smaller towns, seeing their gates flung open
wide to him, and receiving the homage and acclamations of the people,
were occupations far more congenial to his indolent tastes than
bestirring himself to take the field again; and to their infinite
annoyance Joan and d’Alençon perceived that he was gradually but surely
working his way down to his castles on the Loire, from whose pleasant
meadows they knew well that he would never return. The only wonder is
that the Maid did not lose all patience and leave this dilatory prince
to his fate. Instead of this she set out with the Duc d’Alençon to Saint
Denis, leaving Charles at Compiègne, whence he followed them, “very sore
against his will,” as far as Senlis. Meanwhile each day of delay gave
the English time to strengthen their position within the capital; and
Joan found that having brought the king to Senlis was by no means the
same thing as conquering his unwillingness to strike what she and her
party believed might be, if rightly directed, the final blow. Each time
the Maid and d’Alençon set out to invest Paris, messages came from the
royal camp, commanding them to desist and return to Saint Denis. Finally
the truth came out; the king cared more for peace and ease on the Loire
than for glory in war, and desired to leave the camp. Had Joan believed
less firmly in the divine right of kings, it is probable that she would
have rebelled and besieged Paris on her own responsibility; on the other
hand, had Charles been left to the counsels of d’Alençon and the brave
captains Dunois and La Hire, there is reason to suppose that he might
have been persuaded to follow where Joan led, and might under her
guidance have subdued Paris in a very short time. But there were the
king’s favourites to reckon with, and these were not men of war, but of
peace, and not always of peace with honour--the foolish La Tremouille
and the crafty Archbishop of Rheims, one of Joan’s worst opposers--and
these advisers easily worked upon the king’s indolent good-nature to
find in the eagerness of the Maid an undue desire for fresh conquest. As
it was, Joan saw nothing before her but to obey the man to whom, as she
believed, God had given the right to go or stay, to fight or to lie in
peace, as his Majesty chose. She went to the statue of the Virgin at
Saint Denis, bearing her armour; and there, kneeling in the church, she
dedicated to Our Lady of Victories the helmet, hauberk and coat of mail
in which she had done so many great feats of arms; and then rose and
followed her king on his journey to the pleasant lands of the Loire.

The early history of Paris lies buried in the unrecorded pages of the
life of primæval man. Its origin is humble in comparison with that of
other capitals, although it bears a strong analogy to those surrounding
physical conditions to which Venice owed its existence. Its cradle,
according to M. Hoffbauer, _Paris à traverse les ages_, was a small
narrow island in the middle of the young Seine, which had then cut for
itself its channel through the alluvial plains which had been left by
the retiring sea towards the end of the Geological Tertiary period at
the close of the glacial epoch. It was part of a group of five islands,
of which three very soon disappeared, their soil being probably used
either for embankments or for purposes of defence. As in the great
estuary leading up to the morass surrounding London, many changes had
been wrought by the hand of man in the general appearance of the Paris
basin. It is true that the great embankments constructed by the Romans
to keep the waters of the Thames within defined limits are not to be
traced in the valley of the Seine, yet the rude habitations of wattle
huts built on whatever hillocks were attainable entailed embankments to
a certain extent which should keep the Seine within its bounds at times
of extraordinary flood. As it stands to-day Paris is in one of the most
fertile parts of the territory; it is on the banks of a great river
which brings to it by its main stream and by its affluents the tribute
of the richest provinces; it is surrounded by materials most necessary
for the construction of its public and private edifices; and it is
endowed by nature with all the fruitful resources tending towards the
aggrandisement both of power and fortune.

The condition of the early inhabitants of the Paris basin was that of
one continual warfare against the denizens of the jungle, which with its
rich and abundant vegetation covered the surrounding country. Caverns
and other places chosen for their abodes were disputed with lions,
hyenas and tigers. The chase was their only means of subsistence (the
art of husbandry being entirely unknown), and the number of stone
hatchets and harpoons, fishing-hooks, lances, &c., found deeply buried
in the alluvial soil, bear testimony to the struggle for existence
amongst the early inhabitants of the Seine valley.

Cæsar, when he was appointed commander of the Gauls in B.C. 59, found
their central point of Paris inhabited by a Cymric or Celtic population,
which he calls Gauls in his language but Celts in their own, and
separated from the Belgæ by the Seine and Marne. Cæsar wrote the place
“Lutetia,” and when he convoked the inhabitants of Gaul to this town the
neighbouring tribe was designated as “Parisii,” and allied to the
powerful clan of the Senones.

With reference to the meaning of the word “Parisii,” M. Bulet, in the
“Dictionnaire Celtique,” says that “bar” or “par” means in Celtic a boat
(_bateau_), and that the low Bretons call the cargo of a boat “far.”
Herodotus (book ii., 96), in his description of the method of floating
boats down stream on the Nile by means of a raft fastened on in front
with a stone dragging behind, calls the boat “baris,” and says that some
of them are many thousand talents burthen. They were probably
flat-bottomed, and similar to those now seen on the rivers. The Celtic
word “par,” signifying a boat, might well have produced the name
Parisii, meaning boatmen, men who passed all their life in the “baris.”

The most ancient emblem of Lutetia which has been preserved from
antiquity is that of the prow of a boat which one sees sculptured on the
springing of the vault of the Roman palace of the Thermes, built on the
left bank of the Seine; the powerful association of the Nautæ Parisiaci,
which is found at the head of the Parisian Navigation represented by the
prow of a boat, has therefore a direct Celtic or Gallic origin. Living
only in rude cabins the early inhabitants naturally possessed no public
building. Cæsar therefore conceived the idea of convoking the Gaulish
chiefs into one central place or forum, and ordered to be built a
“Suggestum,” a tribune from which he could harangue the assembled
headmen. This is considered by some French architects as the earliest
indication of their _édilité naissánte_. As further evidence of their
building and engineering capability, the inhabitants of Lutetia threw
out bridges to join their island to the main banks of the river. Cæsar
frequently refers to the bridges built by the Gauls, such as the one at
Melun, on the Seine, another across the Allier, near Vichy, of which
ancient foundations and piers have been found, another at Orléans, and
of such slender construction as to have especially attracted his
attention, and, finally, the bridge of Lutetia across the main arm of
the Seine, the predecessor of the present Pont Notre Dame, which has
also left traces of its ancient piers.

In Rome the Nautæ Tiberis were a corporation who enjoyed the privilege
of carrying corn and other produce from Ostia to the capital; similar
associations existed in Gaul in addition to the Nautæ Parisiaci, and on
a wall of the amphitheatre of Nîmes is an inscription in which as many
as forty places are mentioned where corporations enjoying the same
privileges and immunities existed. No wonder the territory of the
Parisii increased in commercial activity. Watered by the Seine, the
Marne and the Oise, its trade routes by land and by water were fully
organised and guarded by powerful associations which existed almost
before the Roman Conquest, and attracted the attention of the writer
Strabo. It soon developed under such advantages into a prosperous and
enlightened city. Roman buildings took the place of the Gallic huts,
Roman laws governed the city, Roman customs and manners prevailed
amongst the inhabitants, and by the time the first messengers of
Christianity had penetrated into Gaul Lutetia had become a city not of
the Gauls, but of the Romans. Curiously enough it was from Rome also
that these early messengers came, to preach their doctrine to a Roman
city. The pioneers were Saint Denis, generally confounded, for the sake
of the antiquity of the Gallican Church, with the convert of Saint Paul,
Dionysius the Areopagite, and two companions, Eleutherius and Rusticus;
and their work was carried on by Martin of Tours, one of the bravest
soldiers of the Emperor Julian, who left the army to preach the faith in
Gaul, and to stamp out the cult of the old pagan gods. Speaking of
Julian, moreover, may serve to remind us that it was at Paris that he
was first proclaimed emperor; here was his palace before his imperial
honours came upon him, and here, he declares in his own writings, were
spent the three happiest winters of his life, showing that even in these
early times Lutetia was a fair and pleasant city, as it is to-day.

In the following centuries Gaul was overrun with tribes from the east,
Goths and Visigoths, Alemnanni and Huns, Burgundians and Franks. The
last-named broke down the Roman defences all over the land and seized
upon Paris. A new era now began for the city. Under Clovis, the first
Frank king, it became the official capital of the State in 508, and from
this time forward takes its place as one of the great cities of France.
After the conversion of Clovis, abbeys and churches were built, great
bishops and great saints preached and wrote their message, and indeed
the ecclesiastical fabric of the city seems to have grown up more
quickly than the civil fabric, until the time of Charlemagne, when
craftsmen’s guilds were established, Jewish capitalists admitted within
the walls, and a mercantile reputation founded. Then a second time the
work of the conquerors seemed to be undone. The Northmen, more terrible
invaders than Goths or Franks, plundered the coast-lands and presently
swept up the Seine past Rouen to Paris, where they worked such havoc as
the town had never before known. The streets were set in flames, the
monasteries were sacked and burnt, the priests and monks were massacred
without mercy; yet all this evil was to end in better things. The very
persistency of the Normans in besieging and pillaging a town four and
five times, argued that the town itself must be worth the trouble, and
the “lords” of Paris speedily began to look to its safety. Weak, foolish
Charles the Fat could devise no better plan than the cowardly one of
bribing the invaders to retreat; but Eudes, Count of Paris, knew that
this would only be an inducement to them to come again, and determined
once and for all to rid his city, at least, of this scourge. This he did
with such effect that the crown of France was given to him and the
inefficient Charles deposed. It was his nephew, Hugh the Great, who
ruled at Paris in Rolf’s day, and waged constant war with Neustria and
Charles the Simple, the last of the Carlovingian kings, on the
hill-crest at Lâon. Then, at the end of the tenth century, began the
feudal monarchy under the Capetian dynasty. The first of the line was
the eldest son of Hugh the Great, and the connections which he brought
with him promised well for the prestige of his new kingdom. On the one
side, he was brother-in-law to the Norman Duke, Richard the Fearless; on
the other, his own brother Odo was Duke of Burgundy; in his own right
he was lord of Picardy, of Maine, of Chartres, of Tours, of Blois, and
of Orléans; and his bond with the Church was further strengthened by the
fact that he held the lay abbacies of Saint Martin, near Tours, and
Saint Denis, near Paris. Thus the kingdom with which Hugh Capet began
his reign was a fairly compact strip of land, having as boundaries
Flanders to the north, Aquitaine to the south, Champagne to the east,
and Normandy to the west. Of this kingdom Paris was nearly the actual
geographical centre, and soon became the political centre also.

The early importance of Paris in the tenth century is very different to
that of London. Paris at this time was a military position of growing
importance, both from its central situation and its place on the island
in the Seine. London on her Thames had an almost similar position, but
she derived her power not merely from her Teutonic conquerors, but also
from her early connection with Roman and Celtic Britain; while as a
military stronghold she was no less to be desired.

The eastern point of the city, where the only bridge then existed,
traversing the Seine in the exact place where now stands the Pont Notre
Dame, a point where the roads through the province converged, was
already a place sacred to the Gauls. Here were performed rites and
sacrifices to their mysterious divinities in an underground church which
existed in the third century. Probably the tradition of dark deeds of
persecution of the early Christians, human sacrifices, and missionaries
suffering death in the cages of lions which were kept for the purpose of
exhibitions, prevented the Parisian boatmen, when they heard of the
wonderful tidings of Galilee, from using this Gaulish building, so full
of terrible reminiscences, as their first church. The site of the Temple
of Jupiter was chosen for the establishment of a church which should
stamp out the heathen religion, crush with its heel the serpent’s head
and build upon its ruins a temple of the Holy Cross. About 375, on the
site of the Temple of Jupiter, was built a church dedicated to Saint
Etienne, which may be considered as the first Cathedral of Paris.

To the splendour of this early basilica, built by Childebert in the
early Latin style, with its marble columns, some of which are now in the
Musée de Cluny, the monk Fortunatus bears witness, and his description
of the edifice is thus given in M. Hoffbauer’s book on Paris: “Le
vaisseau de cette église repose sur des colonnes de marbre, et le soin
avec lequel on l’entretient en augment la beauté. Le premier il fut
éclairé de fenêtres ornées de verres transparents par lesquels on reçoit
la lumière. On dirait que la main d’un ouvrier habile a emprisonné le
jour dans le sanctuaire. Les feux tremblants de l’aurore naissante
semblant se jouer jusque dans les lambris, et le temple est éclairé par
la charté du jour même, quand le soliel ne se montre pas. Le roi
Childebert, animé d’un zèle particulier pour cette église destinèe à son
peuple, l’a dotée de richesses qui ne doivent jaimais s’épuiser;
toujours passioné pour les intèrêts de la religion, il s’est empressé
d’augmenter ses ressources. Nouveau Melchisédech, notre roi est en même
temps un pontife qui remplit exactement ses devoirs de fidèle comme ses
devoirs de pasteur. Bien qu’occupé dans le palais qu’il habite du soin
de rendre la justice, son plus grand désir est d’imiter l’example des
saints évêques. Il quitte la première charge pour en remplir une autre
avec plus d’honneur, et le souvenir de ses grandes actions lui assure

By the twelfth century the basilica has disappeared, and its place has
been taken, not by a single church, but by two churches side by
side--Sainte Marie on the north, Saint Etienne on the south. At the
beginning of the century Saint Etienne was the more important of the
two, having escaped plunder at the hands of the Normans, who wrought
considerable destruction in the sister church; but a twelfth-century
archdeacon, Etienne de Garlande, took upon himself the task of
restoring Sainte Marie, which became known as the _nova ecclesia_, and
formed the foundation of the great basilica planned by Maurice de Sully.
This church, begun in 1163, was to unite Saint Etienne and Sainte Marie;
the foundation stone was laid by Pope Alexander III., and in 1218 the
remains of the old church of Saint Etienne were destroyed to make way
for the south aisle of Notre Dame. The work went on into the thirteenth
century; the great west portal was probably finished about 1223, and
those of the transepts some forty years later.

“There are absolutely only these two churches (Notre Dame and the Sainte
Chapelle) left standing in the island of the city, and there is nothing
in the history of Paris which more clearly exhibits the modern
disposition to make a _tabula rasa_ of the past.” In the Middle Ages the
great Cathedral of Paris--“cathedral” since the twelfth century--stood
in its island of La Cité amidst a perfect cluster of lesser churches, of
which only the chapel of Saint Louis remains. Mr. Hamerton, whose words
are quoted above, gives quite a considerable list of them in his “Paris
in Old and Present Times,” Sainte Genèviève, Saint Jean le Rond, Saint
Denis du Pas, and its brother church of La Chartre--these are but a few
of their names, and yet these names are all that now remain of churches
where mediæval knights and burghers and artificers worshipped, and into
whose building mediæval architects, unknown and forgotten, put their
best work and their highest service; even their sites are, in most
cases, undiscoverable amongst the great mass of buildings, and bright
wide streets, and green gardens of Paris as we know it. Some of these
churches, like Saint Aignan and Saint Germain-le-Vieux, have left a few
isolated columns and stones, but to find these, as one writer observes,
“il faudrait pénétrer dans les maisons et se livrer à des recherches.”
Another, the old Madeleine, has suffered an even worse fate, its last
remaining chapel being now transformed into a wine-shop at the corner of
the Rue des Marmousets; a private house now stands upon the site of
Saint-Pierre aux Bœufs, built, says an inscription on the façade, in
the middle of the twelfth century, and demolished as late as 1837; and
as for Saint Michel du Palais, within whose walls Archibishop Maurice de
Sully baptised Philip Augustus in 1165, nothing remains to the memory of
the Archangel but the bridge over the Seine. “‘There is my bridge
still,’ Saint Michael may think, ‘but as for my church I seek for it in
vain.’” These vanished churches are too many all to be numbered here,
since in La Cité alone there were, up to the eighteenth century, no less
than seventeen of them, and outside the walls of the city there were
many more.

[Illustration: NÔTRE DAME, PARIS]

Happily Notre Dame has better withstood the attacks of time and all the
accidents of fire, plunder, and desecration. Five years or so after the
completion of the western façade a fire broke out, and in the
restoration the double-arched buttresses of the former apse disappeared,
and the windows were enlarged in accordance with the growing love of
light which was being manifested in other cathedrals all through France.
In more modern times--towards the middle of the eighteenth century--the
extraordinary taste of the late Renaissance period ordered the removal
of all the stained glass both of nave and choir--leaving, however, the
western rose window and the two in the transepts--and this is, of
course, a loss that can never be repaired, although the restorations of
Viollet-le-Duc have probably, as Mr. Hamerton says, gone some way
towards bringing back the original effect of light in the interior of
the church. The exterior of the nave likewise suffered not a little from
the doubtless well-meaning zeal of an unarchitectural age, which had
literally stripped it bare of all ornament: “One after another the
architects had suppressed the advancing parts of the buttresses between
the chapels, the gables, the friezes, the balustrades--in one word, the
entire ornamentation of these same chapels, the pinnacles which
decorated the tops of the buttresses, with the statues which accompanied
them and their flowering spires, the picturesque gargoyles which
rendered the services of throwing the rain-water to a distance from the

“We may take it for granted,” Mr. Lonergan says in his “Historic
Churches of Paris,” “that those who dedicated the church to the Virgin
were not influenced alone by the fact that a previous temple in her
honour had stood on the banks of the river, but by the impetus given to
what Protestants call her ‘worship’ and Catholics her ‘cult’ or devotion
in the twelfth century.” From the earliest times there existed,
especially among sailors and fishermen, the feeling of devotion to the
Virgin Mary. They prayed to her who held the Divine Infant on her knees
to intercede for the lives of men who sailed across the waters on dark
and starless nights. This worship of the Virgin steadily grew all over
France, and the founders of the great monastic orders--Saint Augustin,
Saint Benedict, and Saint Francis, and the famous Saint Bernard of
Clairvaulx--are all included by Dante as paying special devotion to the
Virgin; and history has furnished us with many other names, amongst
which are those of Hildebert, the bishop of Le Mans, Yves and Pierre,
bishops of Chartres, and the scholar of St. Denis, Pierre Abélard. At
no time was this more noticeable than in the centuries following the
completion of Notre Dame. In consequence of this great growth of
Mary-worship, the Virgin came to be regarded as the protectress of the
people--as, indeed, she is to this day--and the Church of Notre Dame
began to be the people’s church, a kind of centre, civil as well as
ecclesiastical, of the city life. For instance, Notre Dame in Paris
became not only the house of worship and prayer, but “the house both of
God and man,” and this through no irreverent feeling. The _parvis_ or
garden in front of the Cathedral became a gathering-ground for the
townsfolk--a remnant of this feeling, it would seem, still exists in the
markets which in lesser towns are nearly always held round the
church--fairs took place there, the buyers bringing their purchases to
be blessed by the priest as they passed the church steps; and the
various festivals of the Church gave rise to secular feasts and sports
of all kinds, as well as to the performance of the miracle plays which
were attended by the people with such simple wonder and reverence, and
which in England laid the foundation of the secular comedies.

The monks of Saint Germain originally came from Autun, and at first
acknowledged the rule of Saint Basil, which was afterwards exchanged for
that of Saint Benedict. After its restoration in the eleventh century
the foundations became very powerful, and round its walls grew up the
_bourg_ of Saint Germain; later it became the Faubourg of that name, the
“intellectual quarter” of Paris, the haunt of all the most brilliant
spirits of the day; whose streets were trodden by great men, and marked
by the footsteps of genius.

The Abbey Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés likewise owes its existence
to the Merovingian Childebert. In the sixth century Childebert went on
an expedition against the Visigoths in Spain, and returned triumphant
with a number of sainted relics, among them the tunic of Saint Vincent
and a magnificent gold cross; and in honour of these trophies and for
their safe keeping he built in the fields outside Paris a monastery,
which was consecrated by Saint Germain, so the legend says, the very day
of its royal founder’s death. The abbey was originally dedicated, in
memory of the relics which it guarded, to Saint Vincent and the Holy
Cross; but after the death of its first abbot, Saint Germain, in 576, it
became known by his name. Before the building of the Abbey of Saint
Denis, Saint-Germain-des-Prés was the burial place of the royal house,
and a long line of Childeberts, Chilperics, and Chlothars lie at rest
beneath its stones. It was pillaged and burnt by the Normans no less
than five times, and therefore, when the Abbot Morard set about
rebuilding it in the eleventh century, very little was left of
Childebert’s old foundation. Part of Morard’s work may still be seen in
the present nave of the church; the choir and apse were built later, and
date from the second half of the twelfth century, the church being
finally consecrated by Pope Alexander III. in 1163.


The wealth of the monastery even so late as the eighteenth century may
be gauged by the indignation of Arthur Young, who in his travels through
France in 1786-7 of course visited the capital and its many churches,
but looked upon everything with the eye of an agriculturist, and only
saw in the rich meadows of the Benedictines so much wasted material for
a prosperous farm. “It is the richest abbey in France; the abbot has
300,000 liv. a year. I lose my patience at seeing such revenues thus
bestowed, consistent with the spirit of the tenth century, but not with
that of the eighteenth. What a noble farm would a fourth of this income
establish! What turnips, what cabbages, what potatoes, what clover, what
sheep, what wool! Are not these things better than a fat ecclesiastic?”

Like Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the Sainte Chapelle originated in a
sanctuary where precious relics might be safely deposited, though its
foundation does not date back to the early zeal of the fresh-converted
Merovingian kings, but only to the crusades of Louis the Saint, who
brought from the East the Crown of Thorns and some fragments of the True
Cross. Legend describes the king as walking bare-foot through the
streets of Sens and Paris, displaying his treasure-trove to an adoring
multitude; but it soon became necessary to place the relics in
sanctuary, and accordingly, in 1245, the celebrated architect, Pierre de
Montereau, began to work out his plans under the direction of the king,
and completed his chapel three years later. Its form was a curious one,
consisting of two stages; the upper one, dedicated to the Sainte
Couronne and the Sainte Croix, was reserved for the king and his court;
the lower, bearing the name of the Virgin, was given over to servants,
retainers, and the general multitude.

This upper chapel, which was then and still is to-day the chief glory of
the building, was on a level with the royal apartments in the adjoining
palace, and could thus be reached without descending into the court and
re-ascending by the staircase. This chapel was the joy of Saint Louis’
life, and during his reign no cost was spared in order to make it a
fitting receptacle for the relics which he venerated and believed in as
simply as a child, and for which he is said to have paid to the
Byzantine emperor the enormous sum of two million _livres_. As it now
stands, the Sainte Chapelle has been almost completely restored, and
this restoration, which was carried out in the last century, was
embarked upon none to soon, judging from the accounts given of the state
of the church after the Revolution. To begin with, it had been
desecrated under the rule of the Goddess of Reason, and used for storing
legal documents and papers; the beautiful glass of its windows, with its
marvellous minuteness of design, was either destroyed or irregularly
patched up; the spire was gone, and so was much of the sculpture and
ornament, both outside and inside. There it stood, this monument of the
piety of St. Louis, its founder forgotten, its glory departed, and its
actual structure in danger of being swept away. Even its ancient
surroundings, the Great Hall, the _Cour de Mai_, and the _Cour des
Comptes_ of Louis XII., had vanished; their place was occupied by modern
law-courts, and the half-ruined church seemed hopelessly out of date and
out of place. By a great stroke of good fortune the balance turned in
its favour; it was decided not to pull it down, but to restore it as a
chapel attached to the courts, where the lawyer might hear Mass; and,
thanks to the care and skill of the restoring architect, it stands
to-day in all essentials much as it did when Louis IX. worshipped there
with his courtiers, when the light from the tall windows streamed in
upon the bright armour and rich garments of hundreds of noble figures,
staining them with new and wonderful colours, and when the courts below
were alive with a motley crowd, townsfolk of Paris, pressing to get a
sight of the king’s majesty, servants and retainers thronging round the
doors or filing into Mass in the Chapel of the Virgin below, whose low
roof and vaulting really gave it the appearance of a crypt to the
soaring chapel of the Crown and Cross above it.

Until the time of Henri II. the kings of France lived in the great
“Salle des Pas Perdus” as their royal palace; then the Parlement of
Paris--a purely legal body--took possession of it, and the easy-going
canons of the Sainte Chapelle ministered not to princes and nobles, but
to the brisk, alert _gens de la robe_, who were quick to note and to
laugh at their comfortable ecclesiastical placidity and ridiculous petty
quarrels. Boileau, the famous satirist, was the son of a registrar, and
grew up under the shadow of the law-courts, and it was he who in his
“Lutrin” victimised the poor, ease-loving prebends and canons more than
any of his fellows, though one of these canons was his own brother, and
after Boileau’s death heaped coals of fire upon the head, or rather,
upon the memory, of the poet, by allowing his bones to rest within the
building at whose servants he had so mercilessly mocked. The lawyers
still have the possession of the Sainte Chapelle; but all stalls and
seats have been removed and its doors are opened once a year only, when
the autumn session begins, being inaugurated by the “Messe Rouge,”
celebrated by the Archbishop of Paris himself.


The Benedictine foundation of Saint Denis, though it stands outside the
walls of the city, in a suburb where the tangle of machinery and smoke
of factories make strange surroundings for the peace of the cloister,
must always claim a right to come within the story of France’s capital,
since it is the last resting-place of France’s kings. The legends of
Paris and its saints ascribe the original foundation of the abbey church
to the following story, which has come to be very well known, concerning
as it does the patron saint of France. Saint Denis, who, as we have
seen, was the first to evangelise in the marshes of Lutetia, suffered
martyrdom under the Valerian persecutions in the third century, in the
city where his good work had begun; but after his head had been struck
off, the body, instead of falling lifeless at once, rose up from the
block, took the head in its hands, and walked out of the city to the
neighbouring town of Catulliacum, where it finally sought refuge in the
villa of one Catulla, a Roman lady of noble and good repute, who
instantly took possession of her sainted charge and gave him Christian
burial within her garden. So far is legend; at any rate, a chapel was
erected over the shrine, and became, of course, an object of pilgrimage
for many years. Then comes the story of Dagobert, the rebellious young
prince who sought sanctuary in the chapel against the wrath of his
father; and, inspired by a vision of the saint, promised to build a
church on the same site. Accordingly, on his accession to his father’s
throne, the Abbey and Church of Saint Denis were founded in about 769.
In the following century the Benedictine monks purchased their immunity
from Norman invaders by large sums of money; but this contract seems to
have availed them little, since the pirates, probably hoping for fresh
plunder, despoiled the monastery as they had despoiled
Saint-Germain-des-Prés. After this the foundation fell into a terrible
state of neglect. Its abbots were fighting men--not necessarily
ecclesiastics, for many nobles in those days held lay abbacies; Hugh
Capet, for instance, was abbot of Saint Martin at Tours--and not until
the day of the famous Suger did it recover anything like its ancient
prestige. Suger was an old pupil of the Benedictines at Saint Denis, and
a fellow-scholar there with the young prince Louis l’Eveillé, afterwards
Louis VI., whose chief minister he became in later days. In the days of
his prosperity the abbot devoted himself to restoring and beautifying
the church, and left full instructions to be carried out by his
successor, when death prevented him from finishing what had been so
nobly begun. The work languished again, however, until the reign of
Louis IX., when Eudes de Clément and Matthieu de Vendôme took up the
plans once more, and completed the church very much as we now see it.

It was at Saint Denis that was enacted the romance of the scholar Pierre
Abélard and “la très-sage Hélois” of Villon, whose story is too well
known--and, perhaps, also too secular--to quote here. Both lie buried
now at Père-la-Chaise, their remains having been removed from the
monastery at Cluny in 1791 by Lenoir, to his collection of fragments and
old monuments spared from the Revolution. It was after the Revolution
that the abbey suffered more terrible damage and desecration than ever
invading heathens or conquering English had worked there. The
Convention, in its haste to rid the country of every trace of the hated
monarchy, must needs assail dead kings and queens as well as living
ones. Consequently every tomb was ravaged and the dust of a hundred
kings lay mingling with the dust of the common ditch. With the
restoration of the Bourbons, Louis XVIII. ordered also the replacement,
as far as it was possible, of the bones of his dead ancestors; and the
French kings sleep once again at Saint Denis, peaceful and undisturbed
as in other years, though a smoky veil hangs over their resting-place
and the roar of furnaces breaks the quiet of their ancient tombs.


Abadie, M., restoration of St. Pierre, 269.

Abbaye aux Dames, Caen, 118-119.

Abbeville on the Somme--
  Church of St. Wolfran, 27-28.
  Geological discoveries, 21-22.
  Historical sketch, 22-26.
  Rue des Trois Cailloux, 27.

Abbeys and Abbey-Churches--
  St. Denis, 78-81, 381-384.
  St. Germain-des-Près, 372-376.
  St. Jean des Vignes, 61.
  St. Ouen, 82-83.
  Sainte-Colombe, 300.

Abélard, Pierre, 346, 370, 383.

Académie Française, 113;
  Bossuet admitted, 334.

Agenticum, ancient name of Sens, 299.

Aiguillon, 268.

Aisne, the, 54.

Aître de St. Maclou, Rouen, 83-84.

Alatri, walls of, 261.

Alcock, Bishop, 274.

Alcuin, his school of Theology, 184.

Alençon, 172.

Alençon, Duc d’, attempted siege of Paris, 353-354.

Alexander III., Pope, 365, 375.

Allier, the, 358.

Amaury, Montfort d’, family, 90.

Amboise, 192.

Amiens Cathedral, 27-37, 75.

  Castle, 175-176.
  Cathedral of St. Maurice, 174, 179-180.
  “Cheval Blanc,” the, 176.
  Historical sketch, 169-174.
  Préfecture, old cloister in the, 176-179.
  Roman basilica, 52.

Angevin Style, 179-180.

  Cathedral of St. Pierre, 268-270.
  Historical sketch, 267-268.

Angoulême, François d’. _See_ Francis I.

Anjou, Counts of, 170-174.

Anne of Austria, 274.

Anne of Brittany, 23, 194.

Anselm of Bec, 121.

  Domed churches of, 262-266.
  Truce of God in, 125.

Archæological Institute of Great Britain, 75.

Ariège, Roman walls in, 337.

Arnauld, 333.

Arques, surrender of, 248.

Arras tapestries, 180.

Ascelin, son of Arthur, 122.

Attila, attack on Orléans, 223.

Augustin, St., 370.

Aurelianum, ancient name of Orléans, 223.

Autun Cathedral, 302.

  Cathedral of St. Etienne, 239, 302-310.
  Church of St. Eusèbe, 310;
    of St. Germain, 305-309.
  Hôtel de l’Épée, 310.

Avallon, 305.

Avranches, 144.

Aymer de Valence, tomb at Westminster, 77, 257.

Azo, Prince of Liguria, 152.

Barker, Mr., “Two Summers in Guyenne,” 293.

Bar-sur-Seine, 314.

“Bastard of Orléans,” 215.

  Cathedral, 109-110.
  Description, 105, 107-108.
  Historical sketch, 104, _et seq._
  Lanterne des Morts, 108.
  “Maison d’Adam,” 108.
  Maison du Gouverneur, 108.
  Rue des Bouchers, 107;
    Rue Général de Daïs, 107;
    Rue St. Martin, 107.
  Seminary chapel, 110.
  Tapestry, the, 110-115.

Béat, St., Legend of, 40.

Beaufort, Cardinal, 353.

Beaugency, 45.

Beaujeu, Suzanne de, 246.

  _Basse Œuvre_, 342.
  Bishops of, 344-346.
  Cathedral, 341-342.
  Historical sketch, 342-347.
  Jacquerie revolts, 325-329, 343-344.
  Jeanne Hachette, story of, 346-347.
  Sieges of, 130-133, 344-345.

Beauvais, Collège de, 345.

Benedict, St., 370.

Benedictines of St. Denis, Paris, 381-384.

Benvenuto, Cellini, 248.

Bernard of Auxerre, legend of, 309-310.

Bernard of Clairvaulx, St., 370.

Bertrand, St., 167.

Bessin, district, description, 104-106, 116.

Bienheuré, St., 216.

“Black Death,” 126.

Black Prince, siege of Limoges, 252-253;
  Battle of Poitiers, 274-279.

  Cathedral of St. Louis, 192-193.
  Château of, 192, 194-200;
    tragedy of the, 197-200.
  Church of St. Nicholas, 193-194.

Blücher, siege of Soissons, 57.

Boileau, “Lutrin,” 378.

Bon Secours Convent, Rouen, 73.

Bond, Mr., _cited_, 28, 51, 77, 83, 93, 292, 309.

Bononia, ancient town of, 19.

  Cathedral, 292.
  Description, 289-291.
  Historical sketch, 290-291.

Bossuet, sketch of his career, 330-335.

Boucher, the painter of Versailles, 228.

Boucher, treasurer of Orléans, 223.

Bouillon, Godfrey de, 22.

  Cathedral, 21.
  Historical sketch, 15-21.
  Porte Gayole, 21.

Bourdaloue, 228, 333.

  Cathedral, 235-236.
  Historical sketch, 227-234.
  House of Jacques Cœur, 232, 261.
  Roman wall of, 337.

Boy, Jehan le, 94.

Brétigny, Peace of, 280.

Bricqueville-Colombières. _See_ Colombières.

Buch, Captal de, 326-329.

Buckingham, Duke of, attack on La Rochelle, 282-286.

Bulet, M., “Dictionnaire Celtique,” 357.

  Abbaye aux Dames, 118-119.
  Church of St. Stephen, 118-119;
    burial of William I. in, 120-124.
  Historical sketch, 116-127.
  Truce of God, 122-125.

Cæsar, Julius, convocation of the Parisii, 356-359.

Calixtus, Pope, 231;
  council at Rheims, 47.

Calvados district, 116.

Candes, 184.

Canterbury Cathedral, 32;
  choir of, 301, 302, 309.

Cardinal de la Grange, Chapel of, 27, 28.

Carentan, fall of, 139.

Castile, 292.

  Amiens, 27-37, 75.
  Angers, St. Maurice, 174, 179-180.
  Angoulême, St. Pierre, 268-270.
  Auxerre, St. Etienne, 239, 302-310.
  Bayeux, 109-110.
  Beauvais, 341-342.
  Blois, St. Louis, 192-193.
  Bordeaux, 292.
  Boulogne, 21.
  Bourges, 235-236.
  Chartres, 207-211.
  Coutances, 149.
  Evreux, 89, 93-94.
  La Rochelle, 289.
  Lâon, 39-42.
  Le Mans, St. Julien, 161-163.
  Limoges, St. Etienne, 252, 253, 262.
  Lisieux, 96.
  Meaux, 324-325.
  Moulins, 251.
  Nevers, St. Cyr, 240-243.
  Orléans, 224.
  Paris, Notre Dames, 365, 369-371;
    the old St. Etienne, 363-364.
  Périgueux, St. Etienne, 262.
  Poitiers, St. Pierre, 270-273.
  Rheims, 48-51.
  Rouen, Notre Dame, 74-82.
  Saint-Lô, 133-134.
  Senlis, Notre Dame, 338-341.
  Sens, St. Etienne, 235, 300-305.
  Soissons, Notre Dame, 57-61.
  Tours, St. Gatien, 188-193, 337.
  Troyes, 319-322.

Catherine, wife of Henry V., betrothal, 313-314.

Catulliacum, 381.

Cauchon, Bishop Pierre, trial of Joan of Arc, 67-72, 344-345.

Caxton, 106.

Celts, Saxon opposition in the Bessin, 104.

Chambord, 192.

Champagne, Counts of, 310-313.

Changé, storming of, 158-161.

Chanzy, General, defence of Le Mans, 157-159.

Chapelle de la Fierte Saint-Romain, legend of, 78-82.

Charente, the, 289-290.

Charlemagne, the, 187, 360.

Charles I. of England, 282.

Charles V., Emperor, 24, 247, 314.

Charles VII., pusillanimity of, 45-46, 350-354;
  attempt on Rouen, 72;
  reparation to Coutances, 140;
  “King of Bourges,” 227;
  spoliation of Jacques Cœur, 231;
  proclaimed at Poitiers, 280;
  crowning, 291.

Charles IX., 197.

Charles X., 48.

Charles the Bold, attack on Beauvais, 346-347.
  the Fat, policy of, 361.
  the Simple, 41, 64, 361.
  the Poet-Duke, 197.
  Prince Frederick, 156;
    taking of Le Mans, 158-161.

Chartier, Alain, the “Curiale,” 105-106;
    “Bréviare des Nobles,” 106-107.
  Guillaume, 107.
  Jean, 106, 107.

  Cathedral, 207-211.
  Counts of, 202-205.
  Franco-Prussian War, capitulation, 206-207.
  Henry V. crowned at, 205.
  Historical sketch, 201-207.
  Porte Guillaume, 202.
  Tour-de-Ville, 201-202.

  Barrière, Périgueux, 258-261.
  Blois, 194-200;
    the Guise tragedy, 197-200.
  Moulins, 248.

Châteaudun, 206-207;
  fall of, 212-215;
  the Château, 215.

Châteauneuf, 184.

Chaumont, 192.

Chauvigny on the Vienne, 277.

Chenonceaux, 192.

Childebert, churches built by, 363-364, 372-375.

Christianity, introduction into Gaul, 6-7.

Churches, Abbey or Collegiate, 52-53.

Clovis, first king of Paris, 47, 56, 89, 360.

Cluny Monastery, 383.
  Musée de, 363-364.

Cœur, Jacques, story of, 231;
  house at Bourges, 232.

Cognac, 253.

Coligny, 282.

Cologne Cathedral, 342.

Colombières, the Huguenot defence of Saint-Lô, 129-130;
  attacks on Coutances, 143.

“Colonne de la Grande Armée,” Boulogne, 20.

Commune, founding of the, 152-153;
  established at Sens, 300.

Compiègne, siege of, 344-345.

Condé, 282, 333.

Condom, Bossuet Bishop of, 334.

Constable de Bourbon, Charles, story of, 245-248.

Constantine the Great, 137.

Constantius Chlorus fortifies Coutances, 137.

Corday, Charlotte, 96, 127.

  Church at Toulouse, 292.
  Convent of, the, at Saint-Émilion, 297.

Corporations, Gaulish, 358-359.

Côtentin, the, 137;
  Barons of, 138.

Coucy, Robert de, building of Rheims Cathedral, 48-51.

  Bishops of, 145.
  Bricqueville-Colombières, 143.
  Cathedral, 145-146.
  Church of St. Pierre, 137, 145.
  Historical sketch, 136-146.
  Jardin, Public, 149.
  Mediæval customs, 149, 150.
  Musée, the, 149.

Crécy, 139.

Crusades, 22-23;
  Freeman _quoted_ (see also Truce of God), 124-125.

Daboval, M., 40.

Dagobert, King, story of, 78, 382.

“Danse Macabre” in the Aître de St. Maclou, 83-84.

Dante, 370.

Darnley Stuarts, the, 90.

Defensor, ruler of Le Mans, 152.

Denis, St., 359;
  Legend of, 381-382.

Derby, Earl of, relief of Angoulême, 267, 268.

Dionysius the Areopagite, 359.

Domrémy, 45.

Don Pedro, dispute of, 291-292.

Dordogne, the, 292.

Dormans, Jean de, Bishop of Beauvais, account of, 345-346.

Dunois, Captain, 219-220, 354.

Edict of Nantes, revocation, effect in Troyes, 315-316.

Edward I., the _Villes bastides_ of, 293.

Edward III., campaign in France, 126, 139-140, 344.

Eleanor of Castile, 23.

Eleanor of Poitou, 100;
  dowry, 279-280, 290-291.

Eleutherius, St., 359.

Emilion the Hermit, 294.

Enamel workers of Limoges, 251, 254-258.

English influence on French architecture, 75-77.

Enlart, M., “Manuel d’Archéologie Française,” 32;
  on origin of Flamboyant Style, 75.

Eudes, Count of Paris, 361.

Eudes de Clément, 383.

Eureptiolus, Bishop of Coutances, 145.

Evans, geologist, 21.

  Boulevard Chambaudin, 93.
  Cathedral, 74, 93-84.
  Church of St. Taurin, 52, 95.
  Description, 88, 89.
  Historical sketch, 89-92.
  Rue Josephine, 94-95.

Faidherbe, General, 84.

Faïence industry at Nevers, 244;
  at Limoges, 251-254.

Falaise, 126.

Felton, John, 285.

Fénélon, Abbé, 333.

Fergusson, _cited_, 53, 83, 342.

Ferri, Paul, Calvinist, 333.

Feuquières, Marquis de, 333.

“Five Sisters” at York, 103.

Flamboyant Style, M. Enlart’s paper on origin, 75;
  principal features, 75-76.

Fleury, 333.

Foix, Earl of, relief of the ladies of Meaux, 325-326.

Fortunatus’ description of St. Etienne, Paris, 363-364.

Francis I., connection with Abbeville, 24;
  “Manoir de François 1er,” Lisieux, 96;
  and Charles de Montpensier, 245-247, 169;
  development of enamel painting, 257.

Franco-Prussian War, incidents in Rouen, 84-87;
  incidents near Le Mans, 156-161;
  _Times_ Correspondent, _quoted_, 156-161, 168;
  capitulation of Chartres, 206-207;
  occupation of Orléans, 224.

Freeman, _cited_, 2, 42, 65, 83, 104-105, 114,
   116, 122-125, 179-180, 235, 243, 252, 261, 273, 277.

Froissart, _cited_, 253, 279, 343.

Fulk the Black, Count of Anjou, 139, 171-172, 205.

Fulk the Good, Count of Anjou, 170-171.

Fulk the Red, Count of Anjou, 170.

Gabelle tax, imposed by Richelieu, 144.

Gallic cities, origin of, 5-6.

Gargoyle, the, of Rouen, legend regarding, 81-82.

Garlande, Etienne de, restoration of Sainte-Marie, 364-365.

Garonne, port of the, 292.

Gatianus, St., 183.

Gaudry, Bishop, 40.

Gaul, ancient traces in town names, 5-6.

Geoffrey the Hammer, Count of Anjou, 172-173.

Geoffrey, Count of Gascony, 248.

Geoffrey of Mayenne, swears the Civil oath, 155.

Geoffrey Plantagenet, 99.

Geoffroy de Montbray, Bishop of Coutances, 121, 145.

Geological discoveries in the Somme Valley, 21-22.

Germain, St., 309, 372.

Gersendis, Countess, 152.

Gervase, _cited_, 32.

Gesoriacum, Roman town, 19.

Gilbert of Evreux, 121.

Gilbert of Lisieux, 121-122.

Girondists at Caen, 126-127;
  at Saint-Émilion, 297-298.

Gisors, 47.

Gloucester Cathedral, 93.

Gonzagas, occupation of Nevers, 244.

Green Croft, Cambridge, 274.

“Grotte de Saint-Émilion,” 297.

Guesclin, Bertrand de, 252, 280.

Guilds, Craftsmen’s, in Paris, 360.

Guise, Cardinal de, 199-200.

Guise, Henri de, tragedy of, 197-198.

_Guyale_, meetings of the, 21.

Guyenne, _villes bastides_ of, 293.

Hachette, Jeanne, bravery of, 346-347.

Hadouin, St., tomb of, 164.

Hagano, Bishop, 125.

Hamerton, Mr., “Paris in Old and Present Times,” _quoted_, 365-366.

Ham-sur-Somme, Castle of, 21.

Harcourt, Geoffrey d’, 140.

Harold of Denmark, 66.

Headlam, Mr. Cecil, “Story of Chartres,” _quoted_, 206-207.

Héloise, 383.

Henry I., burning of Evreux, 90.

Henry II., marriage at Lisieux, 100.

Henry III., 187, 197.

Henry IV., of Navarre, crowned at Chartres, 45, 205;
  entry into Rouen, 73.

Henry V., 67, 126, 139;
  Agincourt, 197;
  betrothal in Troyes, 313-314;
  siege of Meaux, 329-330.

Henry VIII., siege of Boulogne, 19.

Heremas, Abbot, 46, 47.

Herodotus, _cited_, 357.

Herlwin, knight, 120.

Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, 184.

Hildebert, Bishop of Le Mans, 370.

Hoffbauer, M., “Paris à travers les Ages,” _cited_, 363-364.

Hôtel Rambouillet, 333.

Hugh, Capet, 22, 362, 382.

Hugh of Tours, Abp., 171.

Hugh of Vermandois, 23.

Hugh the Great, 361.

Hugues de Morville, Bp., 145.

Huguenots, troubles at Rouen, 72-73;
  stronghold at Saint-Lô, 129-130;
  attack on Coutances, 143;
  resistance in La Rochelle, 281-286;
  massacre in Troyes, 314-315.

“Hundred Days,” the, 57.

Hundred Years’ War, effect on French Architecture, 76-77, 100.

Ingelgar, Count of Anjou, 170.

Innocent, Pope, troubles with France, 334-335.

Jacquerie Revolts, 325-326, 343-344.

James, Mr. Henry, “Little Tours in France,” _cited_, 174, 301, 232-235.

Jargeau, capture by Jeanne d’Arc, 45.

Jesus College, Cambridge, 274.

Joan of Arc, Story of, 45-46;
  death at Rouen, 67-72;
  relief of Orléans, 218-223;
  capture of Troyes, 314;
  her capture at Beauvais, 344-345;
  the attempted siege of Paris, 350-355.

John, Duke of Bedford, death, 72.

John Lackland, 66;
  massacre at Evreux, 90.

John of France, at Poitiers, 274-279.

Josephine, Empress, 90.

Julian, Emperor, 359-360.

Julian, St., bishop of Le Mans, 163;
  tomb of, 164.

Jupiter, temple of, St. Etienne, Paris, built on site, 363.

La Beurière quarter of Boulogne, 16.

La Chartre, 158.

La Cité, Paris, 365;
  Churches of, 365-366.

La Hire, Captain, 354;
  entry into Orléans, 219-220.

La Rochelle--
  Cathedral, 289.
  Historical sketch, 281-286.
  Huguenot resistance, 281-286.
  Tour de la Chaîne, 289.
  Tour de la Lanterne, 289.
  Tour Saint-Nicholas, 286.
  Seaport of, 286-287.

La Trappe monastery, 335.

La Tremouille, policy of, 354.

La Trinité, Abbey of, Vendôme, 216.

La Vendée, Royalists take Le Mans, 156.

Laack, Church of, 240.

  Cathedral, 39-42.
  Historical sketch, 39-40.
  Type of Gaulish hill-city, 38.

Lancelot, M., discovery regarding the Bayeux tapestry, 113-114.

Lanfranc, work in Evreux Cathedral, 93.

Langeais, 192.

Langres Cathedral, 302.

Lanterne des Morts, Bayeux, 108.

Laudus, Bishop, founder of Saint-Lô, 145.

Le Mans--
  Cathedral of St. Julian, 161-163.
  Characteristics, 151.
  Commune founded in, 155.
  Franco-Prussian War, incidents, 156-161.
  Historical sketch, 151-161.
  Notre Dame de la Coûture, 163-168.
  Notre Dame du Pré, 163-168.
  Place des Jacobins, 161.

Le Sauvage, chief of the Nu-Pieds, 145.

Leduc, his “peasant girl” in Saint-Lô, 129.

Lenoir, 383.

Leo IX., Pope, Council at Rheims, 46-47.

Lethaby, Mr., “Mediæval Art,” _quoted_, 179-180.

Liane river, the, 19.

Libourne on the Dordogne, 292;
  _bastides_ of, 293.

Lichfield Cathedral, 75.

  Cathedral of St. Etienne, 252-253, 262.
  “Central” Hotel, 251.
  Description, 251-253.
  Enamel workers of, 251-254.
  Historical sketch, 252-254.
  Rue du 71^{ième} Mobiles, 254.

  Church of St. Jacques, 99;
  of St. Pierre, 95, 100-103.
  Description, 95-99.
  Grande Rue, etc., 96.
  Historical sketch, 99-100.
  _Hospice_, 100.
  Rue du Paradis, 103.

Limousin, Léonard, enamel work of, 257-258.

Loire, the, 157;
  near Angers, 174;
  near Touraine, 181-182;
  at Vendôme, 216-217.

Lonergan, Mr., “Historic Churches of Paris,” 370.

Louis le Débonnair, 57.

Louis le Jeune, 61.

Louis Philippe, 20.

Louis IX., 139; procession through Sens, 300.

Louis XI., 45;
  seizure of Boulogne, 19;
  at Plessis-les-Tours, 187;
  founds university at Bourges, 227.

Louis XII., marriage with Mary Tudor, 23-24;
  proclamation of, 187;
  rooms of, in Château de Blois, 196;
  and Charles, Constable de Bourbon, 246.

Louis XIII., 144.

Louis XIV., 334.

Louis XVIII., restoration of St. Denis, 383.

Loup, Saint, bishop of Auxerre, 309.

Louvre, exhibition of the Bayeux tapestry in the, 114.

Lucian, St., 343.

Luitgarde, third wife of Charlemagne, 187.

Lutetia, _see also_ Paris, 357;
  ancient emblems, 357-358.

Madeleine, the, Paris, 366.

Madeleine, Troyes, 322-323.

Maine, Bishops and Counts of, 151-152.

Manteuffel, General, 84-87.

Marguerite de Provence, 300.

Marne, the, near Paris, 290;
  at Meaux, 335-336.

Martial, St., 252.

Martin, St., 137, 151, 172, 359;
  veneration of, 183-184.

Martinopolis, 184.

“Martyrdom” and _Confessio_, terms, 309.

Mascaron of Tulle, 333.

Masles, Jean le, 107.

Massillon, 333.

Matignon, attack on Saint-Lô, 129-130.

Matilda of Flanders, 117.

Matthieu de Vendôme, 383.

Maupertuis, 277;
  plains of, 277.

Maxime, Sainte, 309.

Mazarin, Cardinal, 244.

  Bossuet’s connection with, 330-335.
  Cathedral, 324-325.
  Henry V. besieges, 329-330.
  Historical sketch, 325-335.
  Jacquerie revolts, 325-329.
  Mills of, 335-336.

Mecklenburg, Duke of, 57, 158, 161.

Medici, Catherine de’, 197.

Mellon, Saint, 63.

Melun, 358.

Metz, 333.

Midi, the, 258.

Mittelzal, church of, 240.

Monstrelet, _cited_, 313-314, 329.

Montbray, Bishop de, 138.

Montbray, Cathedral de, demolished by the Huguenots, 143.

Montereau, Pierre de, 376.

Montfaucon, discovery regarding the Bayeux tapestry, 113.

Montrichard, 192.

Morard, Abbot, 375.

Morinière, Quesnel, house in Coutances, 149.

  Cathedral, 251.
  Château Mal-Coiffée, 248.
  Constable de Bourbon, story of, 245-248.
  Norman invasion of, 248-251.
  “Tour de l’Horloge,” 245.

Napoleon Bonaparte, 20, 90-93, 114.

Napoleon III., 20.

Nautæ Parisiaci, the, 357-359.

Nautæ Tiberis of Rome, 358-359.

Navarre, King of, punishment of the “Jacquerie,” 344.

  Cathedral of St. Cyr, 240-243.
  Church of St. Etienne, 52, 239-240.
  Counts of, 236-239.
  Ducal Palace, 243.
  Faïence industry in, 244.
  Historical sketch, 236-239.
  Porte du Croux, 243-244.

Nicholas V., Pope, 228.

Nicolle, tax-gatherer, 144-145.

Nîmes, amphitheatre of, 358-359.

  Confiscation by Philippe Auguste, 66-67.
  Truce of God in, 122-125.

Norwich, Sir John, defence of Angoulême, 267-268.

Notre Dame d’Evreux, 74, 93-94.

Notre Dame de la Coûture, Le Mans, 163-164, 292.

Notre Dame de Lâon, 39-42.

Notre Dame de Paris, 365, 369-371.

Notre Dame de Rouen, 74-82.

Notre Dame de Saint-Lô, 133-134.

Notre Dame de Senlis, 338-341.

Notre Dame de Soissons, 57-61.

Notre Dame du Pré, Le Mans, 163-168.

Notre Dame la Grande, Poitiers, 274.

Noviodunum, 236.

Noyon, crownings at, 42-45.

Nu-pieds, revolt of the, 126, 144-145.

Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, connection with the tapestry, 114;
  life story of, 115-116.

Odo of Chartres, 205.

Oger the Dane, 64.

  Cathedral, 224.
  Church of St. Bonnet, 228.
  Crownings at, 45.
  Historical sketch, 218-224.
  Les Augustin’s, fortress of, 219.
  Porte Regnart, 220.
  Prussian occupation, 224.
  Relief of, 218-223.
  Saint Loup, 219.

Orléans, Charles d’, 106.

Orléans, Gaston d’, 197.

Orléans-Longueville, François d’, 215.

Our Lady of Victories, Joan of Arc’s dedication, 354-355.

  Bossuet’s sermons, 333-334.
  Cæsar’s convocation of the
  Parisii, 356-358.
  Chapels of, 365-366.
  Collège de Beauvais, 345-346.
  Early importance, 362-363.
  Frankish seizure of, 360.
  Historical sketch, 348-363.
  La Cité, 365;
    Churches of, 365-366.
  Lutetia, ancient trade of, 359.
  Madeleine, the old, chapels of, 366-369.
  Notre Dame, 365, 369-371.
  Pont Notre Dame, 358-362.
  Rue des Marmousets, 366.
  Saint Denis, Benedictine foundation, 381-384.
  Saint Etienne, the first Cathedral, 363-364.
  Saint Germain-des-Prés, Abbey, Church of, 372-376.
  Saint Louis, Chapel of, 365.
  Saint Michael du Palais, 366.
  Saint Pierre aux Bœufs, Chapel of, 366.
  Saint Chapelle, 375-381.
  Saint Marie, 365.
  “Salle des Pas Perdus,” 378.

Parisian Navigation, the, 357-358.

“Parisii,” meaning of term, 357.

Parker “Glossary,” 31.

Patay, battle of, 45.

Pater, Walter, “Miscellaneous Studies,” _cited_, 36-37;
  “Imaginary Portraits,” _cited_, 305-306.

Père-la-Chaise Cemetery, 346, 383.

Périgord, Cardinal de, 278.

  Cathedral of St. Etienne, 262.
  Château Barrière, 258-261.
  Church of Saint Front, 258-266.
  La Cité, 262.
  Tour de Vésone, 258-261.

Perpendicular Style in England, 76.

Perpetuus, St., 184.

Perthes, Boucher de, 23.

Peter the Hermit, 22.

Philippe Auguste, confiscation, 66-67, 280, 291;
  baptism of, 366.

Pierre, Bishop of Chartres, 370.

Plessis-les-Tours, 187-188.

  Battle of, 274-279.
  Cathedral of St. Pierre, 270-273.
  Church of Notre Dame la Grande, 274;
    Saint Radégonde, 274.
  Historical sketch, 279-280.
  Temple Saint Jean, 273.

Poitou in English hands, 279-280.

Pomerantin, Castle of, 277.

Pont Notre Dame, 358, 362.

Ponts d’Ouve, the, 139.

Porches of French Cathedrals, evolution from the narthex, 319-322.

Porte du Croux, Nevers, 243-244.

Porte Gayole, Boulogne, 21.

Potentian, St., 202, 300.

Poupinel, 144.

“Précieuses,” the, 333.

Presle, Collège de, 346.

Prestwick, 23.

Prout, drawings, 24, 36.

Queen Eleanor’s Cross, Northampton, 77.

Radégonde, Saint, 274.

Ratuma or Ratumacos, early name of Rouen, 63.

Raymond of Toulouse, 23.

Ravenna, 309.

Ré, Island of, 282.

Remigius, St., legend of, 47-48.

  Cathedral, 48-51.
  Church of St. Remi, 52-53.
  Historical sketch, 42-50.
  Hôtel de Moulinet, 53.
  Joan the Maid, story of, 45-46.
  Papal Councils, 46-47.

Rheims, Archbishop of, policy, 354.

Richard the Fearless, 66, 90;
  brought up at Bayeux, 105;
  his widow builds Coutances Cathedral, 145.

Richard II., birthplace at Bordeaux, 291.

Richelieu imposes the Gabelle tax, 144-145;
  siege of the Huguenots of La Rochelle, 282-286.

Richemont, Constable de, 140.

Robert d’Artois, 300.

Robert of Flanders, 23.

Robert of Lisieux, Bishop of Coutances, 145.

Robert of Normandy, 22, 66.

Robert of Paris, loss of Neustria, 64-65.

Rolf the Ganger, 19, 62;
  invasion of Rouen, 64;
  conversion, 65-66;
  settlement of Lisieux, 99-100;
  possession of Bayeux, 104.

Romain, St., Bishop of Rouen, legend, 81-82.

Roman Conquest, effect on Gaul, 5-10.

Roman de Rou, the, 65.

Roman Remains, Basilica of Angers, 52;
  at Périgueux, 258-261;
  at Bourges, 261;
  Practorium Ramparts at Senlis, 336-337;
  Palace of the Thermes, near Paris, 357.

  Aître de St. Maclou, 83-84.
  Basse-Vieille-Tour, 78.
  Cathedral, 74-82.
  Chapelle de la Fierte Saint-Romain, 78-81.
  Church of St. Maclou, 83.
  Church of St. Ouen, 82-83.
  Description of, 73-74.
  Franco-Prussian War, incidents, 84-87.
  Historical sketch, 62-75.
  Huguenot troubles, 72-73.
  Jeanne d’Arc, trial of, 67-72.
  Market-place, 45.
  Place and Haute-Vielle-Tour, 78.
  Rue Martainville, 83.
  Tour Jeanne d’Arc, 67.

Roy, General, 84.

Ruskin, criticisms on Abbeville, 27;
  Amiens Cathedral, 28;
  on Rouen Churches, 74-75, 83;
  Diary, _quoted_--Amiens Cathedral by the Somme, 32-36;
  drawings of Abbeville, 27.

Rusticus, St., 359.

Saint Aignan, Churches of, 366.

Saint Bonnet, Church of, Orléans, 228.

Saint Clair-sur-Epte, treaty at, 64.

Saint Cyr, Cathedral, Nevers, 240-243.

Saint Denis, Paris, Benedictine Foundation, 381-384.

Saint Etienne, Auxerre, 305-306;
  Limoges, 252-253, 262;
  Nevers, 52, 239-240;
  Paris, 363-364;
  Sens, 300-305.

Saint Eureptiolus, Basilica of, Coutances, 138.

Saint Eusébe, Church of, Auxerre, 310.

Saint Front, Church of, Périguex, 258-261.

Saint Gall, Church of, Switzerland, 240.

Saint Gatien, Cathedral, Tours, 337-338.

Saint George’s Chapel, Windsor, 51.

Saint Germain, Church of, Auxerre, 305-309.

Saint Germain-des-Prés, Abbey, Church, Paris, 372-376.

Saint Germain-le-Vieux, 366.

Saint Jacques, Church of, Lisieux, 99.

Saint Jean des Vignes, Soissons, 61.

Saint Jean, temple of, Poitiers, 273.

Saint Julien, Cathedral, Le Mans, 161-163.

Saint Julien du Pré, Le Mans, 163-167.

Saint Lizier, Roman Walls of, 337.

Saint-Lô --
  Basse Ville, the, 130, 133.
  Cathedral, 133-134.
  Historical sketch, 128-138.
  Maison Dieu, 133.
  Place Ferrier, 129.
  Rue Torterton, 128.
  Tour Beauregard, 129, 130.
  Tour de la Rose, 130.

Saint Louis, Cathedral of, Blois, 192-193.

Saint Maclou, Rouen, 83.

Saint Mark’s, Venice, influence on style of Saint Fronte, 262-263.

Saint Martin, Church of, Tours, 52;
  Fort of, on the Island of Ré, 282.

Saint Maurice, Cathedral, Angers, 174, 179-180, 273.

Saint Médard, Abbey of, Soissons, 57.

Saint Michael du Palais, Paris, 366-369.

Saint Nicholas, Church of, Blois, 193-194.

Saint Pierre, Cathedral, Angoulême, 269-273;
  Church, Auxerre, 305;
  Coutances, 137, 145;
  Lisieux, 95, 100-103;
  Poitiers, 270-273;
  Senlis, 337-338.

Saint Remi, Church of, Rheims, 52-53;
  Monastery of, 46-47.

Saint Sauveur-le-Vicomte, Château of, 140.

Saint Stephen’s, Caen, burial of William I., 120-122.

Saint Taurin, Church of, Evreux, 52, 95.

Saint Urbain Cathedral, Troyes, 74, 75, 322.

Saint Wolfran, Church of, Abbeville, 27.

Sainte Chapelle, Paris, 375-381.

Sainte Colombe, Abbey, Sens, 300.

Sainte Croix, nuns of, 274.

Sainte Emilion--
  Grotte of, 297-298.
  Vineyards of, 294.

Sainte Marie, Paris, 364-365.

Sainte Radégonde, Church of, Poitiers, 274.

Salisbury Cathedral, 75.

Saumur, 171.

Savinian, St., 202, 300.

Saxon inhabitants of the Bessin, 104.

Scott, “Quentin Durward,” 187-188.

Seine, the, 64;
  towards Evreux, 88-89.

Selby Abbey, Yorkshire, 309.

Semur, 305.

  Cathedral of Notre Dame, 338-341.
  Church of St. Pierre, 337-338.
  Historical sketch, 336-337.
  Roman remains, 336-337.

  Abbey of Sainte-Colombe, 300.
  Cathedral of St. Etienne, 235, 300-305.
  Historical sketch, 299-301.

  Abbey of St. Jean des Vignes, 61.
  Cathedral of Notre Dame, 58-61.
  Historical sketch, 54-58.

Somerset, Duke of, 72.

Somme river, the, 32-36.

Somme valley, geological discoveries, 21, 22.

Sorel, Agnes, 231.

South Kensington Museum, 75.

Spiers, Mr., “Architecture East and West,” 239-240, 262-265.

Stephen of Blois, 23, 99.

Strabo, _cited_, 359.

Suger, Minister of Louis VI., 382.

Sully, Maurice de, 365-366.

Syagrius, “Romanorum Rex,” 54.

Taillefer, the warrior, 138.

Tancred, the “Very perfect gentle knight,” 23.

Tapestry, the Bayeux, 110-115.

Taurin, Saint, 89, 95.

Temple Church, 110.

Texier, Jean le, 207.

Theobald or Thibaut, Count of Chartres, 202.

Thérain valley, 341.

Thermes, Roman Palace of the, 357.

Thibaut, Count, of Anjou, 172.

Thibaut, Count, of Chartres, 90.

Thibaut le Tricheur, Count of Chartres, 205.

Thibaut IV., Count of Troyes, 315.

Thomas à Becket, St., 100;
  at Sens, 300, 301.

“Toillette de Duc Guillaume,” 114.

Toulouse, Church of the Cordeliers, 292.

Tour Beauregard, Saint-Lô, 129.

Tour de la Chaîne La Rochelle, 289.

Tour de la Lanterne, La Rochelle, 289.

Tour de Vésone, Périgueux, 258-261.

Tour St. Nicholas, La Rochelle, 286.

Touraine, description of, 181-182.

  Angevin struggle for, 171-172.
  Church of St. Gatien, 188-192, 337.
  Church of St. Martin, 52.
  Historical sketch, 183-188.
  Rue des Halles, 184.
  Tour Charlemagne, 187.
  Tour de l’Horloge, 187.

Toury, Cloister of, 321.

Treaty of Troyes, 313-314.

“Triforium,” description of term, 32.

  Cathedral of St. Urbian, 74-75, 318-322.
  Commerce and Fairs of, 315-319.
  Historical sketch, 310-319.
  Huguenot massacre, 314-315.
  Treaty of Henry V., 313-314.

Truce of God, 47;
  preached in Normandy, 122-125.

Ursin, St., 99.

Valonges, fall of, 139.

Vaurus, the bastard of, death of, 330.

  Abbey of La Trinité, 216.
  Counts of, 215-216.
  Loire at, 216-217.

Venetian Colonies at Limoges, 266.

Venice, St. Mark’s, style influences architecture of Saint Front, 262-266.

Vercingetorix, 299.

Verheilh, M. Félix de, 266.

Vieil-Evreux, Roman Settlement, 89.

_Villes bastide_, the, of Guyenne, 293-294.

Vincent, St., Childebert’s Church, 372-375.

Viollet-le-Duc, _cited_, 28, 41-45, 48-51, 265, 270-273, 302, 342;
  panegyric on Chartres Cathedral, 211;
  restorations in Notre Dame, 369.

Vire, the, 130.

“Week of Battles,” 1871, the 156.

Wells Cathedral, 75;
  tomb of William de la Merche, 77.

Westminster Abbey, 109;
  tomb of Aymer de Valence, 77, 257.

Whewell, _quoted_, 93, 94, 100, 110.

William de la Merche, tomb at Wells, 77.

William Longsword, 66, 105, 138.

William of Poitiers, 116.

William the Conqueror, 66;
  connection with Caen, 117-126;
  funeral at Caen, 120-122;
  at Le Mans, 155;
  struggle with Geoffrey the Hammer, 172;
  at Moulins, 248-251.

Wittich, General von, 207.

Wolsey, Cardinal, the French alliance, 24.

Yonne River, 299;
  at Sens, 301.

Young, Arthur, account of the Guise tragedy, 199-200;
  indignation of, 375;
  Rouen, description of, _quoted_, 73.

Yves, Bishop of Chartres, 370.

       *       *       *       *       *

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

St. Front, Perigueux=> St. Front, Périgueux {pg x}

has gazed up at the great buttressed hill, silhoutted=> has gazed up at
the great buttressed hill, silhouetted {pg 38}


Charlottle Corday spent=> Charlotte Corday spent {pg 96}

Another memory of the Conquerer in Caen=> Another memory of the
Conqueror in Caen {pg 122}




converted him to Christianty=> converted him to Christianity {pg 152}

Goeffrey of Mayenne=> Geoffrey of Mayenne {pg 155}

the Duke of Mecklenburg and Von der Taun=> the Duke of Mecklenburg and
Von der Tann {pg 161}

If Le Mans marks the first stage from Normandy upon the southward road,
Angiers=> If Le Mans marks the first stage from Normandy upon the
southward road, Angers {pg 169}


Tour de la Chaine=> Tour de la Chaîne {pg 286}

salon of the Hôtel Rambouillet=> salon of the Hotel Rambouillet {pg 333}

was vested in the spiritul power=> was vested in the spiritual power {pg

The beseiging army of Charles the Bold=> The besieging army of Charles
the Bold {pg 346}

leaving Charles at Compiégne=> leaving Charles at Compiègne {pg 353}

and indeed the eccleciastical=> and indeed the ecclesiastical {pg 360}

Archibishop Maurice de Sully=> Archbishop Maurice de Sully {pg 366}

“Manned d’Archéologie Française,”=> “Manuel d’Archéologie Française,”
{pg 388}

Tour Charlemange, 187=> Tour Charlemange, 187 {pg 395}

La Beuriere quarter of Boulogne, 16.=> La Beurière quarter of Boulogne,
16. {index}

Louis le Debonnair, 57.=> Louis le Débonnair, 57. {index}

Orleans=> Orléans {pg x, 71, 390}

“Precieuses,” the, 333.=> “Précieuses,” the, 333. {index}

Radégonde, Saint, 274.=> Radegonde, Saint, 274. {index}

Saint-Emilion=> Saint-Émilion {index}

PERIGUEUX=> PÉRIGUEUX {pg 13, 258. 265}

Lancelot, M., discovery regarding the Bayeaux tapestry, 113-114.=>
Lancelot, M., discovery regarding the Bayeux tapestry, 113-114. {index}

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