Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Montreuil

Last week I went on a short weekend away with my family to Montreuil, Pas-de-Calais, France. It is surrounded by medieval ramparts, part of the reinforcement work of the famous French military engineer Vauban from his fortification of northern France in the 17th century.

Montreuil was the headquarters of the British Army in France during the First World War. General Haig stayed in the nearby Château de Beaurepaire and there is a statue commemorating his stay outside the theatre on the Place Charles de Gaulle. During the German occupation of the town during the WWII, the statue was taken down. It was never found and is thought to have been destroyed. It was rebuilt in the 1950s, using the sculptor's original mould.

Lawrence Sterne visited the town in 1765 and wrote about his visit in his novel A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy. Montreuil is also the setting for part of Victor Hugo's novel Les Misérables. Hugo had spent several vacations in Montreuil.