Melun - a suburb of Paris

Countries and cities

The main city of the Seine-et-Marne department, Melun, is located 45 km southeast of Paris at the northern edge of the Fontainebleau forest.

Melun in the distant and recent past

The history of the city begins in ancient times. An important Gallic fortress on the island of Saint-Etienne was destroyed by Titus Labienus in 53 BC. NS. during the Gallo-Roman wars. In subsequent years, the fortress and town were rebuilt, but very often its inhabitants were involved in many bloody wars of the past.

In the 4th-5th centuries. the territory of the city was significantly reduced due to the invasion of barbarian tribes from the east. From the 6th c. in Melon is the residence of King Heidelbert I and his heir Clothar I, and after his death the city finds itself in the center of an internecine war between his sons. From the 9th century Melun was repeatedly attacked by the Vikings, who heavily destroyed the city in 845, 861, 886 and 909.

Since 1016, Melun has belonged to the French crown and for the next 300 years it will be the permanent residence of members of the royal family and noble nobles. In the 14-15 century. the city is at the center of many events of the Hundred Years War. The religious wars of the 16th century caused no less damage to Melun. and ferocious plagues.

In the 17th century the commune is going through difficult times during the events of the Fronde. In addition to clashes between the opposing sides, its surroundings also suffer greatly from the actions of robber gangs.

In the 19th century during the Napoleonic wars, Melun was occupied by Austrian and Russian troops. In 1815, Emperor of Russia Alexander I spent some time in it.

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In 1849, Melun was connected with Paris by a railway, which favorably affects the social and economic development of the commune. During the Franco-Prussian war, one of the few battles took place near it, in which the French troops managed to defeat the Prussian army, but due to failures in other sectors of the front, it was nevertheless surrendered to the enemy.

Monuments of history and culture

The largest city square Saint-Jean (la place Saint-Jean) appeared on the site of the fortress gate in 1737. In the center of it in 1864 a fountain with an allegorical sculptural composition Zh-B was arranged. Klagman. The three girls symbolize the three main rivers of the region: the Seine, Marne and Yonne.

One of the mansions located on the square houses the Saint-Jean Cultural Center. Opened in 1988, it is a versatile complex, in the halls of which temporary exhibitions are regularly organized, and on its stage performances are staged, concerts are held and a variety of shows for children and adults are organized.

Gothic church of St. Aspasia (l'église Saint-Aspais) is the largest temple in the city, known since 1080. It was significantly rebuilt in the 16th century. designed by architect D. de Feline. To date, the decorative carved interior decoration, sculptures of saints, vault paintings and an old altar have been well preserved.

The construction of the monastery church of Notre-Dame-de-Melun (Collégiale Notre-Dame) on the island of Saint-Étienne also dates back to the 11th century. This Romanesque temple was built by order of King Robert the Pious in 1016-1031. The 50 m long nave of the church is limited on the sides by arched arcades and is illuminated through large lantern windows.

The vaults of the temple are supported by columns with Gothic capitals, decorated with carved images of palm leaves. Until 1775, the famous “Melensky diptych” written by J. Fouquet in 1450 was located in the temple. In the 16th century, the facade of the church was rebuilt in accordance with the architectural canons of the Renaissance. The construction of the southern tower of the temple dates back to 1515-1524.

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Saint-Sauveur Monastery (Le Prieuré Saint-Sauveur) is another of the oldest monuments of history and culture of the city. It is also located on an island in the middle of the Seine. The priory was built in 1170 on the site of an even earlier monastery. The foundation of which dates back to the middle of the 10th century. At the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th century, the architectural ensemble was updated.

After the revolution of the 18th century, the monastery was closed and sold in parts. Its separate buildings were converted into residential buildings and adapted for shops. In 1974, the surviving buildings were purchased by the municipality of Melun. Restoration work in the monastery complex continues to this day, so most of the buildings are not available for inspection.

The Abbey of Saint-Pierre in Melun (l'abbaye Saint-Père) was first mentioned in the 7th century. Many times destroyed and restored, it belonged to the Benedictine Order before the revolutionary events. In 1791 it was closed, and soon all the buildings of the complex were sold. In 1801, the surviving buildings were acquired by the city and used to house the prefecture of the department of Seine-et-Marne.

In the vicinity of Melun there is a magnificent country palace of the 17th century. Vaux-le-Vicomte (Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte), built in 1658-1661 for the superintendent of finance at the court of Louis 4 N. Fouquet. For the construction of the palace-estate, the architect L. Levo was invited, who proposed a project in the classical style. The artist Ch. Lebrun was responsible for the decoration of the interior, and the landscape architect A. Le Nôtre developed a plan for a wonderful park along the banks of two small rivers.

Near the city is the famous village of Barbizon, which gave its name to the direction in painting of the 19th century, the brightest representatives of which were the artists C. Corot, T. Rousseau, J-F. Millais. The picturesque ruins of the abbey of Notre Dame du Lys founded in 1244 by Saint Louis and Blanca of Castile or the castle of the viscounts from Melun Blandy-les-Tours (Château de Blandy-les-Tours) could well serve for them sources of creative inspiration.

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Museums and exhibition halls

One of the oldest objects of educational tourism in the city is the Museum of Art and History of Melun (Musée d'Art et d'Histoire de Melun). The exposition of the museum, founded in 1860, has been housed in the halls of an old mansion of the 1966th century since 16. De la viscount.

The collection is based on valuable historical collections of museum items from ancient times and works of art illustrating the development of Melun since the 16th century.

The Museum of the National Gendarmerie (Musée de la gendarmerie nationale) opened in the city in 1946. Its funds have collected more than 30 thousand items and documents telling about the development of a specialized police unit over the centuries.

The exposition of the museum presents collections of weapons, uniforms, insignia, awards, as well as works of arts and crafts and fine arts.

How to get to Melun from Paris

From Gare de Lyon there is a direct RER D train to Gare de Melun. Travel time is about an hour. For travel, you can use Navigo and Mobilis cards (zones 1-5).