Visit Langres by Mouse
is a small walled town (population around 9000) in the Haute-Marne
department in the Champagne-Ardennes
region in northeastern
France. We know it only because we needed a campground on our way to Troyes and our guide book showed that Langres had a municipal
one. It turned out to be a very nice campground tucked away inside a corner of the wall where there was a large stone turret with
a conical roof, near pretty much everything. After we got settled there was time to walk a short way to the tourist office where we
learned that the wall went all the way around the town and that you could walk around the top of the wall which was three kilometers
in length. The town had been situated high on a hill at a crossing of several Roman roads, and fortifications had been built around
it at various times in its history. Most of the wall that exists today was built during the troubled medieval period. Gates from the
Roman period had been incorporated it it, one of which dates from the first century.
We decided to walk toward the town center to see what we could see, so down a longish straight street we went. As we passed a book
store we noticed that a display of books featured many books about Denis Diderot
, an eighteenth century gentleman who figured greatly
in the Enlightenment and who authored the first encyclopedia
. We found out later that he had been born in this town. Another storefront
proclaimed that insurance was sold there and that the proprieter's name was M. Guillotin. Isn't that an unfortunate name for someone
whose line might include selling life insurance?
Shortly after the bookstore we came across a street off to the right that looked
like it led toward the wall. We turned down it and came upon the top of the wall walk. So we turned and began to walk
in a direction that we figured would take us back to the campground turret. Our best guess was that we walked at least two-thirds
of the three kilometer length, with the town to our left, and spectacular views of the countryside at our right. Benches where
you could sit and rest were places at comfortable distance. The weather was perfect--sunny and cool. The views of the
countryside were panoramic from the high vantage point and included bright yellow rapeseed next to deep green fields, a lake
and several towns.
After walking for about an hour we got back to the campground. After a bit of a rest Ron visited
the tower, going up a ramp until he reached a large room under a complicate structure of exposed beams holding up the conical roof.
The roof over the rampway was supported by stone vaults coming to a narrow point about halfway down the exterior side wall. Just below
the point there were little whimsical stone carvings, probably backpieces for lamps or candles. There is a photo
of one of these on the photos page.
There is more of interest in and about the town of Langres, which you can read about on a sign
we encountered on the wall walk.