Located on the bend of the Marne River, Meaux is a cultural city that emerged in the 17th century.
At that time, Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, the “Eagle of Meaux”, was the bishop.
Bossuet was an influential theologian during the reign of Louis XVIII and one of the greatest orators in history.
His episcopal palace, with its beautiful gardens and defensive walls, is preserved and houses Meaux’s art and history museum.
You can also visit Bossuet’s tomb in the splendid Gothic cathedral, which faces a fine square with cafés and restaurant terraces.
If Brie is your preference, Meaux has been producing this variety for over 200 years, with dairies all over the city and even a Brie museum.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Meaux:
1. The Great War Museum
Opened on Armistice Day in 2011, the museum is one of the world’s leading attractions dealing with the 1914-18 conflict. Meaux was chosen because it was as close as German troops came to Paris during the war.
The museum recreates war scenes and even built a replica battlefield with French and German trenches and no-man’s-land in between.
This is made even more real by the modern and multi-sensory museum design, where you can pick up objects, soundscapes and plenty of multimedia presentations to accompany the usual artefacts.
2. Meaux Cathedral
Any scholar of Gothic art will love the city’s cathedral.
That’s because the work was done slowly, in the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, so every stage from early Gothic to ornate French Gothic design is on display.
Despite all the changes, the building still feels harmonious and it is the interior that really shines.
Here, the vaults of the nave and choir are more than 30 meters high, flooding the interior with sunlight.
If you are on the Bossuet trail, you can visit his tomb, carved out of black marble and enclosed by a wrought iron grill.
3. Bossuet Museum
The Museum of Art and History in Meaux is located in the former residence of Bossuet, the Bishop’s Palace next to the Cathedral.
This started in the 1100’s and gradually expanded until Bossuet lived here in the late 1600’s.
The oldest room is on the first floor and has not changed much since the 12th century.
The museum’s room 7 tells the story of Bossuet’s period as bishop from 1682 to 1704, but also has medieval religious sculpture and a variety of art donated to the city over the years, from 16th century mannerisms to 1800s romance style.
4. Bossuet Gardens
Local tradition holds that the 17th-century garden behind the Bishop’s Palace was designed by the young André Le Nôtre, who performed miracles at Versailles.
Whether this is true or not, the flower bed is an excellent example of the landscaping of the period: there are four paths, surrounded by a rose flower bed, that converge on a central fountain with a huge mossy rock placed here in the 1800s.
The entire garden is bordered by two rows of linden trees, and at the bottom is a staircase that takes you to the Gallo-Roman walls, which we’ll get to later.
5. The Old Church
Behind the courtyard of the Bishop’s Palace, connected to the cathedral by a wooden gallery, was a symbol of the power of the medieval church.
The clergy would meet in this towered hall to discuss religious missions and advise the Bishop of Meaux.
You can walk up to their meeting room via a nice covered exterior staircase on the side of the building.
The old church served dual purposes, as the ground floor was a tithe barn for wine, wood and grain storage in a large vaulted room.
6. Remparts de Meaux
On weekends, you have free entry to the ancient city walls that once surrounded the entire diocese.
The walls are now about 250 meters long and follow a route drawn during the Gallo-Roman period, later refurbished and modified when the circular defensive towers were raised in the 14th and 15th centuries.
The highlight of the walk is admiring the delightful gardens at the Bossuet Museum, as well as the Bishop’s Palace and Cathedral.
Bossuet is said to have come to the small hermitage of the Jardin des Remparts in the 17th century to reflect and write in seclusion.
7. The old center
Meaux’s rise to prominence in the 17th and 18th centuries has left behind many of the exquisite mansions of the period, which are private property but still worth a visit.
So it’s worth heading out and seeing what you can find.
Take a photo of the Hôtels de Regnaudière and Longuejoue at Place Saint-Maur.
Then continue along Rue du General Leclerc, Rue Rochard and Rue Saint-Remy to La Sirène, Passelaigue and Macé de Montoury, all of which are beautiful.
As a religious center, the city of Meaux is home to many religious congregations, whose properties are still visible, such as the Monastery of Visitation and Ursuline, and the House of Augustine in the district of San Nicolas.
8. Parc du Pâtis
The Parc du Pâtis, on a loop of the Marne, south of Meaux, is a vast and varied natural space rather than a landscaped garden.
You can walk the walks by the Marne or cut into flowery meadows, woods and at least ten large ponds, some of which are also crossed by lovely little bridges.
The abundant water source attracts dozens of bird species, such as the brightly plumaged Eurasian golden oriole and kingfisher.
When the sun comes out in summer, the Marne even has a public beach for swimming and a sailing centre where rowing boats can be rented.
9. American Monument
As mentioned earlier, during the first Battle of the Marne in 1914, German troops were intercepted outside the city of Meaux. The event is now considered a turning point in the early days of the war, when the United States erected a monument here in 1932 to commemorate the lost French troops who stopped the advance.
This monument to freedom in tears was sculpted by Frederick William MacMonnies, who studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris in the 1880s.
This statue is right next to the First World War Museum on the battlefield.
10. Brasserie de Meaux
About halfway, Trilport, just minutes from downtown Meaux, is a young brewery that started operations in 2015 as part of the craft beer revolution. Brasserie de Meaux sources its ingredients from grain farms in the local countryside and makes gold, white and amber ales.
You can take leisure trips on Fridays and Saturdays, or pre-arrange group visits any day of the week.
The tour costs 3 euros per person and, as you might expect, ends with a tasting of three beers from the brewery.
11. Local Food
Despite being a small place, Motown has a big reputation for food.
We have to start with Brie de Meaux, this soft cow’s milk cheese is wildly popular and protected by the Designation of Origin label.
If you’re a cheese fanatic, come here between April and September, when the cheese has matured the right time and is at its best.
One to take home is moutarde de Meaux, a gritty mustard in the cutest old-fashioned pots.
On top of that, the city also named it the variety of carrots, strawberries, pickles, apples and brie salads.
12. Maison de Brie de Meaux
If you’re really obsessed with Brie, you can stop by this little attraction that will tell you all about Brie AOP. With information on the history of this cheese, you will learn about the different stages of production, from milking to maturing the cheese in the cellar.
You’ll also be informed of the strict guidelines that each cheese maker must follow in order for brie to receive the “brie de Meaux” label.
With Europe’s most popular theme park nearby in 15 minutes, you can make Meaux a cultural home to return after a day of fun and magic for your little family member.
Disneyland is where kids can meet their favorite Disney characters and princesses, and of course take part in any number of themed rides.
The various “lands” need little introduction, but for the uninitiated, there are Main Street USA, Frontierland, Adventureland, Fantasyland, and Discoveryland.
Only a few unmissable rides are Indiana Jones and the Temple of Danger, Space Mountain – Mission 2 and the huge haunted house, Phantom Manor.
14. Walt Disney Studios
Walt Disney Studios is still at the Disney Resort, topping the list of the five most-visited theme parks in Europe.
This attraction is inspired by the world of filmmaking and is studio-themed with rides and shows set on “lots”. Youngsters and Pixar fans will go crazy for Toon Studio, Crush’s roller coaster has been voted one of the best rides in the entire resort and is based on the turtle from Finding Nemo.
The park is also known for its all-action extravaganzas, especially Moteurs Action! Stunts on the Backlot with cars, jet skis, motorcycles and lots of fireworks.
15. Val d’Europe Shopping Centre
Right next to the resort, but a separate entity, is a huge shopping mall that is the key to the new town of Val d’Europe.
The gallery features Belle Époque-style architecture, illuminated by a vaulted metal and glass roof.
There are approximately 140 shops and services available, less than 20 minutes from downtown Meaux.
In the basement you’ll also find Sea Life Paris, a family-friendly aquarium with freshwater species that live in the Marne and Seine, as well as more exotic creatures such as rays, sharks and turtles .
Where to stay: The best hotels in Meaux, France
Lowest price guaranteed.