November 25, 2016

2880 FRANCE (Hauts-de-France) - Compiègne

2880 Hôtel de Ville Square in Compiègne

A former imperial city, today just a commune located at the confluence of the Aisne and Oise rivers, at about 90km North from Paris, Compiègne played a major role not only in French history, but also in European history. Of Roman origin, it was referred to in 557 as Compendium, a name derived from a word meaning "short cut" (between Beauvais and Soissons). The town flourished in the Middle Ages and was the site of assemblies and councils under the Merovingian kings.

In 833 Louis the Pious was deposed here. Charles II the Bald enlarged the town and turned it in an imperial city, and in 888 Odo, Count of Paris and king of the Franks was crowned in Compiègne. During the Hundred Years' War, Joan of Arc, "The Maid of Orléans" was captured by the Burgundians while attempting to free the town in 1430. It was a privileged town for all French Kings, some of them having their second residence there in the castle.

In the 18th century, Louis XV built a palace in Compiègne that was later restored by Napoleon. It has been the scene of numerous historical events: the welcoming of Marie-Louise of Austria by Napoleon, the entertainment of the emperor Alexander I of Russia by Louis XVIII, and the marriage of Leopold I of Belgium, to Marie-Louise of Orléans in 1832. Under Napoleon III the palace was the residence of the court during the hunting season.

Compiègne was the headquarters of the invading German army in the Franco-German War of 1870-1871 and was occupied by the Germans again in WWI. The Armistice which ended the fighting on the Western Front, was signed on 11 November 1918 in Marshal Ferdinand Foch's personal railway coach on a siding just northeast of the town. The coach was preserved, and on June 22, 1940, during WWII, the Franco-German armistice was signed in it, in Adolf Hitler's presence.

The town's focal point is the Hôtel de Ville (town hall), a late Gothic structure with a belfry in its facade. Churches dedicated to Saint-Antoine and Saint-Jacques date from the 13th to the 16th century; the former is noted for its windows. Compiegne is also renowned in France for its beautiful and rich forest, and so ever since the Middle Ages, when Kings used to go to the town in order to have a game hunting. The forest is the extension of the castle park and stretches over more than 14,400 hectares.

Compiègne - Encyclopaedia Britannica
Compiègne, imperial and historic city - Destination Beauvais Paris
Compiègne - Wikipedia

Sender: Noel K
Sent from Oise (Hauts-de-France / France), on 04.11.2016 

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