Chateau De Vincennes Rene Mouchotte

Jan Leeming

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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 9th May 2011


Yet another famous French landmark which my friends had not visited - mind you it has been under renovation for a decade. I had two reason for wishing to go to the East of Paris, wanting to find the Birthplace of Rene Mouchotte at St. Mande and to visit the Chateau de Vincennes. There was no disappointment on either score.

The main attractions of the Chateau are its Keep and Chapel. The Keep has been under restoration for a long time and it had been magnificently restored. We were particularly struck with the small study of Charles V. As you entered this small room there was nothing but odd hieroglyphics on the wall. However this is a very clever device whereby you aim a small screen at one of the marks and you are treated with a reconstruction of how the room would have looked complete with furniture and decoration.

The Keep, though restored has no furniture, and in that it differs from the re-furbished Keep at Dover Castle which, at a cost of 2million re-opened last year with all four rooms of the keep decorated, curtained and furnished as they would have been in the days of Henry II. The Chapel is so pristine, it looks as though it were constructed in the not too distant past. Actually it was founded by Charles V in 1379 and modelled on the Sainte-Chapelle of the Palais de la Cite in Paris. The stained glass is impressive though very different from that of the 11th and 12th Century glass found in Canterbury Cathedral. There was a serious storm in Paris in 1999 and the Nave windows (only recently restored) were blown out and have had to be replaced. There is not a lot to be seen in the Chapel but what impressed me most was the height of the Nave - a marvel of construction when you think how long ago it was built.

RENE MOUCHOTTE - ST. MANDE On leaving the Chateau our gallant Tom Tom directed us a few miles down the road to the Birthplace of Rene Mouchotte. To my English eyes it looked like a house built on the lines of a very small chateau. Sadly it is now divided into many flats and showed definite signs of fatigue. The whole building was surrounded by metal railings and a screen but I could see enough to know that it must once have been a very splendid home. I was delighted to read the plaque on the front railings commemorating the fact that this house was the birthplace of Rene Mouchotte who had died in the defence of France and it also listed some, but not all, of his military decorations. When I get back to England I will post the photo of this lovely plaque in pink marble with gold lettering.

My next Port of Call will be a visit to Rene's Tomb in Pere Lachaise Cemetery. And I will not give up my efforts to make a documentary about this very special man. I notice that a few more French people are keying in to my Blogs. So if anyone has any information with regard to Rene's family, I would be extremely grateful to receive it.

A Bientot. Jan


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