Friday, August 08, 2014

Charny, France - visited July 14, 2012

A quick overnight stop in Charny, a tiny commune in the Yonne department of Burgundy just 20 miles east of Montargis, provided a welcome break. While there is not much to this 1700 population town, reflecting on its turbulent and violent history one might conclude it has done well to survive at all.
Charny, known at the time as Caarnetum, first appears on a deed dated 1130 CE. Two hundred years later, with its population at around 2,000, the city appears to have been at its zenith. There was a quarantine facility for lepers, a new defensive wall had been built and, in 1309, King Philippe le Bel stopped by to meet and greet. C'est magnifique! 
In 1358 the town managed to stave off an attack by Sir Robert Knolles, an English knight, during his failed invasion of France. By the 15th century however, Charny's good fortune came to a complete stop. Between 1426 and 1443 (toward the end of the Hundred Years War) the town changed hands six times, bouncing back and forth between the Bourguignons and the Armagnacs. By the end of the war, in 1453, the town was wholly destroyed and was completely abandoned for about 50 years.
Following its eventual resuscitation another misfortune struck in 1706 when a fire razed everything to the ground except a barn and a few houses. Today, Charny continues as the head town of its canton, a distinction held since 1802, and has absorbed the village of “la Mothe aux Aulnaies” along the way.
In summary, another stagnant township of rural France just 75 miles from Paris. A few more pictures here.

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