Château-Thierry is a town in Aisne in the Hauts-de-France region, on the border of the departments of Marne and Seine-et-Marne.
The town is 50 km west of Reims and 85 km north-east of Paris. It is a crossroads between several regions (Hauts-de-France, Grand-Est and Île-de-France).
Already inhabited in Roman times, the site of Château-Thierry develops in the Merovingian period (8th century) along the course of the Marne and on the hillsides that dominate the river.
A fortress is established under the Carolingians and the city then depends on the county of Champagne. Ruined by the English occupation during the Hundred Years War, Château-Thierry was taken by Charles V in the sixteenth century and then continues to develop under the old regime within the province of Champagne.
The theater of a decisive battle in 1918 during which the American army rejected a German counter-offensive, the city was also affected by the Battle of France in May 1940.
The birthplace of the fabulist Jean de La Fontaine, Château-Thierry now counts nearly 14 800 inhabitants and has preserved a rich historical heritage. The municipal territory borders the prestigious appellation of champagne (vineyards of the Marne Valley) and economic activity is prosperous (industry, logistics). A stage or a stay in the city allows to combine cultural tourism and discovery of a landscape hilly and green on the margins of the city.
From the top of Château-Thierry, you can take part in an ecological, magical and educational journey: the spectacle of raptors in flight on the esplanade of the medieval castle! This show offers the discovery of a beautiful collection of raptors (more than 30 species for about 110 individuals) and the medieval art of falconry, classified as intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO.
Give Honour where Honour is due ! After crossing the narrow streets of the town center that are dotted with 17th and 18th century mansions, a visit of Château-Thierry can begin with the birthplace of his illustrious writer, Jean de La Fontaine. Classified as a Historic Monument, labeled Maison des Illustres, the building is both a site of welcome, discovery and expression for those who want to get closer to the poet, his life and his work. The house itself is remarkable, and everything is gathered there to discuss and understand how La Fontaine and its fables have taken such a place in French literary history. Open every day except Monday from 9.30 am to 12 pm and from 2 pm to 5.30 pm. Free or guided tour. Admission: from 2.40 to 6.80 euros. Information on +33 3 23 69 05 60.
One continues with the remains of the medieval castle, a defensive enclosure which dominated the Marne and which constitutes an enclave in the city of more than 2.5 hectares gathering several spaces. Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm from October to February, from 9 am to 7 pm from March to May and from 9 am to 8 pm from June to September. Free entry.
At the heart of the castle is the Riomet garden. Medieval-inspired, there are fruit trees and medicinal and aromatic plants. At the foot of the ramparts, the Roseraie Thibaud IV is intended as a vegetation path sheltering 48 varieties of ancient roses.
On another note, in the high court of the castle, the "royal kitchens" are a discovery of what could be in the Middle Ages these spaces where craftsmen and servants were busy. Effect guaranteed thanks to 3D renderings...
As for the Casteloscope, it explores the remarkable history of the castle and its military architecture via an astute stage and educational staging. Open in June on Saturdays and Sundays from 2 pm to 6 pm, in July and August from Tuesday to Sunday from 2 pm to 6 pm and in September on Saturdays and Sundays from 2 pm to 6 pm. For the youngest, a nets course was set up at the top of the trees.
Finally, as part of the castle, falconry shows take place from Tuesday to Sunday in July and August as well as during school holidays and on Saturdays and Sundays from the end of April to All Saints' Day. Shows at 3pm and 5pm. Price: 6 and 9 euros.
We return to the history of the city by visiting the Treasury Museum of the Hôtel-Dieu, a former hospital founded in 1304 by Jeanne de Navarre. There are seven centuries of evolution of medicine in an exceptional setting where the wounds of the souls were also treated... Open every day in July and August, from Wednesday to Sunday from April 15 to October 31 and on Fridays and Saturdays From 1 November to 14 April. Entrance: from 4 to 8 euros. Information on +33 3 23 82 91 19.
A passage is also necessary at the House of Friendship France-America, in reference to the ties uniting the city to the American soldiers who fell in the region during the Great War. In addition to exhibitions, the site also hosts the tourism house. Information on +33 3 23 83 51 14.
This thematic of the duty of memory can then lead to visit the National Necropolis of the Chesneaux where more than 2,000 soldiers have fallen during the second Battle of the Marne in 1918, but also to the American Monument of the Cote 204. Located on the heights of the city, with a double colonnade and two colossal statues (France and America hand in hand), the building is imposing and offers an unparalleled panorama over the city and the valley of The Marne. For further information, please call +33 3 23 70 70 90.
The Balhan tower, a singular staircase of a former medieval fort, the chapel of Charité (17th century), the church of Saint-Crépin (15th and 16th centuries) and 200 steps leading to the bell tower Shaped balcony on the city, are still possible steps. For the church and the bell tower, please call +33 3 23 83 25 77.
Once this impressive historical and cultural heritage is apprehended, the natural and landscaped environment of Château-Thierry can be the object of many excursions (on foot or by mountain bike) to admire in particular the mosaic that make up the vineyards of the valley (stages of tasting Are possible, in moderation...) or the patrimonial elements of the surroundings. Brochures and maps on +33 3 23 83 51 14.
Finally, for the pleasures of swimming or a wellness break, the Citélium aquatic center has several pools and modern facilities. Entrance: 4 to 5,50 euros. For further information, please call +33 3 23 71 89 00.
From mid-May to mid-June, the Jean de La Fontaine festival offers concerts and theater and dance performances, always with reference to the work of the fabulist.
At the beginning of June, on a weekend, La Fontaine aux Livres is an appointment where writers and readers can meet.
The 3rd weekend of June, over three days, the celebrations of Jean de La Fontaine allow to pay tribute to the famous poet in a joyful and colorful atmosphere. Program: theater, street shows, concerts, dance, fireworks, parade of tanks.
In mid-September, the Living Heritage Festival highlights various artistic and festive practices designed to enhance a heritage site.
In October, over ten days, the festival C'est Comme Ça! Highlights contemporary expression and creation. For more information, please contact us at +33 3 23 82 87 22.
The 3rd weekend of October, the Champagne and Vous festival offers shows and exhibitions on the theme of the vine and organizes meetings with winegrowers. For further information, please call +33 3 23 85 30 85.
Note that a market, on Tuesdays and Fridays morning, allows to discover the rich local terroir.