If you’re not a big fan of casinos, there’s honestly not a whole lot to see in Forges-les-Eaux. (If you are a big fan of casinos, this city is ranked one of the top 15 in France).
However, as with most places in Europe, the area is imbued with history. Forges-les-Eaux was called “De Forgis” in the Middle Ages because it was once an important centre for the mining and manufacturing of iron for the Romans.
The “des-Eaux” part was added on a few centuries later when it was discovered that the waters contained iron and were beneficial for the health. King Louis the 8th came to drink the water, giving the city a popularity it had not previously seen. The eventual addition of the casino was to provide entertainment for those coming to drink the water in the area.
Apart from the Casino, there is the architecture, typical of Normandy. Here, in Lower Normandy, there is brick and wood.
And there is flint and wood.
I’ve noticed that people in Normandy and Brittany like to name their houses.
And many of these houses contain enclosed courtyards to protect against the elements.
Do you see the opening here in this close-up?
One of the main attractions of the city is the facade to the convent of the Carmelites de Gisors that was destroyed during WWII. It was brought over to Forges for … decoration? In any case, here it stands.
I was really curious when I saw the word Carmelites, and thought immediately of the Poulenc opera, “Dialogue of the Carmelites,” which my mother introduced me to. I did some research to see if the history of that true story was based here, but discovered that it actually happened to a different group of nuns in Campiègne.
Okay, so this group of nuns was brought to Paris as traitors under the “Reign of Terror” during the French Revolution, and they were sentenced to death for refusing to agree to the Revolutionary Government’s Civil Constitution for the Clergy.
What was remarkable was the way in which they faced the guillotine – peacefully, and singing hymns as they accepted their fate – the novice going first, and the prioress the last one to die. The French Revolution ended days later and this sight undoubtedly contributed a great deal to the desire for peace.
Back in Forges-les-Eaux, they seem to like façades, because I spotted this one through a fence.
Doesn’t it look like it was once a beautiful structure? You almost want to build the rest of the house back.
And then you could take up residency in Forges-les-Eaux.