Wednesday, August 12, 2009

From Nancy to Dijon

Before Fodors, Frommer, and all the other travel guides, there was Karl Baedeker. Baedeker's travel guides, along with the touring automobiles of the early 1900's, revolutionized travel and changed the face of Europe. Baedeker wrote many guides, including Northern France which, in part, takes you along the Meuse valley near Graffingy-Chemin.

(Route 38, Pages 302 and 303, first published in 1894 with a second edition in 1909).

Download the pdf. Read the book.

Travel by railroad from Nancy, the historical capital of Lorraine, to Dijon, the capital of Burgundy, a distance of 110 miles or 170 kilometers. This route takes one through the Meuse Valley and near the village of Graffigny-Chemin. The trip by train in 1894 takes only six and one half hours, an average speed of 18 mph, fast considering that automobiles traveled an average of 12mph over the rough dirt roads.

The route heads west from Nancy to the ancient city of Toul, "one of the most ancient towns of the Lorraine, and the seat of a bishop for over 1200 years." (Page 138). The route then swings south to Neufchateau, "a pleasant-looking town ... at the confluence of the Meuse and Mouson." At Neufchateau, "the line ascends the valley of the Meuse, quitting the river for some time beyond Hacourt-Graffigny." In Roman days, the path that connects Graffigny with Chemin was part of the ancient way that connected the Roman cities of Toul and Langres.

Beyond the hills of Graffigny, the train returns to the Meuse Valley, crosses the river and travels on the east bank to Langres, the Roman capital of the Gaullic tribe of Lingones. Graffigny is half way on the trip from Toul to Langres, and Langres is halfway on the trip from Nancy to Dijon.

No comments:

Post a Comment