Villages from A to M

Brixey-aux-Chanoines

Brixey-aux-Chanoines is the first village on the right bank, as the River Meuse flows north into the canton of Vaucouleurs. On a spur overlooking the valley, its hillside location offers sweeping views from Domrémy to Vaucouleurs. “Brixey”, of probable Gallic origin, was once fortified and for centuries the scene of important historic events. In 1261 Gilles de Sorcy, Bishop of Toul, founded a community of canons (priests), the “Chanoines”. Remains still exist of a castle that had four towers. The 12th century church dedicated to Marie-Madeleine, patron saint of the municipality, is surrounded by the former cemetery with restored funerary monuments. There are several fountains and calvaries in the village, and a washhouse below it.

 

Burey-en-Vaux 

5 kms to the south of Vaucouleurs is Burey, the native village of Durant Laxart, who was Joan of Arc’s uncle. At that time, the village was called “Burey-le-Petit”. The church Saint Libaire, built in the centre of the village in 1777, has a relic of Saint Libaire. The washhouse, built of stone from Euville in 1849, is well-preserved. It has 4 tubs and their battledores, donated by a family of the village. There is also a monumental cross erected in 1618 and in the current cemetery, on the village outskirts, is the 17th century Saint Libaire chapel. 

 

Burey-la-Côte

Burey-la-Côte is a traditional one-street village located on a ridge overlooking the Meuse River valley and its meanders. Originally settled probably in 1229, it was ravaged during the Hundred Years' War, gutted by fire in 1595, swept by plague epidemics and destroyed during the Thirty Years War. Some survivors then settled here again but it took several years. The 13Th century Saint Léger church was modified several times and fortified during the 14th and 15th centuries. The washhouse, built in 1851, is fronted with a working water fountain. The 16th century castle has remarkable features: a very beautiful Renaissance style gate and a watchtower that faces the Meuse valley. In 1882 the architect Prosper Pernot built the Town Hall. It has a statue of Joan of Arc on its pediment, a reminder of the heroine’s passage here. 

 

Chalaines

Chalaines is located opposite the “Val des Couleurs” district capital, on the right bank of the Meuse at the foot of the hill named Rouvau. Its rectangular shaped 18th century castle has a high steep slate roof, a freestone façade, high rectangular windows with Louis XVI style keystones, and gardens that sweep down to the river. Built in 1856, the fountain in the center of the village represents a child riding a dolphin and threatening it with a trident.  The remarkable ‘Nativity of the Virgin’ church, built in the first half of the 14th century, was later modified (the choir dates from the 14th century). Spanning the Meuse River is a stone bridge dating from 1731.

 

Champougny

Located at the foot of a hillside, on the bank of the Meuse River, Champougny, of Gallo-Romain origin, is marked by history. The 12th church dedicated to Saint Brice was fortified during the 16th century. Inside, there are batismal fonts of the 15th century and several polychrome stone statues of the 17th and 18th centuries. On the village outskirts, there is a chapel dedicated to Notre-Dame, refuge of the Afflicted, which receives visitors and pilgims since the 16th century. The stone bridge spanning the Meuse River was mined and destroyed in June 1940 and then replaced by an American-designed "temporary" metal bridge. Today, this is one of the rare copies still in service in France. Right nearby the bridge, there is a rack washhouse dating from the end of the 19th century. Champougny is the meeting place with nature because the village offers fishing places, hiking trails, a canoe course and a site for paragliders on the limestone plateau.

 

Epiez-sur-Meuse

Located on a hillside of a plateau (between an altitude of 270 and 410 meters), on the left bank of the Meuse River valley, the village is bounded to the South by the stream Vau d'Epiez. Before being destroyed during the Thirty Years War, he had a castle. The church built in 1783 is dedicated to Saint Paul's conversion. It replaces the former church situated in the current cemetery, which became too dilapidated. At the entrance of the village, we can admire a recent votive cross. There is a beautiful washhouse attached to the "égayoir" (pond to wash horses). Situated three kilometers from the village, in a beautiful clearing, you can find the chapel Saint Anne de Broyes of which the pilgrimage takes place every year during the Saint-Anne (on July 26th). In front of the chapel, on the hillside, there is a calvary with life-size characters in cast iron, designed and manufactured by the “Union Artistique de Vaucouleurs”, an art foundry now disappeared.

 

Gombervaux

The feudal castle of Gombervaux is standing a league north of Vaucouleurs, on the road to join Commercy. Nestled in the hollow of a small valley, his silhouette is surrounded by wide water-filled moats. In 1338, Geoffroy de Nancy rebuilt completely the castle, which becomes border post between France and the Holy Roman Empire. In 1366, there was a luxurious banquet in honour of the treaty of Vaucouleurs' signature, between the Duke of Lorraine, the Duke of Bar and the king of France Charles V, accompanied by Du Guesclin. In 1843, Gombervaux, abandoned by his lord, was sold to landowners. Originally, the construction formed a square around the courtyard reinforced in every corner by a cicular tower, and dominated by an impressive donjon of twenty two meters high. Today and since 1989, heritage-lovers created the association Gombervaux to protect, rehabilitate and liven up the castle and its site. Every summer, people of any horizons get together for two weeks to restore the brightness of his rich past. Guided tours with appointment.

 

Goussaincourt

Located in the center of the valley in the South of the department, the village stretches along the brook of which the spring grows out of the Big Fountain raised in the second part of the 18th century. This is a monument ornamented by the statues of the two patron saints, Saint Gervais and Saint Protais, built with the washhouse in the 19th century. Behind an enclosing wall, the Castle is a rectangular building with a tower in a corner. He includes architecture's vestiges of the 17th century. Some defensive elements of the 16th century are preserved. The main façade, modified during the 17th century, opens on to the park. Two calvaries mark the entrance and the exit of the village. The church built in 1782 has a magnificent prayer pulpit and a high altar of the 18th century.

 

Maxey-sur-Vaise

The current village of Maxey-sur-Vaise is the successor to a Gallo-Romain site. It was the cantonal capital until 1801. Maxey is one of these municipalities which impress by their typical beauty. The spring of the Vaise spurts out of the hill and crosses the village in its length with its reserve of trouts. There are two washhouses situated in the South and in the North of the village. This rural heritage was renovated as well as the calvary situated along the Vaise. Maxey possesses two castles: one was built in 1356 and strengthened in 1363 (Joan of Arc came here several times) and the other one was built in 1583. On the other side of the secondary road, you can discover the former station, its market and its water tanks, necessary for steam locomotives, held up by two towers.

 

Montbras

Montbras, one of the smallest villages of the department, seems to be the outbuildings of the magnificent castle raised during the 17th century on a calcareous terrace. It is situated three hundred meters from the former medieval castle whose important substructures were discovered. The only vestige of the Renaissance castle is the West part with its two corner towers. The castle nearly disappeared in the 19th century. The building has two levels, a high slated roof, a facade overlooking the courtyard which offers a magnificent alternation of five mullioned windows and niches with broken triangular pediment. You can see six statues representing the virtues and decorating the niches. Inside, the low-florred barrel vault in one of the four large rooms of the dwelling has got a set of forty-two mythological paintings. Former washhouse and dovecote can be seen too.

 

Montigny-lès-Vaucouleurs

The village was called "country of thousand sources". Burned and razed during the Thirty Years War, the village is reconstructed on the Rupt Nicole. Cosily nestled on the opposite hillside of the bank of the Meuse River, it is dominating Vaucouleurs. The municipal water system is original because the water catchment is at a higher altitude than the primitive water tower and assure the running water in houses without mechanical intervention. In 1845, 4 fountains, 2 washhouses and a "gayoir" (pond to wash horses) were built. The church built in 1782 was consecrated in 1789. There is a classified high altar of the 18th century in the form of a curved grave. The potters and painters workshop is in the former pottery works dating from the 18th century and situated in the street of Pottery Works. You can discover botanical and geological path in the forest.