Up to the year 1678 when it was annexed by France, Maubeuge had been sacked and looted an amazing 20 times. So once the town was under French control Maubeuge became a fortified border town with walls designed by Vauban, who was Louis XIV’s decorated military engineer.
Large sections of these walls, ditches, water channels and bastions are still here, and they all add a lot of character to Maubeuge. The old pattern of destruction carried over into the Second World War when Maubeuge bore the brunt of the German invasion. A lot of the history was wiped out in 1940, but the town rebounded with utopian modernist townscape by André Lurçat.
Lets explore the best things to do in Maubeuge:
1. Remparts de Vauban
In 1678 after the Treaty of Nijmegen Maubeuge fell into French hands, placing it on the frontline between France and the Habsburg Empire.
Within months construction of a citadel around Maubeuge was afoot, and the man with the plan was Vauban, the military engineer extraordinaire.
Even after German bombardment in 1940 two thirds of Maubeuge’s outer wall remains.
The remainder was torn down voluntarily after the war to allow the town to grow on the right bank of the Sambre.
The walls and bastions were always designed to be low-profile and are now a sort of large park, with passageways, grassy ditches and solemn stone curtains.