Wassy, a town marked by history
Wassy makes no claims to be one of Champagne’s largest and most important towns but it nevertheless has a quite remarkable history. It was from its vast area that, in 672 A.D., earth was extracted and given by King Childeric II to St Berchaire to found the abbey in Montier en Der. Then there was the massacre of the Protestants rounded up, placed in one of Wassy’s barns by the Duke de Guise’ soldiers on 1st March 1562 and killed, considered as the act that marked the beginning of the Wars of Religion.
Then there is metalworking, of course. The timber from the vast Val and Der forests, water from the River Blaise and the iron ore extracted industrially in Pont-Varin provided all that was needed and the Blaise Valley was one of France’s main centres of the iron industry before the First World War.
Wassy, once a sub-prefecture, still has architectural reminders of its eventful past.
There are numerous places of interest open all year – Notre-Dame church, Place Marie Stuart (19th century) with its covered market and superbly restored theatre, the “Promenade” and its decorative wrought ironwork, the Protestant museum (the “Temple”), the Town Hall and the Community centre, to name but a few.
The town still has its 19th-century railway station and, every year, it takes centre stage thanks to its carnival and a wonderful programme of events and shows at La Forgerie, the Blaise Valley theatre. Its structure, as an old walled town with its “suburbs”, its hospital, its “new” districts and its business park, clearly shows how a small town such as this lives and develops.
An interesting fact
Le réservoir des Leschères aujourd'hui lieu de balades, de pêche, de camping et de baignade avait, à l'origine, été construit pour alimenter le canal qui permettait d'acheminer le minerai de fer.
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