By Laura Bourven
These little pellets have been strewn on the ground in the city center for several days: beige and black circles ” Culture Points “. This is the brand new association of Meaux which organizes its first event. The objective of Culture Point: promote all forms of culture to allow “the Meldois to (re)discover our territory to reclaim it, through its heritage”.
For this, about twenty inhabitants of the commune, from all professional backgrounds, have come together to put their research and their knowledge at the service of the Meldois. Wednesday, March 8, 2023 therefore takes place the first event of the association, on the occasion of the international women’s rights day.
Writing history for women
The “Culture Points” will be the streets. Today, less than 5% of streets bear the name of a woman in France. Out of a total of 415 routes, only 5 women are represented in Meaux, i.e. 1.2%. According to Mickaël Wilmart, historian and co-president of the association, this could be explained by the ” creation of a local or national memory that has contributed to invisible possible female references », especially during the Third Republic, a period of history that highlighted its male heroes.
The association therefore asked the question: “What names would have been given to our streets if we looked at the city written in the feminine? »
From March 8 to 12, a dozen downtown streets will be renamed. Culture Points has chosen illustrious women from the history of Meaux or the Pays de Meaux:
- Catherine de Medici (Queen of France) at Place Henri IV
- Sainte-Céline (the only saint born in Meaux) at rue du Faubourg Saint-Nicolas
- Marthe Gautier (scientist at the origin of the discovery of trisomy 21) in the rue du Général Leclerc
- Georgette Siegrist (association activist) at rue du Grand Cerf
- Elisabeth-Sophie Chéron (painter) at rue de la Cordonnerie
- Marie de France (Countess of Champagne) at Rue Saint-Étienne
- Lucienne Saby (aviator) at rue Tronchon
- Hélène Boullé (founder of the Ursulines of Meaux) at rue Saint-Rémy
- Mildred Aldrich (journalist and writer) at rue Saint-Christophe
- Elisabeth von Thudden (pedagogue and German resistance fighter) at rue du Tan
- Jeanne Hébtuerne (painter) at Place Saint-Étienne
Apart from the latter, all are women who do not already have a street named after them in Meaux. The association also wanted to highlight unknowns such as the cheese makers in the rue Longperrier, the first women elected in Meaux on the place Darnétal and finally anonymous Cours Raoult.
In this idea of highlighting all women, regardless of their profession and their history, Points de Culture invites Meldois to write the name of a woman who inspires them on a panel, Place Saint-Étienne. “We want something lively, open to the public space,” explains Amandine de Kiesling, secretary of the association.
All street names will be accompanied a panel with a biography of the woman in question and her history with Meaux. Meldois are invited to roam freely in the city center to discover them.
At the same time, several partners participate in the event. Thus, the Zonta Club de Meaux will put in place sale of yellow roses, Wednesday March 8 and Saturday March 11, which customers can take home or hang on a wall provided for this purpose. The Museum of the Great War will relocate to the city center of Meaux to give an overview of his exhibition Women, visible until August 14th.
The event will close on Sunday March 12 with a conference led by Meldois historian Mickaël Wilmart, in the reading room of the Bossuet museum. At 10.30 a.m. and 3 p.m., it will discuss the feminine history of Meaux with an overview of the living conditions of women from the Middle Ages, to complement the information disclosed in the streets of the town.
Eventually, the association would like to organize two events per year in Meaux, on a larger scale than that of March 8. The animations could take place in the summer and in the fall.
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