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Getting to Guise

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London, United...
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Getting to Guise

I very much want to spend a day or two in Guise, possibly Vervains too, looking at the home town of Camille Desmoulins and in Vervains, the graves of his mother and sister in law. I don't drive, but can easily get to Lille or Paris on Eurostar. Is there a train, or coach that will take me to Guise? full details would be hugely appreciated, plus if you can recommend a nice hotel in Guise..... even better

Thanks

England, United...
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1. Re: Getting to Guise

Camille Desmoulins seems to have led an interesting life with his Robespierre connections and his death by guillotine. I like to think that he is smiling in his grave knowing that you are planning to visit his birthplace.

Your question intrigued me and since no one has replied so far here are my findings. I know the region but have always had my own car. With public transport only you will need time, patience and fortitude (and enough money in case you need a taxi).

Guise is some 20 miles or so from St Quentin. There are trains from Lille to St Quentin with a change of trains. Depending on where the change happens the journey takes betwen 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 hours or so:

http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/

From St Quentin I would advise taking a taxi:

gares-en-mouvement.com/fr/…

Alternatively there are some VERY limited buses but it's up to you if you want to risk that. Timetables are here:

…asso.fr/ficheshoraires/Ligne_311_rta_verso.…

The Aisne tourist office lists one hotel in Guise:

evasion-aisne.com/en/Se-regaler-dans-l-Aisne…

There is probably more accommodation in the area which you could get by googling. The accommodation owners might be able to help you with visits to nearby places eg. by arranging a local taxi.

Best of luck!

Paris, France
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2. Re: Getting to Guise

As someone who translated Camille's personal correspondence from French to English for the fun of it, what a great little trip! As far as I know, there is only the statue of Camille in the center of town, though do report back if there's anything else to see.

London, United...
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3. Re: Getting to Guise

Yeah - I know there's not a lot there - but I'd like to see the statue and walk around a bit - maybe see if there's anything new. I've just finished translating le VC 5 and 7 - what letters did you do?

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4. Re: Getting to Guise

Thank you so much for those details - now all I have to do is decide whether I'm up to going alone or if I can persuade my nearest and dearest to come with.

Sadly Camille is irretrievably quicklimed in the catacombs now - judicially murdered by his best friend Max - but I think you may be right and he appreciates any interest still shown - thanks again

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5. Re: Getting to Guise

I did the complete correspondence published by one of this nephews (I think?) in 1836. Alas, lies, it's not the complete correspondence, as I discovered while reading through the original letters in the Bibliotheque Historique de la Ville de Paris... All sorts of personal family details were cut (like what brother in the army was up to), but unfortunately Camille's writing is so bad I couldn't read it all. I also did Lucile's diary, which the BHVP has in full. They've got his last letter to her from prison (there are, indeed, tear marks. sad.) and I *think* Lucile's last note to her mother too. I don't know how you feel about spending your Parisian vacation in archives, but it's actually relatively easy to access the collections of the BHVP, so if you have time/interest for that and a high tolerance for 18th century handwriting, it's really quite amazing.

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6. Re: Getting to Guise

Omg you are the answer to our prayers! We have been wondering how to access the BHVP - would I be a terrible nuisance to ask for more details - I know his writing is atrocious - I have a pet theory that he was a left hander forced to use his right - are you allowed to photocopy? I guess not - and yes - I found that Matton edited the letters - how outrageous - even cut out how sick he was in the Conciergerie.

I don't suppose you saw an early one to his father where he claims to 'aller chez les filles' - I would love to get my hands on that one in particular.

I am soo sorry to sound manic - I never expected to find a Camille person on trip advisor - there are a few of us on line - I promise I'm not dangerous - but it sounds as if you have useful information - thanks

Paris, France
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7. Re: Getting to Guise

Haha don't worry about it. I know we crazy French Revolution folk are few and far between. All you need to access the BHVP is to bring a passport photo, your passport, and fill out a form with your address and everything. No one will bother checking if it's a hotel or whatever. It's part of the municipal library system of the city of Paris, so technically you're suppose to be a resident, but if you're a researcher then you do what you've got to do. They'll make an account, print you up a card and attach your photo to it, then go find the Desmoulins papers in thearchives. If I recall, it's Lucile's diary, a bunch of Camille's letters (ntoe from memory, that final "Je vais mourir" sentence in the last letter is BS! It's not in the real letter!"), and some other odds and ends.

Absolutely no photocopies, they're the real papers from the 18th century! I'm sure you understand how important it is to treat them with care! Alas, I can't remember any of the specifics (I haven't been to the BHVP since 2009), I just remember noting that a lot of family drama (What is brother in the army up to) was cut out. Good luck reading it, a lot of it is nigh well impossible to read and Lucile is even worse.

Since you're planning an excursion out in Picardie, I might as well mention (though Camille would probably spin in his quicklimed grave) that Guise is not too far from Blerancourt, which has the museum/family home of Saint-Just. While there's no public transport that goes there, I've found that if you call the tourist office/museum/town library in advance, they're willing to come pick you up at the train station of Noyons. Of course, that depends on how interested you are in the Montagnards in general or Camille in particular ;-).

Edited: 5:44 pm, May 16, 2013
Paris, France
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8. Re: Getting to Guise

Oh yeah, be sure to know the exact file numbers for the Desmoulins papers at the BHVP. Unfortunately, I don't know them anymore, but any good biography should have the citations. You'll need to fill those out on the form to access them.

London, United...
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9. Re: Getting to Guise

Oh thank you so much for that - I must admit the idea of struggling with his handwriting is a bit off putting simply for the potential for disappointment - maybe I'll practise on the copies I've got first - it's a bit overwhelming - I never really thought there'd be a chance of actually seeing them - the last ones are too sad - I will probably stick to earlier examples - do they have any to Annette?

The info about Blerancourt is interesting - this close to Germinal I couldn't face it - but I won't be going for a while yet, so maybe........ I read LeNotre's essay on the place and he did make it quite evocative.... I suppose the same for Arras...

Anyway - thanks again

Paris, France
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10. Re: Getting to Guise

I'm not sure how much of the earlier writing they have, it's the later letters that stuck with me more. I don't remember anything to Annette other than Lucile's last note, which is extremely depressing.