The terrible history of the Verdun Maidens

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Verdun in the 17th c - ©Internet Archive Book Images / Public domain Verdun in the 17th c - ©Internet Archive Book Images / Public domain
Tragic destiny Speciality French Revolution

But dragées were linked to a tragic event in city’s history: Verdun’s maidens episode. On September 2th 1792, Verdun surrendered against Prussian army. King of Prussia just settled near the city, in a little hamlet: Verdun people had to bring the city surrender to his tent, quickly!

So they decided to send a lady, Mrs. Tabouillot, with dragées and flowers, to make a present for that special "guest". So, a little troop of women went to the king’s tent: Mrs. Tabouillot and her daughter Claire, Mrs. Lalance and her 3 nieces, the Henri ladies, the 3 Watrin sisters, Mrs. Bestel, Mrs. Masson and others.

Every one wore nice white dresses... white, that’s why they called them "maidens". But, there was a problem! King of Prussia despised flowers and dragées! And meanwhile, his army ran towards Paris: oh, they will be stop in Valmy, in September 1792... and Verdun will be save by Kellerman one month later, yes, but... the damage was done.

For people from Verdun, it was a treason! We were in middle of the French Revolution, heads were going to fall... especially the Maidens' heads, those women who welcomed Prussians with open arms! After a long, long trial, 35 persons were sentenced to death, 6 women and 8 teenagers included.

The 2 youngest, Claire Tabouillot and Barbe Henri, get 20 years inside. French writer Victor Hugo wrote a poem about this drama, published in Odes et Ballades (1826).


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