Sainte-Menehould, king Louis XVI and the fatal pigs feet

Breaded pig trottersBreaded pig trotters | ©Richard Allaway / CC-BY

What’s this?

This is a recipe made with breaded pigs feet, delicately roasted and cooked with white wine, onions and a bouquet garni.

A delicious speciality from Champagne-Ardenne...

This is an old recipe, dating back to the 15th century: king Charles VII ate pigs feet each time he came in Saint-Menehould!

The little history

The little story (told by Alexandre Dumas in his Grand dictionnaire de Cuisine and by Victor Hugo in Le Rhin) says pigs feet were linked to king Louis XVI’s exile in Varennes!

We were on June 20th 1791. Louis XVI saw the wheel turning: the Revolution was here!

He had to run away from Paris. He left with two carriages, queen Marie-Antoinette and kids under his arm... they left for Austria! A pretty noisy leaving, since the royal family was arrested...

Camille Desmoulins shouted from the rooftops that king was arrested in Varennes, because he wanted to eat Sainte-Menehould breaded pigs feet!

Oh, in fact, the king really stopped in Menehould city, but he didn’t eat pigs feet.

They just changed carriages horses. Bad luck, a man called Jean-Baptiste Drouet recognized Louis.

He knew the king was going to Varennes: so he outdistanced the royal carriage and announced the king’s arrival to the authorities.

That was how Louis XVI was arrested in Varennes on June 21th 1791...

They gently escorted him back to Paris. People shouted at him, insulted him and spitted at him: Louis had lost his credibility, he was a coward who had ran away...