Maxey sur Vaise

Maxey sur Vaise is a village built around one street and is situated on the foot of a hill. It is crossed by the "Vaise", which begins and ends in the village. (the shortest river in the world...) Along the stream you can see trout (protected) and two communal washing places or lavoirs. 

Around 1830, an epidemic of cholera caused many deaths in France. National and local authorities had to turn their attention to public hygiene. It's around that time that the washing places came into being. The two washing places in Maxey were constructed around 1836 and in the same period they decided to canalize the Vaise. The two washing places were restored recently. The first one has a particular character to be equipped with rack and pinion to adjust the height of the wooden floor in accordance with the water level. 



There are also two small châteaux. The upper château is the oldest one (14th century) but has been changed over the centuries. Joan of Arc stopped here during her journeys between Domrémy and Vaucouleurs. The lower châeau was constructed in the 16th century. It's situated at the north side of the village, not far from the Vaise. It was a fortified house. The restoration has conserved the original configuration. Those two private properties can't be visited. 

But our village has also a curiosity which is the "old cemetery", situated on the hillside. Abandoned since 1900, it had sunk into oblivion.  Since 1995, the community of Maxey has set up a restoration program, subsidized by The Pilgrim'magazine in 1997 on the occasion of the competition 'un patrimoine pour demain'. We found crosses and characteristic monuments of the popular funeral art dating back to the 17th century.

Originally the church of the village (rather a chapel) was built into the rampart of the cemetery. The access was difficult in rainy weather and the castle was destroyed before the Revolution. The current church has been built on palings because it was the original location of the Vaise.

In the 17th century freemassons met in the forest of Masseraumont (just above the village). To avoid being taken by surprise, they circulated rumours that they were witches. Maxey earned the nickname of "village of the witches" and they called the inhabitants "witches". The path that takes you to Masseraumont is called "la voie limagie" as a folk memory of this.