MEZIERES, a town of northern France, capital of Ardennes department, 55 m. N.E. of Reims by rail. Pop. (1931) Founded in the 9th century, Mezieres was a stronghold belong ing to the bishops of Reims, which afterwards became the prop erty of the counts of Rethel. The town was increased by succes sive immigrations of the people of Liege, flying first from the emperor Otto, and afterwards from Charles the Bold ; and also by concessions from the counts of Rethel. Walls were built in the 13th century, and in 1521 it was successfully defended against the Imperialists by the Chevalier Bayard. In 1815 the Germans were kept at bay for six weeks, and in 1871 the town only capitu lated after heavy bombardment. Both Mezieres and Charleville were taken by the Germans in Aug. 1914. They made Charleville the seat of their High Command in the West, and later the head quarters of the German crown prince.
The town is situated on a peninsula formed by a loop of the Meuse. The river separates it from Arches and the town of
Charleville on the north and from the suburb of Pierre on the south. Adjoining Pierre is Mohon, pop. (1926) 7,814, with metal lurgical works. The fortifications of Mezieres (dismantled in 1886), as well as the citadel still dominating the town on the east, were built under Vauban's direction. Immediately to the east of the citadel runs a canal, which provides river-traffic with a short cut across the isthmus. The parish church (16th cent.) contains inscriptions commemorating the raising of the siege of Mezieres in 1521 and the marriage of Charles IX. with the daughter of the emperor Maximilian II. (1570). Mezieres is the seat of a prefect and of a court of assizes, and there are manufactures of motor cars, bicycles, and iron and steel castings.