Whilst in the market this morning we happened across Gerard Thélier, a great aficionado of Cluny with a big personality. Originally from St-Cloud, Gerard Thélier travelled the world before coming to settle in Cluny. He has worked as a documentary film maker, photographer and artist, and has written several books on the abolition of slavery and the history of Cluny, notably C’était hier Cluny. Now retired, he organises cultural and historical events and is a consultant for heritage exhibitions.
Gerard is going to be very busy all summer as he is conducting tours around medieval Cluny most Monday and Saturday afternoons at 1.30pm. He will not be hard to spot as he will be dressed as a knight of the 11th century.
He is also leading tours by torchlight around the nearby Clunisoise villages. It will be the turn of Cortambert on 3rd July and 25th August, 8.45pm to 10.15pm. The times and dates of all the walks can be found on the Cluny tourism website www.cluny-tourisme.com.
Also new this year, you can hire a tablet from the Office of Tourism or just download the app that leads you on a tour round medieval Cluny. Call me old fashioned but I would much prefer to go with Gerard! He has such an engaging personality that I am sure his guided walks will be amazing.
We’ve had a wonderful day in Lyon. Pascale organised an outing and a group of us from Cortambert and Donzy were more than happy to take up the invitation. I think she must have organised the weather too as we enjoyed a cloudless day with warm sunshine.
When I get the chance I’ll describe what we did; the tour of the murals, the lunch at a typical Lyonnaise bouchon where we had silkworkers’ brains, the guided tour through the traboules……
But just for now I’ll talk about the Mur des Canuts, the most impressive mural ever, the biggest trompe-l’oeil in Europe. It was painted in 1987, the first commission for the artists’ cooperative Cité de la Création..
There was an ugly building on the Boulevard des Canuts and the owner wanted to improve the look of it while displaying adverts for his business. The artists decided to paint a scene typical of the area, the Croix Rousse, which was the centre for the silk industry in the 19th century. It is extraordinarily difficult to believe that you are looking at a flat wall!
And here we all are. Don’t you think we are as pretty as a picture ourselves?
What a wet week! Except for a few spells of welcome sunshine it has hardly stopped raining since last Friday. On a couple of evenings the storms were particularly bad with heavy rain and hail.
The River Grosne at Chazelle
Today we were on orange alert with 2 inches of rain forecast.
We went down to the mill at Chazelle to see how high the river was and met a couple of trailers loaded with cows leaving for higher ground. The horses in the surrounding fields did not seem in any immediate danger although they didn’t look too happy.
Despite the days of rain it was not as bad as the Great Flood of October 2008 when much of the land around the Grosne at Cormatin was flooded and the Chateau was in the middle of a lake. We had been in Chazelle at the peak of the flood, watching as a team of pompiers tried to rescue some horses stranded in a small corner of a field. It was too dangerous to swim them over the submerged fencing so the pompiers simply took them some hay and watched for the water to start going down.
The pompiers take hay to the stranded horses in the floods of 2008
Drier weather is forecast from tomorrow. After a long winter and a few false starts we are hoping to see some summer at last.
The popular Cortambert randonnée will take place this year on June 2nd . The walkers will have a choice of three circuits, 8.7km, 15km or 25km. Everyone starts from the foyer rural in Cortambert and heads towards Donzy. After the refreshment station at Donzy the long circuit veers off for a 10km boucle up the Mont de Mandé to the Telecom tower. Chris, having devised the circuits for the randonnée, wanted to check this part of the 25km route so we were all invited to join him for a Sunday morning ramble.
Setting off from Donzy
It was quite a long ascent from Donzy up to the forest. Along the way we enjoyed spectacular views over the countryside. The paths were bordered by wild flowers, wild garlic and masses of cowsips, and we noted that the lily of the valley was looking to flower for 1st May, the Fête du Muguet. Jean-Louis was collecting the flowerbuds of brambles. You dry them and when you have a sore throat you can use them to make a soothing tisane.
At the top of Mont Mandé
Deep in the woods we came across La Pierre de l’Ecorcherie. This is a sort of stone passageway made of different sized blocks, about 4m in length. It is near la Pierre de l’Haut Temps which resembles an altar. No-one seems to know for sure the origins of these stones. Perhaps they were left by the Druids from early Roman times? Or maybe they were the hiding place of the Ecorcheries, or skinners, ruffians of the 15th century who had a sinister reputation for bloody deeds….
La Pierre de l’Ecorcherie
As we started the walk we were lucky enough to see a long cavalcade of vintage cars passing Donzy. It was part of an annual rally of 200 classic cars which sets off from Paris and travels around the French countryside, ending up at Magny Cours on 24th April.
An endless stream of old French cars
Everybody enjoyed the walk this morning and here’s hoping that the weather will be fine for the Cortambert Randonnée on 2nd June.