View over the Grosne Valley from Notre Dame des Roches
The statue of Notre Dame des Roches can be seen high on the hill overlooking Varanges. She was erected after the war to give thanks that the local villages had not been bombed as had Cluny in June 1944. She had been restored at least once since the 1950s but she was looking rather forlorn, especially as her nose had been used for target practice.
Fortunately Marianne and Peter from Switzerland have come to stay in Cortambert. They are sculptors and painters who specialise in restorations. They took over the old mill at Merzé and have spent several years renovating it. Marianne is a member of the society Cortambert, notre patrimoine, and she and Peter with the other members were keen to take on this local project.
First things first, the scaffolding was borrowed from Yves at the château of Boutavent.
Yves supervising the erection of the scaffolding
Not everything went to plan as there was not enough water power to use the pressure washer and the statue had to be scrubbed by hand. The left hand had been badly repaired before and looked like it should belong to a boxer, but Peter did what he could to make it more elegant. The nose was rebuilt and now the madonna looks quite beautiful.
David, chief co-ordinator, with Peter and Marianne giving a toast to a job well done
and some of the other volunteers
There was a little celebration this afternoon on completion of the work. The scaffolding will be taken down next week, and sometime soon there will be an official gathering of dedication for the newly restored Notre Dame des Roches.