Saturday and Sunday were the annual Journées du Patrimoine when everyone goes out and about to visit places that are not normally open to the public. In Cluny you could see a secret church hidden inside a house and go inside several medieval buildings. Other attractions that normally charge admission were free. We chose to wander round the Haras to see the stables and we visited the Abbey.
We knew there had been a lot of restoration in progress at the Abbey but had no idea of the extent of it. Part of the Abbey floor has been excavated and there is an exhibition of the intricately carved stones that have been unearthed. On the floor above is an exhibition of ancient bibles. It is mind boggling to imagine how much time and toil it took the monks to produce such beautifully illustrated manuscripts.
The virtual reality film shows what the Abbey was like before it was ransacked for its stone. Now, in addition, there are small TV sized screens at various points in the Abbey. You look at the remains which appear on the screen but also pictured is the Abbey as it was and you can’t tell what is real and which is virtual without glancing up again. You can move the screens at different angles and the view will change accordingly. Quite remarkable.
We also enjoyed watching the horse jumping at the Equivallée. We take an added interest now that we ride ourselves (watch this space!). There were competitions for the youngsters from the pony clubs and despite being so small they handled their horses beautifully and were so confident. We carefully noted their technique and hope that we have somehow absorbed some of their riding skills.
Pony Club competition
The banquet of the Portes
The highlight of the Cluny 2010 weekend was the coming together of people belonging to each Porte. This includes the outlying villages and visitors from the Clunaic sites throughout Europe. Each Porte set up tables and chairs and wore the colour adopted by the Porte. We were the combined Porte des Prés and Porte du Haras from the villages to the north east. Our colours were light blue and green and we decorated the wall of the Haras and the tables accordingly. Our painted orange boxes joined together made an excellent kiosk for dispensing aperitifs.
550 people arrived to eat at our Porte. We had a real feast and the wine flowed. During the preparations for Cluny 2010 we have gained many friends from the nearby villages and it was wonderful to see everyone partaking of a meal together. Luckily the weather stayed perfect, warm and sunny.
The next day we went back into Cluny to dismantle everything and put the tables and chairs into storage. We ended up with lunch at Cortambert with all the members of the Comité des Portes. It was really sad. We had enjoyed meeting all these weeks to prepare for Cluny 2010 and now it was all over. However the friendship between the villages of Cortambert, Donzy, Blanot, Bray and Chissey will long continue.
The Cavalcade des Peuples
was an excellent show of horsemanship performed by the riders of the Haras in Cluny. It took us round the world in 90 minutes, from Spain to Argentina, Japan to England and Ireland. The girls went through their very brave routines on the most beautiful horses. Their speciality is handling the horses without saddles and bridles, and also riding with two horses, a foot on each. The horses are so biddable and never put a foot wrong. I wished I could show more photos but they were always galloping around too fast.
We regretted not having the meal while watching the show. It looked absolutely delicious. Note to self: from now on take the meal option. The cuisine in Burgundy is the best.
Our Nativity Scene
Brrr! It has turned very cold with a biting wind. The bird feeders are kept topped up, and I have made a shelter with a blanket and straw for the stray cat who lives by the woodpile . We were out in the forest this afternoon and I am very fortunate that my job is to burn all the brushwood that is lopped off the logs. So at least I could keep warm stoking up the bonfire.
The village is preparing for Christmas. We have a few lights up in the village and we have built a nativity scene by the well. Yesterday there was the childrens’ party in the Foyer Rurale featuring a puppet show. We missed this unfortunately as it clashed with a horse event in Cluny.
We thought the show might be in the open air so we dressed in as many clothes as possible we could without looking like the Michelin man. It was actually in the hall but we still needed all the layers.
The show featured an excellent display of horsemanship by two girls. They had complete control over the horses even when riding without bridle and saddle. We had seen a similar display in the summer at the start of the Cluny 2010 celebrations but somehow the speed of the horses in such a confined area made the stunts even more amazing.