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La Ferte-Loupiere (pop. 630)is 11 milles southwest of Joigny. As its name indicates, it was formerly a fortified town. It has an old church of the 12 and 15 C which has been restored in the 20C because of its famous wall paintings of the Danse Macabre, plus other related ones. This is one of eight such ancient curiosities in France, of varying extent. We have written about another near Chartres (See our Off the Beaten Path Tips on that city) in the village of Meslay-le-Grenet. Many people have also seen fragments alluding to the Danse at the Aitre of St.-Maclou in Rouen. If you are traveling by car and are near Joigny or Auxerre, this may be an interesting detour. Spend a half-hour here.
Updated Dec 25, 2008
The Brionnais region (south of Paray-le-Monial) has been a rich agricultural area for Burgundy since before the year 1000. It is also the land of the Charolais beef. In the 11 & 12C Cluny was headed by Abbot St.-Hughes whose family was the powerful nobles of Semur and so his concepts of Benedictine Cluniac expansion were first directed at the Brionnais. They built many new churches here at that time incorporating their belief that Art should enhance religion. This is when the art of sculpture was reborn (after 1050) and these churches contain capitals and tympani that are among the first. The churches are of modest proportions of the Cluniac pattern. After visiting Paray-le-Monial in the morning, we spent the rest of day visiting several of the two dozen structures in the area. We went as far as Charlieu, 46 km south (actually today it is just across the border in Rhone-Alpes and our Tips on it are in that location). We have covered 5 churches in other Brionnais towns, but have placed them under Paray as Off the Beaten Path. If you want to get a grasp of the meaning and breadthof the Romanesque, this is a fine day's adventure!
Written Nov 18, 2008
Christian & Yvonne Zervos Fondation is situated in Morvan Regional Park 3,4 km from Vezelay in small La Goulotte village.
Picasso scholar and magazine editor Christian Zervos was born in Greece in 1889.Zervos began writing art articles for the magazine L'Art d'aujourd 'hui, later founding his own journal Cahiers d'art in 1926. The Cahiers featured contributions by scholars and critics alike in a wide range of fields, from prehistoric art to modern and was noted for its layout and presentation as much as its content. Zervos married Yvonne Marion [Zervos] (1905-70) who ran an art gallery next to her husband's shop. During this same time Christian Zervos issued an eclectic variety of monographs, including ones on Henri Rousseau, Greek Art and Frank Lloyd Wright before settling upon his life's work, a catalogue raisonné of Pablo Picasso. Begun in 1932, catalog was completed in 33 volumes after Zervos' death in 97 volumes. World War II interrupted many of Zervos' publishing projects, including the Cahiers, which suspended 1941-43, resuming in 1944 to last until the end of his life. His wife's shop, moved to larger premises in 1939 and renamed the May Gallery, exhibited many of the major French artists active between the wars.
P.S. You can see here a work of french artist Regis Bouvier (living in Avallon and being a good friend of my friends) who sometimes has exhibitions in Zervos Fondation. On the other side of his works's reproduction (with sweet name: "Whisper" or "Murmure" in french) he wrote me: "Maybe the whisper is the same in your country... "
Regis Bouvier homepage
Updated Mar 12, 2005
Phone: 03 86 32 36 10
The game of boules, otherwise known as pétanque , is perhaps the sport that is closest to French hearts. Similar to British lawn bowling or Italian "bocce" , the French version is traditionally played with metallic balls on a dirt surface beneath plane trees, with a glass of pastis at hand.
Petanque is played everywhere in France but most of all in southern part of France.
I had a chance to see this game almost every day except winter in the park of Avallon and petanque means something "very french" to me as croissants for example.
Written Mar 1, 2005
Arcy-sur-Cure cave with its marvellous limestone concretions and stalagmites is situated between Auxerre and Avallon and offers 900 m of subterranean walk. This cave is second in Europe with after the Cave of Chauvet for the age of its painting.
Written Oct 22, 2004
In the heart of Burgundy near Vezelay, in the restores stables block of a marvelous 18th century Montjalin castle, there is a unique "one of a kind" in the world museum. This head of States Limousine Museum displays the parade cars of French Presidents such as General de Gaulle and Giscard d'Estaing, US Presidents Eisenhower and John F.Kennedy and USSR President Brejnev.
Written Oct 21, 2004
Phone: 03 86 34 46 42
This village (17 km from Avallon) is famous by two bridges (les deux ponts): big one (Grand Pont, finished in 1874, appr.25 m higher than the small one) and small one (old pedestrian arch bridge completed in 1770) and allows to admire the view of Cure river and rocks.
Written Oct 21, 2004
Marvellous place between Avallon and Morvan Regional Park with mountain river (Cousin). One of my favourite place in Burgundy for pleasant walks,climbing and bicycle trips! More of this place - in the travelogue below.
Updated Oct 21, 2004
Seen from a distance, across the Burgundy countryside, you know you've just GOT to visit!
The town surrounding this castle is a good place for a lunch, or even just a beer or glass of wine. The castle is the big draw, though. I'll put together a travelogue because there is so much to share about this place!
Written Jun 24, 2004
The town of St. Amand en Puisaye is in the heart of the old French pottery business. The town is a dream for anyone interested in ceramics. There is a wonderful museum (in an old chateau), lots of shops and studios to visit, a historical pottery that is open for tours AND a working wood-fired salt kiln from the 1700's ...
The local potters have rebuilt the entire site and now live here in a working, historical pottery. The place is truly magical and the potters are open to visitors (you can actually purchase works right at the kiln site).
If you are at all interested in traditional French coutry functional ware .. this is a not to be missed place.
Written Mar 28, 2004
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