Fun things to do in Bourgogne

  • Place de la Libération ex Place d'Armes.
    Place de la Libération ex Place...
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  • Flowers on the streets of Beaune
    Flowers on the streets of Beaune
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  • Chalon-sur-Saône: Food market. Place Saint Vincent
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Bourgogne

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    Cathedral St Etienne, Sens

    by gwened Written Jun 16, 2014

    A must to see in Burgundy, this is Sens to make you alert in all your senses !! This is the Catholic site of it
    http://www.gcatholic.org/dioceses/diocese/sens0.htm

    The Cathedral of Saint-Étienne (St Stephen),has as its true title the name of Cathedral metropolitan and Primatial Saint-Étienne de Sens . It is regarded as the first Gothic cathedrals (Saint Denis Basilica which dispute this title is consecrated in 1140, but is not at that time a cathedral; it becomes only in 1966). This is true with regard to the date of commencement of work (1135) and the date of his consecration (1163). Its Tower was however completed that fort later (1532-1534). The transept, which dates from the years 1490-1515, is one of the most beautiful masterpieces of flamboyant Gothic.

    Did I say more! ok here is some history I like
    Archbishop Henri Sanglier decides to replace the Cathedral of the 10C, by a grandiose and worthy of the important metropolis building senonaise. At the time where rise everywhere from the Romanesque buildings, Henri Sanglier calls an innovative architect (Guillaume de Sens), who will propose a revolutionary design of the Zenne, the crossroads of warheads.

    Then comes a large Cathedral, of a volume simple and continuous, consisting of a central vessel and two collateral. In 1164, the sanctuary is dedicated by Pope Alexandre III (refugee within meaning of 1162 to 1165). The construction ends on the Western front until the end of the 12C. In 1268, the collapse of the South Tower destroyed the greater part of the western façade, necessitating a rebuild.
    Tristan de Salazar, Archbishop of Sens (1475-1518) donated the rose of the last judgement (and the legend of saint Stephen) which adorns the Southern Cross of the transept. Around 1510, in memory of his parents, he erected a chapel where he was buried.

    But the reconstruction of the imposing South Tower ended that in 1532, after which they endowed a small bell tower completed in 1534. In the 12C, Thomas Becket escaped to protect himself from the wrath of the King Henri II. He subsequently returned to England where he was murdered.
    The Saint Louis wedding took place in the Cathedral of Sens.(king Louis IX).
    The tomb of the Dauphin (Louis Ferdinand, died in 1765) stood in the middle of the chorus, before being moved in an axial Chapel in 1852. A funerary slab placed in the choir, always marks the former location of the tomb and the entrance to the Tomb desecrated in 1793, where the remains of the princes were relocated to the restoration.

    Go see the rest is awesome!!!

    Cathedral St Stephen, (St Etienne) the saintly figures in the tympan the main nave the side nave to chapels the interior court yard
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    Lavoirs de Fixin

    by gwened Written Jun 16, 2014

    or laundry sites, this one at Fixin not only is a nice wine country but they are very historical.

    This one is from the 19C and the most beautiful so say the local tourist office in Burgundy. In 1827 they were transfer to the route des Grands Crus or great wines at Fixin. It feeds from the waters of the Chaulois river.

    Nice to see on the road to the sublimes wines of Burgundy.

    entrance lavoirs de Fixin inside lavoirs de Fixin
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    Prieuré Notre Dame de La Charité-sur-Loire

    by gwened Written Jun 5, 2014

    passing and enjoying it, got me a picture and here it is, the wonderful prieury of Notre Dame at La Charité sur Loire. At one time it was the second biggest roman middle ages church after that of Cluny II.

    The story goes that it began construction in 1052 under priory brotherr Dom Gérard, on land given by duke Guillaume Ier, count of Nevers. In 1213, the Pope Innocent III approves the guard of the priories (totals 45) and others to the church. A crisis erupts between the mother house and the priory that had financial bad results in the early 13C, then came the wars of 15C and 16C that destroyed the buildings, as well as the fire of 1559. For the next two centuries there was a try of reconciliation but without success.

    The French Révolution gives the final blow by closing the monastery in 1791. All is sold and in the 19C and 20C things were done in the buildings such as textile faïencerie factory,and shoes factory, wine trade business that made changes to the buildings construction of bad tastes. In 1840 Prosper Mérimée saves the building by include it in the royal road from Nevers to Paris between the choir and the tower of the facade.

    more on it in French art roman here
    http://www.art-roman.net/charite/charite.htm

    back Prieur�� Notre Dame de La Charit�� sur Loire
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    Basilique Marie Madeleine, Vézelay

    by gwened Written Jun 1, 2014

    One of the high points of Catholicism in the world, the basilica of Mary Magdalene holding the remains of the venerated saint at a culminating high point in Vézelay. UNESCO heritage site.
    http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/84/

    The religious part of it is wonderful told here in French
    http://basiliquedevezelay.cef.fr/?q=contacts/nous-contacter

    So much to tell do not know where to begin, this is awesome powerful and a must to see no matter what at least once. I would try to give the official sites translation as the basis, my humble contribution; you need to come.

    Vézelay is placed under the patronage of Mary Magdalene from 1050. And since then, crowds of pilgrims are flocking. Saint Bernard preached the second crusade in 1146. The third crusade will depart from Vezelay in 1190.

    The construction of the basilica was begun by Abbot Artaud in 1096. The nave was rebuilt, after a huge fire July 21, 1120, by Renaud of Semur, from 1120 to 1140. The choir and the apse, Gothic, were rebuilt at the end of the 12C. The Basilica of la Madeleine was in ruins when its restoration was undertaken by Viollet-le-Duc in 1840.

    The nave measures 62.50 meters long and 18.55 meters high. It is vaulted edges. The vault round arches consist of white and brown stone voussoirs. The west facade: the central tympanum was carved in 1856, when the restoration of the Basilica. The pinion is 13C. The elevation is two-storey. The batteries are cruciform with a collateral incurred semi-columns are also vaulted edges.
    The narthex has the dimensions of a true Church: 22 meters long, 23.50 meters wide, 19.50 meters high. It was built from 1140 to 1150.

    The crossroads of warheads of the central part is the oldest of Burgundy. The collateral support forums that open onto the central part by small arches arches resting on the posts. The aisles are vaulted edges on timbers. A crypt underlies the chorus: it dates from the Carolingian era. It is vast: 19 meters long and 9.20 meters wide. It is covered with groined vaults resting on twelve columns of unequal sizes. The narthex has the floor a chapel dedicated to Saint-Michel. The tympanum of the central portal represents the Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. It can be dated to the years 1125-1130.

    The nave is longer (62 m) than that of the large French cathedrals like Notre Dame de Paris (60 m) or Notre-Dame D'amiens (54 m), the wide nave is impressive. Clearer than the narthex, she appears as a long path to the choir. This Romanesque nave was completed in 1140, under the abbatiate of Ponce de Montboissier.

    Built at the end of the 12C, the choir is in transition, or primitive Gothic-Gothic.
    In 1976 after more than eight centuries, Hugues Delautre (1922-2008) one of the Franciscan fathers working there since 1966 view that not only the axis orientation of La Madeleine, but also its internal structure have been determined taking into account the position of the Earth to the Sun. Every year the feast of John the Baptist reveals the cosmic dimensions of this church: at the full midday of the summer solstice, when the Sun is at culmination over the Earth the light coming through the southern windows plans bright puddles that settled in the full midst of the nave with a rigorous precision.

    The crypt trapezoidal plan is covered with groined vaults supported by two rows of columns that determine three vessels of seven bays. A first part, Roman, to the West, is commonly attributed to the campaign of Artaud. It has three bays bounded by six columns. A second part was performed during the abbatiate of Gautier in a contemporary time of the erection of the current transept, between 1207 and 1216, and extends into the extension of the first, in the East. It measures 19 meters long and 9 meters wide. It is covered with groined vaults which fall on twelve columns of unequal size. A story tells that when the Abbot Geoffroy proceeded to demolish the crypt to enlarge, the Holy made disappear the Church in the most total and terrifying darkness, discouraging any further attempt of construction.

    Some historical dates of importance:
    882. According to some sources, a monk named Badilon brings from Saint-Maximin (Provence) the relics of Mary Magdalene to Vézelay.
    1166. in the Church of Vezelay, Thomas Beckett, exiled Archbishop of Canterbury, pronounced the solemn condemnation of its King, Henri II.
    July 1190 Richard the Lionheart and Philip Augustus met in Vézelay to start the third crusade.
    1217 companions of Francis of Assisi founded with instead of the preaching of saint Bernard, on the side of the Hill of Vézelay, the first Franciscan convent of France: the Chopda. (10 minutes walking from the Basilica)
    1267 at his coming, saint Louis confirms the authenticity of the relics of Mary Magdalene, in doubt since 1260, particularly because the rivalry with Saint-Maximin in Provence.
    1244 First pilgrimage of saint Louis at Vézelay; He the renew in 1248, 1267, 1270.

    It is the most visited site in Burgundy ahead of Hospices de Beaune and Basilique Notre Dame de Paray-le-Monial!! by far the most!

    Basilique Sainte Marie Madeleine back of basilica the nave of basilica mary magdalene the crypt of basilica mary magdalene
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    Collégiale Notre Dame, Semur-en-Auxois

    by gwened Written Jun 1, 2014

    One of the wonderful churches of Burgundy, this is a collégiale or college of priest elevated to Church. It is magnificent and Worth a detour in the area.

    a bit of history I like
    At this location stood a Romanesque church built in 1060 by Robert le Vieux, leader of the first Royal race of the Dukes of Burgundy, in atonement for the murder he had committed to 1031 against his father-in-law Dalmace Ier.

    The new Church is built from 1225, the materials used are limestone of Pouillenay and a peculiar bluish limestone belonging to the Sinemurian stage in which we find number of traces gryphees and ammonites that were used as paving. The two towers have been repeatedly damaged by fire and rebuilt by Viollet-le-Duc in the last century, in the Tower beard is the Bell which was redesigned several times over the centuries. Next to it is the clock tower. Above the square we can see the houses of the bell ringers, this privilege was granted to the winegrowers who annually paid a privilege to ring bells to announce the beginning and the end of the work in the vineyards and fields.

    The Church is accessible by 9 steps leading to the courtyard. It dates from the 14-15C. It suffered from numerous depredations at the time of the French Revolution, we see the reliefs decorating the eardrums were hammered as the statues that were in the covings, representing Saints disappeared with the exception of six. The statue, which graces the trumeau of the "Virgin with grapes" has kept his head and has been replaced in the century last by another. "" Under the pier one can see a Dromedary, side one can admire an elephant, these exotic animals are a kind of signature of companions, you can see also a hunting scene and mythological animals such as Basil and various characters on the sides of the doors.

    A portal closed the square, implemented in 1729 at the instigation of Abbé Morel to prevent acts of vandalism, you can still see the pins left by Viollet-le-Duc as he did remove the portal during the restoration of the Church. On entering the nave, you should know that the last three spans dating from the end of the 14C, the Church began at the level of the door of the cloister. This small size allowed to join the Priory in which lived a small community of Benedictine monks.

    We arrive to the first chapel, it is primitive Gothic form on which a Renaissance style ornamentation has been grafted. The sacristy has oak panelling of the 18C on which are the portraits of the four evangelists and four doctors of the Church (Saints León, Augustine, Jerome and Ambrose).

    at the mise-en-tombeau or the death of Christ, sits in the chapelle St Lazare that carries the same name as the Saint Sépulcre for reasons of the great sculpture scene that we find here since 1792, the date it was transfer from the convent of the Carmes (destroyed on that date) to the Collégiale Notre Dame. The chapelle St Lazare was built in 1473.

    The mise au tombeau is one of the most beautiful in all Burgundy and it was in 1490 that Jacotin Ogier, watchman of the priests of the Carmes and his wife Pernette that offered it to the carmes the mise au tombeau. It was trace to the shop of a close collaborator of Antoine Le Moiturier, sculptor of the Dukes of Burgundy, and we see in it the faces of Nicodème ,and Joseph of Arimathie , whre the faces are sad but seems thrown into an deep adoration. They have a shroud of Jésus, Mary enrobbed in a coat of widows of the 15C, the face covered and held by John and Mary Magdalene noticing their long hairs.

    very grand must see it.

    Coll��giale Notre Dame the chaire or chair of the Coll��giale N D the mise au Tombeau at Coll Notre Dame arriving Coll��giale Notre Dame
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    Palais Ducal or ducal palace of Nevers

    by gwened Written May 31, 2014

    This is impressive and needs more time that I even provided passing by the city. The Palais Ducal is shown here in French at the city mayor's office
    http://www.nevers.fr/le-palais-ducal

    My introduction comes from it that I translated at best. A bit of history I like
    In 1464, Jean de Clamecy, son of Philippe de Bourgogne, inherits the County of the Nivernais. He began the construction of a "new hostel" in the vicinity of the former Castle of the 13C, now gone. If the building is completed at his death in 1491, the facade that already evokes Renaissance would be later. Les Clèves, his successors, elevated to the rank of Dukes and peers of the realm in 1538, were able to wish complete wrapping of the castle in offering an adornment to the taste of the day and the extent of their rank.

    Louis Gonzaga, Duke of 1565 1595, continue beautification. It adorns the roofs of the south facade of elegant dormers Renaissance et Louis of Gonzaga's tall chimneys. Son Charles I of Gonzaga began in 1609 to an esplanade in the Castle landscaping a public square. It is designed for the purpose of leisure and should offer a wide panorama on the Loire, but it will be finished at the beginning of the 19C.

    In 1659, Charles III de Gonzague sold the Duchy to Mazarin. The Mancini inherit in 1661 and keep it until the French Revolution. In 1793, the municipality occupies the castle which is then sold to the city and the Department by the heiress of the last Duke in 1810. In 1850, the town settled in the new town hall and leaves the castle to the Department. The monument is then rehabilitated in order to install the courthouse, which earned him his appellation of ducal "Palace". The original sculptures being highly degraded, an important part of the ornamentation is reconstructed by sculptor Jouffroy.

    At the end of the 1980s, the municipality wishes to regain this historic monument and proposes the transfer of the courthouse in the old episcopal Palace. The main entrance was pierced in the West to the basement level which is accessed by a hall under slab giving to rue Sabatier. The basement is finished for the reception of the tourist as well as an exhibition space. A contemporary staircase and a lift serving the floors rooms used for receptions and exhibitions. Finally, the Hall of the Municipal Council is installed in the attic.

    A wonderful property indeed to visit in Nevers. It is open from October 1 to May 31, Mondays to Saturdays from 9h -12h30 and 14h- 18h. June 1st to September 30 , mondays to Saturdays from 9h to 18h30. Sundays and holidays open from 10h- 13h and 14h -18h . Closed Nov 1,Nov 11, Dec 25 and Jan 1.

    Palais Ducal de Nevers
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    Cathedral Saint Vincent, Chalon-sur-Saône

    by gwened Written May 31, 2014

    another jewel on my tours of burgundy of many years. The parrish site in French for the religious info is at
    http://www.paroissesaintjust.org/saint-vincent2/index.html

    a bit of history I like
    The construction of the Saint-Vincent de Chalon Cathedral extends over six centuries. The building combines the Romanesque and the Gothic. According historical studies, everything starts in 1090. This time, it remains the apsidal chapels North and South. Followed in the 12C: the choir, the transept and the pillars and arches of the nave and the aisles. The Romanesque style succeeded the Gothic of the 13C and 14C with the apse of the choir, the walls of the nave and cloister, the vault of the transept crossing. Finally, in the 15C, the vault of the nave and the aisles chapels have been completed.

    In 1562, the Huguenot wrath devastates the Church: the statues are destroyed, the Treasury removed. At the French revolution, the bishopric is removed, the Church is dedicated to the goddess reason and serves as a warehouse for fodder. The cloister is fragmented and sold. A neo-Gothic façade was completed around 1850, the roof is redone towards the end of the 19C.

    The Cathedral has an architectural curiosity: his great inner rose pierced above the novel arc. The Romanesque period, the nave was lower than today and closed by a flat ceiling, probably wooden. The transept was higher than the nave so that the rose was not in the nave, but on the outside.

    Cathedral Saint Vincent the organ at the Cathedral
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    Cathedral Saint Etienne, Auxerre

    by gwened Written May 31, 2014

    another wonderful Cathedral of my France, traveling thru it is like a book of magic where history, beliefs and architecture blends to perfection. This is the Cathedral Saint Etienne of Auxerre, or ST Stephens Cathedral.
    This is the official site in French
    http://www.cathedrale-auxerre.com/

    the admission is free and there is a small charge to see the cryptes : 3 € / person and the treasury 1, 90 €.

    The Cathedral is the 5th building constructed at the site since the 5C! The building of the current one dates from 1515. The facade is divided into 3 sections,the left or north side, the central part with the rosary, and the right or South section. The north tower was completed but the South tower only the first two sections were done.

    The Cathedral is still little known to the public, but is worth a visit thorough, not what was to admire the choir ( 1215-1245), pure gem of lanceolate Gothic style of the first half of the 13C, as well as the superb stained-glass windows and other remarkable art treasures its apsidal Chapel and its ambulatory. If we add to this remarkable statuary of the portals, the superb three rosettes and other canopies of the 16C, the magnificent facades of the transept, the crypt, the medieval frescoes and other things again, it persuades easily that the building is an undeniable masterpiece half Gothic of the north of France.

    the Cathedral Saint Etienne and belltower a grand view across the river Yonne the nave of the Cathedral St Etienne
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    Cathedral Saint Lazare,Autun

    by gwened Written May 31, 2014

    one of the classic old cities of Burgundy and a must to visit the Cathedral Saint Lazare here. For a more spiritual information see the parrish of Autun site in French here
    http://www.paroisse-autun.cef.fr/

    This Church was built in the 12C and made into a Cathedral in the end of the 20C, replacing a previous Cathedral of Saint-Nazaire.

    the most remarkable element of the Cathedral. is the tympan done by Gilbert, who signs his name at the feet of Christ (Gyslebertus hoc fecit) . The Central scene, which shows Christ in Majesty, overcomes a lintel. It is surrounded by two arches, externally including many figurative medallions with depictions of the zodiacal signs and works in the different months of the year. Everything is based on columns with historiated capitals. The Central scene depicts the last judgement, with Christ in mandorla and traditional elements of this topic:

    the resurrection of the dead, which some are already hiding the face, others bearing the emblems of the Pilgrim (scallop);
    the woman with breasts bitten by snakes, representing lust;
    a huge Christ overlooking the scene;
    to his right, St. Peter brought the righteous in paradise; above, a large square is made to the Virgin Mary interceding;
    to the left of Christ takes place the weighing of souls: embodying the weight of the sins, demons weigh on the balance Pan (in fact, a kind of Tote twisted), but this weight is still too low and the plateau with the soul, in the position of worship, is allowed in the hands of the Archangel saint Michael.

    The stained glass dates from 1868/ and some of the interior is describe as the Central and lateral naves are vaulted broken, not offset by buttresses, making them quite unstable. These have been added in the 13C. The choir has been rebuilt in the 15C in Gothic style and stained glass date from the 19C and 20C. The altarpiece Noli me tangere is the only altarpiece from the 16C of the Cathedral. Saint Mary Magdalene and Christ stand part and other tree supporting the arms of sponsors.

    A really nice visit to this old medieval town of Burgundy.

    Cathedral Saint Lazare all��e de marbre at Cathedral the door of the last judgement the tympan door of the Cathedral side of Cathedral
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    Ecomusée de Pierre de Bresse

    by gwened Written Apr 7, 2014

    These are spectacular properties often castles that are been turn into ecological muséums or écomusée. There are all over France, however, this one i was taken by my wife's brother here in France and it was spectacular indeed.

    We were driving following him, as he used to worked in this region, and it was a long ride into mountaineous areas, and only cows all over, finally we got to a town where we rest I thought and get something to eat, as we entered the town of Pierre-de-Bresse there was a forest on our left, that covered it all.

    We finally arrive at the center of town and turn left, as I did came upon the magnificent castle of Pierre de Bresse that you see in the link front page , impressive.

    Inside on each floor and corner there was a different trade represented with re creation of farms, stuff animals and Tools from the early days with portraits of the original owners.
    you start with the life of the castle then, the natural elements like the stones used for construction in the area, the room of the history of the Burgundian bresse region from the French revolution and else.
    You move on to the traditional life section showing artifacts and life as it was, the room of furniture from the times, the room of the heritage of the Noirot family; and last the Bressian architecture of the region. These are the permanent collections.

    You have temp collections like the photography history of the area on display now. The castle is open all year from 10h-12h and 14h-18h except saturday and sunday morning from October 1 to May 14;close end of year holidays and May 1st.

    Admission is 7€ adults; all freely visit but you can have a guided tour on Tuesdays at 15h.
    parking is on the Pl des Etampes and on the parc aux daims (a park but freely roaming deers too)

    There is a beautiful boutique with country items and also a gîte or lodging house for rent Inside !! it has a lot more info in French than English
    http://www.ecomusee-de-la-bresse.com/

    the gang just in front of Pierre de Bresse castle
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    Visit chateaus

    by Beausoleil Updated Jul 28, 2013

    Everyone goes to the Loire Valley to see chateaus and that's fine because there are so many spectacular chateaus there. However, many towns in France have a chateau and Burgundy is no exception. You can visit a chateau every day of your trip and not see them all.

    We took one day out of Beaune last spring and searched chateaus listed in the local tourism office brochure. It was great fun and we visited about six chateaus that day, including one festival that occurred as we wandered in. Many chateaus are open to visitors and many have costumed docents. This is particularly fun if you have children with you.

    Stop in any tourist office and ask about nearby chateaus. They will give you information and if necessary, they will book a tour for you. It's a fun way to spend an hour or a day.

    Type the name of any town into the Virtual Tourist Search Window and check Tips to see if a chateau visit is available.
    Côte d'Or Tourist Information Official Web Site

    Chateau de Couches in Burgundy Chateau gate in Commarin in Burgundy Chateau de Germolles in Burgundy Chateauneuf en Auxois in Burgundy Chateau la Rochepot in Burgundy
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    Visit the Markets

    by pedroswift Written May 15, 2013

    A visit to at least one "Farmers' Market" is a must during your Bourgogne visit even if it only to take some photos of the wonderful product on sale.
    There are covered markets in lots of towns (Dijon for example). A dedicated building set up for the market - "halle(s)" in French. Also "street" markets are common even in small villages.
    Armed with a list of towns with the days of their markets listed, you can allocate a morning to a market visit as you travel the region. Morning is best time to visit. Book mark the web pages if you carry the necessary.
    Here are two lists:
    List of weekly markets including “covered markets” and “street markets” by alphabetical list of Burgundian town names.
    Lists by Departments then arranged in order of days of the week. Info on products for sale and location of markets. Not all towns listed : a selection of the most popular.
    There are very few towns or villages throughout France without their own, special market. You are advised that all the markets listed are morning markets, usually closing around 13:00, unless otherwise stated.

    Seeing we require to stock up our larder from time to time as we cruise the canals, we are very partial to the fresh farm produce available at the markets as well as the cheeses, pates, terrines, farm-house condiments and jams.
    One we made a special cruise to visit - the Monday morning Bresse Chicken Market in Louhans.

    There are other stalls such as bric a brac, hardware, clothing. However, I'm loath to purchase some of the items on sale....with uncertain country of origin. I'm reminded of one of our travelling companions who purchased a pair of shorts for five dollars at the market. They did not survive one machine wash...fell apart at the seams.

    URL: http://www.burgundytoday.com/gourmet-traveller/markets.htm
    URL: http://burgundy.angloinfo.com/information/lifestyle/shopping/local-markets/

    Chalon-sur-Sa��ne: Food market. Place Saint Vincent Anyone for cheese?? Your scribe carries home the cheese purchases
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    Pilgrims’ Way – Walk, Cycle, Drive

    by pedroswift Updated May 12, 2013

    Visiting Bourgogne? Keep in mind that one of the Medieval Routes taken by Pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain to pay homage to the relics of Saint James/Sainte Jaques/Sant Iago passes through the Region. The symbol of Saint James, the scallop shell, which marked the Pilgrim's route and were carried externally to mark them as devotees to the cause can be found in the town.
    The UNESCO listed hill-top Abbey Church of Vézelay , the Basiique Ste-Madeleine is perhaps the focal point of any visit to Burgundy to check out the Religious History of both France and the Region. However, you will not be disappointed by a visit based purely on architectural grounds. Who knows, just by exposing yourself to the splendid Basilica and its pure light you may well enjoy a semi-religious experience anyway......... “pure light”?- unlike most historic religious buildings that I have visited, this one does not have stained glass windows and in daylight the light filled apse and ambulatory draw the visitor into the building. On the 21st of June, the Summer Solstice, windows lighting the nave produce pools of light along the floor a further invitation to enter and discover more.
    The Basilica itself has long been the final destination of Pilgrims. So what was the big attraction? Relics! Success of religious edifices in the Middle Ages was measured by how big a crowd they drew. Possession of a body part or two from a saint was the way - especially if a couple of miracles could be contributed to them. The abbots of Vézelay imported fingers of Saint Mary Magdalen from Provence after which it hit the big time for 400 years or so. Helped also by the Pope giving the thumbs up sign (in writing) to the authenticity of said relics!!
    Popularity dwindled after the body of Mary was found intact in Southern France (and, not surprisingly, in other places in Europe) with a full complement of fingers – questions were asked…opening the proverbial can of worms!!!

    Having visited Vézelay and been enlightened your next stop is 70kms south-west at Nevers which was on the old Pilgrim Road to Spain but is now more famous for a more modern Pilgrimage.
    No messing around with a couple of fingers here. This is the full shooting match… the body of Sainte Bernadette under glass. In 1858, as a young girl she experienced devine visions in the grotto at Lourdes in Southern France . She ended up serving the Sisters of Charity of Nevers until her death in 1879. In 1925, her remains were placed in a gold and crystal reliquary in the Chapel of Sainte Bernadette at St Gildard, the house of the Sisters of Charity. Her body attracts about half a million visitor-pilgrims each year. Many have already been part of the eight million Pilgrims who visit Lourdes each year.

    Sick of visiting relics? Do yourself a favour! Slip south east about 100 kms down the road (or canal) from Nevers south-east to Paray-le-Monial which features some visit-worthy religious structures sans relics. However, the remains of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque rest under the Chapel of the Visitation which entices Pilgrims to arrive in droves at certain times of the year looking for “Favours”.

    Perhaps you are attracted towards your own pilgrimage to a really modern site encompassing an up-to-date ecumenical theme. Head approx 45kms east from Paray-l-Monial to the monastic order in Taizé. Founded during the Second World War by a a Protestant, Brother Roger Schutz, it now has over a hundred permanent Brothers from all religions. Since the mid 1960's it has attracted young adults and each year over one hundred thousand from all countries and religions come for a week at a time to experience a basic non-denominational religious experience in the company of like souls from all nations. Join the enlightened.

    Light of the apse draws one in Light in the southern aisle Cocquille (scallop shell) - Sign of Saint James tnx  Sisters of Charity - graphic of St Bernadette Map of Pilgim Roads
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel

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    Châteaux - visit a couple

    by pedroswift Updated May 11, 2013

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    Although probable not as famous for its castles as the Loire Valley in the Centre Region of France, Bourgogne has a plethora of Châteaux worthy of a visit.
    More importantly, it hosts a site which I believe is compulsory for any true tourist interested in architecture, history and France:- Guédelon, south-west of Auxerre near Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye
    At Guédelon, workers are constructing a Château ( more correctly château-fort ) from scratch using original techniques and materials. A visit to this site in conjunction with a reading of Ina Caro’s book, “The Road from the Past: Traveling Through History in France” will set you up to better understand and appreciate the evolution of chateau design over the ages and make your chateaux visits more worthwhile.
    “Evolution”???? If you get the idea that the original objective back in the middle ages was to build a fortified residence to repel the attacks of marauding rivals and to act as a secure base from which the owners could carry out their own marauding attacks, you will start to understand the “evolution” bit. As the world changed , hopefully for the better, and political stability reduced the need for “security” so did the style of the buildings change.
    There are three score and more of the castle-fort type Chateaux in Bourgogne plus many of the grand residence style.
    To get you going, here are two Chateaux which we have visited while cruising the Burgundy Canal that illustrates this “evolution”.
    For a look at the typical castle-fort, it’s hard to beat Châteauneuf-en-Auxois (west of Dijon). This fort and its village sits beautifully on a hill top dominating the surrounding region. Built in the 12th century its defensive features still dominate. It was extensively updated in the 15th century with more habitable buildings being added without taking away from the defensive nature of the site. Together with its village it is listed as a “plus beaux villages de France” and is a national protected historical monuments heritage site.
    URL: http://chateauneuf.net/
    Château Ancy-le-Franc today is the end product of the “evolution”. The castle-fort was torn down in the mid 16th century and a rectangular non-fort palace was built on the foundations. The designer was an Italian architect, Sebastiano Serlio who was involved in the construction and decoration of the Château of Fontainebleau. Ancy-le-Franc was a private commission. (Seb had to do something at the weekends). Only the Château de Fontainebleau has a better array of sixteenth-century frescoes and wall-paintings. (It’s not what you know: it’s who you know!!) No doubt Serlio was able to attract some of the Italian Artisans working there. Château Ancy-le-Franc web site

    Fortified hilltop Ch��teauneuf Model of the fort seen inside the Ch��teau Ancy-le-Franc
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Historical Travel

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    Bougogne by Bike, Velo, Cycle

    by pedroswift Updated May 6, 2013

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    The Burgundy Promotion Board has realised what a mighty asset the tow paths associated with the canals of Bourgogne are. They have promoted them and disused railway lines and paths through vineyard areas as “ green roads” (voies vertes )suited to exploring the region by bike.
    Although I suspect their web-site needs a little updating, it is the starting point for planning a do- it-yourself ride through Burgundy.
    Of course, if you have the money, there are companies that have pay-to-ride tours (some guided) also using the voies vertes. Here is an example of an itinerary advertised by an Australian company. (have not tried it).
    There is a good regional map on the Promotion Board home page with existing routes - 580 kms of them. The plan to eventually have 800kms of paths. The system is interconnected with the Eurovelo Cycle Routes which can be used to cycle from the Black Sea to the Atlantic Coast. Check out the map of European cycle routes.
    In Burgundy, five routes have been organised - each with maps and GPS coordinates. Accommodation and Restaurants meeting the Board's requirements are listed. Hotels have to meet specifics like Secure Bike Stowage and provision of breakfast for an “early start”.
    The itineraries include - Canal de Bourgogne, Canal de Nivernais, Canal du Centre, Southern Burgundy & The Vineyard Way.
    Maps are supplied and pull down menu links to accommodation carrying the Bourgogne by Velo label. Each itinerary has links to (a) Joining the itinerary (regional train & bus transport which have facilities for bikes)
    (b) Your itinerary ( map with distance markers and possible overnight stops)
    (c) On the way (sites and sights)
    (d) Accommodation and restaurants
    (e) Bicycle rentals and repairs
    (f) Tourist offices
    (g) Guides and Incoming agencies
    (h) Further information (downloadable documents and brochures).
    Most importantly there is a good guide on How to get You and your Bike to the Region by public transport.
    Top site - all you need to get you on your bike in Burgundy!!
    URL : http://www.burgundy-by-bike.com/burgundy-by-bike--01en.html

    Related to:
    • Wine Tasting
    • Adventure Travel
    • Cycling

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