Saturday, 26 September 2015

Paray-le-Monial – Chapelle Saint-Michel

The Basilique du Sacré-Cœur in Paray-le-Monial is normally open to the public, with the exception of the Chapelle Sait-Michel above the narthex.

Chapelle Saint-Michel
This chapel is only accessible during a guided tour, each day in July and August at € 5.00 pp. Reason enough to plan a re-visit of the church around these dates and around this hour. The tour starts in the narthex, and goes from there to the chapel, the church itself, the cloister gardens and the renaissance townhall.

We had chosen not to go during the weekend, to avoid the crowds. Of course we were not aware, that on our weekday the pilgrims taking part in a number of lectures and readings stretching over a number of days would be given the afternoon off. We were not really the only ones who had taken the tour….

An extensive description of church and chapel can be found on Bourgogne Romane. The chapel looks out over the nave and the choir, a sight that can only be enjoyed during a visit like this. The chapel itself is rather sober, but it has a number of impostes each with its own specific decoration.

Hint for planning a visit: try to find out when there is a pilgrimage, and try to avoid those days!

Click here for the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Musée Raymond Rochette – Saint-Sernin-du-Bois

One does not stumble every day on a museum that can only be visited on reservation.

We were quite surprised when we found out after a long internet search that we had to make an appointment to see this particular museum. That could be done through one of these internet contact forms, or by phone during an hour on Monday evening that the Association " Amis de Saint-Sernin-du-Bois" was available for consultation. That sounded quite complicated (most older French are still not very internet-competent), and we did not hold out much hope of hearing from the "Amis" after we put in our request on a Saturday.

Still, never say never, because in the course of Sunday we received an e-mail from one of them, who had been told by the President (well, not Hollande…) to contact us. After this, an appointment was quickly made; we wanted to combine this visit with Dracy-lès-Couches and Collonge la-Madeleine, where the mairie was only open on Monday or Thursday. Like good Dutchmen and -women we were half an hour early in Saint-Sernin, ready to see the museum.

The ground floor
M. Baur, our friendly and knowledgeable tour guide was also, very un-French, half an hour early, hence we did not have to wait very long at all. I had obtained a list of Romanesque matters to look out for from "Deep Throat", which was 100% accurate.

The collection Rochette
After we had looked at and photographed what we wanted to see (some Romanesque stones from Saint-Sernin and Gamay, but also the obligatory old school bench, old coins, obsolete tools, etc.) we were guided upstairs where the real collection of the museum was kept.

Workers at Schneider
Raymond Rochette happened to have been a local artist and painter who had painted a lot in the steel works of Schneider in Montceau-les-Mines; workers, machinery, etc. Not a van Gogh, but we had not expected that. All in all, thanks to these paintings this museum was just a trifle more interesting than the average run of the mill local museum of which every town has at least one. And if this had not been enough: from the roof terrace of the donjon that houses the museum there was a stunning view over the surroundings.

View of church and cemetery
Uitzicht over het kerkhof Click here for the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle.