01 February 2015

Inside the church in Montréal

The interior of the church in the village of Montréal in Burgundy is all white, which makes it very luminous. The church was built in the 12th century and restored in the 19th.

Its claim to fame is a set of 26 elaborately carved oak choir stalls dating back to the 16th century. The two figures below are supposedly the sculptors' self-portrait. They're having a drink during one of the breaks in their workday. King François 1er funded their work in the 1520s.

The old bell below, installed in the church in 1623, was replaced in 1994. The church doesn't have a bell tower; the defensive tower over the nearby upper gate (La Porte d'En-Haut) in the town's fortifications served that purpose.

Here's a photo showing the Porte d'En-Haut, where the church bells were located. Thanks to Google Maps street view.

More photos of the wood carvings inside the church tomorrow...

31 January 2015

Montréal countryside views

We had some snow yesterday, but it lasted only 15 or 20 minutes at most and didn't stick on the road or the grass. The worst part of yesterday's weather was the wind — it was stiff and frigid. Walking out into the vineyard with Callie in the morning meant facing a freezing headwind, but the walk back was easy with the wind at my back. Good-bye, January.

Meanwhile, I'm doing another in my series of posts about Montréal in Burgundy. Here are some photos of the views out over the countryside that we enjoyed from the top of the village, near the church.

Above and on the right are photos of what the Michelin Guide describes as « une vaste ferme bourguignonne fortifiée » — a impressive Burgundian fortified farmstead — below Montréal.

I have too many photos and I'm not good at picking and choosing. Instead of leaving any of these out, I'll just make some of them smaller. You can click on any photo to see it at a larger size.

On the left and below, local Charolais cattle graze on green pastureland.

On the right and below, are views in two different directions.

Below, Callie is tempted by a country road that winds down toward the fields below. We didn't walk down there, but the dog enjoyed her stroll through the streets and parks of Montréal.

Finally, after our walk around Montréal, we got back to the car and headed over to the village of Thizy, which you can see in the photo below, off in the distance. I took some photos there too.

The weather here in Saint-Aignan is turning cold again, and it is a pleasure to look at all the green in these photos and remember how warm and sunny it was that October afternoon at Montréal in Burgundy.

30 January 2015

Montréal : l'église collégiale

At the summit of the little village of Montréal in Burgundy stands a church surrounded by a graveyard. The church dates back to the 12th century and is known as la collégiale Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption. It was restored by Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century. I found the cemetery very picturesque.

The photo above shows a sign that struck me as funny. It's posted on the fence right in front of the church, and it says "Space reserved for Father Jean Michel". My first thought was that the space referred to might be a grave. I think it was actually the priest's parking space.

I also enjoyed seeing the inside of the church, as did Walt. While he went in to look around, I stayed outside with Callie. Then I went inside and Walt stayed outside with Callie. That's how we have to do things. I'll post some photos from inside the church in a day or two. Maybe Sunday.

Yesterday I posted a photo of a salamander that looks suspiciously like the one that was king François Ier's "logo". Well, it probably is just that. I read this morning that François visited Montréal twice during his lifetime (first half of the 16th century).

From the church, there are views out over the surrounding countryside. It was all very green when we were there — photos later. Montréal was a fortified town, built on a high hill for strategic reasons. It seems that it was surrounded by vineyards until the end of the 19th century. The phylloxera scourge must have killed off the local wine business.

Montréal only about 8 miles from the town of Avallon. I didn't even realize that when we were there that Thursday afternoon, because we drove in from the other side. We had been in Avallon two days earlier. I guess if you lived in Montréal, Avallon is where you would go for shopping and other basic services like banks, doctors, and coiffeurs.