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Fri, 26 Aug 2011
My weblogging continues...
Today was meant to be the day I visited Gevrey-Chambertin. A train from Beaune stops
there reguarly. I wanted to branch out, and see some of Burgundy beyond the Cotes de
I hadn't counted on the weather. Rain, thunder, lightening. Not good. Especially with
the grape harvest only days away. Mildew suddenly becomes a threat, and picking grapes
in the rain is no fun.
So I go to Dijon. Dijon, to see the old streets and the cathedral with the gargoyles.
In Dijon, my first stop is the first church I see -- the church of St. Benigne. A lovely,
typical Gothic church, it hides a secret: a romanesque crypt from the 11th century.
I descend. The first room is low and wide, with many romanesque columns. A statue of
Christ, his arms outstretched in welcome. Another room: a rotunda, surrounded by columns.
An altar. A doorway through to a gallo-roman chapel, once at ground level, now part of the
crypt. Another doorway leads off, to more passageways. Most are still blocked, buried, yet
to be excavated.
Reluctantly, I head back up into the daylight. The museum of archaeology nextdoor beckons.
Here I find more treasures: a bronze age gold torc, more than 1kg of gold -- a metal more
common then, oddly, than now. A roman statue of doves. Post-roman enamels and belt-buckles,
intricate in their working.
The best is in the lowest level: an old medieval room full of roman funerary memorials, memories
of the long dead. Early medieval wooden figures, dredged from river mud.
Street in Dijon
Out in the light again, I head for the Palais des Ducs. A follow one sign, only to find it
leads in the wrong direction. I find another, and follow that. After walking around in
circles, I find it eventually. It is now the town hall and the Musee des Beaux Arts. I wonder
around, and see what I can of the exterior.
I notice another church: Notre Dame. I am drawn by the impressive gargoyles on the exterior.
Coming closer, I notice portions of the portice still have some of their original paint, just
faint traces but still there.
Inside, I notice a few original scraps of wallpainting survive from the 15th century. A
service is in progress in a candlelit side chapel: song fills the church.
I head for the train. I don't like to leave: there is always one more thing to look at,
another photograph to take. I don't want to miss the train, though. I head on.
At the station, I can't find the machine to validate my ticket.
Eventually I find it, not on the platform, but inside
the station. On the train I can relax: I haven't missed it, I'm getting back in time for
dinner. Beaune beckons.
posted at: 09:10 | path: /travel/france/burgundy |
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