Saturday, 27 April 2013

Websites and churches

Whenever I use a website slightly more often than normal, there is bound to come a day when I think "Would it not be handier if....". And nine out of ten times it does not come any further then a loose thought, although...

Part of the list of churches on "Le site sur l'Art Roman en Bourgogne"

Ever since I have been looking for information about Romanesque churches in Burgundy, I am using "Le site sur l'Art Roman en Bourgogne" more and more often. This is mainly because the site contains a lot of information on the subject. And since I am quite interested in this subject, I spent more and more time on that site. And indeed, one day I thought "Would it not be handier if there was also a map available, where one can see very quickly what a certain area has to offer?". An email to the webmaster told me that he would like to have this feature as well, but that he had not gotten around it yet.
As a workable alternative I changed my database of churches such, that I could sort that database on specific areas as well, instead of only alphabetically or on rating. A list with churches in the vicinity of e.g. Montceau-les-Mines could be generated very quickly.

Zoomed in on the area of Cluny (Google Map satellite view)

One day my better half bumped into an option of Google Maps. Although making an interactive map was a lot of work, it was certainly doable and not very difficult. After a number of days hard work I now am the proud owner of an interactive map of "all" Romanesque churches in Saône-et-Loire. I can now pinpoint easily and quickly all churches in a certain area, find out how they are classified and find pictures of them. The map itself contains a link to a short explanation of how to use the map.
And what about the rest of Burgundy? I gladly leave that chore for someone else!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Nice is just another four letter word....

On one of our trips, this time into the Bresse (seen from our part of the woods on the other side of the Saône), we bumped into a building so ugly that it almost became beautiful in all its ugliness.

On the braderie in Ciel

The Bresse is a rather flat part of Burgundy, with, certainly for someone who grew up in the Netherlands, a rather boring landscape. One Sunday Ciel, a village in the northern part of the Bresse, was offering a braderie on a mediaeval and equestrian theme. Although we should have known better (we have been around a bit!), we went, basically because it was a nice day, direction Bresse. Once we arrived in Ciel we found a run-of-the mill braderie, with a few extremely exiting contests in driving around cones for horses and carriages, where the mediaeval theme was restricted to some villagers prancing around in mediaeval clothes made from old curtains and towels. Fortunately we had been prepared for this sort of thing, so we could fall back on one of my lists of Romanesque churches which we could visit on our way back home.


One of these churches, not a very spectacular one though, was to be found in the village of Damerey. We had passed through this village before, and we remembered a house with a facade "decorated" with a cross-eyed deer in concrete, a sea lion, a peacock, a panda, a number of parrots.... We had always passed that house with a speed of approx. 50 km/h, but this time, because we were looking out for a church, we noticed that not only the facade of the house was beautified. No, whilst looking down a side street, we noticed that the facade was rather boring compared to the side of the house. Words do not suffice, hence I invite the reader to get acquainted with this wonder through a Picasa picture album.

Château Bresse-et-Castille - Damerey

At the gate we found a sign saying "Château Bresse-et-Castille", and another sign with the name of the creator of this Spanish theme park, Roger Mercier. After we had snapped some shots in silent admiration, and were about to bugger off to see what the church had to offer, Mr. Mercier approached from his residence. It did not seem appropriate to disappear without a word, so we had a little chat with Mr. Mercier, complimenting him on this 8th wonder of the world. He turned out to be a very amiable chap, who had worked for a contractor all of his life, and who decided at his retirement to leave something for posterity. He had worked on it for over 16 years and was very proud that he created something not just in concrete, no, it was all made in reinforced concrete!

Château Bresse-et-Castille - Damerey

We could not leave without taking a picture of Roger aka Alfonso next to one of his creations. We forgot to tell him, that if he ever needed inspiration for something completely different, that he should pop by Haw Par Villa (Tiger Balm Garden) in Singapore, where something similar has been created on a Chinese theme. Had we not forgotten, who knows Damerey could have boasted, in the near future, an annexe of the ten courts of (Chinese) Hell!

Alfonso next to one of his creations

Looking for more tourist information? Our website has got more to offer than just this!