Saturday, 28 September 2013

The Priest of Ars

De Priest of Ars
As a non-Catholic it always surprised me to see, apart from the usual Christ, Mary and Joseph statues, the statue of a small guy with a rather pointed nose dressed in "modern", i.e. non-biblical clothing in Catholic churches around here. Asking an American Anglican Reverend (!) whether he knew who this could be, he came up with the name of Jean-Baptiste Marie Vianney, in England also known as Saint-John Vianney, the patron Saint of all (Catholic) parish priests.
On a lovely day we drove off to Ars-sur-Formans, a village in Ain (01), for us on the other side of the Saône. Very soon we stumbled upon road signs pointing to "Village du Saint-Curé" (village of the Saint-Priest) - the real name of the village was hardly ever displayed on those signs - and it did not take long to find the place. From the Michelin travel guide I had learned that Ars is an important place of pilgrimage, and not only for priests. Each year Ars is visited by half a million worshippers.

The body of the priest
The whole village breathes Saint-Curé. His house is converted into a museum, the old village church has been replaced by and partially incorporated into a new basilica (1862), which houses the remains of the priest (a rather tasteless grotesque building by architect Pierre Bossan who also built the Notre-Dame-de-Fouvière in Lyon), there is a museum with wax effigies of the priest during the various stages of his life, in short, the former parish priest still "lives" in this village. Inside the Basilica one can see the priest's body, and for the heart of the man a separate chapel has been built.

The heart of the priest
There are, in the bell tower of the "old" church, still six old Romanesque columns and capitals, originating from the cloister of a partially demolished priory church, that of Salles-en-Beaujolais.
More pictures of basilica and chapel can be found in this album.

Ars-sur-Formans is only a day trip away from La Tuilerie de Chazelle.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Under steam again

After a serious accident with steam locomotive the "Mistral" (241P17, which is a 482 locomotive) in August 2011 the machine has been out of service for repairs. In April 2013 there was a successful trial run, and since then the train regularly steams through Burgundy. Port of departure is always Le Creusot, and the destinations for this year are respectively Nevers, Belfort, Metz, Aix-les-Bains and Switzerland.

The Mistral at Rully
The trip to Aix-les-Bains follows this itinerary : Le Creusot - Changy - Chalon-sur-Saône - Tournus - Bourg-en-Bresse - Aix-les-Bains, where the train always passes underneath a viaduct near Rully. From this viaduct the spectator has a good view on the train which is approaching from the North.
You have to get up quite early (Rully is one hours driving away from La Tuilerie de Chazelle), but it is certainly worth the trip!