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Journées du Patrimoine 2017
by Annik Fri 15 Sep 2017 19:46

Looking for somewhere unusual to visit during the Journees du Patrimoine this weekend? The commune of St Dizier la Tour, near Chenerailles, offers two gems: the historic site of Les Mottes Castrales de l'An Mil and the exquisite church of St Blaise and St Didier.

The three feudal mottes dating back to the 10th century are in the hamlet of La Tour where a warm welcome and free 40-minute conducted tours of its medieval trail are offered - in French or English - between 10am and 7pm. Visits start from the church which houses the associated exhibition. There is plenty of parking near the Mairie and Salle Polyvalente. The picturesque and well-preserved twin Petites Mottes boast a child-friendly picnic area, and a loo in the shape of a wooden tower. For more information see http://latourassociation.wixsite.com/latouren

The unique 17th century church of St Blaise and St Didier is in the hamlet of St Dizier, just down the road from La Tour. It was reopened last year after being closed for expert and costly restoration to the murals and ceiling paintings that cover every square centimetre of the interior. The vividly coloured medallions containing very human portraits of God the Father, the Blessed Virgin and a number of saints (including those after whom the church is named) are stunning. The building will be open during the same hours as the mottes visits. Explanatory guides can be borrowed and there will be someone on hand (me on the Saturday) to give added information.

Just outside the church is a very old stone "pyramidal" cross, thought to have been a "christianised" sacred stone or menhir, bearing four sculpted figures including Christ on the cross, the Virgin Mary and child, and a bishop with a crozier (possibly St Didier himself).

Down a lane a few yards from the church car park is the attractive Fontaine of St Dizier, a well whose circular surround is hewn out of one large stone and probably dates back to Roman times. It was the object of pilgrimages from the church each year and it was said that babies whose feet were dipped in its waters would walk earlier than normal.

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. (Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.)" Groucho Marx
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Annik
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Jun 2007
Re: Journées du Patrimoine 2017
by Dave Sun 01 Oct 2017 09:22

I plan on visiting the village and church later this year as well as the mottes which I've wanted to visit since you first posted about them.

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Dave
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Aug 2004
Re: Journées du Patrimoine 2017
by Annik Sun 01 Oct 2017 09:57

The guided tour season is over, and thus the exhibition has been taken down, but you can buy an illustrated booklet for 2 euros from a box beside the church in the centre of La Tour which gives all the background information. The "circuit medieval" around the village is clearly marked with yellow signs. We are leaving soon to go home to England for the winter and will probably give the small mottes area their last mow and brushcut next week.

The church at St Dizier will probably be locked but the keys to the side door are held by the lady who lives at No 7, opposite. There is a light switch on the left of the door.

We would however be delighted to take you round both sites if you would like to send me a private message to make arrangements.

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. (Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.)" Groucho Marx
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Annik
1253
Jun 2007
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