Sunday, 22 August 2010

The Tourist Trail

One of our favourite places around here is Cluny, just 10 minutes down the road from us in Cormatin, but what is has been lacking is a good tourist guide. There are many books available about the town and the information is all there if you look, but no one has taken the trouble to pull it all together in an accessible form. The Tourist Information Office has laid out a trail around town, with the intention of filling this gap. You buy the map and information from their office for one Euro and you follow the route assisted by brass plaques on the ground.

The chosen route is excellent, it gives a good overview of everything that Cluny has to offer. At a slow meander it took us about two hours to complete, with plenty of time to view all the sites and to take another thousand photos. I must say though that the description and detail are rather lacking and the somewhat imaginative use of the English language doesn’t help to make it clear what you should be looking at. Fortunately about two years ago, information boards sprung out of the ground like mushrooms at all the strategic points and these help to supplement the missing information. In fact you could just use the route laid out by the Tourist Information Office and concentrate on the new boards and you will have a very good overview of the town.

At the beginning of this summer little electric buggies suddenly appeared in the market square. They are sort of like golf buggies that can take three passengers. These cars drive tourists around town and give a commentary in English, French, Dutch, German, Italian, Spanish and Slovak. It is a new venture set up and run by Corrine Loron and her husband who own a mediaeval house in the main street with the most magnificent staircase you have ever seen. We have watched these vehicles travelling around town with interest, promising ourselves a ride one day. This morning was fine and not yet too hot to be out and about, so off we went to try it out.

The whole journey lasts about 30 minutes and follows a super route, passing most of the main sites in the town and sneaking down some of the small side streets most tourists just don’t find. The driver was obviously very interested in the town and chipped in with extra details, like the hidden garden you can see through a grill in a wall in the Rue de la Levée and a carved face on the wall of a house in the Rue d’Avril, both things that we have walked past a thousand times and have never seen. Because the cars are electric, they are very quiet and you glide through the hoards of tourists listening to the commentary and gazing out at the lovely buildings. Well worth every penny and fun to be a tourist in your own town!

Our website La Tuilerie de Chazelle describes the accommodation we rent out during the summer months.

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