Saturday, 14 May 2011

Visit into the Bresse

Yesterday we decided to enjoy the wonderful weather and go into the Bresse to visit the monastery at Brou just outside Bourg-en-Bresse. As usual for a Friday morning Cees went off into Cormatin on his bike to get the newspaper and a baguette so that we could enjoy our English breakfast French-style and read the paper before setting off. He did, mention that it was very busy in the newsagent, but further no news from town.

On looking at the front page of the newspaper, I was a little confused about the joyous proclamation that announced that it was Friday 13th. Not something you would see on an English or a Dutch newspaper, there you would read stories of all the awful things that might happen during the coming day unless you were very careful indeed. Not that I am superstitious you understand, but I did think twice about our big day out. On reading further into the article I discovered that there are between one and three Friday 13ths every year and each one is a cause for celebration, all the more exciting this year because there is only one such day. The vast majority of the population in France think that a Friday 13th is a very lucky day indeed, hence the excited article in the newspaper and the queue of people in the newsagent buying lottery tickets on this day, to improve their chances of winning. So maybe our outing was not doomed at all.

In fact we had a tremendous day out, we went to the Musée de la Bresse, Domaine de Planons, part of which is a renovated 15th century farm fully furnished, with all its outbuildings complete, animals in the various pens and vegetables growing in the vegetable plot. We thought we would just “pop in” on our way to Bourg-en-Bresse, but it was so interesting we stayed a long time and we have not even scratched the surface of what there is to see there. We will definitely be going back later this year for a full morning or afternoon to explore the place properly and to see all the exhibits.

After a huge lunch in a Routier restaurant (my first ever!) we went on to the monastery. We had visited this place on our first visit to this area, when we stayed on a camping à la ferme near Villefranche, which must have been 12 – 15 years ago, back in the days when we only dreamed of doing what we now do. We were not disappointed with our return visit. The church is exquisitely decorated and is a perfect textbook example of Flamboyant Gothic. The whole place was built in a record time of less than 20 years, but sadly the commissioner (Margaret of Austria) died whilst living in Belgium three months before it was completed and she never saw the buildings herself. The monastery element (three cloisters and surrounding buildings) are impressive in their size, but they lack the simple elegance of the Romanesque style we are so fond of. But no matter what, this place is really well worth all the Michelin stars it gets.

All in all a very successful day out and a very enjoyable Friday 13th - maybe I will be bit more French about that date now - but it will take a lot more for me to believe that you have to hang horseshoes upside-down for good luck..

La Tuilerie Website

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