Monday, 13 June 2011


Sunday afternoon we went out on another organised randonée in the nearby village of Chissey-les-Mâcon and it was a themed walk similar to the one in Chapaize, only this time the theme was “lavoirs”. Lavoirs are abundant in this region and they are the places where the womenfolk used to do their washing. They are considered to be part of the national heritage and are mostly well maintained.

There are very big lavoirs like the one in St Gengoux-le-Nationale which could have catered for maybe 80 women at one time and right at the other end of the scale, the tiny one in Chazelle only had space for about four. Each one is unique and a tour of lavoirs is well worth the effort, particularly when you tumble upon ones like the superb little octagonal lavoir in Bissy-sous-Uxelles, quite a gem.

Lavoirs are often used for events like this one. When we first came to Burgundy, one weekend in May, there was a driving tour of local lavoirs organised by “Les Belles de Mai”
(a group of female artisans) who had decorated about 12 of the larger lavoirs around here and they had exhibited and were selling their work - great fun and a pity it was never repeated. Sunday’s walk passed quite a few lavoirs and similar to the other tour, local artists had decorated the lavoirs and were selling their work and amateur gardeners had constructed little gardens near them with descriptions of the plants in the little beds. Quite a lot of forethought and organisation went into this event and it is so nice to see these interesting buildings still being used even if is not for their original purpose.

The walks were rather unusually graded by the amount of time they would take rather than their length in km. The short walk, which was half the length of the medium walk, was said to take 2.5 hours and the medium walk should take 3 hours but in fact it took us only 1.5 hours, obviously we didn’t spend enough time admiring the artwork !

La Tuilerie Website

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