Monday, August 2, 2010 amazing village

On Monday, July 26, we visited the wonderful village of Vezelay.  Mr. Michelin tells us that Vezelay, nicknamed "The Eternal Hill," a reference to Rome and Catholicism, claims, since the 11th century, to have Mary Magdalene's relics in its crypt.  The basilica is still a pilgrimage site and starting point on the Way of Saint James pilgrim's route.  The village sheltered 10,000 daily, incredible given the current population of 500.

The route that Garmin chose for us to get to Vezelay had us driving on one lane roads, barely paved...and through beautiful countryside where we didn't see another car or person.  We've come to believe that Garmin decides each morning what sort of adventure we should have...he never selects the same route twice.  It is quite odd, but adds to the adventure!

When we arrived at Vezelay, this is what we saw from the bottom of the hill.

We started up the hill to the church, through the small village.

Looked at a map

Stopped for a snack (of course)

Saw these cool candles

And then reached the church

These are Mary Magdalene's relics and her tomb in the Carolingian crypt.  There's a small chapel in the crypt, very serene and a wonderful place for prayer and meditation.

The carvings on the outside of the church were beautiful and well preserved.

This church has an incredible history (as almost all of the ones we've seen have).  The abbey was founded in the 9th century, with additions being made in the 11th - 13th centuries.  Although the Third Crusade, undertaken in 1190 was not preach at Vezelay, it was here that King Philippe-Auguste of France and King Richard the Lionheart of England met before their departure (cool!).

After visiting the church, we meandered through the village and found a place for lunch (it was 2:20 and they agree to squeeze us in!)  We just have not been able to get on the proper schedule to eat lunch at noon or 1 and we are constantly searching for someplace that's open at 3 (without a lot of luck...lunch is served from noon to 2 sometimes 2:30 and that is that!)

It certainly did have a panoramic view.

The dogs at the next table.  When it started to rain and we all had to go inside, they came inside too!

Enjoying lunch!

 A few more sights in town.

We all got a kick out of the white horse in front of The White Horse restaurant.

It rained on and off...but the sky was amazing.

The view leaving town.

We discovered some Roman ruins as we were leaving town and had to take a gander at these too.

We all tried the "magic" water.  This was the sight of a Roman bath house, fed by natural springs with mineral waters.

So ends another amazing day exploring the French countryside!

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