A trip to France; Vezelay, Auch Cathedral, Le-Puy-en-Velay and Zurich in CH.

thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
A trip to France
After almost 11 years out of Europe I arrived in May of this year. While still in Southern Africa I had decided to see a little of France, a country I was related to in a round about way, but had never been to. Together with another forum member, who luckily drove 98% of the 5500 km we passed by in his car, we began to make plans.

The following is a short report on our trip which included destinations like Auch, the remnants of the French volcanoes as well as Zurich in Switzerland.

Now, 11 years is a long time and I should like to insert that it seemed to me on arriving that I had not buried too deeply the remembrance of Middle and Northern European architecture and by association life due to a set, that I had sent to Africa, called the Tarot of Prague, which contains a very beautiful and well designed selection of the art, known and hidden of this great capital of the Czech Republic.

Anyhow to meet up with my friend in France I got on a train to Cologne in Germany. From there I continued with the fast train to Gare Du Nord in Paris, next changing via the metro to Gare DE Lyon where the TGV took me to our Gare de la Part Dieu in Lyon.

In Lyon I was picked up, and we drove up along highway A6 to Vezelay not far from Avalon, about halfway between Paris and Dijon.

We stayed one night in Vezelay, _http://www.vezelaytourisme.com/sommaire_ang.htm and two nights in Avalon. Vezelay is one of the starting points for the pilgrimage to Saint Jacques de Compostelle, see _http://www.chemins-compostelle.com/Leschemins/leschemins.html

A few kilometres from Vezelay are the Fontaines Salees, see _http://www.saint-pere.fr/les-fontaines-salees.htm where there are saltwater springs that have been used at different times, beginning no later than 2238 B.C. The place has also been used as a sanctuary and as a place for bathing.

On the way to les Bois de la Madeleine just North West of Vezelay we stumble upon a sign advertising a free mineralogical exhibition. We found an old woman who told her husband, the finder and founder of the fossils had been taken by ambulance one hour before to the hospital due to a cerebral bleeding....

In spite of this difficult situation, she offered, on the condition that we accepted she could not give much explanation of what was there, to show us her husband's incredible collection of fossils. The exhibition made a deep impression and equally deep was the feeling, that we had been fortunate to find this small place no bigger than a garage and were walking around in a place belonging to a person, that anytime might be watching us from the other side of this world.

Then we went to Auxerre, the capital of Yonne to buy a few things and see the outside of a church, Abbaye St-Germain a part of which was initiated by Saint Clotilde _http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clotilde She is a patron saint for : brides, adopted children, parents, exiles, widows

Driving bact to Avalon we noticed a sign for Grotte d'Arcy, see _http://www.grottes-arcy.net/ Next morning we visited the cave, where we saw a few very old cave paintings as well as some bats, but there are now only ten left as pesticides and herbicides used on surrounding fields, through indirect action also work as bat-icides. While on the topic of pesticides we might add, that the forest we walked in near Vezelay had no bees or any significant number of insects on the sweet smelling, flowering acacia trees.

After the cave we drove South and having confirmed an engine problem, we decided to go back to the home base in Ardeche via Moulins, Vichi, Thiers, Lyon, and Montelimar

On the way we stopped at the Aboretum de Balaine see _http://www.aboretum-balaine.com North of Moulins. They have some really big beautiful trees in their garden, and it was a pleasure to be there at this time of the year which was late May. It felt like a therapy to walk among the huge old trees, the blooming flowers and singing birds. In the shop we spoke a bit with a sixth or seventh generation descendant of the founders.

In Moulins we visited the Church, but is was a bit late to see the Triptych du Maitre de Moulins about which the Michelin guide writes:
The Triptych by the Master of Moulins, from about 1498, is a triumph of late-Gothic painting. The Master has never been conclusively identified. […] The painting appears to be rich in symbolism, the use of the numbers 7 and 12 in particular, representing the Gothic idea of perfection.
_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maître_de_Moulins writes the master is in fact Jean Hey and on this page one can also see pictures of the paintings from Moulins.

We were wondering if there was any relation between this work and that of Auch Cathedral due to the time of creation being close?

One observation is that Jean Hey also did a portrait, seen on the above site, of Margaret of Austria known also as Archduchess Margaret of Habsburg(1480–1530)/ Margaretha von Habsburg : _http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Margaret+of+Habsburg+(1480-1530) . This lady was a sister in law to Louise of Savoy, who was the mother of Marguerite of Navarre (1492–1549) also known as Margaret of Angoulêm, see _http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Marguerite+of+Navarre who was involved with the
Auch Cathedral, since the land in and around Auch was located in her jurisdiction, as confirmed by the excerpts of 'The power and patronage of Marguerite de Navarre' by Barbara Stephenson _http://books.google.com/books?id=awvNTHgoGWYC&printsec=frontcover&hl=DA#PPP1,M1 which has a map at the beginning of the book.

For more about Margaretha of Habsburg, Louise of Savoy, her son Francis I and daughter Maguerite of Navarre see the footnotes.

In the Cathedral of Moulins they also have a Black Madonna; we were to encounter this theme again later.

With the sun setting lower and lower we drove off to Vichy, as some friends and family had urged us to pass by the impressive building of the mayor which was the seat of the French government during WW2. The center of Vichy is quite a town, I could not believe that it only has 28.000 inhabitants. It looks magnificent and rich. My forum friend had just read Ladies of the Rope and could tell one story after the other about G. including their excursions to Vichy. I also recall Vichy from the portrait of France that one finds in the book Voices in the Dark also by William Patrick Patterson

In Vichy they have a few thermal baths and the Michelin guide calls it a world-famous spa town, believe it or not. However a more convincing thought was that the presence of thermal baths would mean a source of heat underground which could be volcanic in origin and we also say what appeared to be mountains that looked volcanic and this was a theme we were to return to later in more details.

After Vichy we continued until we stopped at a fuel and rest place next to the highway. They gave us a good reception considering they were only 3 minutes from closing, and 10 minutes later an assistant came to our table to offer us a free desert as we had not bought any in the first round. It felt like visting some good friends. I heard from my buddy that the cleaning lady was so pleased that we had put back our trays to the kitchen desk, that she jokingly said they were not sure they would unlock the door and let us out; they had an idea to keep us.

Anyhow we carried on until the next coffee stop a few hours later and were back at 2:30 in the morning. In the morning we saw the mechanics at the car shop. They did not delay with a diagnosis, but like any good doctor they could only give us an appointment a few days later.

Weighing the pros and cons we decided, in spite of the engine, to leave the next day for a 'short trip' to Southern France. Passing by Ales, Montpelier and Toulouse we arrived in Au ch Friday evening, after a pretty good dinner we had a quick view around 2100 at the Cathedral, thanks to Rotary that for a local fundraising event had arranged a French gospel choir to blast the church this Friday night with French versions of American gospel songs. We enjoyed more the illumination in and outside the cathedral, a sight that one can only have at night. Next morning we spent a couple of hours admiring the extraordinary wood carvings and glass mosaics, just as we bought copies of about all booklets and postcards we could lay our hands on.
_http://www.auch-tourisme.com/uk/
_http://www.auch-tourisme.com/uk/decouverte-auch/default.asp
_http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=auch&sll=43.697169,0.083427&sspn=0.147941,0.260239&ie=UTF8&z=12&iwloc=addr

Next off to some friends of friends South of Condom which is North West of Auch. They had renovated an old dilapidated barn to the level of a very comfortable living space. From there we drove three hours down the road to other friends of friends in Montbrun Bocage, a mountain area at the foot of the Pyrenees with a whole bunch of alternative people from different countries and I believe also different parts of France, which we encountered the next morning at the weekly social event which is the Sunday market on the village square next to the church. On the market one can find of all sorts of books, biological vegetables, honey, cakes, clothes, etc.

From the market in Montbrun Bocage we drove North on the way to Ardeche. We stopped over a couple of places including le-Puy-en-Velay _http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Puy-en-Velay which is another starting point for Saint Jacques de Compostelle, see: _http://www.chemins-compostelle.com/Leschemins/voie-du-puy.html but what we really wished to do was to take a look at the leftovers of French volcanoes.

When we arrived in In Le-Puy and had signed into a small hotel with internet connection, we found something else on The Wikipedia of the town:
The expanding legend of this St. George, which, according to the Church historian Duchesne is not earlier than the eleventh century, then makes that saint one of the Seventy Apostles of the Gospel of Luke, and tells how he founded the church of the [civitas] que dicitur Vetula in pago Vellavorum— as Ruessium began to be called during the fourth century: the city "called Vetula in the pays of the Vellavi" a document of 1004 termed it[2]. Vetula means "the old woman": pagans were still making small images of her as late as the sixth century in Flanders, according to the vita of Saint Eligius. This was the first cathedral at Le Puy.

What I get from this is that a woman was venerated in this place before it 'became' Christian. It is also located in the department of 'Auvergne' which in our personal green language notebook could be related/translated as 'to the virgin'.

About Auvergne the Lonely Planet guide has:
page590 said:
The Auvergne has an astonishing number of Vierges Noires (Black Madonnas), dotted around its cathedrals and churches, including ones at Vichi, Murat, and Le-Puy-en-Velay. […]
Our Lady of Le Puy

The Christianizing legends of Mons Anicius relate that at the request of Bishop Martial of Limoges, Bishop Evodius/Vosy caused an altar to the Virgin Mary to be erected on the pinnacle that surmounts Mont Anis. Some such beginning of the shrine Christianized the pagan site that became the altar site of the cathedral of Le Puy. It marked one starting-point for the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela, a walk of some 1600 km, as it still does today. The old town of Le Puy gathered round the base of the cathedral.

The pilgrims came early to Le Puy, and no French pilgrimage was more frequented in the Middle Ages
[…]
]The legendary early shrine on the summit of Mons Anicius that drew so many would seem to predate the founding of an early church of Our Lady of Le Puy at Anicium, which was attributed to Bishop Vosy, who transferred the episcopal see from Ruessium to Anicium. Crowning the hill there was a megalithic dolmen. A local tradition rededicated the curative virtue of the sacred site to Mary, who cured ailments by contact with the standing stone. When the founding bishop Vosy climbed the hill, he found that it was snow-covered in July; in the snowfall the tracks of a deer round the dolmen outlined the foundations of the future church[3]. The Bishop was apprised in a vision that the angels themselves had dedicated the future cathedral to the Blessed Virgin, whence the epithet "Angelic" given to the cathedral of Le Puy. The great dolmen was left standing in the center of the Christian sanctuary, which was constructed around it; the stone was re-consecrated as the Throne of Mary. By the eighth century, however, the stone, popularly known as the "stone of visions," was taken down and broken up. Its pieces were incorporated into the floor of a particular section of the church that came to be called the Chambre Angélique, or the "angels' chamber."


For more about Le Puy-en-Velay:
_http://www.ot-lepuyenvelay.fr/images/arc/j2.html
_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Puy-en-Velay
_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Puy_Cathedral


Although Le-Puy-en-Velay is spectacular with two volcanic rocks in particular pointing out of the ground like huge dolmens the place of most recent action some six or seven thousand years ago is to the West and South of Clermont-Ferrand where one finds a park with exhibitions and many hiking paths. The next morning without paying more attention to the interesting places in Le Puy-en-Velay, we drove up to Puy de Dôme from where one in clear weather can see many other volcanic tops, and we also noticed some melting snow to the South on the peaks of Mont Dores.

For picture of one the two volcanic "dolmens" in le Puy see our photo:
IMG_0628.jpg
Picture was taken at an angle to a setting Sun, that is why it appears dark. When I tilt the laptop screen just a bit, the light/darkness contrasts becomes more pronounced, one sees illuminated clouds above and beneath ... a Black Madonna.

Four or five other photos related to the volcanoes can be seen on the small selection on: _http://s584.photobucket.com/albums/ss283/AF447/France2009May-June/

For more on Puy de Dôme and the sleeping French volcanoes: _http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puy-de-Dôme_(mountain) and _http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaîne_des_Puys
_http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/volcano.cfm?vnum=0100-02-&volpage=synsub and latest eruption dates: _http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/volcano.cfm?vnum=0100-02-&volpage=erupt
_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcano
_http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parc_naturel_r%C3%A9gional_des_Volcans_d%27Auvergne

Having satisfied our most urgent curiosity we decided to not wait for the next eruption. :) Consequently in the afternoon we drove back through the winding roads in the mountains to Ardeche arriving in time for an invitation for dinner and next morning for an appointment for the car, which brought an unexpected bill.

Switzerland
After three to four days of rest we left for Switzerland. We drove via Montelimar, Valence, Chambery, Geneve and Neuchatel to Zurich which was the only larger town we stayed in. It was enjoyable to be near the big lake around which much of the city is build.

Switzerland is not a huge place, so we went to neighbouring Lichtenstein to get some pictures for the family genealogy album of our Swiss host. From Vaduz, the capital, we continued after a bit of coffee to the South of the Switzerland close to the Italian border. In fact it was so close, that we figured it would be more fun and more easy to skip the high passes with snow on the road side, the winding mountain roads and pass by lake Como to Menaggio in Italy, continue to the Swiss bordertown of Lugano and then through the 17 km long St Gottard tunnel back to Zurich. It became a little later than expected but after 13 hours we were back.

On the last day we went to see the Grossmünster church: _http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grossmünsterchurch with its two towers so prominent in Zurich, at least to my eyes. If one goes below the choir there are some old chalk paintings which I found interesting. Afterwards we went to the university to see the library building and then later the outside of the Prestalozzi library. This is just the public library of the city, but what I associated to was Prestalozzi as the founder of the school that Allan Kardec attended in his youth before becoming an educational reformer in France and later the founder of Spiritism.

The town visit marked the conclusion. A couple of hours later, I was on the train back to Northern Europe.

To the above some few notes:
Tourist guides:
I began looking for them in a South African bookshop, and selected those that had most to say about the Auch Cathedral. The choice fell on Lonely Planet's France 2009 guide and the book 'France', in The Green Guide series from Michelin.

The Lonely Planet guide to France has a hundred pages of introduction and tips followed by 900 pages divided into different areas from the North to the South France. In the book one finds many streetmaps of some of the smaller towns and that is very useful. The Michelin guide after a good general introduction lists the towns alphabetically and that is somewhat more easy than having the towns by region although that can be very practical for other uses. In this way the two complement each other very nicely.

In France there are plenty of maps available on the service stations along the highways. The Michelin road maps are very good, we bought a practical A-5 size spring bound version in 1:200.000 for about 16 Euro, but next time we will buy the more costly A-4 size so one gets a larger overview and does not have to go back and forth all the time. A cheaper map in size 1:250.000 is published by _http://www.blayfoldex.com It is only 8.50 and includes also Belgium and Luxembourg, however I think the contrasts and the coloring is slightly better on the Michelin map.

Regional guides one can find too, some bookshops have a very good selection, and Michelin has a Green Guide for very many areas, all in French of course. The hotels we stayed at had a selection of free materials pointing to places of interest in the surrounding environment.

France is a small car country, and parkingspaces are more easy to access in a small car. Considering the reduced visibility and narrow roads in some villages and in the mountains, I can only advice careful driving.


Now returning to Margaretha of Habsburg, Louise of Savoy, her son Francis I and her daughter Maguerite of Navarre:
From:_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_of_Habsburg_(1480-1530) there is:

She was appointed for the first time as governor of the Habsburg Netherlands (1507–1515) and guardian of her young nephew Charles (the future Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor). Margaret acted as intermediary between her father and his subjects in the Netherlands, negotiated a treaty of commerce with England favorable to the Flemish cloth interests, and played a role in the formation of the League of Cambrai (1508). After his majority in 1515, Charles rebelled against her influence, but he soon recognized her as one of his wisest advisers, and she was again governor of the Netherlands (1519–30) intermittently until her death. In 1529, together with Louise of Savoy, she negotiated the Treaty of Cambrai, the so-called Ladies' Peace.
[...]

Margaret had received a fine education. She played several instruments, was well read and wrote poetry. Her court at Mechelen was visited by the great humanists of her time, including Erasmus[2]. She possessed a rich library, consisting mostly of missals, historical and ethical treatises (which the works of Christine de Pizan) and poetry. It included the famous illuminated Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry[3]. She ordered several splendid music manuscripts from Pierre Alamire[4] to send them as gifts to members and her family and to her political relations, and possessed several Chansonniers herself[5]. They contained works by Josquin Desprez, Johannes Ockeghem, Jacob Obrecht and Pierre de la Rue, who was her favourite composer.


From _http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louise_of_Savoy (Francis I is the son of Louise and the brother of Marguerite of Navarre.)
Louise of Savoy remained active on behalf of her son in the early years of his reign especially. During his absences, she acted as regent on his behalf. She was the principal negotiator for the Treaty of Cambrai between France and the Holy Roman Empire, concluded on August 3, 1529. That treaty, called "the Ladies' Peace", put an end to the second Italian war between the head of the Valois dynasty, Francis I of France, and the head of the Habsburg dynasty, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. The Treaty temporarily confirmed Habsburg hegemony in Italy.
The treaty was signed by Louise of Savoy for France and her sister-in-law, Margaretha von Habsburg (Margaret of Austria), for the Holy Roman Empire.
Louise of Savoy died on 22 September 1531, in Gretz-sur-Loing. The story of her death is that she became chilled while watching a comet. [1] Her remains were entombed at Saint-Denis in Paris. After her death her lands, including Auvergne, merged in the crown. Through her daughter Margaret of Angoulême and her granddaughter Jeanne d'Albret, she is the ancestress of the Bourbon kings of France, as her great-grandson, Henry of Navarre, succeeded as Henry IV of France.
In 'The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn' by Retha M. Warnicke one can read how the education of Anne Boleyn was influenced by Margaretha von Habsburg and Louise of Savoy. For this see page 27 in the excerpt given on: _http://books.google.dk/books?id=dQIExqMDvMEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=The+Rise+and+Fall+of+Anne+Boleyn#PPA28,M1
The above book describes what kind of knowledge and influence these women held in general.

About Francis I there is a book; 'Francis I' By R. J. Knecht, where the excerpt _http://books.google.dk/books?id=rvEBMIIcHQkC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Francis+I+Af+R.+J.+Knecht gives many details of his life including a picture of 'charity' (on page 219) comissioned by him, a theme that is found more than once in the Cathedral of Auch. Looking at this picture I began to wonder if the glass mosaics in the church were reproductions of original drawings?

Lastly to Marguerite of Navarre: _http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marguerite_of_Navarre
Marguerite was born in Angouleme on 11 April 1492, the eldest child of Charles, Comte d'Angouleme and Louise of Savoy. Her father was a direct descendant of Charles V, and a claimant to the crown, if both Charles VIII and the presumptive heir, Louis, Duke of Orléans, failed to produce male offspring. On 16 February 1488, Charles married eleven year old Louise, daughter of Philip II of Savoy and Marguerite of Bourbon, sister of the Duke of Beaujeu and considered one of the most brilliant feminine minds in France. Louise named her first-born "Marguerite" after her own mother.

Marguerite became the most influential woman in France, with the exception of her mother, when her brother acceded to the crown as Francis I in 1515. Her salon became famously known as the "New Parnassus". The writer, Pierre Brantôme, said of her: "She was a great princess. But in addition to all that, she was very kind, gentle, gracious, charitable, a great dispenser of alms and friendly to all." The Dutch humanist, Erasmus, wrote to her: "For a long time I have cherished all the many excellent gifts that God bestowed upon you; prudence worthy of a philosopher; chastity; moderation; piety; an invincible strength of soul, and a marvelous contempt for all the vanities of this world. Who could keep from admiring, in a great King's sister, such qualities as these, so rare even among the priests and monks?"
In 'The power and patronage of Marguerite de Navarre' by Barbara Stephenson, a generous selection is found on: _http://books.google.com/books?id=awvNTHgoGWYC&printsec=frontcover&hl=DA#PPP1,M1

As for the artistic achievements of Marguerite of Navarre have a look at: _http://home.infionline.net/~ddisse/navarre.html
There one finds:
Marguerite had begun to write devotional poetry as early as 1523 (including one long poem, Dialogue en forme de vision nocturne); but it wasn't until after the death of her son in 1530 that she allowed a poem to be published, Miroir de l'ame pecheresse (Mirror of the sinful soul).
The publication of Miroir and Marguerite's contacts with reformers worried some church leaders but, for a while at least, Francis supported her. During the 1530s she wrote secular and religious lyrics, as well as plays that were staged at her court and elsewhere. She also played an active role in influencing Francis' policies. Toward the end of the decade, though, Francis began to act against the reformers who were Marguerite's friends, and her influence with him waned, although it was never completely lost. Marguerite now spent more time at her own court in Alencon and in her husband's lands in the southwest, and she continued to write. It was probably in the early 1540's that La Coche, ou le Debat de l'amour (The coach, or the debate on love) and Le triomphe de l'agneau (The triumph of the lamb) were written.
After Francis' death in 1547, Marguerite published a two-volume collection of her works: Les Marguerites de la Marguerite des princesses tresillustre royne de Navarre (The pearls of the pearl of princesses...) and Suyte des Marguerites..... Both volumes included plays, lyrics, and longer poems ---- examples of each of the genres she had used. She then wrote,at least one other play (La comedie de Mont-de-Marsan) and her two final long poems: Le navire (The ship), a dramatic dialogue on Francis' death; and Les prisons, which in many ways reviews her entire life. She continued to work on a collection of tales that had been begun some years earlier, one inspired by Boccaccio's Decameron. This last was unfinished at her death but published ten years later as Heptameron des nouvelles.

Most of Marguerite's poems and letters have not yet been translated into English, but enough is available to show the reader a fuller picture of the witty author of the Heptameron.
[From Shell's modernized version, Marguerite's opening, "To the Reader":]
If thou dost read this whole work, behold rather the matter and excuse the speech, considering it is the work of a woman which has in her neither science nor knowledge but a desire that each one might see what the gift of God doth when it pleaseth Him to justify the heart of a man. [p.113]
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
"And now I can call thee son, father, spouse, and brother."
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[The major theme of Miroir is the multiple relationship of the human with God:]
Thou hast done so much for me, and yet art Thou not content to have forgiven me my sins, but also given unto me the right gracious gift of grace. For it should suffice me (I coming out of such a danger) to be ordered like a stranger; but Thou dost handle my soul (if so I durst say) as a mother, daughter, sister, and wife. [p.117]
Now, my Lord, if Thou be my father, may I think that I am Thy mother? For I cannot perceive how I should conceive Thee, which hast created me. But Thou didst satisfy my doubt when in preaching (stretching forth Thy hands) Thou didst say: "Those that shall do the will of My Father, they are my brethren and mother."
I believe then... that through love I have begotten Thee. Therefore without any fear will I take upon me the name of a mother: Mother of God. O sweet virgin Mary, I beseech thee be not sorry that I take up such a title.... For thou art His corporeal mother and also (through faith) His spiritual mother. Then I (following thy faith with humility) am His spiritual mother. [pp.120-121]
Now I have Thee, my father, for the defense of the foolishness of my long youth. Now have I Thee, my brother, to succor my sorrows wherein I find no end. Now have I Thee, my son, for the only stay of my feeble age. Now have I Thee, true and faithful husband, for the satisfying of my whole heart and mind. [p.134]
In the Cathedral of Auch one observes many women in prominent figures. Men and women next to each other. It is surprisingly balanced.

When I was spell checking the post one sentence caught my eye: '(Dialogue en forme de vision nocturne)' which led to the thougth that if one made the claim that Marguerite of Navarre was a medium of sorts, it may be not too far fetched, at least not by the standards Allan Kardec puts down in his Book of Mediums. It also reminded me somehow of the evening in Auch when coming back from the Cathedral my buddy pulled out his notebook and then found and read an old downloaded page about Marguerite of Navarre. Inspiring it was too listen to.
 

Ellipse

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Hey! Nice you saw a part of the real France (not Paris). You've visit a region which I know well. You were close to the beast of the Gevaudan :).

Thx for your report.
 

Aeneas

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Thank you for the good description of the trip and as Thorbiorn's fellow traveller, I noticed several times on the journey the truth of what the C's has said so many times: " ...It is not where you are, but who you are and what you SEE." It was refreshing to travel with someone with such a keen eye and not afraid to pull at the threads of what is presented.

What stuck in my mind from reading the travel log and some of the threads was the quote from Marguerite de Navarre poetry:

thorbiorn said:
Most of Marguerite's poems and letters have not yet been translated into English, but enough is available to show the reader a fuller picture of the witty author of the Heptameron.
[From Shell's modernized version, Marguerite's opening, "To the Reader":]
If thou dost read this whole work, behold rather the matter and excuse the speech, considering it is the work of a woman which has in her neither science nor knowledge but a desire that each one might see what the gift of God doth when it pleaseth Him to justify the heart of a man. [p.113]
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
"And now I can call thee son, father, spouse, and brother."
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
[The major theme of Miroir is the multiple relationship of the human with God:]
Thou hast done so much for me, and yet art Thou not content to have forgiven me my sins, but also given unto me the right gracious gift of grace. For it should suffice me (I coming out of such a danger) to be ordered like a stranger; but Thou dost handle my soul (if so I durst say) as a mother, daughter, sister, and wife. [p.117]
Now, my Lord, if Thou be my father, may I think that I am Thy mother? For I cannot perceive how I should conceive Thee, which hast created me. But Thou didst satisfy my doubt when in preaching (stretching forth Thy hands) Thou didst say: "Those that shall do the will of My Father, they are my brethren and mother."
I believe then... that through love I have begotten Thee. Therefore without any fear will I take upon me the name of a mother: Mother of God. O sweet virgin Mary, I beseech thee be not sorry that I take up such a title.... For thou art His corporeal mother and also (through faith) His spiritual mother. Then I (following thy faith with humility) am His spiritual mother. [pp.120-121]
Now I have Thee, my father, for the defense of the foolishness of my long youth. Now have I Thee, my brother, to succor my sorrows wherein I find no end. Now have I Thee, my son, for the only stay of my feeble age. Now have I Thee, true and faithful husband, for the satisfying of my whole heart and mind. [p.134]
So while looking for more on the black virgin on the Forum, I stumbled on this quote that Black Swan had inserted from a book by Hedsel:

Black Swan said:
There is a dialogue between Hedsel and a woman he met at Chartres about the Black Madonna:

"Why are you in Chartres, Latona?"
"I'm here to see the Black Virgin..."
"The smell of the grave..." She was quoting from Fulcanelli. (Morien, quoted by Fulcanelli in a brief mention of La Clef du Cabinet hermetique, says of the black matter used in the alchemical process of refinement that it must show some acidity and have a 'certain smell of the grave.')
Hesel asks, "Do you think the Virgin was an Isis? Or was she something else?"
"I don't know. It is enough for me that the cathedral protects a pagan goddess - and that she is black...Do you know anything about the Black Virgins?"
"Fulcanelli says they bear the inscription, "To the Virgin about to give birth."
"Fulcanelli is right. Some do have those words inscribed on the socles." ( the inscription is Virgini pariturae)
"Fulcanelli said that the Black Virgin was also called the Mother of God, the great idea."
"Matri deum, magnae ideae. Difficult to translate, as idea is a play on the feminine for goddess, dea."

So one has to wonder if Marguerite de Navarre hadn't discovered something or knew something about the black virgin and possibly its pre Christian (paleochristian) origin. As Laura mentioned in another thread about Auch, the cathedral at Auch was dedicated to the black virgin. Marguerite de Navarre was closely associated with Auch Cathedral as it was being built.
 
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thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
More on Notre Dame de France on Rocher Corneille in Le Puy-en-Velay
Sometimes a place lingers in the mind long after a visit, it can be the people, the circumstances, what we learned etc. Today, as I found out it is August 14, the day before the Catholic Assumption of Mary day, I was thinking about the photo, taken on the trip to France in 2009, inserted in the first post. I revisited history, and four out it was made from cannons captured in the Crimean war.
For picture of one the two volcanic "dolmens" in le Puy see our photo:
While the one inserted in the first post is now water marked by the storage site. Here is one without a watermark:
IMG_0628.jpg
Picture was taken at an angle to a setting Sun, that is why it appears dark.
It seems the Sun had already set, as we had arrived late and went out to see what we could before it got completely dark.

From the French Wiki, you can see the monument looks very different in full sunlight:
1660489986415.png
The French Wiki about Rocher Corneille explains the geology of the rock on which the monument stands
The Rocher Corneille is the lower part of the chimney of an old volcano. Slabs have slipped during eruptions in this one, coming from the upper part. The rock is therefore a deep remnant of an atypical volcanic chimney, formed by filling in panels that collapsed during successive eruptions3.

Like the Aiguille rock, the geological origin of the Corneille rock has only been well understood since the detailed study of the eruption of the Surtsey volcano in Iceland in 1963. The water which formerly covered the Puy basin over a probable depth of 40 to 200 meters provided the volcanism located under this basin, through the interaction of magma and water, with the conditions conducive to the creation of palagonitized basaltic structures. The rock materializes the old chimney of the volcano, probably active between -5 and -0.3 million years ago and now extinct4.
The origin of the material for the monument
A research paper about the geology, Le Puy-en-Velay: gateway to the volcanoes of the Haute-Loire reveals
It is also possible to pay to visit the statue of Notre-Dame de France on the Rocher Corneille above the cathedral and climb inside this 16 m high cast iron statue which was built out of cannons captured at Sebastopol. This vantage point provides good views over the town, including an unusual view down towards the Chapelle St-Michel d’Aiguilhe just to the north of this central vent, and the surrounding countryside where the silhouettes of rather younger volcanoes can be seen on the horizon.
The cannons must have been Russian cannons.

France and the Crimean War that provided the Russian cannons from which the monument was built:
The immediate cause of the war involved the rights of Christian minorities in Palestine (then part of the Ottoman Empire) with the French promoting the rights of Roman Catholics, and Russia promoting those of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Longer-term causes involved the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the expansion of the Russian Empire in the preceding Russo-Turkish Wars, and the British and French preference to preserve the Ottoman Empire to maintain the balance of power in the Concert of Europe.

The churches worked out their differences with the Ottomans and came to an agreement, but both the French Emperor Napoleon III and the Russian Tsar Nicholas I refused to back down. Nicholas issued an ultimatum that demanded the Orthodox subjects of the Ottoman Empire be placed under his protection. Britain attempted to mediate and arranged a compromise to which Nicholas agreed. When the Ottomans demanded changes to the agreement, Nicholas recanted and prepared for war.
French Emperor Napoleon III's ambition to restore France's grandeur[40] initiated the immediate chain of events that led to France and Britain declaring war on Russia on 27 and 28 March 1854, respectively. He pursued Catholic support by asserting France's "sovereign authority" over the Christian population of Palestine,[41] to the detriment of Russia[42] (the sponsor of Eastern Orthodoxy). To achieve that, he in May 1851 appointed Charles, marquis de La Valette, a zealous leading member of the Catholic clericalists, as his ambassador to the Sublime Porte of the Ottoman Empire.[43]

Russia disputed that attempted change in authority. Referring to two previous treaties (one from 1757 and the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca from 1774), the Ottomans reversed their earlier decision, renounced the French treaty and declared that Russia was the protector of the Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman Empire.

Napoleon III responded with a show of force by sending the ship of the line Charlemagne to the Black Sea and thereby violated the London Straits Convention.[44][41]
On 23 November, the Russian convoy of 3 battle ships discovered the Ottoman fleet harboured in Sinop Harbour. Along with the additional 5 battleships, in the Battle of Sinop on 30 November 1853, they destroyed a patrol squadron of 11 Ottoman battleships while they were anchored in port under defence of the onshore artillery garrison. The Ottoman fleet suffered a crushing defeat. The Russian victory in the naval battle in Sinope was called "the massacre of Sinope".[58] This expression itself has propaganda content. Historians today see no grounds for accusing Russians of violating the customs of war. Russia and the Ottoman Empire were already at war.[59] The United Kingdom and French press shaped the public opinion to demand the war. Both used Sinop as the casus belli ("cause of war") for declaring war against Russia. On 28 March 1854, after Russia ignored an Anglo-French ultimatum to withdraw from the Danubian Principalities, the United Kingdom and France declared war.[60][61]
Historian Norman Rich argues that the war was not an accident, but was sought out by the determination of the British and French not to allow Russia an honourable retreat. Both insisted on a military victory to enhance their prestige in European affairs when a non-violent peaceful political solution was available. The war then wrecked the Concert of Europe, which had long kept the peace.[153]
France, which had sent far more soldiers to the war and suffered far more casualties than Britain had, wanted the war to end, as did Austria.[141]

Negotiations began in Paris in February 1856 and were surprisingly easy. France, under the leadership of Napoleon III, had no special interests in the Black Sea and so did not support the harsh British and Austrian proposals.[142]

Peace negotiations at the Congress of Paris resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Paris on 30 March 1856.[143]
More recently, historians Andrew Lambert and Winfried Baumgart have argued that Britain was following a geopolitical strategy in aiming to destroy the fledgling Russian Navy, which might challenge the Royal Navy for control of the seas, and that the war was also a joint European response to a century of Russian expansion not just southwards but also into Western Europe.[60][145]
In 1870, Prussia persuaded Russia to remain neutral in the Franco-Prussian war.[163] Bismarck, having declared it impossible to keep 100 million Russians in a humiliated position without sovereign rights to their Black Sea coastline,[164] supported Russia against the Treaty of Paris, and in return, Prussia achieved freedom of action against France in 1870–71 and inflicted a crushing defeat on it.
France was on the winning side in the Crimean war, but lost, according to the Wiki, 135,485 soldiers, or more than 60% of all the Western losses. And if you count the influence on the French war with Germany in 1870-71, then Crimea was just the beginning. While I think the monument in the setting Sun is beautiful, the story is tragic.

So does the statue, besides having a traditional religious interpretation, also serve as a memorial to the many sons and soldiers lost in the Crimean war? Was the monument erected as a consolation for some of these mothers, to remind them that they were not alone, not the first, and not the last.
 
More on Notre Dame de France on Rocher Corneille in Le Puy-en-Velay
Hi, I grew and lived 40 years in this town, so your post is moving my heart :-). Thanks thorbiorn!

To me the material of the statue was known as " Napoleon's canons", they were donated to the foundry who built it, if I remember well. Beside this, Le Puy is a town where the catholic church had ruled everything and still is... Local priesthood has "not so hidden" links with neo-templars/far right organisations. But one can still "feel the grandeur" of the site in the cathedral and it's a good place for cleansing.
 
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