Saturday, October 10, 2015

To Amboise we go, with a sad detour

Day 8: Oradour sur Glane, arrival in Amboise

We departed Le Grenier apartment in Sarlat-le-Caneda at 9am.  We thanked the nice proprietor, Barry, encouraged him to fix the rope railing which had remained broken during our stay, and walked down the spiral staircase for the last time.  We'd like to return to the Dordogne area and explore some more of its charms, but we won't be staying at Le Grenier.

We had a long drive to Amboise but knew we definitely wanted to stop at Oradour Sur Glane, and maybe a castle, too. 

We plotted our course and followed the signs to the A20 to Souillac and onward toward Limoges and Oradour sur Glane.  We kept ignoring the GPSs and arrived at the welcoming center for Oradour in good time.  It was a spectacularly beautiful sunshiny day.

We had read about the atrocities committed in this town in the Michelin Green Guide and didn't feel we had time to do justice to the museum so went directly to the ruins.  It's an incredibly sad place (I cried a lot).  We saw the church where the women and children were burned.  We saw the burned houses and businesses.  We walked toward the cemetery and husband noticed an entrance to a Memorial museum that had all the names of the victims and items that survived the massacre.  I mention it because it's easy to miss but so worth seeking out.  We walked through the cemetery and then made our way back to the entrance.  We bought a book that detailed the massacre and its aftermath and then were on our way.
On 10 June 1944, 642 inhabitants of Oradour sur Glane were savagely killed by Nazis.
The women and children took refuge in the church and were burned inside

This is the somewhat hidden entrance to the excellent museum on the site

The names of all those killed
They recovered some of the inhabitants things
We were not exactly in the right frame of mind to see a castle so just headed to Amboise but routing ourselves there was challenging.  We laid out our huge Michelin maps on the hood of the car and determined that we'd head toward Poitiers then get the A10 toward Tours.  We made the GPS take this way by putting in small towns along the route. 

The GPSs were brilliant in getting us directly to the door of La Grange Amboise (18 rue Chaptal).  I recognized the red door and rang the bell.  The proprietress, Ms. Yveline, opened up and husband maneuvered the car into the driveway in the pretty courtyard.  She was very nice but had very limited English and of course we have extremely limited French so not much conversation was possible.

She welcomed us, showed us around and allowed us to pick our room (we chose the one with the big bed!).  We were pleased with what we saw and knew we'd be comfortable for three nights.

Our room was a good size with quality furnishing. The bed was large and comfortable.  The bathroom was a good size, very clean, with hooks for towels, a basket for your toiletries in the shower stall, and Hansgrohe fixtures.  The room was not cluttered with dusty flowers or tchotchkes or non-functional things.  I really liked that! No TV.  Wi-Fi worked better downstairs than in our room. It was reasonable at E85 per night.

We refreshed and headed out to explore the town.  La Grange Amboise is very well situated for the old town--about 5 minutes walk and you're in the thick of things.  Stores were still open and husband was tempted by some gorgeous menswear offerings.  We also considered some kitchen accessories.  But we didn't buy anything (shocker!).

Our reservation at Chez Bruno (38-40 Place Michel Debre) was not until 8pm and with about 40 minutes to kill, we hung out at brightly lit bar a few doors down looking at the Castle.  The TV was showing rugby and the staff were very carefully cleaning everything.  Suitably refreshed, we went on over to Chez Bruno for dinner which was outstanding--it was completely packed while we were there.
Starters were escargot (husband) and onion soup.  Mains were fish (me) and veal in a flaky pastry (husband), dessert was pears and cream.  Everything was excellent, including the casually efficient service.  The waiters looked like "hipsters" but paid close attention to the customers.  We didn't have to ask for refills of bread or water, they noticed and took care of it.  One waiter reminded us of our cousin back home (sweet personality, cute).  We really enjoyed Chez Bruno and would have gone back but it was closed the rest of our time in Amboise.

 We took the long way back to the B&B for the night.

1. I'm thankful we were able to see Oradour sur Glane.  It represents "man's inhumanity to man" and must not be forgotten.
2. It's hard to feel frivolous enough to tour a castle after walking around a tragedy, and that's OK.
3. Learn more French!

Next: We see three castles

No comments:

Post a Comment