Posts Tagged ‘Saint Céré’
IT WAS 69 YEARS AGO TODAY… 10 June 1944, just 4 days after the allied forces landed on the beaches in Normandy; an atrocity was perpetrated by Hitler’s S.S. on the 1,000 year old village of Oradour-sur-Glane. In all, 642 persons that included; 193 schoolchildren perished in the massacre that Saturday afternoon. Actual specifics and firsthand accounts detailing the horrific brutality can be easily found on the internet… The 190 men were herded into 9 different barns and buildings where they were then shot in the legs and burnt alive, all the women and schoolchildren were lead into the church to meet a similarly unspeakable end.
I knew little about the magnitude or scope of this war crime but felt compelled last week to travel just north of Limoges to see and learn more about what was only occasionally whispered about by our neighbors many of whom were themselves members, or children, of the Maquis (French Résistance) during WWII. You see, this convoy of Hitler’s SS had just passed through our villages of both Bretenoux and Saint Céré only 24 hours before the massacre.
We were not prepared for what we saw and what we learned… I was not prepared for the actual size of this village which has been left EXACTLY as it was on that infamous day. In total; 325 homes, shops, hotels, cafés, schools, and the church, were plundered, burnt and left frozen in time, so all who visit will remember horror that occurred in Oradour-sur-Glane, not really so long ago.
Souviens-Toi et à bientôt, Jack
THE CHARMING 9th CENTURY MARKET TOWN of St. Céré is less than 5 miles east of the Dordogne River. Built along the Bave River it was defended by a series of castles, especially St. Laurent les Tours whose two towers look down a steep hill onto the village’s old tiled rooftops.
St. Céré owes it name to the martyrdom of Saint Spérie in 780. Born the daughter to the then lord of St. Laurent, Sérenus, Spérie pledged herself to God at a very early age. When Spérie refused a pre-arranged marriage to a local nobleman she was beheaded by her own brother and buried on the riverbank. Later, a chapel was erected directly over her grave which became a very important stop for pilgrims heading to Santiago de Compostela. Within the church her crypt is still accessible and can be visited today.
Taking a coffee in the Place du Mercadial surrounded by its middle-age houses or walking through the twisting village streets soaking up the history is a pleasure not to be missed.
Join a group of riders on a fall mountain bike (VTT) ride 19k from Mézels to Saint Céré along the Causse (Palisades) just above the Dordogne River. You’ll pass through 3 of France’s most beautiful villages: Carennac, Loubressac and Autoire before arrival in St. Céré:
With such close proximity to the Dordogne River by the early 15th century St. Céré became a very important crossroads for trading merchants from Asia, Africa and Northern Europe and that tradition continues today with a very large open market here on every 1st & 3rd Wednesdays of the month…
We will look forward to seeing you there!
Bon marché et à bientôt! Jack