Sunday, April 29, 2012

Une Sortie à Elne

The streets of Elne
On our penultimate day of camping, we decided to go slightly further afield. Though not by much! We ended up in Elne, a town that was about 11km north of Le Camping.

The courtyard of the Cloître


Elne used to be the capital of the Rousillon region before being overtaken by Perpignan. Now, it is hard to imagine that Elne could once have been a thriving regional hotspot, as it has about 8,000 inhabitants (while Perpignan has 121,000)...

The main attractions in Elne are La Cathédrale de Sainte-Eulalie-et-Sainte-Julie et La Cloître d'Elne (A cathedral and cloister).
The Cathedral was constructed in the 11th and 12th centuries, while the cloister was constructed in stages from the 12 to 14th centuries.

The cloister was not actually built for monks, but for canons, who were clerical assistants in the diocese.

Two interesting pieces of information about the La Cathédrale et La Cloître d'Elne: 

Plaque commemorating the 700th anniversary

1. In 1285, during the Arogenese Crusade, French troops surrounded the town, forcing the townspeople into La Cathédrale, raped many of the women and children on the church altar, and then locked the doors and set fire to the church, killing those inside. It is said that some parts of the church still bear marks from the fire.

This doorway is blackened, possibly bearing the scars of the 1285 massacre

    I could have touched it,
    but I didn't....
    2. In a little room beside the cathedral was an exhibit of historical information, documents, and artefacts relating to the history of Elne and Sa Cloître. 

    One was a painting that looked to me to be medieval, possibly from the 1600 or 1700s. It was in a glass box, of sorts, open to the elements at the top, and there were some bug carcasses at the bottom of the case. Fresh air and bugs! Beside a 400-500 year old painting?! 

    Beside the painting was this beautiful painted box (shown in the picture here) that was even older. This one wasn't even in a glass box!! Just sitting out where anyone could touch it, right on the floor where possible moisture could get to it. The historian and archivist in me nearly died from horror. What a way to look after such precious treasures!!!

    A door for midgets
    View from the rooftop of the Cloister, looking towards the Mediterranean

    After taking time to look around the area, we drove to the seaside at Saint-Cyprien and had an icecream by the beach. Now that's the life!

    (These last pictures are from a visit to Argelès Plage. What a gorgeous sky!)

    No comments:

    Post a Comment