BILLANGES – SAINT-LÉONARD-DE-NOBLAT

 

 

What day are we?

We are every day, my friend

We are the whole of live, my love….

                                                                                              Jaques Prévert

                                                          

 

It was a rainy morning when we left Billanges. Against the grey sky, the green leaves of trees and shrubs were shining in a saturated, deep green. It was a feast for the eye. We walked over paved streets and small forest ways and passed an abandoned looking palace. In a forest, we came up to a decorated tree trunk, the “tronc du pelerin”. This tree trunk was decorated with all kinds of objects people left on their way to Santiago. We had great fun to look at all these different things.

 

 

Pont du Dognon over the river Taurion

Pont du Dognon over the river Taurion

 

 

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Le tronc du pelerine with the inscription “Ultreia”. It means “onward and upward” and was used by the medieval pilgrims as a greeting phrase.

Le tronc du pelerine with the inscription “Ultreia”. It means “onward and upward” and was used by the medieval pilgrims as a greeting phrase.

 

 

Rohan was always walking in the front. Although he suffered from Asthma this day, his speed was faster than I normally walk. In hiking up a muddy path one time, I felt a sudden sharp pain in my left calf. My leg was cramped and I hardly could walk anymore. I asked Eddy and Rohan to continue the trek and I would slowly follow. After a while my leg relaxed. From then on, I walked at my own speed.

 

 

 

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Sometimes, I came across conflicting signs. Usually, I ignored the local signs and followed the symbol of the Way to Santiago.

 

 

Conflicting symbols

Conflicting symbols

 

The refuge I stayed at in Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat was right in the center of the city. Here I met Eddy and Rohan again. St. Léonard is a medieval city where old and new is often perfectly blending together.

 

 

House with Gothic facade

House with Gothic facade

 

 

Fresh fruit and vegetables sold in the street

Fresh fruit and vegetables sold in the street

 

The town is famous for the church Église Saint-Léonard, an 11th century church dedicated by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It contains the grave of St. Léonard, the patron saint of prisoners. At one time, the church was filled with prison chains donated by former prisoners. Now, there is only one chain mounted over the grave of the Saint and no candle burning in front of his grave. He was one of the most popular saints in the medieval ages and many churches all over Europe were dedicated to him.

 

 

Apsis with side chapels of Église Saint Léonard

Apsis with side chapels of Église Saint Léonard

 

 

Main nave of the church

Main nave of the church

 

 

Grave of Saint-Léonard

Grave of Saint-Léonard

 

 

To my great surprise, in one of the side chapels, I saw a model of a church I know very well. It was the church Sankt Leonhard in the little village of Altaussee in Austria.

 

 

Model of the church in Austria

Model of the church in Austria