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Highlights of the Morvan Villages
This is a popular tourist centre with many signposted walks, some into the forest. One in particular is the Canche Gorges between Glenne and Folin Forests. Anost hosts a Morvan music festival in the middle of August each year , the ‘Festival de la Vieille’ with hurdy-gurdies and cornemuses.
Between the high Morvan area of Mont Beuvray and the lakes Settons and Pannecière Chaumard, Château Chinon provides a good vantage point to view the countryside from the hill, the three crosses of Calvary. This was where François Mitterrand was mayor for 22 years before becoming President and he lived in room 15 in the Hôtel du Vieux Morvan whenever he was in town. The Musée de Septennat displays the many gifts from all over the world sent to the President.
Just outside the Park boundaries, Clamecy is intrinsically bound up with the Morvan. It was here where the river Beuvron joins the Yonne. The logging industry became big business in the 19thC, as the wood was sent down the river, and then on barges on the Canal du Nivernais to Paris. Each 14th July in the afternoon the town celebrates with a jousting contest on the river, commemorating the ‘flotteurs’ of old.
The lock at Clamecy on the Canal du Nivernais brings the boaters in the summer months. The rest of the year Clamecy is a sleepy town with charming winding streets and half-timbered houses. Romain Rolland, the writer and Nobel prizewinner was born here in 1866 and there is a museum commemorating him.
The Etang du Goulot just outside Lormes is the place for fishing, kayaking and swimming. The little town itself sits on a gorge where two little rivers go on to form the Cascade de Narvau, reachable on foot. In town, walk up the Rue du Panorama to the church St-Alban, where you will have a panoramic view of the Morvan. The sheep dog trials, herding cattle, is a local event.
This village is the highest village in the Morvan at 650 m above sea level. One of the towns completely destroyed during the German occupation in World War II, it has been rebuilt. This area of outstanding natural beauty attracts many tourists during the summer; the countryside and lakes are unspoilt, there are water mills, and nearby, the Gouloux waterfall which is about 10 m high is a much photographed beauty spot. Gouloux too is famous for the clog maker.
One hundred and twelve empty sarcophagi surround the church on the square in Quarré-les-Tombes; no one is quite sure why.
This is the land of dolmens and druid rituals. La Roche aux Fées is one such dolmen in the Fôret au Duc, another lies in the grounds of L’Abbaye de la Pierre qui Vire, the Benedictine monastery with over 90 monks. Throughout the forest in this area there are signs of the mystical past to explore.
The town sits in the shadow of Mont Beuvray which is 820m above sea level. Chestnut trees grow on the slopes and the chestnut harvest is celebrated each year with a fête on the last Sunday of October. This is the nearest town to Bibracte and the Museum of Celtic Civilization, an area encompassed in history and legend. St-Léger-sous-Beuvray is also known for its annual European bagpipe (cornemuses) festival held each year in summer.
St-Léger-Vauban lies in the canton of Quarré-les-Tombes. Here, military architect and strategist Maréchal de Vauban was born and there is a small museum on the square to commemorate him.
Château de Bazoche closeby became his home and is well worth a visit.