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Autun and the southern Morvan
What a mixed bag of civilizations this day presents; from Celtic warriors to Roman emperors and on to Buddhist monks.
Unlike most towns in Burgundy, Autun is not sited on a major river but on the Arroux which runs gently through the town. The place has a strong, solid air, brought about by its position at the southern edge of the granite hills of the Morvan Forest and its importance in the past. Here the history of the region unfolds from the Roman domination through to the present day. The Roman amphitheatre (right) seated 20,000 people in its day, and Porte d'Arroux, built in the 1stC and Porte St-André, the 4thC are still standing. The Romanesque cathedral, from quite a different time scale, should not be missed if you are in town.
To find out more about how the Gauls were toppled by the Romans, head to St-Léger-sous-Beuvray and the Museum of Celtic Civilization, Bibracte. The museum is a complete surprise - a state-of-the-art building in the middle of the forest, the presentation is good and you can visit the archaeological site, with superb views from Mount Beuvray. See History of the Celts.
As a total contrast to the warring factions, head down
to La Boulaye on the D994 to the peace of the Bhutanese temple Dashang
Kagyu Ling. This is a world apart. The vibrant reds, gold and turquoise
in the decoration bring the forest to life. You can visit the Temple, an explosion of colour, pattern and atmosphere, wander around the complex where meditation, yoga and retreats take place and visit the small shop.
North met south with the Celts and the Romans, east meets west with the Buddhists and Christians, here is a melting pot of ideologies to be sure.
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