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Poterie de la Bâtisse
Travel 45 minutes south west of Auxerre and you come to the Puisaye, an unspoilt rural area famous for two things, its pottery and the writer Colette.
Anyone interested in literature will head straight for St-Sauveur en Puisaye, the birthplace of Colette. The Musée Colette is dedicated to her and sheds light on her colourful life, a woman years ahead of her time.
Closeby at Moutiers en Puisaye is the ancient Poterie de la Bâtisse. The wood fired horizontal kiln, a listed historic monument dating back to the 18th C, used to fire household stoneware, called grès, and elegant blue pottery, called faïence for which the region is famous.
Mural at the church in Moutiers
Ochre from the Puisaye has been used extensively over the centuries as a dye. In the Middle Ages it was used to decorate the walls of churches in the area. At Moutiers the little church has 12th, 13th and 16th C murals, discovered in 1982 when a particularly dry Spring caused some of the whitewash on the walls to crumble. Japanese restorer Hisao Takahashi set to work to uncover the paintings. Work continues to preserve the structure of the church.
Guédelon set in the forest on the D955 between St-Sauveur and St-Armand is history in the action. Do not miss it, a good half day should be set aside. Of interest to anyone over five years of age, here a medieval castle-fortress is being built from scratch using 800 year old techniques. You can walk all over the site while the craftsmen are at work, and visit the workshops of the blacksmiths, carpenters, masons, weavers, potters etc. This ‘off-the-wall’ dream has become a living reality, and you will be able to chart the progress of the build over the next 20 years of construction.
Close to Guédelon is the Parc de Boutissant, a 400 hectare estate with deer, roe, stag, wild boar and European buffalo roaming at will.
The town of St-Fargeau, dominated by the pink moated château, has a little museum worth visiting called Musée de l’Aventure du Son tracing the history of sound with displays of phonographs, barrel organs and early radios.
A good place to stop for a lunch or dinner break is at La Demoiselle in front of the château.
PLACES TO STAY
Hotel Le Maxime *** Auxerre
Hotel Parc Des Maréchaux *** Auxerre
Les Clairions ** Auxerre