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Palais Ducal and Hôtel de Ville
While at first glance Nevers lacks the charm of many of the wine towns and villages of Burgundy, it has several different aspects on offer by way of relief. Bombed by the British during the second World War, the town centre is rather a hotch-potch but it is good for shopping, there are scenic waterways and plenty of open countryside to attract. This is the administrative centre for the Nièvre department.
The history of the town, and in fact the whole of France can be traced through the pottery it is famous for, faïence. From Italian origins, this heavily patterned china depicts scenes from the ancien régime, to the Revolution in miniature on plates and ornaments. The Montagnon factory, Du Bout du Monde, founded in 1648, still carries on the traditions of generations. If you follow Le Fil Bleu, the blue line painted on the pavement from the Palais Ducal down Rue du 14 Juillet, it will lead you to the pottery quarter of town. Now a significant collection is on view at the Musée de la Faïence de Nevers in the beautifully renovated Abbaye de Notre Dame. This decorative arts centre should be on your 'must visit' list.
The famous faïence china
Head for the Rue François Mitterrand for stylish shops, the Place de l’Europe for café life and on to the loveliest church, St. Etienne. On a culinary note, if you like nougat, visit Edé, 75 Rue François Mitterand and for those with a very sweet tooth, Au Négus along the same street, has everything from marron glacé to praline, chocolate and caramel see Specialist Shops.
Nevers is on the River Loire. Stroll along the Quai des Mariners, or take a trip on a futreau, a traditional flat-bottomed boat. At Nevers the stopping place is a cul de sac with pontoons, buzzing with life during the summer.
After 30 years of work, the stunning new stained glass windows in the Cathedral of St-Cyr-et-Ste-Juliette have been inaugurated. Contemporary in design, 130 picture windows have been created, costing 7.1 million euros.
The original windows in the cathedral were destroyed in the bombing on the night of July 15-16 1944. The allied forces missed their target, a marshalling yard at Nevers railway station, showering the city with bombs and killing 162 inhabitants of the town. Three of the bombs exploded in the cathedral.
Jean-Michel Alberola, Gottfried Honnegaer, François Rouan, Raoul Ubac and Claude Viallat designed the new windows and worked in conjunction with master stained glass craftsmen. From June 15 to September 15 guided visits with commentary in French, will take place each afternoon at 16.00, except Saturday.
Notre Dame des Eaux
Nevers is also a place of pilgrimage. Bernadette Soubirous,
a simple country girl from Lourdes claimed that the Virgin appeared 18
times to her. Several miracles occurred as a result of this and Lourdes
then became a famous place for pilgrims. Persuaded of her calling, she
became a nun at St. Gildard, a convent of the Sisters of Charity of Nevers.
She died there in 1879, was beatified and later canonised in 1933. Her
body has lain at the Espace Bernadette Soubirous , 34 Rue St-Gildard since
1925 and every year half a million people stop at the shrine. Nevers is
also on the pilgrim route to Santiago
Tues to Fri mornings and all day Sat at Marché Carnot
Places to eat
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Pam Elson ©burgundytoday.com