Vacances en France – 2018 – Vic-sur-Cère


Saturday 8th September and after a good nights sleep we all awoke to a brilliant sunny day. With all the travelling of the previous day, nobody wanted to go too far afield. So it was decided that we would visit Vic-sur-Cère located about 11km away from the gite, about fifteen minutes drive. Vic-sur-Cère or Vic in Carladez is an old spa town in the valley of the Cère river.

Parking up in the town center we first visited Claveras Sébastien, the local boulangerie, where we purchased a couple of loaves. Stashing our fresh bread in the car we then set out to explore the town.

Le Manoir dates from the 17th Century. Since then it has been a Benedictine Convent,
a boarding school for girls. Then it became the property of the Murat-Sistrieres Family, and subsequently the De Pierre Family. Today, it is an extension of the Hotel Beauséjour.

Saint-Pierre Church of Vic sur Cère

Dating from the 11th century, the church of Saint Peter was destroyed for the first time in 1261 before being rebuilt in a Romanesque style. It remains of the Romanesque period only the intact steeple dating from 1265.
The Revolution was a test for the building and after a period when he was left abandoned, Mr. Murat de Sistrières in 1802 decided to repair the seven altars, floors, steeple stairs, the big door and part of the roof.
In 1894, the vicar of Vic, anxious to welcome more and more summer visitors, considered it necessary to enlarge the church but the dissuasive estimate was refused by the municipality. It was then that the priest opened a parish subscription

Vic-sur-Cère has many winding back streets, not obvious when you drive through on the main road.

Doing that touristy thing tends to give one both a thirst and hunger pangs. Although Vic-sur-Cère appears to have several brasseries and restaurants, catching them open must be a form of sport. We did eventually manage to get quite a nice meal at the Casino de Vic-sur-Cere.

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Casino de Vic-sur-Cere

Turns out that it is actually a casino, not just a hotel as we first thought. After lunch we returned to the gite to make the most of a beautiful sunny day. We sat outside until the sun went down behind the farm buildings. With such a clear sky, the temperature drop was quite dramatic.

Had relaxed supper of local cheeses, sausage, Friton (made from pork, a kind of course pâté) and the crusty bread purchased earlier, all washed down with some really nice red wine.

New Norcia


Yesterday, we traveled up along the Great North Highway to visit New Norcia, located approximately 140 kilometers from Perth.

Education Centre - New Norcia, WA

Education Centre – New Norcia, WA

New Norcia, Australia’s only Monastic Town, was founded as a Benedictine Mission to local native aboriginals on 1st March, 1846. The settlement was led by the two Spanish Benedictines, Rosendo Salvado and Joseph Serra. The name New Norcia, is taken from Norcia, Italy which is the birthplace of St Benedict. For some reason New Norcia is pronounced “new nor-sia” as opposed to it’s original Italian namesake, which is pronounced “nor-chee-a”.

A visit to New Norcia is highly recommended. It is architecturally so unlike any other Australian town.

The museum contains exhibits focussed on the monastery and key individuals as well as “rooms” specific to advances in medicine, technology and agriculture. Outside of the main museum building there is a separate, dusty, machinery shed which contains several curiosities.

The second floor of the  museum building houses the art gallery which house both modern and classical pieces.

In 1986, the gallery was the scene of WA’s biggest ever art theft,  when twenty-six paintings were stolen by two robbers. Although described as a robbery it was more an act of vandalism as the paintings were cut from their frames, then rolled up, further damaging them in the process. Several weeks later, all but one of the stolen paintings were returned. The remaining painting, too big to fit in the robbers car, was cut into pieces and thrown away. The recovered paintings have been the subject of a long restoration at the cost of over 100, 000 dollars.

On the top floor of the museum can be found St Joseph’s Aboriginal Girls’ Exhibition which reflects the experiences of Aboriginal girls resident at the orphanage at New Norcia.

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Also on this floor  is the Gardner Botanical Exhibition, featuring artworks on paper of Western Australian plants, by WA’s first Government botanist, Charles A Gardner.

A couple of monastery residents, not sure if they are Benedictines.

While visiting New Norcia we also had lunch, sat on the terrace of the New Norcia Hotel.

New Norcia Hotel - New Norcia, WA

New Norcia Hotel – New Norcia, WA

While sitting on the terrace drinking Abbey Ale was very pleasant, my meal didn’t live up to expectations. Although Gerry’s Pork Cutlet, with Chat Potatoes, veggies and gravy, was fine my Ribs were under cooked for the most part and totally raw in the center of the thickest portion. I don’t mind rare beef and lamb but like my pork to be fully cooked. Unfortunately I didn’t notice the rawness until I had cleared my plate of the rest of my meal. However, I returned the plate to the bar and complained. The staff were very apologetic and offered me a refund. I suggested that wasn’t necessary and that they give me a piece of the New Norcia Nut Cake instead. They insisted on giving me the refund as well as the Nut Cake. Smiles all round.