Rich in history, the charming town of Montmorillon is the perfect destination for a relaxing day out…
Dive into a world of books
Founded in 2000, “la Cité de l’Ecrit et des Métiers du Livre” is unique in France, bringing together not only booksellers and book specialists, but also the fine craft workers - calligraphers, illustrators and bookbinders – to breathe new life into little-known or forgotten trades. In the restored medieval quarter you can buy rare and second-hand books covering all genres, from cartoon to art and cookery, as well as watching free daily demonstrations by crafts people (July and August). Don’t miss the Typewriter and Calculator Museum located in the heart of the Cité, where your children will be amazed at the machines of bygone ages. Finish with a spot of people-watching at one of the pavement cafés, or enjoy a meal in a local restaurant.
Discover a town rich in history and heritage
Among the town’s many treasures, don’t miss important buildings from the Romanesque period. These include the Eglise de Notre Dame, whose vivid 12th century murals depict the story of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. In an effort to get Catherine to renounce her Catholic faith, Emperor Maxentius sent his fifty best philosophers to reason with her. Instead, she converted them to Catholicism, and on their return the enraged Emperor burnt them to death.
Also waiting to be discovered is the ‘Octogone’, an unusual octagonal cemetery chapel modeled on the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, and unique in Europe. Finally, don’t miss the wall paintings in the Chapelle St-Laurent, created for the religious education of priests-to-be.
Explore Montmorillon with the Jack of Hearts
Lahire, the ‘Jack of Hearts’ on French playing cards, was Joan of Arc’s Captain and Lord of Montmorillon. He’s buried in the Chapelle St-Laurent. Today Lahire will guide you in an interesting walk to discover his city, its historic monuments and the “Cité de l’Ecrit et des Métiers du Livre”.
Dates to remember this summer:
15 - 16 June: The Book Fair
100 writers and editors in the Cité de l’Ecrit, with conferences, visits and exhibitions. The theme is “Words to Write History”.
13 - 14 July: FIREWORKS and Painting Days
Painting competition (two days to paint the town). Enjoy a night walk with lanterns on the 13th followed by concerts and fireworks the 14th.
14 August: The Night of Books
Late opening (until midnight) of the Cité de l’Ecrit, with candles and art shows. 24-25 August:
Three days of concerts and theatre – the after-noon performances are free. Workshops for youngsters each morning.
14 September: Night Heritage walk
Guided heritage walk through the specially-lit town.
Two departures: 8.15pm and 9.15pm
la Préface, Information and reception area, 3, rue Bernard Harent, 86500 Montmorillon. +33 (0)5 49 83 03 03, www.citedelecrit-montmorillon.com