These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for over nine years now and are still loving it. Our Ulster born Shih Tzu, Shannon, has grown up, and has taken over the boat! After three wonderful years in Ireland, we transported The Puzzler to The Netherlands, and spent a year there. In 2015 we went southwards, to reach the north of France by June. After glorious weather throughout the summer, we arrived in Roanne in late October, and enjoyed our winter in this friendly port. We cruised extensively in France in 2016 and 2017, returning to Roanne each winter.


Monday, 18 June 2018

11th - 12th June 2018. Fontenay Abbey and the Grande Forge de Buffon.


While we had the car with us, we drove over from Montbard to visit the Abbey of Fontenay, which was founded by Saint Bernard in 1118.



The abbey itself was built in the Romanesque style, and was deliberately simply sculpted, so as not to distract the eye or the mind from prayer.


The abbey was very wealthy from the 12th century to the 15th century, with a community of more than 200 monks. They all slept in this dormitory, on simple pallets.


The dormitory is in the top half of this building, with the chapter house below it. This is used for everyday business of the community.
This vast plane tree has seen many changes here at the Abbey de Fontenay. By the time of the French Revolution there were only 12 monks left in Fontenay, and it was sold, to be bought in 1820 by Elie de Montgolfier, a descendant of the inventors of the hot-air balloon. He transformed the property into a paper mill. However, it was bought back in 1906 by Edouard Aynard, and he undertook massive restoration work, removing all the buildings of the paper-mill. The Abbey de Fontenay is now classified as a Unesco World Heritage site.


Driving back down the Canal de Bourgogne from Montbard, we return to Buffon, an extremely pretty village.

George-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, was born in Montbard in 1707. He was a reknowned naturalist, the author of a monumental 36- Histoire Naturelle.
Louis XV, the King of France, asked him to undertake studies on the smelting and treatment of iron ore in Burgundy. These resulted in the Grand Forge de Buffon which was built between 1768 and 1772, and this was the first time that the three processes of furnace, refinery and foundry were concentrated in the same place.



Two of the three waterwheels at the mill are still there to be seen.

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