Travel in France – Tulle

Travel in France, Day 6, started in a leisurely way with coffee and bread in bed, and the end of The Skull Mantra by Eliot Pattison – riveting – and the first of several of his books for the holiday. It had rained and more rain was in the air and so walking was postponed and we went to Tulle instead.

The Cathedral of Notre Dame, Tulle, was originally the Abbey of Saint Martin, a Benedictine monastery founded in 7C or 8C. The abbey was powerful and prosperous (it owned Rocamadour) and in 1103 Abbot Guillaume set out to rebuild. The Abbey became a bishopric in 1317. Today only the nave and porch are original, and the tower dates from the 13C. The remainder of the building is later. I found the interior ‘solid’, with a beautiful organ at the back of the church – what a pity it was silent. The cloister was quite unexpected, not far from the main road along the river. The church is being restored, and there was evidence of a lot work in the cloister, and the capitulaire, which was painted.

The Cathedral of Notre Dame, Tulle
The Cathedral of Notre Dame, Tulle
The Cathedral of Notre Dame, Tulle
The Cathedral of Notre Dame, Tulle

The nave of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Tulle

The cloister has been restored.

The Salle Capitulaire, Tulle Cathedral
The Salle Capitulaire, Tulle Cathedral

Tombs of Popes in the cloister; I can’t find more information about these tombs.

Tombs of Popes

The building below, now a museum, was part of the Abbey buildings, seen from the square outside the cloister.

The Cathedral Museum, Tulles
The Cathedral Museum, Tulles

The square adjacent to the Cathedral with the Loyac House on the left. The façade of the house is heavily carved and ornamented, with some rather curious figures! It dates from the 16C and was known as The Abbot’s House. 

The square adjacent to the Cathedral with the Loyac House on the left

Mediaeval streets wound a narrow way up the hillsides, with gates into courtyards, and carved doorways.

On the south side of the river is a hostel for pilgrims – the town was one of the stops on a pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostelo.

An old pilgrim hostel in Tulles
An old pilgrim hostel in Tulles

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Tulle was the site of a massacre during WWII, June 1944. (Memorial here.) The next day came the massacre at Oradour-sur-Glane.

Gimel les Cascades defeated us – it was raining heavily and there were steep steps down into the valley to see the waterfalls. There are the remains of a castle, a painted church, and a chapel for penitents.

The stream above the waterfalls at Gimel les Cascades

The view over the valley, from the shelter of an oak tree!

And that was enough for me – we arrived back at the gîte just ahead of the next downpour and turned on the heating!

Approaching rain at Cayre

You may be interested in
Historic photographs of the cathedral
Article on Tulle and its history
Tulle
President Hollande and Tulle

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