Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Come stroll with me...

... through the village of Ancy-le-Libre...

I'm camped at Lézinnes, and it's good to see that not much has changed since I was last here. As it's Sunday, I thought I'd go out for lunch but set off early so that I could get some pics of one of the many tiny villages around here.  From Lézinnes, it's a right out of the village road onto the D905 and then first left after the bridges across the canal and river onto the D200 to Ancy.  The road brings you to the edge of town and Mémé's - which is where I will be having lunch.
Ancy-le-Libre is a tiny little place with around 160 inhabitants - which makes it even smaller than the tiny place in which I live in the UK.  And that's fine by me.  Some of the smallest places have some of the biggest histories.
And Ancy does not disappoint.  As I stroll down rue de l'Église, my first piece of history is a plaque on the exterior wall of a house at the edge of the village.  During the 1939/45 conflict, France was divided, the northern area and western sea-bord were occupied, and the remainder of the country became Vichy France under the control of Maréchal Pétain.
The plaque tells me that Jean Chapelle (1924 - 1981) lived in the house during the war.  It also tells me that he was Commandant Verneuil in the maquis.  Verneuil was the leader of the resistance in the Yonne.  Under a plan referred to as Hérisson du Morvan, Verneuil had to regroup the available forces that were dispersed in the south and east of the departément into a massive single force that could take control of the whole of the Morvan - an extensive wooded and hilly area that stretched to the east of Yonne.  At barely twenty years old, Verneuil requisitioned vehicles and arms and recruited men for his army of maquisards.  In 1944 during the route of the occupiers, Verneuil and his men drove gradually eastwards and were instrumental in freeing town after town until they reached Dijon in September.  Joining forces with the 1st French Army on the Vosges, Verneuil went on to command a battalion and fought in the Vosges and Alsace.  Post-war, Chappelle enjoyed a brilliant career as a senior Civil Servant.  He died in Paris.
I continue my meander along rue de l'Église.  The village is almost silent in the bright sunshine.  But as I pass number 33, the gates are open, and a beautiful courtyard is revealed. Decorated with hanging baskets of bright flowers, I look around to see if there is someone about so that I can ask permission to take a photo.  Unfortunately, there was no one around.  So, if you happen to be passing this way, do have a look at number 33.
The road leads you up to the heart of the village and the Mairie.  A typical and imposing 19th-century building.  The sun is getting hotter, and I decide to head back to the edge of the village and have lunch at Chez Mémé.  As I draw closer, I notice a piece of paper pinned to the door. Hoping it might be today's menu, I quicken my pace.  I'm disappointed to find that the note tells me that the restaurant is closed today.  A car, an old Citroen, draws up.  I shrug as I tell them the restaurant is closed.  Monsieur and Madame turn their car around and drive away.
I decide to come back on another day and meander my way back along the canal.

No comments:

Post a Comment