Agen to Grisolles - Melo Vélo Meanderings - CycleBlaze

June 18, 2018

Agen to Grisolles

Our destination today was Grisolles, with a stop in Moissac to visit Saint Peter's Abbey.  Along the way, we passed a number of walkers, mostly pilgrims, who were presumably on their way to Santiago de Compostella.  This section of the veloroute is on the Via Podiensis pilgrim route through France, which starts in Le Puy en Velay and passes through Moissac before meeting two of the other French routes near Saint Jean Pied de Port.  It is the most popular route in France, and we crossed paths with more pilgrims here than on any of the other routes I had been on. Before reaching Moissac, we stopped for a coffee and tea at a small canal house. where two women were busily making crépes in anticipation of the pilgrims to come.  

Carolyn anticipating her tea at mid-morning stop along the canal
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Modern-day pilgrims in Moissac
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The Moissac Abbey of Saint Pierre was consecrated in 1063 and much of the original structures are currently in use, including the Abbey church, the cloister and chapels. The amazing Romanesque entry on the south wall is dominated by a very elaborate tympanum and carved images on each side of the door.  Inside the church, I was drawn to the many polychromed sculptures depicting events surrounding the crucifixion.  These were made at the end of the 15th century and restored in 1956.  The tympanum and cloisters are currently listed as UNESCO world Heritage sites, due in part to their importance on the Santiago de Compostella pilgrim route.  Today, there is a hostel at the Abbey that welcomes modern-day pilgrims.

Carolyn at the South portal of the Moissac Abbey of Saint Pierre
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Carvings on the tympanum above the South portal of Moissac Abbey
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The Three Wise Men at the side wall
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The Entombment, a wood polychrome from the 15th century
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Christ on the Cross
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The Virgin of Pitié, a polychrome stone sculpture depicting Mary holding the dead Christ assisted by Saint John and Mary Magdalene.
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Sign welcoming pilgrims to the hostel at the Moissac Abbey
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I had a small accident as we left Moissac and returned to the canal trail.  A moment of hesitation in deciding between the street and sidewalk resulted in my rear wheel skidding out - I prevented a spill, but ran headlong into the well. As a consequence of the sudden stop, my shin jammed into my front sprocket.  There was a nice puncture wound and two hematomas that quickly bled out down my leg, soaking my sock.  We used the bike helmets to elevate the leg and Carolyn got out the first aid kit.  We stopped the bleeding, slapped on a bandaid and made a beeline for our B&B in Grisolles.  There we were met by Anna and her two dogs, Maddock and Leo. She had cold drinks and chocolate waiting for us - so nice.  Despite the fact that her kitchen was being re-modeled, Anna prepared a great evening meal during which we were roundly entertained watching dogs, cats and kittens meet-greet-run-howl.

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Ann DiamondSorry Sue, hope all is fine.
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6 years ago
Elevate and clean the wound
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Nice to meet you - let's play
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Today's ride: 54 miles (87 km)
Total: 701 miles (1,128 km)

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Leo WoodlandLove your ride along the canal. You passed 20km south of us; the canal is our everyday route into Toulouse, generally a couple of days on a loaded bike.

It's always annoying to be told of things you missed - although maybe you didn't care anyway - but the cemetery that you passed in Grisolles holds the grave of the village blacksmith, a man called Jean Dargassies.

He bought a bike in the village and the salesman said he looked a big, strong lad and that he ought to go in for this new Tour de France he'd been reading about.

Dargassies had never been further than Montauban but he caught the train to Paris, to check his entry had arrived, and he had trouble explaining himself there because of his strong southern accent.

They couldn't even understand his name so that, when he said it was Dargaties, they spelled it Dargassies. He stuck with it.

And why did he stick with it? Because he came fourth and so famous as the flying blacksmith that it seemed easier to stick with the new spelling than insist on the old.
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1 year ago