Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Druyes-les-Belles-Fontaines, France - June 9, 2011

From Clamecy it was but a pleasant 10 mile drive back into the Yonne department to the tiny community of Druyes-les-Belles-Fontaines. With a population of about 300, Druyes is about 600 feet above sea level and is actually two places - the village down by the river and the city around the castle on the hill.The suffix "les-Belles-Fontaines" refers to the springs that feed the river in the village.
In the third century, St. Martin of Tours stopped by Druyes to convert the people who quickly returned to pagan worship after he left. It was not until the sixth century that St. Romain, a disciple of St. Benedict settled here in a cave and whose piety resulted in the creation of a monastery around 543.
The Castle and surrounding city is a snapshot of the Middle Ages right in the heart of Burgundy. It was built in the second half of the twelfth century by the Count of Nevers and made famous by Peter of Courtenay and his daughter the Countess Mahaut. From the fourteenth century, Druyes went into decline. The castle passed successively through the hands of the Counts of Flanders, the Dukes of Burgundy, the family of Cleves House and Mantua.
Finally, in 1735, the Duke of Nevers sold it to Louis Druyes Damascus , Marquis of Anlezy and the life of the Castle effectively ended. See more pictures of this unique community.

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