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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Baume les Messieurs, my God, it's enough to see this beautiful cascade to know we are in front of something really very special. Baume les Messieurs is a French commune, in Franche-Comté region, Jura department, in the district of Lons-le-Saunier and canton of Voiteur. The town is at the bottom of a crater surrounded by high cliffs a hundred or more meters high.

The village is very small. I noticed something strange reviewing the statistics. The population has decreased rather than increased over time. In 1793 the population was 855 inhabitants. For 2011 it was 186 inhabitants. A dream for those who like me hate the crowd and the crowding of large cities.

It appears that the place where the village is located was occupied since prehistoric times. Evidence have been found in the bedrock and also traces of Gallo-Roman culture.

Its first written appearance dates back to 910 when according to tradition at the request of William of Aquitaine, the Benedictine monk Berno de Baume created l'abbaye (abbey) Baume-les-Moines accompanied by six monks from Baume and six monks from Gigny. The abbey was thriving from many donations received in the context of the gregorian reform inviting the laity to donate part of their property to the church in order to save souls. They knew nothing about business those monks.

By the twelfth century the abbey was the home of 40 monks and had hundred of units and many fields. It was one of the most powerful abbeys of the diocese of Besançon. Below a photo of the ancient abbey as exists actually in the town.

But money corrupts and as in other abbeys, the monks eventually abandon their vows of poverty and change their humble rooms for comfortable apartments living from the substantial incomes, and finally left the cloister to call themselves canon, and l'Abbaye Baume les Moines (the Abbey Baume the Monks) becomes l'Abbaye Baume les Messieurs (the Abbey Baume the Sirs). That's the origin of the town's actual name.

Upon arrival of the French Revolution the abbey had only ten still cloistered monks. The rest had left seeking a more pleasant life. The revolution expropriated the properties of the abbey and sold them cheaply to the townspeople. The abbey church was converted the village church because actual, called Saint John at the entrance of the village, was considered very small by the revolution. The town's name was changed to Baume le Jura (something like Baume the Promise). Well, revolutions always expropriate and rename everything.

Revolution ended like all revolutions and the name was again Baume les Messieurs and we've got it now lovely and beautiful as it is to go and enjoy. It is not easy to go. There is no direct train to there. We must begin departing from Gare de Lyon (Place Louis Armand, Paris 12, Metro Lines 1 and 10).

There is a direct train identify with number TGJ9763 from Gare de Lyon to Bourg en Bresse. It parts everyday at 8:11 and arrives to Bourg en Bresse at 10:01. Being at Bourg en Bresse there is another train identify with number TER95804 that parts from here at 10:20 and arrives to Lons le Saunier at 10:59. But only Su, Tu, W, Th and F. Have your schedule having this in mind. From Lons le Saunier it is necessary to take a taxi to Baume les Messieurs. There is a line called Taxis De La Gare, Place De La Gare - 39000, Lons Le Saunier, phone: 03 84 24 11 16, close to the train station. Trip is 13.5 km, 30 min, about $45. Ready: we are, at last, at Baume les Messieurs. What kind of beautiful town.

First let's check what about lodging. It's very important to make booking in advance. Never I will be tired to say this. If you do not want to spend the night in a square it's always necessary to book well in advance. Baume les Messieurs has several places to stay. Bed & Breakfast recommended by Trip Advisor and all these called by them as Chambres d'Hôtes (three of them are recommended before by Trip Advisor): Gothique Café, Chez Josette, Le Dortoir des Moines, Presbytère Saint Jean, La Grange à Nicolas, La Terre est Bleue Comme une Orange, Maison Andrews and Chez Denise.

First natural visit is the abbey. It is called Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Baume-les-Messieurs. As was written it was founded in 910. Picture is above. The buildings are preserved. The church, the abbot's residence, the houses of the canons, the courtyard with fountain. It is a wonderful journey to the past.

The Chapelle of Notre Dame is more often known as Chapelle de Salins because of the name of its founder Abbot Henri de Salins. The founding document is dated August 20, 1452. It was built between 1432 and 1452. Later the same Henri de Salins was buried in it.

The Chapelle Gindre of the nineteenth century was built on the initiative of Miss Gindre, at a place called Roche, Baume-les-Messieurs (Jura).

But if you enjoy walking which is excellent for health Baume les Messieurs offers an idyllic space to do so. God, how beautiful are the landscapes. What a beauty. Let's take a walk outside, breathe fresh air and enjoy this blessed nature.

Visit the caves (Les Grottes). 600 meters of galleries with spaces from 20 to 80 meters high, underground rivers and lakes, bats in the air and shrimp in the water. Game of sounds, lights and colors. A real show. The ambient temperature is 13 degrees Celsius in summer. The guided tour lasts approximately 45 minutes. Do not go alone, you could be lost. It is very easy to become disoriented.

What is a Reculée? Reculée is one of the most picturesque landscapes in the department of Jura. The term was defined by geographers of the nineteenth century from the local word "culée" long used by the inhabitants of Jura to designate these curious valleys. For geographers, Reculée is a long valley that enters the interior of a limestone plateau in horizontal layers and ends abruptly in what they call "the end of the world." The Reculée of Baume les Messieurs is perhaps the best example. The valley penetrates the limestone plateau forked, each diverticulum ends with a circus, at the foot of which born an underground river that feeds the river Seille.

Of course you have to go to the waterfalls. You imagine. So many problems we have at work, so many headaches in daily life, so much stress, so much of everything. And suddenly you landed in this paradise and even forget who you are, where you come from and what you have to do tomorrow to be in good with your boss.

Then you go to La forêt de la Joux. This forest is located on the edge of the second Jura plateau at an altitude between 634 and 995 meters. It extends through the south to the forest Fresse and through the north to the forest Levier. It is considered one of the most beautiful pine forest of France. Some of its biggest firs reach nearly 45 meters high. The first represent about 70% of the trees, followed by spruces (about 20%) and beechs (10%). There is a comic tradition in these towns who choose the fir president. Since 1897 four firs have earned this title. The current, designated in 1964, has more than two hundred years, is 45 meters high and a diameter of 1.20 meters. My God, breathe fresh air and forget the unpleasant odor of car exhaust.

Time to eat something. Even being small you've got very good restaurant in Baume les Messieurs. Here some recommendations: Café restaurant de l’Abbaye, Le Grand Jardin, Restaurant des Grottes and these in Trip Advisor.

Baume les Messieurs

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