As you leave the Tourist Office, the church of Notre-Dame is on your left. Walk along its wall to the right and pass between the church and the clothes shop. Follow the sign and you'll arrive at Place Notre-Dame ready to discover the city.
Taking around 30 minutes on foot, this city tour can be combined with the tours of the Saint-Marcel and Saint-Mayeul districts!
The town authorities, who often clashed with the abbot, tried to set up their first town hall in this square. The dragons' house at no. 8 is the subject of an archaeological study.
An early Gothic monument, it has a number of curiosities, including, to the right of the main entrance, a representation of Anne-Marie Javouhey, founder of the congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny and a major player in the abolition of slavery in French Guiana. As you approach the choir and look up, you will see faces. But which one is Pidou-Berlu?
Did you know? The Pidou-Berlu is a sculpture representing a three-faced head beneath a single crown. It is located to the south of the church's triumphal arch. Its name comes from pider (to watch) and berlu (dazed).
View of the Abbey City
From here, admire the view of the 3 bell towers: the Tour des Fromages, Notre-Dame Church and the Abbey's holy water bell tower.
Rue Joséphine Desbois
This street boasts one of the finest collections of medieval houses dating from the 12th to 14th centuries. The Romanesque house at 6ter has recently had its clerestory (set of windows on the first floor) restored. It had been removed, sold and reassembled in a house in the Paris region, and was moulded in 2007. Thanks to the archaeological evidence left in the walls, the moulding was able to be accurately repositioned on the façade.
The Maison des Vendanges
At the corner of the street, the Maison des Vendanges has been given a new look. On the modern façade, the majestic clerestory has been rendered in trompe l'oeil. It once stood at the corner of two streets. You've seen the original in the museum. Look out for the grape-picker working at the far left of the large frieze!
Rue du Merle
There are four houses in this street that deserve special attention:
- the magnificently restored No. 9,
- n°11 awaiting restoration,
- No. 18, where the "cobbler" stood, a pillar of a clerestory. It symbolises the activity of a Romanesque house, with the cobbler working under the large arch on the ground floor and the inhabitants of the house showing off at the clerestory upstairs, as was customary,
- No. 20, whose secrets are revealed on the plaque a little further up on the left, near an old fountain.
Once you've finished, you can go straight on to the Saint-Mayeul district tour via rue de la République or down rue Mercière to the Tourist Office.