It is, closed on Monday. France, that is. Why did it take us three weeks to find out?
We’re at the slow end of our trip so wondered what to do today. After searching the map for something reasonably close, with or without war reference, we settled on Nours, a complex of underground rooms and tunnels that were Medieval hiding places for those fearing marauders. Apparently there is also graffiti from WW1 with Australian soldiers featuring.
A pleasant drive through the countryside – more green and gold rolling hills – got us there in half an hour to find it closed. A man chatted to us in the car park. He had an Australian grandfather sent to manage all the Commonwealth War Graves, married a French woman and stayed. This fellow was allowed in to the complex because he’s writing a travel guide on the place.
So, where else could we go? Vignacourt. That is the town where there were lots of photos of the war found in a barn or shed not that long ago. Many of them are now to be found in a terrific book by Ross Coulthart: The Lost Diggers.
Only the tabac was open so we had a coffee and wandered around looking at old buildings and Euan photographed lots. Some of the photos that ended up in Ross’s book are now on the walls of the town. Below is the town hall and adjoining buildings.
The same scene a hundred years ago showing a crowd of Australian diggers.
We left via Rue des Australiens.
We started for home and then I thought of Bertangles. That’s the château where Monash was based in 1918. So we headed there.
Of course it’s a grand building, pre revolution, claiming to have been in the possession of only three families for 900 years. So did someone lose control in 1789 and another take their place? Who knows.
The summer house looks pretty good too.
All I can imagine is that Monash was more comfortable throughout the war than his soldiers were. Not that want to knock him for that. He was clearly a very important leader of the men and a brilliant tactician. He was ill spoken of by Bean and Murdoch and it was only the support of the King and the support of those who he led that meant he was kept in his position when it was suggested to Billy Hughes that he be replaced.
Again nothing open, not even the Art Show we saw advertised so we really did head for home this time.
It had been warm and sunny. Maybe real spring is happening for our last week. Tomorrow is our final day in the chicken coop.