Croix de Peuple – The People’s Cross
A couple of days ago, Chris, Rors and I went for a bike ride to the Croix de Peuple a few kilometres outside Vijon in Indre. Neither of our idle teens felt like joining us this time! The Croix de Peuple is a tremendous iron cross on a stoney platform on top of a hill (443 metres above sea level). I’ve hunted round on the Net but haven’t found out anything much about it, apart from the fact that there’s an annual pilgrimage to the cross, and also that on a clear day you can see the Cathedral at Chateauroux from it. Now that’s impressive as Chateauroux is an hour and a half’s drive from here.
There’s a plaque below the cross, but wind and rain have made it illegible. The only thing I could pick out was the mention of ‘quarante jours d’indulgences’ – forty days’ of indulgences. Perhaps the cross was erected so someone didn’t have to undergo this long period of privations.
Anyway, we set off along country roads lined with heavily laden fruit trees. There is going to be a super mega harvest this year. (In fact, this morning, on today’s bike ride, we came across a large branch that had broken off a pear tree due to the sheer weight of the fruit on it. Chris balanced it on his handlebars to bring home so the llamas could eat the leaves and pears off it.)
On the way we stopped for a map check.
We spent around ten minutes at the cross, admiring it, and also the view over Creuse. Or is it Indre? My sense of direction isn’t great!
We decided to take a new route home. We passed this sign. Someone trigger happy had been this way too.
Not far away, we came across half a dozen donkeys. I’m pretty sure they’re Grands Noirs de Berry i.e. Big Black Berry donkeys. (Berry is an ancient province of France and famous for its black donkeys and black chickens.)
A few kilometres further on, we happened across this cross. It’s been broken quite recently and the top stuck back on with some concrete! Poor old cross.
That’s why we never get tired of our cycle rides. We discover something new or see something interesting on every one. Rural Creuse is a treasure trove of hidden treasures which you just don’t see blasting along in a car.
Bike is best!