A little bit of history
In the 13th century it was a stronghold with three curtain walls . The first wall protected the castle and the church situated on the crest of the hill, which was itself protected by a second wall. A third line of ramparts along the base of the hill protected the town. The walls had arched gates surmounted by watch towers.
The stronghold had nineteen towers and the “lower doorway” led into the town. It provided protection for thirty surrounding ‘hamlets’ who were allowed shelter in times of war. The “top doorway” closed the castle walls.
The oldest residences, dating back to the 15th and 17th century are located on the high grounds of the village, several of which have retained towers containing spiral staircases. Vaulted cellars remind us that Montréal was a wine growing country up until the 19th century.
Notre Dame Collegiate church
Notre Dame of the Assumption was built during the second half of the 12th century on return of the second crusade preached by St Bernard in Vézelay, and is a building of transitional style with a semicircular doorway and ribbed vaults
The architect Eugène Viollet-Leduc who restored the church quantified it as a “true jewel of architecture”, and had it classified as a historical monument back in 1846. Since it’s restoration, the church has three bells. Beautiful open stone work crosses rise from the four gables of the building
Notre Dame church is renowned for its twenty six solid oak stalls, their eight low relief carvings and five figurative groups sculpted in the round. They were done by two craftsmen from Nuits sur Armançon, the Rigolley brothers, in the first half of the 16th century. They represent scenes from the old and new testament as well allegories.
Montréal in the spotlight
The village hosts each summer the amazing open air historical event, “Montréal en Lumière”. These shows represent the turbulent and distinguished past of Montréal over the last 15 centuries, are are interpreted by local volunteers.
La Maisons Hirondelle
This association was created in june 2015, and takes its name from the building in which it is based, which used to be a haven for swallows.
There are frequent exhibitions, classes, workshops and various activities (sewing workshops, debates, relaxation classes, english conversation classes, introduction to singing; the list is as varied as it is endless!) and they organise all sorts of events (concerts, grafeterias, seedling swaps, a festival called ‘fallen from the nest’…)
It’s shop, “La Nichée”, which was its initial project, sells local organic produce. It is now a social hot spot for meeting up, swapping ideas, displaying artwork and much more!
The Monthelon Meets
The Chateau de Monthelon is a multidisciplinary venue, dedicated to research and artistic creation. Isolated in the middle of the countryside, this 18th century stately farm is an ideal place for inspiration.
Many artists meet up there and some are permanent residents.
Amongst the numerous activities on offer by the association, “Les Rencontres de Monthelon”, a three day event, takes place every year at the end of July, beginning of August, with concerts, exhibitions and contemporary performances, all based on dance, theatre, the circus and painting.
Art, literally in all its forms.