Two centuries after the deciphering of the hieroglyphs, Figeac presents a vast series of events
“I hold the case” : thus exclaimed finally, Jean-François Champollion in September 1822. The egyptologist from Figeac had just deciphered the Egyptian hieroglyphs after ten years of research. In this anniversary year, his hometown salutes his colossal work with a series of events Eureka! Champollion Figeac 2022. But Figeac is still 1,200 years of history to discover by walking through the lively streets and squares between sumptuous residences and remarkably well-preserved monuments.
Written by Jean-Paul COMBE on Wednesday, May 18, 2022
For six months, Figeac is celebrating the bicentenary of the deciphering of hieroglyphs by Champollion, with concerts, guided and dramatized tours as well as meetings – DR: DepositPhotos.com, ChrisAt
For six months, the city and the great Figeac celebrated the bicentenary of the discovery of Champollion through concerts, guided and theatrical tours as well as meetings.
In September – the anniversary month of the deciphering of hieroglyphs – the ceremonies will be plural, from Egypt to Europe with a compulsory passage through Figeac.
Among the highlights: many cycles of conferences and screenings, an Egyptology weekend in September (from 16 to 18) and the “décipherment” exhibition at the Champollion museum, from July 9 to October 9.
The history of writing
First appetizer, the museum, in the birthplace of the discoverer of the hieroglyphsestablished in 1986.
It has been considerably enriched over the years and presents, in addition to the work of Champollion, a vast series of documents illustrating the history of writing around the world.
We go from cuneiform in Mesopotamia to digital writing, ie five millennia of history.
Objects and documents illustrated with pen, brush, reed pen tell how writing was born in several places on Earth and the long road traveled to reach us.
From China to the Mediterranean basin via the civilizations of Central America, the museum is in a way a walk to meet the societies that invented writing (the scriptures) and made it one of the first tools of communication.
This time travel ends in a fun electronic reading room that takes us back to the 21st century.
Located on Place Champollion, in the heart of the city, the museum is, quite naturally, part of the circuit of the “keys” to discover the city. There are thirty of them, registered on a circuit proposed by the Tourist Office.
At the risk of getting lost…
Commercial activity continues around the hall and the Saturday morning market, colorful and renowned for its quality products – DR: JPC
Two places extend out of the museum: Carnot and Champollion.
Since the Middle Ages, they have been the heart of the merchant city where it is good to stroll, have a drink or have lunch on the terrace.
Commercial activity continues around the hall and the Saturday morning marketcolorful and renowned for its quality products.
A third emblematic place is at the foot of the museum: place of writing in the center of a medieval courtyard. This is a monumental reproduction of the Rosetta Stone ; this fragment of a stele written in hieroglyphics, in demotic and in Greek.
It is this inscription in three languages that allowed the prodigy from Figeac to carry out the deciphering by means of a comparative study.
If it has few flashy monuments, Figeac, on the other hand, has kept a formidable heritage in its medieval center. Many residences and mansions recall the rich past of the merchant city.
It is with your nose in the air that you discover the city with its half-timbered houses, its sculpted facades, its mullioned windows and open attics.in reality dryers both for clothes and for food which are called here sunhos.
At the risk of getting lost a little, you have to go down the alleys that connect the stages. Among the essentials: the mint misrepresented as a mint; it is, in fact, the archetype of the residence of the wealthy merchants of the Middle Ages.
On the ground floor, large arcades opened onto the shop, upstairs the large living room is lit by windows sculpted with foliage and flowers (the building now houses the Tourist Office) .
The medieval house, jewel of Place Champollion
The foundation of the city is told in Saint-Sauveur Abbeythe largest church.
It is the main vestige of the Benedictine abbey which gave birth to the locality. Rich in archaeological details, the building was built from the 11th to the 14th century, thus mixing Romanesque and Gothic.
Jewel of the site, the Notre-Dame-de-Pitié chapel is covered with sculpted panels from the 17th century, evoking the passion of Christ.
Return to Place Champollion to end the walk by stopping in front of the medieval house. The Gothic facade is considered the jewel of the place.
This building bears witness to the wealth and luxury tastes of wealthy merchants before the Hundred Years War. Great travellers, they always kept an anchor in Figeac.
Commercial and lively, the square now offers its terraces to passers-by. The armchairs reach out to us. The hardest part is finding a place. Especially in good weather!
Favorites in Figeac
Getaways around Figeac
A short distance from Figeac, Capdenac-le-Haut is classified among the Most Beautiful Villages of France.
Its fortress stretches along a rock in the shape of a peninsula, overhanging a meander of the Lot by more than 110 mothers.
Continuation to Cardaillac, another listed village which presents a museum of popular tradition. One more, of course! But not like the others…
It is “The exploded museum”. Under this terminology is concealed eight houses which have found their initial vocation here and there in the town. Annie Mage, with a collecting soul, had the brilliant idea of bringing abandoned buildings back to life.
In the initial version – or almost – we therefore find: the sower’s house, the chestnut dryer (the secadou), the prune oven, the clog-maker’s house, the oil mill, the tool barn, the school, the odds and ends of the unclassifiable.
Guided tours by reservation: musee-eclate.chez-alice.fr
Pech Merle Cave : The Lot at its Lascaux (but in original version), in the Pech-Merle cave. Paintings and engravings of more than 29,000 years follow one another over almost a kilometer. The galleries feature cave fresco designs of mammoths, oxen, bison and even human footprints. The visit ends with the remarkable fresco of punctuated horses.