This was a different day. It started in Tournon which was bustling by Viviers standards. We saw eight locals and two cars moving — or roughly double Viviers (if you don’t count the small marina). We moved on to a steam train ride which, well, it was a bit theme parky, although the gorge it ran up (and back) was inviting given it wasn’t flash flood season. Then we were on to a coach to chase the Heimdal into Andance, where we rejoined in time for lunch. Then it was on to Vienne where we foot toured a bit more. In retrospect, we likely would have done better taking in the view from the river at 12 knots between Tournon and Vienne. [The train and Vienne will be covered in separate posts.]
Tournon’s population has tripled since 1793! Yes, since 1793. It’s now right around 10,000. Florida adds about 1000 people per day. We are talking a seriously different outlook on change here. The biggest house in town is the same one as then (and a lot further back). We’re reminded of Fiddler on the Roof.
In the center of town, Tournon has quite a public high school with roughly 1000 students. Formerly the Collège de Tournon, it now bears the name of the writer Gabriel Faure (1877-1962), a native of Tournon. Diplomas are offered in: economic and social, literary, scientific, health and social, disciplines. Classes are taught in German, English, Spanish, Ancient Greek, Italian, and Latin. Founded in 1536 by Cardinal Francis II of Tournon, in 1548, it became a university of Philosophy and the seven Liberal Arts. Rydell High this is not.
Tournon can also (and does) boast of the inventor of the twisted cable suspension bridge ala the Golden Gate, Marc Seguin. He also invented the multi-tubular steam engine boiler which in the early 1800s was comparable to inventing jet engines in their day. His design allowed steam locomotives to run at 25 mph vs the 4 mph common then. Given the materials of the time, a six-fold increase in anything was close to magic.