Our Life in Burgundy

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The Blog: Our life in Burgundy

December 9, 2017

Fête des Lumières in Cluny

Filed under: Events,People,Places — Tags: , , — Mary @ 16:19

 

Last night, despite the cold weather, there was a good turnout of families to see this year’s lights in Cluny. Thankfully the events were not so drawn out nor so weird as usual. The Ombres Blanches, four ladies on stilts in beautiful floaty costumes led the procession through the town to the market place.

One of the shop fronts on the main street

In front of the Abbey we gathered to watch a lively performance of fire dancing and pyrotechnics with Lughna by Cie l’Arche en sel.

Don’t try this at home

After another wander round town we returned to find the Abbey open, and the four ombres blanches were leading a procession round the cloisters. Following behind was the semeur d’étoiles, alias Gérard Thélier, our resident historian.

The ombres blanches in the Abbey

Le semeur d’étoiles

It was nice to see the children so enthralled. The evening was cut short as the horse spectacular was cancelled. Just as well as the snow had begun to fall and it was nice to get home to a warm fire.

November 27, 2017

Les Oiseaux Rares

I don’t usually feel the cold but yesterday we were chilled to the bone. I think the raw weather put a lot of people off visiting ‘Les Oiseaux Rares’ this weekend, or at least they moved smartly between venues and didn’t linger. ‘Les Oiseaux Rares’ are a group of 25 artists in Cormatin who collectively open their workshops and studios the last weekend in November.  You follow the bird footprints chalked on the pavements to go from one venue to another. They use the Mairie, tourist office and church in addition to their workshops. Each door is decorated with a wooden bird which is supposed to be a caricature of the artist within.

 

The bird at the entrance to the church…

wherein was the artist Patrick Balleriaud with his latest paintings

You can buy a bowl produced by one of the potters and at every exhibition try the homemade soup on offer. Perhaps we arrived too early for that but at the workshop of Pascale Ponsard we enjoyed some mulled orange which fortified us for our return through Cormatin.

The bowls, but where was the soup? Pascale Ponsard’s silk scarves piled on the bench behind

Returning to the church we admired the work of Patrick’s partner, Silvyanne, who runs workshops making things out of what you and I would call rubbish. Her work always reminds me of the Art Brut of Johé Gormand of Cortambert (famous after her death in 1963).

There are special day or weekend art courses available at the studios of Patrick Ballérinaud for visitors and locals alike. See www.studioballeriaud.fr.  We had a lovely day last year learning how to sketch and watercolour landscapes. His portaits are excellent; we have the last priest of Cormatin in the hall at La Maison du Curé. At the moment Patrick is sketching portraits of the grandchildren. You just need to send an email with a photo. Great for Christmas presents.

November 20, 2017

Rainy Sunday

Filed under: Events,People,Places,Weather — Tags: , — Mary @ 16:02

Just a few hardy souls ventured out for a walk with us on a bleak Sunday morning. But despite a downpour as we started out, the cloud lifted a bit and we enjoyed the views from the vineyards and the forest tracks in the hills above Bray.

Pascale, Chris, David and Claire with Miriam & Michel

Chris had very cleverly planned his walk to finish at the porte ouverte at the cave of Christophe Perrin at Chazeux. We tasted each of the seven wines he has produced this year, four whites and three reds. You have to take into account that the wines are yet young but we very much liked the red Chapaize which I hear won the popular vote as it was practically sold out by the end of the weekend. We’ll save some to have with Christmas dinner.

Christophe Perrin (L) telling us about his wines

In cheerful mood by the 7th tasting

Despite the cold weather we enjoy the winter here as there is so much going on. The events by AFM-Téléthon to raise money for research into muscular dystrophy are just getting into gear. AFM-Téléthon is the French equivalent of Children in Need or Red Nose Day. It monopolises the first weekend in December when there is a marathon of 30 hours of fund raising TV.

On Sunday afternoon we enjoyed our first of many charity events, a line dance at Sennecé-lès-Mâcon. The hall was packed for the more popular numbers and it was a good experience to be dancing elbow to elbow with the other clubs, concentrating on not going to pot when all around go wrong (or could that be me?).

An enjoyable way to spend a cold wet afternoon

I think Téléthon must have done quite well yesterday seeing the amount of cakes and tarts consumed during the afternoon. And dancing is thirsty work.

Cormatin will devote the first weekend in December to raise money for Téléthon. Meanwhile next weekend it is the turn of the Oiseaux Rares, the group of 25 artists who will open their studios and workshops. It will be a busy time for the Cormatinois.

September 25, 2017

The 20th anniversary of the Voie Verte

Filed under: Events,People,Places — Tags: , , — Mary @ 17:28

In 1997 the department of Saône-et-Loire constructed the first 44km of the Voie Verte  by concreting the disused railway line between Cluny and Givry. Today there is a continuous cycleway extending 300km, in the north joining the Voie Bleue along the Canal du Centre. Extra circuits called boucles are waymarked cycle rides which direct you round the villages and local points of interest and take you back to the voie verte again. Specially created paths link the various sections together and now there are plans to link all the 600km of paths in Burgundy and extend them to join the cycle paths of the Loire and the Voie Bressane, as well as the Voie Bleue running along the banks of the Saône.

So there were lots of events happening at the old stations along the voie verte over the weekend. St Gengoux kicked off with picnics, guided cycle rides and an stunt bike show, ending with a giant selfie taken by drone, and aperos with the cave des Vignerons de Buxy-St Gengoux.

We cycled down to Massilly on Sunday afternoon to hear the speeches given by the mayor, and other local dignitaries.

The mayor of Massilly, Alain De Javel, flanked by Jean-Luc Delpeuch (Communité des Communes Clunisois) and Jean-Luc Fonteray (Conseillor Général of the canton of Cluny)

There was an interesting exhibition photos from the time the railway was built. We were given straw hats by Jean-Marc which proved really useful as, despite it being the end of September, the sun was very hot.

The station at Massilly

We pedalled on to the Plan d’Eau at Cormatin where there was a very much more noisy celebration with the group Drugstöre Rock giving its all. Rather too loud however for the ladies making lace nearby.

Drugstöre Rock

Later Sabrina Sow from Equinoctis appeared with three horses and a foal. The foal was a great hit with its antics. It could not seem to step over the ringside to join its mum and gambolled at the side. Mum was completely unconcerned.

Sabrina Sow with her mare and foal

and on one of her Percherons

Grazing peacefully afterwards on the Plan d’Eau

A good time was had by all. Here’s to the next 20 years of cycling on the Voie Verte!

 

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