Three weeks today there is a big event in Cortambert, the Trail du Mont Saint-Romain. The runners will have a choice of parcours of 11km, 17km, or 30km for the serious runners. The latter are expected to climb Mont Saint-Romain, enjoy the view from circling the top, then run all the way back, the fastest arriving at Cortambert foyer rural in an astonishing two and a half to three hours.
There is more information about the event on www.trail-mont-saint-romain.fr/info.php and on the Trail facebook page.
On this bright and sunny but freezing morning there was a reconnaissance for the local runners, a 15km training run up Mont Saint-Romain. Chris went with them to take some photos. Their route was Cortambert – Nouville – Mont Saint-Romain – Culey -Bray -Toury – Cortambert.
The group meets up at the foyer rural in Cortambert
Mont Saint-Romain behind
Coming down past the woods
Regrouping at Culey
The Trail du Mont Saint-Romain is a project that involves many volunteers from Bray, Chissey, Blanot and Bray as well as Cortambert. Teams have been organised to mark out the circuits with direction posts and tape, and every intersection will be marshalled to prevent the runners from taking a wrong turn. There will be people registering, fitting and recovering the timing devices, a commentator and first aiders.
Afterwards a meal is served in the hall for everyone, runners and volunteers, so teams have been organised for peeling vegetables, making soup and apple pies, and dishing out plates of food. So even if you are not a runner there is no shortage of other things to do. With all this preparation the Trail is bound to be a success; we just need the good weather. Bon courage to all the runners!
Having been threatened with the removal of the blog unless I write something soon here’s a little about what’s changed lately.
Not the weather, that’s for sure. It’s still cold and wintry although the daffodils in the garden are putting in a brave appearance. We’ve had snow on and off this week but it hasn’t settled.
View from our back door yesterday
In Cluny we have a new carpark. As an election pledge the mayor, Henri Boniau (as in the ad for dog biscuits featuring the bloodhound?), promised to make Cluny more attractive for tourists.
Mr Boniau (R) and deputy in the new carpark (photo jsl)
Built on the site of the old perfectly adequate carpark it certainly is very pretty with 1000 shrubs planted between the rows. It cost 570,000 euros for 175 places. Until November it remained pretty well empty, the barriers and the complicated payment system scaring visitors off. Stories abounded that if you had a foreign number plate the system would not be able to read it and would not let you out! The students moved out to take over the free parking round the haras. It was only when a big sign went up saying it was 3 hours free and you could escape without using the scary payment kiosk that the numbers of cars parked there went into double figures. No doubt the tourists will be impressed but to me it’s a white elephant. Hopefully funds will be available for gardening as it is already looking neglected.
Meanwhile M. Boniau continues dragging us into the 21st century. Yesterday there was a ceremony in the carpark to inaugurate the first electric car recharging point in Cluny.
How many officials does it take to plug in a car?
Another change that is not for the better is the plan to reduce the speed limit from 90 to 80km/hr on departmental roads that are not dual carriageways. It is due to be rolled out this summer. Most people think it is just a way of raising extra money from fines. Thousands of motorists and bikers have been protesting on the roads, either by going slowly or blocking routes through towns. The biggest protest yet against the change took place last weekend in Paris by motorist opposition group, Fédération Française des Motards en Colère.
The protesting bikers last weekend
Reducing the speed limit is supposed to save lives, France having twice as many deaths on the roads as the UK. But it is quite difficult to keep a modern car cruising comfortably at 80km/hr, and goodness knows there is enough frustration now when someone in front is driving below 90 and you can’t get past. The way to make the roads less dangerous is to get rid of the priority to the right. A lot of junctions round here have been newly reorganised with give way or stop signs, but you still have to be wary of small sideroads where some old local is likely to come sailing out in front of you without even looking. As do Dutch people on bicycles. But that’s another topic….
It’s always been our custom to go out for a decent walk on Boxing Day afternoon. Yes, I know we don’t have Boxing Day in France but old habits die hard.
We’d seen a lake on the map, not far away. Being in search of places to take the grandchildren in the summer holidays we thought we’d take a look. From Cluny we took the Monceau road to Le Rousset. We soon found the lake, bordered on one side by a forest of Douglas firs.
Disappointingly it’s just a fishing lake, no swimming and no boating, but it was pleasant enough to wander round.
On leaving Le Rousset we called at the Chapelle de Saint-Quentin.
This little 12th century church is dedicated to St Quentin, a Roman who came to France to preach Christianity. In 287, as a result of the religious persecutions by Emperor Maximian, he was tortured, executed and beheaded. His burial place, in what was to later be renamed Saint-Quentin in northern France, became a site of miracles.
The interior of the chapel with a statuette of St Quentin
It’s interesting that the chapel is built on a high rocky plateau and is surrounded on all sides by giant round boulders.
On turning for home we took a turn around La Guiche as we nearly bought a house there once. Nowadays La Guiche seems very foreign with its steep Dutch roofs and square stone towers. Now that our world is the Cluny/Cortambert/Cormatin triangle we find we don’t have to go far to feel we are in a different land. A deserted land as we hardly saw a soul all afternoon.
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.