Obviously Eliza Doolittle wasn’t at the foyer rural on Saturday night for the Bal Traditional as she would have been exhausted long before that. I thought I would never walk again…
For the beginners there was a practice run for three hours in the afternoon. We learned the bourrée which is a popular dance in the country, and dances from Brittany to the Basque region. I had always wondered why the scottish dances bore no resemblance whatsoever to jigs or reels and found it’s because they originate in Bohemia. Doh! The St Bernard’s Waltz was lost in translation and I was taken to task by my partner for automatically stepping back into the circle instead going the opposite way as they do here.
Dancing with the band began for real in the evening. Cortambert has become a popular centre for traditional dance and people come from miles around. The band was lively and went on until the early hours.
More exercise for the feet next day with the Gerard Thélier walk around Cortambert and Varanges.
See a previous blog here
Gerard Thélier is a well known local historian and raconteur. He was dressed in the guard’s uniform of the 1700s complete with musket and sword. He showed us how the musket worked; a dangerous weapon especially when Gerard, musket on shoulder, was wont to swing round, threatening to decapitate anyone behind him with his bayonet.
We set off just after dark from the foyer rural in Cortambert, unfortunately too late to see the sunset from the Chateau of Butte à Vent. We had real flaming torches to light our way. I think Gerard miscalculated the time it would take to walk the circuit from Cortambert up to the Chateau, down to Varanges then back again. It was well past midnight when the merry band returned to the foyer rural for a restorative glass of wine.
We learned a lot about the history of our village. A cheer went up from the Varangeois when we learned that Varanges was an important place long before Cortambert even existed. There are still the remains of an old chateau down by the farm. The sacking of the churches by the Huguenots during the wars of religion passed us by, going down the valleys on both sides (like the storms used to do). At one time the Dukes of Burgundy were in control from their stronghold in Brançion, at other times the Abbey at Cluny.
- I apologise for the truly awful photos but my camera was on the wrong settings!