There is a marathon going on in Cortambert today, a marathon of Breton dance. The practice started at 10 this morning and has been going all day with breaks for meals, crêpes and drinks.
The teacher is Pierre Peron who is an expert in Breton dance and has the patience of a saint.
I must admit I did not have the stamina even to survive past the middle of the afternoon .
Tonight there will be a dance with Les Korrigans, a Breton band. (Korrigans are fairies or dwarfs in Breton folklore). Hopefully everyone will by then remember which way they are supposed to be going.
Today has been a welcome change from not doing very much this week because of the snow. We had a fair bit on Wednesday and Thursday.
The first morning of snow
What a difference a bit of altitude makes. It was very frustrating not to be able to get over the hill to go riding, yet down in the Cluny-Cormatin valley there was hardly any snow to speak of, the snowline being about 50m above the main road. Down there they didn’t have our day without electricity either. Such is the life in the mountains!
There was not such a good turn out as last year but those that went to last night’s dinner dance thoroughly enjoyed the music of Sergio Mondiale and his versatile orchestra. The meal was served by the agile staff of Mille et Une Saveurs from Crèches, weaving between dancers while balancing plates.
Sergio Mondiale and his musicians
The music was very varied and catered for all tastes from traditional ballroom to the sixties and reggae. The lead singer Didier was, as usual, very entertaining.
Dining and dancing
Next year the regular dinner dance slot will be usurped by the Bourgogne-Québec society which will be celebrating its 40th anniversary with a dinner and a concert from Tire le Coyotte. So we are thinking of a Sunday afternoon English style buffet lunch and tea dance. Hopefully it will attract more of the younger people of Cortambert. A change would be good.
The 11th of November is a holiday in France and many villages hold a service around the Memorial. For us the sun came out just in time and thereafter it was a cloudless day.
The Memorial at Cortambert
Afterwards we enjoyed the vin d’amitié and pizza at the schoolroom. Most people were staying on for the yearly Repas des Aînés. The older people in the village are invited by the Maire to a typical Burgundian lunch which goes on all afternoon. Whilst I think it is a wonderful event I am glad to say we don’t qualify yet!
So, while most of the village was at lunch, Chris and I made the most of the sunny afternoon to check out some of the routes Chris is planning for the Grande Randonnée next June.
Leaving Blanot and heading to Mont St Romain
There will be four routes of 9km, 13km, 17km and 24km. The idea is to get all the walkers to set off and re-enter Cortambert on the same track, and for the routes to coincide at the refreshment buvettes.
The general direction is Blanot, Chissey and Mont St Romain. We had a wander round Blanot and set off to check the paths through the woods and enjoy the view from the top of Mont St Romain.
The view from Mont St Romain
If only we could order a day of sunshine like today’s for next June!
Almost opposite our house in Varanges is the beginning of a track that leads up the hill towards Notre Dame des Roches. It hasn’t been used for many years and had become impassable with trees and brambles. The walk from Varanges up to the Faitral is very popular but it starts with the steep winding road past Les Sarilles. The Chemin du Clou is shorter and bypasses part of the road. So we were more than happy to help when Raymond from the Association Cortambert notre Patrimoine asked for volunteers to open up the track again.
The path seemed inpenetrable
Thankfully it was a dry sunny day. We assembled with brush cutters and chain saws, loppers and secateurs. The undergrowth was attacked with gusto making short work of miles of wild clematis and enormous brambles with thick tough stems.
but it was no match for our team
It is testament to the fact that a determined group of people can work miracles in next to no time. Parts of the track were like the forest around Sleeping Beauty’s castle. PJ and Chris started at the upper end while everybody else worked their way up towards them. There were cheers when the two parties met in the middle. Like the French and the English building the Channel Tunnel.
Dr Livingstone I presume? Dennis and Chris meeting in the jungle
Of course, as with any activity in Cortambert, there was plenty of time for socialising and having a picnic.
Celebrating a good job well done!
Another session is sheduled for two weeks time. We need to dig a course for the spring that runs out from the side of the track and to tidy up what we cleared today. Also Pascale has spotted some flat stones to make a bench so we will make a place to sit and admire the view.
The view of the farm at Varanges from the Chemin du Clou
To celebrate the opening of the track we are using it as part of our next randonnée which will take place on Sunday 24th November. Meet at 9h30 at the foyer rural in Cortambert. Map to follow by email.