Our Life in Burgundy

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December 30, 2013

Bonne fin d’année à tous!

Filed under: Places,Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Mary @ 18:27


There’s a little oasis of calm between Christmas and New Year. There’s no such thing as Boxing Day here; I’m always surprised to go out on Boxing Day morning to find everybody working as usual. Likewise New Year doesn’t drag on interminably as I remember it in rural Scotland.

With the urgency of Christmas gone  (too late now to remember who you should have sent cards to) we can enjoy the Christmas period at leisure.

A walk to Taizé

Yesterday we went off with a group of friends for a walk up to Taizé. We found it deserted as the brothers have gone off to Strasbourg for their yearly gathering. Nobody was there but the virgin mother with child and kneeling shepherds, and the hens. The Three Kings had felt it safe to move from the shelter of the hens’ enclosure and had inched nearer the crib.

Mâcon at night

In the evening we went for a stroll around Mâcon to see the Christmas lights. Mostly in silver and gold, they were rather sophisticated.

We stayed for a while watching the children enjoying the ice rink on the Quai Lamartine. Well not ice exactly but Teflon. Much smoother than ice and there’s no getting a cold wet bottom when you fall.

The ice rink on the Quai Lamartine


Each of the roundabouts in Mâcon was beautifully decorated even though some of the themes were not particularly Christmassy. Here’s a very springlike  golden bunny with daisies!

It’s time to look back on the year. Chris is getting together some photos of a few of the events we have enjoyed in Cortambert during 2013. Soon to appear on www.cortambert.eu.

Here’s wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year for 2014!


December 25, 2013

So this is Christmas……

Filed under: Weather — Tags: , — Mary @ 00:28


I thought I might keep my head under the duvet until it’s all over. I’ve always found horrible things happen at Christmas, both on a personal and an international scale. So we try not to travel at Christmas and encourage family to visit in summer instead. This Christmas we have the storms, not as bad here as in northern France and the UK but I would think we won’t get a visit from Father Christmas as he will be grounded.

The Three Wise Men sheltering from the wind

Going to Taizé for the Christmas service tonight was well worth battling against the weather. On the hill the wind was trying to tear off the roof off the Church. The Three Wise Men had been inching their way towards the crib all week and had wisely taken shelter in the enclosure under the heatlamp with the hens. But Mary looked unperturbed, sitting beside her tiny infant.

The nativity scene at Taizé

I’m sure the jinx on Christmas will be offset tomorrow as we are joining a local family for a Christmas meal and games. Until then, under the duvet again!

ps In the New Year we have been walking in the woods at Mont Saint-Romain and seeing some of the damage from the wind on Christmas Eve. There has been a domino effect with the wind cutting a swathe through the forest bringing down both beech and pine.

The paths have been cleared but there are more trees hung up precariously on their neighbours which will come down in the next wind.

December 9, 2013

The Fetes des lumieres in Lyon

Filed under: Events,Places — Tags: , , — Mary @ 18:43


Merci Marie – According to a card given to me by an African missionary on the steps of the Cathédrale Saint-Jean, Mary has saved Lyon from many things. Scurvy in 1638, the Plague in 1643, cholera in 1832, invasion by the Prussians in 1870…

Notre Dame de Fourvière, the basilica erected to the Virgin Mary

In 1852, the Fête des Lumières became a popular festival when a statue of the Virgin Mary was erected next to the Basilica, overlooking the city.  It is said to be the third biggest public celebration after the Carnival in Rio and the Oktoberfest in Munich. Four million people watch the shows which run for four nights.

Re-enactment of how Lyon was saved from the plague.

This year the illuminations were not just the in centre of Lyon but in far flung locations. It is impossible to visit all the sites in one evening so we had to pick and choose. It is good we met up with our friend and guide, Marie Antoinette, as the choice of shows and venues was mindnumbing.

The Hôtel de Ville

The Hôtel de Ville

You couldn’t fail to be impressed by the lights, fireworks and flames. We joined thousands of people the city centre to see Lost Paradise at the Hôtel de Ville, Le Prince des Lumières at the Place des Terreaux and Pierrot le Feu at the Place Bellecour.  Then a colourful son et lumière on the banks of the Rhône below the Fourvière.  It was a metro ride to the Aliens in Place Guichard and we managed to get out to the Chinese Corner in the Parc de la Tête d’Or. From one of the bridges which span the Rhône we marvelled at the lavish display of fireworks.

The Chinese corner in the Parc de la Tête d'Or

We were equally impressed by the logistics of the Fete des Lumieres. Shepherding millions of visitors in the city centre is no easy task. It helped that all transport in Lyon is free during the festival so we were able to hop on and off the metro, trams and buses.

The main streets into the squares were one way. We flowed into the Place des Terreaux in a river of people, and after the show we were swept inexorably onwards to the Place Bellecour.

It was all very confusing. The metro stations were one way too. People in and people out and never the twain shall meet. Sometimes we had to queue on the pavement to get into a station as only one trainload of people was allowed down to the platform at a time.  An army of friendly security men were posted at every entrance and barrier and they couldn’t have been more helpful in explaining how to get here or there. They added to the evening’s enjoyment as, with their help, we were never lost for long.

Looking at the catalogue I realise that there was a lot more we didn’t see but it was becoming very late and very cold. At minus 7° a thick frost had formed. Time to get back to the coach waiting for us near the Confluence. Our driver Sandrine whisked us effortlessly back up the motorway to Cluny. With Voyages Clunisois it was a very easy trip to Lyon.

December 5, 2013

RIP M.Bacherot

Filed under: People — Mary @ 16:56

I’m sure many of our guests at La Maison du Curé will be sad to learn that Gilbert Bacherot, our 89 year old neighbour, was found dead in bed this morning by his brother. He hadn’t been ill; just yesterday he was out sweeping round the front of the house.

The funeral was this afternoon. The Church at Cormatin was packed by family and friends. M.Bacherot was known for his kindness and love of animals. He liked looking after the horses and cows he borrowed from friends to keep the grass down in his garden. He kept chickens and doves. He would leave his windows open in the summer for the house martins to swoop in and out of the living room.

M. Bacherot was one of the first people we knew when we moved to France and we will miss him very much.

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