We know that spring has arrived when we begin to see Dutch campervans on the road and tourists arriving in Cormatin. And families of cyclists on the voie verte. It has been a lovely day today with lots of people out making the most of the sunshine.
Ready to set off on our walk.
This morning Chris guided our walking group on a little randonnée, an 8 km ramble around Blanot passing through Fougnières and Vivier. It was easy walking, though muddy underfoot to start with. We kept stopping to admire the views which were lovely in the sunshine.
We take a break at the lavoir at Vivier
The better weather has also spurred us into doing all the winter jobs at La Maison du Curé. While Chris has been tackling the repairs I’ve been madly repainting, doing as much as I can before my departure to Glasgow on Tuesday. Chris will stay here to look after our three cats and the gite guests who arrive in March.
La Maison du Curé, all ready for visitors to Cormatin
I’ll be in Bonnie Glasgow for a couple of weeks looking after our grandchildren while their mother works. The forecast is wet and windy for Scotland so I will look forward to the sunshine in Cormatin when I come back in March.
My charges for the next two weeks. Jo, Maggie and Meg the dog
I don’t usually do restaurant reviews. It’s not that food doesn’t interest me but we very rarely go out to eat. I usually leave such things to our friend Cees at La Tuilerie, Chazelle. I am always pleased when our visitors tell us which eating places they have enjoyed and add to our collection of cards on the notice board.
Yesterday we celebrated Valentine’s Day with the village hall committee at Le Pain sur la Table , a very popular ‘bio’ restaurant at Pont de l’Etang by the river in Cluny. On entering you are greeted by a warm smell of oak mingled with herbs and new bread. All the food is organic but not so healthy as to put you off. Le Pain sur la Table used to be open only at lunchtime but now it’s open on Friday nights too.
Members of the foyer rural enjoying Valentine's night
I think our group of 16 was a little too much for the staff to cope with as all the other tables were full with people enjoying their Valentine’s night out. There was some breakdown in communication in the kitchen and we spent an age enviously watching other people eating their dinners before we got ours. But when it arrived the food was tasty with plenty of fruit and veg and sprinkled with healthy nuts and seeds. I enjoyed it very much, particularly the dessert, whipped white chocolate with walnuts.
In essence it was my kind of food. Although we will have lived in France 6 years next Easter I have never really learned to enjoy proper Burgundian food such as snails, frogs’ legs, oeufs en meurette, andouillette, foie gras, warm pâté in cream sauce. But if that is the food you like I would thoroughly recommend Le Cheval Blanc. We went there with friends on Chris’s birthday. The service is really good and the food impeccable.
Auberge du Cheval Blanc
Another place I have heard several people enthuse about is La Petite Auberge. Run by Angélique and Florent, it’s very popular with both visitors and students. It’s on the place du Commerce in the centre of Cluny. If it’s a nice day you can sit on the pavement and watch the world go by. They offer an excellent dish of the day and I hear the steaks and the pizzas are very good. We haven’t eaten at La Petite Auberge yet but we’ll go there at the next opportunity.
La Petite Auberge
We often think about the old parish priest of Cormatin who used to live at La Maison du Curé. His name was René Laheurte and he was by all accounts a kindly man who would sit and read outside the front door, greeting his parishioners as they passed by. In the early 1990s he retired and went to live in Corsica. He died in 1993 and was brought back to be buried in the graveyard of St Martin d’Ougy near Malay.
I don’t think that the old Curé ever left us. His calming presence is still felt throughout the house and our German guests have even seen him sitting by the fire in the dining room. I was so surprised to hear this I forgot to ask what he looked like.
M. le Curé by Patrick Balleriaud
Last autumn we met the artist Patrick Balleriaud who had just returned to take over the family farm in Chazelle. I asked if he had known the Curé. Yes, he said, he both baptised me and married me. He was tall with a good head of hair. He had a particular way of holding his fingers when giving out the wafers and wine…
I wondered if there were any photos. Patrick asked around and came up with two. From these he was able to draw a portrait which will soon have pride of place in the hall at La Maison du Curé.