Le Grand Départ
Yesterday Cortambert hosted the annual cycle race for the René Alamagny Trophy in conjunction with the Vélo sport mâconnais. A prestigious race as it’s part of the preparation for the championship of France. The race was 15 gruelling circuits of 6km starting at the foyer rural in Cortambert. The cyclists climbed the hill to Butte à Vent before descending swiftly past Les Sarilles and down to Varanges, round our corner and along the road back to Cortambert.
A technical descent into Varanges
We were relieved the weather was perfect, warm and sunny without the thunderstorms of last year.
Georges going off to marshal
The men were sent off to various outposts to prevent any traffic from coming onto the course in front of the pelaton. Cars could go in the direction of the race but not against it.
Meanwhile the ladies on the buvette worked tirelessly all afternoon providing gaufres and beer to the supporters.
There was quite a gathering after the race to see the winners being presented with their prizes by our mayor, Pierre-Jean.
We went home for an hour to catch the final moments of the Tour de France. Another celebration for France as Jean-Christophe Péraud and Thibaut Pinot came second and third. Jean-Christophe Péraud is feted here for winning the Cortambert cycle race in 2006 when he was still an amateur.
Afterwards Martine (Mrs Mayor) invited all the signaleurs and their wives to a very welcome meal held al fresco under the lime trees. A perfect finish to a very exciting day.
We’ve a wonderful library in Cortambert but it’s very little used. It’s easy to forget to go as it is open only between 17h30 and 19h on the third Thursday of the month and 11h to midi on the following Saturday. Most of the books are new and there is something for everyone.
It’s a shame that we are all so busy with the Iphone and tablet, texting and messaging (and blogging!) that we do not make more time to read. I can’t say I read as much as I would like although I have made good inroads into the junior section. At present I am studying Albert Camus’ Le Premier Homme for my weekly French lesson.
The library needs more support. It’s free, the company’s good and here I’ll let you into a secret……if you happen to be there towards midi on a Saturday you might be treated to aperos……
It’s terribly hot and our swimming pool is still a work in progress. So we thought we would go and try out the swimming pool next to the caves in Azé. It only reopened on Tuesday after being closed for two years. The renovation work took four and a half months and cost half a million euros.
To be honest I wasn’t impressed. The was just one lady on the desk at the entrance and she took an age to issue tickets while we stood in the heat. Once in we found only three changing rooms, through which you pass to get to the pool (although we found afterwards that if you are already changed you can pass through a gate which bypasses the showers and the footbath!)
The swimming pool at Azé
There’s no indication how deep the pool is and I was well out of my depth at both ends. You can lie out to dry on the paving alongside the pool but unfortunately it slopes down from the edge of the pool and everytime anyone gets out the water runs off them to be mopped up by your towel. There is not a scrap of shade and you soon start feeling like a well grilled steak.
The good thing is that everything is nice and clean and the water is not too cold. It’s in a lovely setting surrounded by woods. Above all the kids are great, having lots of fun but not causing any bother. And there are a couple of beefy lifeguards. What more could you want?
Today we went to see the Tour de France pass through the Beaujolais. Fleurie, at about 30km, is the nearest place to us. To avoid the main roads we went the back way up through the Pouilly-Fuissé vineyards from where there were spectacular views of Solutré.
We took Claude who always comes with us to see the Tour de France. Just outside Fleurie we picnicked by a vineyard. We got talking to the chap sitting next to us who was the owner. He said that last year he had lost the whole of his crop to hailstones. I can believe that as in a storm at the end of June hailstones the size of golfballs fell on Cormatin.
Chris and Claude keeping out of the sun
It was hot waiting but we were soon entertained by the caravan with girls hurling small gifts. I can report that being hit by flying bag of haribos really hurts! The little boy next to us collected bags and hats and sweets and keyrings…. We all got a present from Vittel as everyone got sprayed with water.
The kids wave and shout to get gifts from the caravan
Then a succession of team cars and motorbikes. The VIPs passed overhead in helicopters. Finally the cyclists came by, or what was left of them.
- Cheering on the French
I can’t imagine what it must be like to ride all afternoon in such a heat. And tomorrow will be even hotter. Bravo to all the French riders who are doing so well.