Our Life in Burgundy

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April 30, 2016

Disaster and Triumph

Filed under: Events,People,Places — Tags: , , , — Mary @ 17:11

Disaster as the warehouse of our Atac supermarket in Cluny was destroyed by a fire early Thursday morning. That morning we had gone to buy petrol and were surprised to find it roped off and the fire engines there.

But triumph at La Novelline.  Luckily the Atac car park was available this morning to accommodate the people attending the inauguration of La Novelline, a new sheltered housing complex which is next door on avenue Charles-de-Gaulle.

Françoise Forge is the president of the AFTC,  the association for families of people suffering brain damage from trauma or strokes. She explained that her daughter Christelle had been injured in a car accident ten years ago and found it difficult to resume an independent life despite the support of her close family.  So it was proposed to build sheltered housing to enable five individuals to help each other and share activities while still having their own living space.

It doesn’t seem long since the foundation stone was laid and the houses went up very quickly. The first tenants, Christelle, Michel and André, moved in at the end of October 2015.

Christelle, André and Michel cut the ribbon

Françoise Forge opened the proceedings and was followed by various members of the AFTC and local government.

The dignitaries waiting to give their speeches were amused by the clowns

The proceedings were helped along (or hindered) by a band of clowns from the Petit Chêne theatre in Cluny.

Unfortunately at this point the rain started and we squeezed in together under the awnings. More hilarity when a couple of the clowns tried to squeeze in to the same raincoat.

Why won’t it do up?

After the speeches we were entertained with a rousing concert by Cant’Azé under the direction of David Aubret.


Françoise thanked the choir and invited us into the new communal centre to enjoy an apero.

Events continue tonight at Les Griottons with a concert with the Percussions de Treffort. If it is as enjoyable as this morning’s do it should be a great success.

April 23, 2016

Open weekend at the Domaine de Thalie

Filed under: Events,People,Places — Tags: , , — Mary @ 21:58

This evening we enjoyed a very convivial wine tasting at the Domaine de Thalie in Bray. The proprietor, Peter Gierszewski, is a relative newcomer who ran a wine business in Cluny before realising his passion for producing wine.

Peter Gierszewski

In 2009 he bought 5 hectares (approx 12 acres) of vines on a west facing hillside on the highest part of Bray.  He started from scratch and converted an ancient farm into a winery. Within a short time he has become highly successful with his organic wines.  The gamay, pinot noir and chardonnay grapes are grown on a clay marl and granite soil which results in a distinctive terroir. They are produced without using pesticides or herbicides, and are picked by hand.  For fermentation he uses yeasts and bacteria naturally present on the vines.

Peter is trying out a new wine, a rosé blend of syrah and gamay. It is very unusual to find syrah grapes outside the Rhone valley. Very good it was too so we came away with a couple of bottles to enjoy at home.

Entertainment was provided by Air de Filles, a celtic band playing traditional dance music.


Air de Filles

Also on display was the work of Melanie Bray from Cortambert,  La Forge De Salohan.


Melanie with one of the children who had just fallen over

Mélanie is the last person you might expect to find working in a forge as she is petite with three small children. But she finds the time to make useful and distinctive items in iron.


Some of Melanie’s work

The open weekend continues tomorrow, 11 – 7.  The wines from the Domaine de Thalie are well worth tasting.

April 17, 2016

Open de Bourgogne

Filed under: Events,Places,Weather — Tags: , — Mary @ 18:26

It was a great weekend in Cluny for horse and rider. The Open de Bourgogne is a four day event which covers eleven different disciplines. Every manège was constantly in use at the Equivallée and the Haras, and the voltige and horse-ball were over at the equestrian centre. The long distance endurance events started and finished at the Hippodrome. It was a shame about the rain as there were heavy showers every day with storms in the evenings. The pré Tazerot with the pony games became a bit of a quagmire after Saturday night’s downpour, and we didn’t see as much horse-ball as we would have liked as the rain set in mid-afternoon on the Sunday.


Jumping at the carrieè du Rochefort

The Open started with the usual dressage and jumping events which always interest us but there were also plenty of fun events. And new events. We once had lessons in voltige but it was the first time we had seen a competition.


Here each member of the team performs the same routine…

but the freestyle is more fun 

Pony games, a test of speed and accuracy

Attelage can also be fast and furious

Rather more serene were the équifun and trec events, obstacle courses and tests for all ages and abilities. With the little riders the commentator helped when they lost their way and sounded genuinely pleased when they did well.

The little ones managed quite well

but it was not so easy for some of the bigger ones

We managed to miss the équifeel where the horses without bridle or saddle must respond to the voice and signals of the trainer but hopefully we will get to see that next year.

Events at the Equivallée continue as next weekend it’s the CSO Grand National and the weekend after it’s pony games. Cluny’s a great place to be if you like horses.

April 9, 2016

Le Four à Chaux – more excavations

Filed under: People,Places — Tags: , — Mary @ 20:17

On this warm sunny Saturday afternoon members of Cortambert notre Patrimoine turned out for a second session of excavating the ancient four à chaux. It’s a feature of Varanges after which our road was recently named. In the nineteenth century  lime was mixed with sand for use as a mortar when building stone houses.

Raymond continues to excavate the existing oven

and stabilises the walls with a lime mortar.


He uses his divining rods to find the position of the walls of a second kiln


We discover another vaulted roof and Hubert begins to remove the earth in front.


Marianne and Pascale come to help

It was a good afternoon’s work and it was satisfying to find the second kiln after all that digging. It looks like tons of earth still have to be removed so we can look forward to some more Saturday afternoon sessions during the summer.

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