Our Life in Burgundy

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June 29, 2016

A Day out in the Jura

Filed under: Places — Tags: , , — Mary @ 18:16

A lovely sunny day saw us heading east for a day out in the Jura. Beyond Tournus we passed through the Bresse country with its patriotic chickens and half timbered farmhouses. At Louhans we stopped at the market where our neighbours go to get their chickens. There’s the small animal market (with large animals every alternate Monday) in an enclosed area but the rest of the market with clothes and baskets extends far into town along the Grande Rue with its 15th century Spanish arcades.



all sorts of chickens

and this fine fellow


The market was alive with chickens, rabbits and caged birds. Soon people were walking around with cardboard boxes that squawked and scrabbled. I was glad to see the animals were treated well, shaded from the hot sun with bits of cardboard and canopies. Chickens came in all sizes from one day old  to ready to eat. Of course you could buy oven ready Bresse chickens complete with their heads and feet.


The famous Bresse chickens

Onwards into the land of Comté cheese and brown and white cows. The vineyards here produce the AOC vin jaune.  Perched on a rock above the vineyards is Château-Chalon, one of the most beautiful towns in France.


Château-Chalon with its sheer cliffs 

and the view from the town

Further east there is Clairvaux-les-lacs, which, as its name implies, has two beautiful lakes nearby. The beaches were lovely with clean white sand. Chris went for a dip and found the water surprisingly warm.


Swimming in the lake at Clairveau


The main reason for visiting Clairvaux-les-lacs was to go and see the Musée des Maquettes à Nourrir et Courir le Monde.  Marcel Yerly  (1915-2000) was an agricultural worker who had a passion for making working models of the tractors and combine harvesters he knew from his early days on the farm. The work is very accurate with moving parts. It’s difficult to believe how he made all the models when you see his simple workbench with drill and saw. He was also an skilled painter of landscapes and made his own brushes and paints.

Working model of an early tractor (photo website www.museemaquettebois.fr)

It was a lovely run back through Orgelet, Saint-Amour and Pont-de-Vaux, crossing the Saône to Fleurville.  I always consider the other side of the the  Saône as foreign lands so I was glad to be back home.


June 26, 2016

Cant’Azé – Chansons d’Ici et d’Ailleurs

Filed under: Events,People — Tags: , , — Mary @ 18:28

It was a shock to find in the early hours of Friday morning that ignorance and intolerance had overcome reason, encouraged by Boris’s lies, causing Europe to start unravelling like a poorly knitted jumper. Were Friday night’s storms of biblical proportions some sort of comment? The feelings of dismay will not disappear anytime soon but at least summer has arrived and the end is in sight for us to become French citizens.

Another consolation was the wonderful concert given by Cant’Azé  this weekend. It’s a year since David Aubret took over the direction and what a difference he has made. The choir is refreshed and full of vitality. Most of all they made the concert fun.

Cant’Azé  led by David Aubret

It was a trip round the world. Members of the audience participated by pulling out of a hat a number whose corresponding pulley revealed the flag of the country whose song would be next. The Union Jack was met by jeers of derision but despite that the choir sang Bohemian Rhapsody with gusto.


The colours of the seven countries above the choir

Pierre-Antoine Pehu played a medley of Beatles songs that brought us back to our youth, a beautiful introduction to arrangement of Yesterday that showcased the talent of the different sections of the choir. When not accompanied on the piano the choir was led by David who played the accordion or the keyboard.

Cant’Azé gets better each year. This superb concert is the result of all the work each member has put in during the year, spiced with the talent and charisma of David. Bravo!

June 17, 2016

Glasgow in June

Filed under: Places,Uncategorized,Weather — Tags: , , — Mary @ 22:43

The day after the randonée I flew off to Glasgow to look after the infants while their mother was working away. I thought the pilot had veered off course and landed on some tropical island as we arrived to sunshine and a humid 28°.  While it had been pouring in France it had been fine weather in Scotland.

I was left a timetable of the girls’ activities. Afterschool club Monday and Tuesday,  swimming Wednesday, French lesson for Jo, music lesson for Maggie… Chess for Maggie with a Russian grandmaster. (Jo isn’t bad at chess either but I can still beat her). Although the girls are at school all day with their friends they still like to play together on the way home. Then Saturday afternoon it’s party time, it’s always someone’s birthday. Sunday morning more swimming and to Church for Sunday school. It’s an exhausting schedule and I’m just watching!

On Wednesday it was the school sports day. It was wonderful weather and lots of mums & dads turned out to cheer the children on. As Glaswegians are unaccustomed to the sun there were plenty of pink shoulders by the end of the afternoon.


Jo racing well…

and showing off her winning stickers

Maggie with the egg and spoon

The highlight of the week was meeting up with the family in Falkirk to see the Kelpies on Sunday afternoon. The Kelpies are a couple of 30m high statues of horses recently constructed by the new extension to the Forth & Clyde Canal. They represent the horse powered heritage of Scotland.

Approaching The Kelpies

Close up they are enormous

The Kelpies are set in The Helix which is a huge parkland project with a new playpark which is meant for children and adults alike.


A good push for the rope swing

Jo and Maggie

I enjoyed my time in Glasgow but it was good to touch down in Lyon and return to more restful life in France.

 Landing at Lyon (photo Chris)

June 5, 2016

Randonnée des Roses – a success!

Filed under: Events,Places,Weather — Tags: , — Mary @ 16:00

It was a dull rainy start to the day and early on we were a little dismayed to see so few people arriving to register. But in the middle of the morning the rain cleared and it brightened up a bit, bringing out the walkers. So after a slow start we’ve done reasonably well with a turnout of over 200.

The only complaint was the mud underfoot but after a week of rain there was not a lot we could do about it. Chris did reroute one of the circuits to bypass a particularly muddy stretch above Blanot but the going was still treacherous in places. Everybody took it in good part and enjoyed stopping along the way for their refreshments and a good chat.

Here are a few photos from today -

“The mud was up to here” – Note the muddy state of the lady in pink teeshirt when she arrived at the point d’eau!

Jean, Pascale & David, the team at the point d’eau

Pierre-Jean & Martine and Guy & Martine serve at the ravaitellement  in Donzy

and at Blanot Georges and Dominique are kept busy

Back at the hall it was all systems go, first providing coffee and snacks for the people about to set off, and then welcoming them back with further refreshments. I wouldn’t think there are many villages that are so generous to their randonneurs.

Simone on gaufres with Yvette, Claire & Jean-Louis helping Pascale with the refreshments

Cortambert looks after its randonneurs very well

and if you want to know what happens to the leftovers…..

Towards the end of the day we had blue skies and sunshine, the rain was forgotten and everybody had had a good day, walkers and helpers alike. Meanwhile Chris has already begun to plan for next year….

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