Cluny seems an unlikely place to be celebrating the Chinese New Year but there is a thriving Chinese Society, La Chine à Cluny, and tai chi is very popular with the members of La Spirale d’Or.
Today both associations met together at the Ecuries de Saint Hugues to celebrate the Year of the Rooster. We were especially impressed by the simple Chinese style brush and ink drawings of Marie-Laure Lanfranchi. More roosters were exhibited by Chantal Dunoyer, and colourful photos of Chinese people by Pierre Plattier set the scene.
The highlight of the morning was a demonstration by La Spirale d’Or of the different tai chi styles. I particularly like the form with the fans. A group performed with swords, then everybody gave a wide berth to the teacher who demonstrated with a long spear.
and with fans
Meanwhile in the background a batch of dumpling soup was being ladled out as part of the day long Chinese buffet on offer.
Are there many Chinese in Cluny? I don’t think I have seen any. But it is always interesting to take part in other traditions. I was born in the year of the Rat (Earth). Intelligent, quick-witted, charming, artistic, and sociable? According to Chinese astrology, the year of your sign is believed to be one of the most unlucky years of your life. However the last year of the Rat was 2008, the year we moved to France, which I do not consider to be unlucky at all.
Today is cold, dry and sunny, just as I remember winters used to be when we first came to France. A good day to go down to the Beaujolais to buy some cremant from our favourite cave, Domaine Ducote in St Amour. M. Ducote arrived just behind us, back from working in the vineyards, complaining it was just too cold to work.
En route to Fleurie we stopped at La Chapelle de la Madonne which overlooks the vineyards of Fleurie. With a windchill factor of minus a lot I admired the view from the car while Chris took some photos.
La Chapelle de la Madonne
and the view of Fleurie and the vineyards. Note the church which is shown in the following photo.
The last time we went to Fleurie it was heaving with visitors but today the streets were deserted. It was too cold anyway to do anything except have a look in the Cave. Chris was looking for presents to take his family but no tourist stuff was on sale, not even a nice Beaujolais teatowel.
The church at Fleurie
We tried the Hameau Duboeuf, the wine museum which has a lovely shop in the summer, but all they had were the remnants of Christmas.
The Hameau Duboeuf…..
and the steam engine in the station yard opposite.
I like the Beaujolais all year round. In the winter when it’s closed it’s quiet and the roads are empty. In the spring the tourists start arriving and there are big wine markets. In summer it is full of life and in the autumn there’s the grape harvest. Beaujolais produces more wine than all the other Burgundy wine regions put together. A good place to go at any time of the year.
We are on the ‘fogline’ today. A bank of fog is creeping up from below but above is a brilliant blue sky and trees laden with frost. Here are some photos from our New Year’s Day walk. All taken by Chris as I forgot my camera.
Mistletoe for New Year
Just above us, the field with the horses
Mother Nature’s Christmas tree
The frost that has fallen off is like snow underfoot
And it’s easy to see why some branches have broken under the weight
and in passing if you are unlucky it all drops off down your neck
Back home Chris sits and looks at the paper. There are lots of new regulations that have become law today. For instance dark tinted car windows are forbidden. Chris’s interest is drawn to the proposal that the government will give you 10,000 euros if you trade in your 10 year old diesel for an electric car. So it will only cost 14,000 euros for a new Renault Zoe! Unfortunately Father Christmas has already been and gone!