Our Life in Burgundy

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May 25, 2017

Art in Cormatin


Cormatin is becoming more and more a centre for pottery and creative arts. There’s a super show this week at l’entre2, the exhibition space created by Patrick & Martine adjoining their jewellery business, L’atelier de Galadrielle. It’s on the right as you enter Cormatin from the south.


Patrick & Silvyane with Chris outside l’entre2

Exhibited is the work of Patrick Ballériaud and his partner Silvyane Sabato. Patrick can turn his hand to any form of drawing or painting, watercolours, pastels, oils, charcoal or pen & ink. He illustrates books and is skilled at portraiture. He drew the portrait of the last Curé of Cormatin which hangs in the hall at la Maison du Curé. He also teaches a variety of courses. Chris & I enjoyed a day out learning to paint landscapes. Coming up on the 10th June is a day sketching along the voie verte, picnic provided, and in July there will be a life drawing course.

Silvyane’s specialty is working with wire. She and Patrick published ’La Vie’ a poem written by Silvyane and illustrated by Patrick’s paintings, with the key phrases picked out by Silvyane and transformed into wire sculptures. I can also vouch for her wonderful cooking as she caters for Patrick’s art courses.

Do go along and meet Patrick and Silvyane in Cormatin.  More of their work and contact details can be found on www.studioballeriaud.fr

May 16, 2017

Walking the Ban Sacré

Filed under: People,Places — Tags: , , , — Mary @ 17:29

Members of the local heritage society have recently been engaged in marking out the ban sacré, a circular route drawn around Cluny in 1095. At that time the third stage of the building of Cluny Abbey was well advanced and the rapidly increasing numbers of monks found themselves in need of protection from attack and robbery.  Hugues de Semur, the Abbot under Pope Urbain II, decreed that within the confines of the ban sacré nobody could carry arms. The penalty was excommunication from the church, a serious punishment in those days. The ban sacré followed existing paths, waymarked with stones carved with the sign of the crossed keys and the arms of the Abbey.

Last October a group of 20 under the guidance of Raymond, the leader of Cortambert, notre Patrimoine, spent two days walking the 46km trail. They started at Donzy and passed through Berzé-le-Châtel, Le Bois Clair and Sainte-Cécile, to spend the night at the Domaine Saint-Laurent at Château. Next day they continued to Croix Micaud, Lournand and finished in Varanges.

There was a little bit of the ban sacré left to do, from Varanges to Donzy, and yesterday we joined the group to complete it.  It was lovely weather and here’s a few photos of the afternoon.

Raymond (right) demonstrates how the divining rods can help find buried stone waymarkers

We paused at Notre Dame des Roches, erected just after the war by Cortambert, Donzy and Blanot to give thanks for being spared the bombing. Cluny was bombed in June 1944.

The view back to the Grosne valley was well worth the climb

There are lots of lovely walking trails around here, and thanks to Raymond and the members of Cortambert, notre Patrimoine, we can now follow the ban sacré around Cluny.


May 14, 2017

Flashmob in Azé

Filed under: Events,People,Places — Tags: , , — Mary @ 20:35


The market place in Azé. The cedar of Lebanon was planted in 1821 and is now a national monument


There was a surprise event in the market in Azé this morning, a flashmob choir by Cant’Azé. Anne bravely started off and, shopping baskets in hand, the other members of the choir wandered in to add their voices. They were soon joined by their choir master David Aubret on the accordion. Here’s a part of it on video -


David Aubret leads the choir…


and here are some of the ladies

Then suddenly the market was back to normal

Cant’Azé have gone from strength to strength with David, who unfortunately will be leaving them soon. The choir’s future is in doubt unless they can find a replacement for him.

Another chance to see David Aubret perform on the accordion will be on Sunday May 28th. See the information on www.clunisois.fr/agenda/evenement/concert-du-vent-dans-les-cordes



May 12, 2017


Filed under: People,Places — Tags: , — Mary @ 20:52


When we moved to Cormatin in 2008 we had never even heard of Taizé and Cluny, and especially not Massilly. Then we regularly passed through Massilly, en route from the gite in Cormatin to our house in Cortambert, but didn’t pay much attention to the factory with its neat façade on one side and pretty landscaped parking areas on the other.

The factory at Massilly

We know now that Massilly is synonymous with making tins. All sorts of tins from food tins and aerosols to decorated biscuit tins and tin trays. And caps for glass jars and bottles by the million.

The story began in 1911 when Robert Bindschedler, originally from Switzerland, bought a disused mill that had belonged to the Abbey at Cluny. In the river Grosne he installed a battery of turbines to produce electricity for recuperating tin by electrolysis from scrap metal. In the 1920s his small factory at  Massilly began manufacturing household items such as basins and buckets. By 1952 the Robert Bindschedler Company had become well known for printing on tinplate and making screw tops to meet the demand of the growing bottling industry.

Massilly in the early 1960s

In 1959 Robert’s son Pierre took over the business and began the production of decorated biscuit tins and trays, for which Massilly is probably best known to the public. You’ll find these in most households, always stamped at the bottom with the Massilly logo which Pierre devised, an angel with an anchor, the latter homage to the Bindschedler family who were formerly fishermen on Lake Zurich.

In 1976 the factory at Massilly adopted new techniques for the manufacture of tins, electrical welding and stamping and re-stamping. In the 1980s Massilly set up factories in the UK, Spain, Switzerland and Italy. More recently, plants were set up in Canada, Ghana and South Africa. Massilly also took over other canning firms, for example Franpac who canned fish. An offshoot, Massiservices, was set up to develop new techniques, test the conformity and safety of canned goods, and be involved in the training of technicians and the installation of machinery in canning factories.

The Massilly group now has a turnover of more than 300 million euros and employs over 1,200 people in 25 companies in 9 countries. Every year 60,000 tons of tin and 2,000 tons of aluminium are used to make 2.5 billion caps and 500 million tins and aerosols. In Massilly itself the factory has extended to more than 50,000 square metres, crossing the boundary of the neighbouring commune of Bray.  Three hundred employees cover three shifts throughout the year.


Our tins from Massilly

We would love to look around the factory, and in fact once joined a group of visitors going in but found it was employees’ families only and didn’t get past the front desk. But we’ll keep our ears open for news of a porte ouverte.


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