Our Life in Burgundy

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June 22, 2018

Fête de la Musique 2018

Filed under: Events,Places — Tags: , , — Mary @ 21:34

June 21st is the date for la Fête de la Musique when every town in France resonates to the sound of bands, choirs and dancing. Our line dance club, Country Dreams, plays a part in the events staged in Cluny each year.

It felt like we had been practising for weeks so all went well except for the odd times the concentration slipped, or the feet didn’t slip, that is when they were caught by rough concrete of the Narthex. Here’s a few photos of a super evening -

We danced in the Narthex, the old foundations of the abbey

Cours 3 & 4 (photos Chris)

Christiane and Beatrice smile with relief when it’s all over!

Chris was busy with his camera when we weren’t dancing and took a couple of videos too.



If anybody near Cluny reads this please come and join us. We especially need some more men. There are lots of social occasions besides the dancing and if we can do it anybody can!


June 17, 2018


Filed under: Events,Places — Tags: , — Mary @ 16:39

Our cycling group from Cortambert enjoyed a rando vélo sacoches this morning. I had to ask what rando vélo sacoches (trek with saddlebags) meant and was told it implies a leisurely ride, nothing too hard.  Except of course the road from the voie verte back up to Cortambert! That’s the problem of living in the hills.

We joined the voie verte at Merzé and turned off right at Massilly to take the road to Cortevaix. We stopped for a break in Saint-Hippolyte to look round the ruined church. Situated by the river Guye, Saint-Hippolye was renowned as a place where fevers were healed.  The church was built in the 11th century by the Clunaic community of monks with additions authorised by the Lord of Brancion making it the first fortified church in Burgundy. It was destroyed in the 16th century.


This is where the saddle bags come in handy, to bring the biscuits and snacks

Saint-Hippolye (born 170AD) was a Roman writer of theology who opposed the Pope’s teachings and the lax moral standards of the Church. He was condemned to death and sent off to Sardinia. His saints’ day is August 13th and he is the patron saint of horses. This came about as he was confused with another Roman with a similar name who was sentenced to death by being torn apart by horses.

The church at Saint-Hippolyte with our group of 9 cyclists

Denis and Chris looking for an alternative route to avoid a ford on the way back (photo Sophie)

We returned along the voie verte, past Cormatin before turning off at Massilly to climb back to Cortambert.  We managed a reasonable 37km before lunch. It was easy cycling thanks to the voie verte and the quiet roads through the villages. This area really couldn’t be better for getting out on the bikes.

June 10, 2018

Exposition Artisanale in Donzy le Pertuis

Filed under: Events,Places,Weather — Tags: — Mary @ 18:31

It’s been one of those weekends when thunderstorms are forecast for the afternoons. It’s hot and close but apart from a few black clouds billowing up now and again we seem to have missed any storm or hail.

It’s been useful as Chris has got the shed roof on. This had been put off for a while as there was the randonnée last weekend, and the weather has often been too wet or too windy or too hot.

Claude and Chris take off the old asbestos roof

and here it is today with the new roof

Of course the shed still needs its gutters to channel the rainwater into the two big recuperators  that Claude is going to install on the far side by the vegetable garden.

Thoughts of going for a Sunday afternoon walk soon evaporated when we found there was not a breath of air even up the hill.  But we went over to Donzy le Pertuis where there was an exhibition of craft work.  There were paintings, petit point, homemade greetings cards, sewing, patchwork and photographs. Outside there was wine tasting with Lionel Jacquet, Marie-Thé’s son.

The exhibitors

Pascale was showing her paintings on porcelain

I’ve said this before but I am amazed how skilled and artistic people are here. You find painters and potters and basketwork makers everywhere. Pascale always says that you need to find a handicraft that interests you so you are not just watching daytime TV in the old people’s home. So I hope some of this rubs off on me!

June 5, 2018

La Randonnée des Roses 2018

Filed under: Events,People,Places,Weather — Tags: , — Mary @ 15:27


This year’s randonnée was perhaps too successful! We normally expect about 250 walkers, but more than 500 subscribed on Sunday. The weather wasn’t too bad, a little heavy perhaps but without full sun. A storm was forecast for later on in the day so the bulk of the walkers set off early.

Chris had devised the circuits of 9km, 14km, 19km and 25km.  He decided it was easier to mark them out himself than organise teams so we spent several days beforehand preparing the arrows and signs, and going round on the quad hammering them in and tying ribbon to trees along the way.



The final post to plant outside the foyer rural

We finished the marking out early before the first walkers went off. In the hall teams were busy registering, pouring coffees and setting out the refreshments.

Martine with Chantal, Sophia with little Abelia, and Marie Antoinette who were preparing to register the walkers

Claire, Simone and Pascale prepare the food and drink

David and I had dash off to the boulanger in Cluny to fetch three sacks of baguettes and we just managed to get to our point d’eau as the first of the walkers arrived. This is the first refreshment stop after about 4 km. We were stationed on the top of a steep ascent out of Varanges so everyone arrived hot and thirsty. Although we were really just a water point we also put out nibbles but didn’t reckon on the huge numbers of people passing through and soon ran out of dried fruit, biscuits, chocolate and oranges. However after another 5km there was a stop at Blanot where wine, coffee and more substantial snacks were provided.


Martine & Pierre-Jean and Martine & Guy served the refreshments in Blanot

There was a further refreshment stop in Culey, manned by Georges and Dominique for the people on the longest 25km walk.

Back at our point d’eau we were running out of water and had to phone Chris to bring some up tout de suite. He even raided our cave and found an extra 8l of Perrier. Nothing but the best for our walkers!

All the walkers passed the point d’eau

and the cattle next to us were interested to see what was going on

After the last walkers had passed through David and I packed up and went back to the foyer where we got involved in a lot of washing up (me) and serving beers (David).

When we thought everyone was back Chris and I went off in the car to fetch in the arrows around the villages and the warning signs from the roads. He left the markers in the woods until the next day when he could gather them in on the quad.

On returning to the hall we were just in time to join in the usual post event shared supper. It was good to discuss the highs and lows of the day. Generally the opinion was that the walkers really enjoyed the countryside and the circuits were challenging enough for the serious walkers and well marked. The only criticism was from the latecomers who found the refreshment tables a little bare but Pascale had catered for the usual number of people, and had not reckoned on twice as many turning up.

Well earned relaxation after a hard day

Luckily the impending storm held off until the event was finished and and all the tents and tables had been brought in. In general it couldn’t have been a better day for the Randonnée des Roses. That’s it until our next event, the soap box racing in Varanges  on Sunday 1st July.

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