Our Life in Burgundy

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November 27, 2017

Les Oiseaux Rares

I don’t usually feel the cold but yesterday we were chilled to the bone. I think the raw weather put a lot of people off visiting ‘Les Oiseaux Rares’ this weekend, or at least they moved smartly between venues and didn’t linger. ‘Les Oiseaux Rares’ are a group of 25 artists in Cormatin who collectively open their workshops and studios the last weekend in November.  You follow the bird footprints chalked on the pavements to go from one venue to another. They use the Mairie, tourist office and church in addition to their workshops. Each door is decorated with a wooden bird which is supposed to be a caricature of the artist within.

 

The bird at the entrance to the church…

wherein was the artist Patrick Balleriaud with his latest paintings

You can buy a bowl produced by one of the potters and at every exhibition try the homemade soup on offer. Perhaps we arrived too early for that but at the workshop of Pascale Ponsard we enjoyed some mulled orange which fortified us for our return through Cormatin.

The bowls, but where was the soup? Pascale Ponsard’s silk scarves piled on the bench behind

Returning to the church we admired the work of Patrick’s partner, Silvyanne, who runs workshops making things out of what you and I would call rubbish. Her work always reminds me of the Art Brut of Johé Gormand of Cortambert (famous after her death in 1963).

There are special day or weekend art courses available at the studios of Patrick Ballérinaud for visitors and locals alike. See www.studioballeriaud.fr.  We had a lovely day last year learning how to sketch and watercolour landscapes. His portaits are excellent; we have the last priest of Cormatin in the hall at La Maison du Curé. At the moment Patrick is sketching portraits of the grandchildren. You just need to send an email with a photo. Great for Christmas presents.

September 25, 2017

The 20th anniversary of the Voie Verte

Filed under: Events,People,Places — Tags: , , — Mary @ 17:28

In 1997 the department of Saône-et-Loire constructed the first 44km of the Voie Verte  by concreting the disused railway line between Cluny and Givry. Today there is a continuous cycleway extending 300km, in the north joining the Voie Bleue along the Canal du Centre. Extra circuits called boucles are waymarked cycle rides which direct you round the villages and local points of interest and take you back to the voie verte again. Specially created paths link the various sections together and now there are plans to link all the 600km of paths in Burgundy and extend them to join the cycle paths of the Loire and the Voie Bressane, as well as the Voie Bleue running along the banks of the Saône.

So there were lots of events happening at the old stations along the voie verte over the weekend. St Gengoux kicked off with picnics, guided cycle rides and an stunt bike show, ending with a giant selfie taken by drone, and aperos with the cave des Vignerons de Buxy-St Gengoux.

We cycled down to Massilly on Sunday afternoon to hear the speeches given by the mayor, and other local dignitaries.

The mayor of Massilly, Alain De Javel, flanked by Jean-Luc Delpeuch (Communité des Communes Clunisois) and Jean-Luc Fonteray (Conseillor Général of the canton of Cluny)

There was an interesting exhibition photos from the time the railway was built. We were given straw hats by Jean-Marc which proved really useful as, despite it being the end of September, the sun was very hot.

The station at Massilly

We pedalled on to the Plan d’Eau at Cormatin where there was a very much more noisy celebration with the group Drugstöre Rock giving its all. Rather too loud however for the ladies making lace nearby.

Drugstöre Rock

Later Sabrina Sow from Equinoctis appeared with three horses and a foal. The foal was a great hit with its antics. It could not seem to step over the ringside to join its mum and gambolled at the side. Mum was completely unconcerned.

Sabrina Sow with her mare and foal

and on one of her Percherons

Grazing peacefully afterwards on the Plan d’Eau

A good time was had by all. Here’s to the next 20 years of cycling on the Voie Verte!

 

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

July 30, 2016

Wedding Day

Filed under: Events — Tags: , — Mary @ 22:22

We were delighted to receive un faire-part from our mayor,  an invitation to the religious ceremony and the vin d’honneur of the wedding of his daughter Marina to Nicolas. The church at Cormatin was full when we arrived at midday.

We found this wedding very different to the ones we are used to. In France the couple start by going to the mairie for the civil service, usually just with close friends and relatives. Then comes the blessing in the church to which work colleagues and neighbours are also invited. There were no bridesmaids or best man but several witnesses. Very few flowers were in evidence except for the bouquet of white lilies carried by the bride.

The priest was jocular and the ceremony was not overlong. I was impressed that when the couple exchanged vows they said ‘Je le veux’ which sounded to me far happier than ‘I do’.

Guard of honour

The couple, doused in confetti, left the church between a guard of honour made up of the groom’s airforce friends and the brides labcoated work colleagues.

Off to the chateau of Boutavent

Normally a procession of cars following a wedding will flash their lights and toot their horns all the way. Perhaps we were too far behind but we missed that.

At the chateau the vin d’honneur provided  an opportunity for the village to give their good wishes to the newlyweds. We were entertained by a young cavalière and her three horses, en liberté.

 

 The chateau park and the horses provided an ideal photo opportunity

We left mid afternoon,  leaving the wedding party to look forward to the big dinner and dance in the evening. I’ve heard from a friend who was married in Cormatin that usually the celebrations go on until dawn when onion soup is served. Then the married couple are allowed a couple of hours rest before their bedroom is invaded by their close friends who bring a chamber pot full of a disgusting looking mixture, perhaps some wine, sausages and chocolate paste, and the bride has to drink from it first and then the groom. I’ll have to ask about that!

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