Our Life in Burgundy

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December 21, 2015

La Légende de Cylian

Filed under: Events,People — Tags: , , — Mary @ 22:10

“It’s not really a spectacle,” said the lady at the Haras “it’s more a fairy story for children“. Booking for two adults wasn’t going to be easy. “But please can we come? We’re English and we only understand theatre aimed at the average three year old. And we like horses”.

So this afternoon we were whisked away to a faraway land, the Pays de Lune, where Baba Yaga, a wicked fairy, steals Cylian, the precious unicorn. The moon predicts that only the most pure and bravest fairy can overturn the wicked fairy’s spells and find the unicorn. After many years Louna arrives….


Evil Baba Yaga threatens Louna

 The stables at the Haras were transformed into a stage set. Silhouetted behind a curtain we see Baba Yaga cast her spells and steal the unicorn. The good fairy asks the children to help and we troop after her, through the enchanted forest and deep into the dark dark woods.  Quite soon I hadn’t the slightest idea what was going on but, prompted by an assertive five year old, the children got into the spirit of the adventure. Over the ravine and up a tree goes the good fairy, from where she hands the children bags of fairy dust. I’m not sure why but it enables the children to find the key to the dungeon (the tack room) where Cylian is held captive. The bad fairy begs for forgiveness and Cylian is set free.

The good fairy releases Cylian…..

…..the bad fairy repents and everyone lives happily ever after

The show was produced by two of the artists in residence at the Haras, Laetitia and Camille. Well done to both of them. We do enjoy the children’s shows. Perhaps one day we’ll appreciate French theatre for grown-ups but up to date we have found it rather weird.

September 20, 2015

Heritage weekend

Filed under: Events,Places — Tags: , , , , — Mary @ 21:31


It’s difficult to chose what to do on the weekend du patrimoine. There are so many guided tours, free entries and access to places that are not normally open to the public.


Ready to start our guided walk

Chris’s first Sunday walk of the season was planned for today and we chose to join a guided walk around Ameugny. Josette took us around the village, pointing out some very old houses. Ameugny is Gallo-Roman and was established before the Francs arrived in 532. The Francs called their settlements names beginning with Cor or Con, meaning ‘of’. Cortevaix, Cortamblein, Confrançon etc. So Cormatin means the village of Martin.


Ameugny has some lovely old houses

The tower of the church, Notre Dame l’Assomption, was built in 1050, 30 years before Cluny Abbey, and the nave was finished in the 12th century.

Inside are some 16th century frescos and a chapel dedicated to the du Blé family who were the lords of Cormatin chateau. There is a plaque in latin describing the death of Lady du Blé of the plague. Her brother had been summoned to see her on her deathbed and a few days later he joined her in the family grave in Ameugny.

16th century frescos

We ended up at the pottery exhibition at Les Communs at Bois Dernier. Céramique en terres de Bourgogne, les richesses du caillou. It was organised by Frère Daniel of Taizé and 20 local potters. All the clay and glazes used were mined locally, different colours from different areas.


Frère Daniel’s work

We met with the President of the St Gengoux tourist office (which also runs the Cormatin office in the summer) and to round off the morning he offered us wine and brioche. A good Burgundian custom.


Chris and Sophie enjoy their wine

The sun came out this afternoon and we headed off for an afternoon of horses. The Haras was presenting demonstrations all afternoon. Laetitia Etta could do absolutely anything with her horses, on horseback or on foot, and she didn’t need the reins for a classy display of dressage.


Laetitia and her horse

At the Equivallée was the last day of the Championship of France showjumping event. So we leaned on the rails and watched some very fine horses and riders competing for the Grand Prix.


The French take their jours du patrimoine very seriously and everyone seems to participate in the events and open days. When we first moved here we didn’t know about the heritage weekend and we wondered why we were the only ones left in the village. Today in Cluny there were more people than I’ve seen all summer.



September 19, 2010

Journées du patrimoine

Filed under: Events,Places — Tags: , , , — Mary @ 23:32
Cluny Abbey

Cluny Abbey

Saturday and Sunday were the annual Journées du Patrimoine when everyone goes out and about to visit places that are not normally open to the public. In Cluny you could see a secret church hidden inside a house and go inside several medieval buildings. Other attractions that normally charge admission were free. We chose to wander round the Haras to see the stables and we visited the Abbey.

We knew there had been a lot of restoration in progress at the Abbey but had no idea of the extent of it. Part of the Abbey floor has been excavated and there is an exhibition of the intricately carved stones that have been unearthed. On the floor above is an exhibition of ancient bibles. It is mind boggling to imagine how much time and toil it took the monks to produce such beautifully illustrated manuscripts.

The virtual reality film shows what the Abbey was like before it was ransacked for its stone. Now, in addition, there are small TV sized screens at various points in the Abbey. You look at the remains which appear on the screen but also pictured is the Abbey as it was and you can’t tell what is real and which is virtual without glancing up again. You can move the screens at different angles and the view will change accordingly. Quite remarkable.

We also enjoyed watching the horse jumping at the Equivallée. We take an added interest now that we ride ourselves (watch this space!). There were competitions for the youngsters from the pony clubs and despite being so small they handled their horses beautifully and were so confident. We carefully noted their technique and hope that we have somehow absorbed some of their riding skills.

Pony Club competition

Pony Club competition

September 14, 2010

The Banquet for Cluny 2010

Filed under: Events,People,Places — Tags: , , , — Mary @ 16:05
The banquet of the Portes

The banquet of the Portes

The highlight of the Cluny 2010 weekend was the coming together of people belonging to each Porte. This includes the outlying villages and visitors from the Clunaic sites throughout Europe. Each Porte set up tables and chairs and wore the colour adopted by the Porte. We were the combined Porte des Prés and Porte du Haras from the villages to the north east.  Our colours were light blue and green and we decorated the wall of the Haras and the tables accordingly. Our painted orange boxes joined together made an excellent kiosk for dispensing aperitifs.

550 people arrived to eat at our Porte. We had a real feast and the wine flowed. During the preparations for Cluny 2010 we have gained many friends from the nearby villages and it was wonderful to see everyone partaking of a meal together. Luckily the weather stayed perfect, warm and sunny.

The guinguette

The guinguette

The next day we went back into Cluny to dismantle everything and put the tables and chairs into storage. We ended up with lunch at Cortambert with all the members of the Comité des Portes. It was really sad. We had enjoyed meeting all these weeks to prepare for Cluny 2010 and now it was all over.  However the friendship between the villages of Cortambert, Donzy, Blanot, Bray and Chissey will long continue.

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