Our Life in Burgundy

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The Blog: Our life in Burgundy

October 18, 2009

Oysters and Lamartine

Filed under: People,Places,Village Life,Weather — Tags: , — Mary @ 09:59
Chateau Lamartine

Chateau Lamartine at St Point

What a change in the weather! Although it’s been sunny most days this week it has been freezing at night; we’ve seen minus 4 and 5 in the mornings. Today there has been a very cold wind. It’s difficult to find out from the locals if this is exceptional but I don’t remember such cold weather last year until well into November. It is nice though to have the log stove going. Everyone here heats their houses with wood. It is said to make you warm three times over; first cutting it, then stacking it and lastly by burning it.

The activities in the village continue. Last night there was a folk dance in the village hall. I think we need to go to some of the practices that are held every two weeks in preparation for such events. However French folk dancing is quite slow and very repetitive so it is quite easy to pick up.

A very popular annual event was held this morning. It was the ‘Fête de 1001 Huîtres’. This heralds autumn as traditionally oysters are not transported this far inland in the warmer summer weather. The oysters were brought from different areas of the Atlantic coast, from Normandy to the very south west of France. Apparently the oysters from more northerly parts are more salty but I cannot vouch for this as I was just a spectator to this event.

We’ve been continuing our study of Lamartine the famous poet and politician by visiting the second of his chateaux at St Point. He lived there after his marriage in 1820 and he is buried there near the Romanesque church at the bottom of his garden. We followed the Lamartine Route past the Chateau at Milly-Lamartine where he spent his childhood and stopped to see the Chateau at Berzé-le-Châtel which is a landmark to the famous wine village of Pierreclos. Berzé is a most impressive chateau you could ever wish to find. It dates from the 14th century and would make a fine backdrop for any film featuring medieval times.

October 12, 2009

Pumkins and Poets

Filed under: Events,People,Places — Tags: , — Mary @ 20:06

Pumkins and Squashes

This weekend’s event in Cluny was the Fêtes de la Pomme organised by La Forêt Fruitière. As expected there were a lot of apples there, hundreds of different apple and pear varieties on show . But I didn’t expect to see such enormous swathes of marrows, squashes and pumpkins. Some were so exotic looking they didn’t seem real. Some were like turbans, some like snakes or swans, round ones, long ones, stripey ones, red ones, yellow ones, green ones. Tons of them.

We just seem to be hovering on the brink of Autumn. It is definitely cooler and we had a rainy day last week and a bit of morning mist in the valley. The the leaves are just beginning to turn and we were thinking about lighting the wood stove. But today the sun is out again and the sky is blue as if the weather is not going to surrender just yet.

Back to school! I have started my French lessons again and Jeannette, my teacher, is trying to introduce me to Alphonse de Lamartine, the famous poet and politician. Apparently the area around Cormatin is a magnet for students of Lamartine. We visited the Lamartine museum in Mâcon where he was born, and on the way home stopped to look at the Chateau at Milly-Lamartine where he spent his childhood. We could only look through the great iron gates as the Chateau is open only in the summer. He had many friends in Cormatin and spent a great deal of time here. I wonder if he visited La Maison du Curé?

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