Our Life in Burgundy

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April 27, 2014

A Walk from Cormatin

Filed under: Places — Tags: , , , — Mary @ 17:36

Today our village walking group went on a balade which Chris and I often used to enjoy when we lived in Cormatin.


Map of our walk from Cormatin

If  you leave La Maison du Curé and turn to the right you will find the agricultural track to Chazelle. It is not supposed to be for cars although this morning M.Bordet the mayor drove past us en route to his farm near Chazelle. But I suppose if you are the mayor you can do what you like. Generally though it is a good safe cycle ride for families with children.


Today's walkers

Along the way you often see rare breeds of animals in the fields. Today there were llamas and some unusual sheep.  In the past we have seen emus, deer, bison, Brahman cattle and miniature ponies.


The Romanesque church at Chazelle

At Chazelle you can visit the church, typical of the 12th century.  A little further is a farmhouse with lots of ancient farm machinery such as horse drawn ploughs rusting away in the garden.


The Chateau d'Uxelles

You have a good view of the Chateau of Uxelles before arriving back at the top of the hill of St Roch with its salle de fêtes. From here you get a lovely view of Cormatin. Then it’s just a short steep descent back to La Maison du Curé.


February 17, 2012

Chissey les Mâcon; its Cinema and Church

Filed under: Places,Village Life — Tags: , , , — Mary @ 12:13

The address of La Maison du Curé is 12 route de Chissey. Just follow the road out of Cormatin through La Bergerie and Lys and you come upon the village of Chissey les Mâcon. Although there are only 246 Chissayons there is not only a school and a mairie but also a cinema.

Meeting friends at the cinema at Chissey

The cinema puts on a film once a month and the film evening is a chance for us to meet our friends from the neighbouring villages. I had thought that they would show only obscure French films, but this week we were treated to ‘The Artist’ which won all those Baftas at the weekend.

It felt very much like actually being in the 1920s watching the silent movie with the noise of the whirring projector behind us. It came on two rolls of film. During the interval while the roll was being changed we were treated to drinks and cake.

Throughout the history of the French film industry the French Government has been very protective of its culture. There has been a lot of criticism about the subsidies given to film companies which churn out films that appeal to the lowest common denominator, or films that are such rubbish that they would not be made if the company had to make a profit from them. In the past the French have felt threatened by the Americans, first by the success of Hollywood films, and now the Steven Spielberg sort of blockbuster movie. So money from taxes extracted from theatre goers and large companies is used to help the smaller concerns.

To cut a long story short the government encourages us all to go to see French films. If a village is more than a certain distance from the nearest cinema they give subventions to help set up a cinema in the foyer rural and pay for the film hire. Then there is only a nominal charge for entry which goes towards the hall expenses. The films are available to the village cinemas four to six months after their release so they are up to date.  We will become regular cinema goers now as I love French films.

While on the subject of Chissey, we were passing yesterday and called in to see its romanesque church. Saint Pierre was built in the 12th century on the site of a previous church built in 926. Although somewhat remodelled in the 19th century you can see the original 12thcentury capitals depicting biblical scenes. The one below represents the nativity with the angel flying to tell the good news to the shepherds with their sheepdogs.

One of the capitals in Chissey church

One of the capitals in Chissey church

Also the altarpiece is magnificent.

The alterpiece

The alterpiece

So although we have been living in this area nearly four years we are still discovering treasures on our doorstep.

October 13, 2011

The Last Curé of Cormatin

Filed under: People,Places,Village Life — Tags: , , — Mary @ 22:59

These days Cormatin does not have a priest of its own but one who rotates around four or five villages and visits about once a month to take Mass.

The Church at Cormatin

The Church at Cormatin

The last parish priest of Cormatin lived at La Maison du Curé until the 1990s when he retired. Until recently we knew very little about him except that he liked to sit by the front door and greet the passers-by. Over the years the house fell into disrepair and after the Curé retired it was left derelict. In 1996 a group of church people from Plymouth renovated it to provide a comfortable base for themselves and their friends to visit Taizé.

This September our friends from Holland, Rob and Deirdre, arrived to stay at La Maison du Curé.  They were curious to find out about the priest and did some research. They began by talking to the Maire and his staff who were most helpful. The neighbours too. M.Bacherot, the retired farmer who lives opposite, remembers the priest as being a charming man.

The priest was called René Laheurte and he was born in 1910. He was called up in 1940 but returned to France in 1944. He was in Cormatin until his retirement at the beginning of the 1990s, then went to live in Corsica where he died in 1993. His body was repatriated and he was interred in the cemetary at Ougy, near Malay, about 5km from Cormatin.

The grave of René Laheurte

The gravestone of René Laheurte

The grave

In the cemetary in Ougy

Rob and Deirdre went to find the grave. It is in the cemetary of the Church of Saint-Martin d’Ougy which was built in the 12th century. In size and structure it is very like the church at Ameugny which was built at the same time.

The Church of Saint-Martin at Ougy

The Church of Saint-Martin at Ougy

Saint-Martin is remarkable as it hasn’t been altered since the day it was completed. There is a fresco of St Philip painted when the church was new.

The interior of the church

The interior of the church

This is a church quite close to home that we previously knew nothing about. I am very grateful to Rob and Deirdre who told us about the church of Saint-Martin and about our Curé.  Thank you Rob for sending the photos.

Many of our visitors remark that there is a sense of peace, calm and warmth in the house. I suspect we are feeling the spiritual legacy of our old Curé.

October 3, 2011

Premier rallye pédestre – Cortambert to Donzy-le-Pertuis

Filed under: Events,Places,Village Life — Tags: , , , , — Mary @ 22:55


It was perfect sunny weather on Sunday afternoon for the rallye pédestre, a sort of treasure hunt. It was jointly organised by the presidents of the foyer ruraux of Cortambert and Donzy.

We set off from Cortambert clutching our map, pencil and questions. I’ll know next time to take a dictionary and do a bit of research in advance regarding local history. I’m sure that without the explanations of our patient neighbours we would have ended up with nul points!

At Notre Dame des Roches - when was she consecrated?

At Notre Dame des Roches - when was she consecrated?

We learned lots of interesting things. For example the bell of Cortambert church is called Marie-Françoise. The patron saint of Cortambert is St Maurice. In the third century Maurice of Thebes led a legion of soldiers to fight for the Romans against the barbarians on the borders of Gaul, now Switzerland. The Emperor Maximian then ordered him to kill all those did not worship the Roman gods, especially the Christians. When Maurice refused he and his legion were massacred.

St Maurice in Cortambert Church

St Maurice in Cortambert Church

 St Maurice is also the patron saint of Switzerland. The white cross on a red background of the Swiss flag was the badge of St Maurice.

The lavoir at Donzy - what date was it built?

The lavoir at Donzy - what date was it built?

The patron saint of Donzy is St Julien. Outside the church is a wooden statue set in a niche of John the Baptist carrying a lamb (no, not St Julien carrying his dog!!). Round the back was a door, now filled in, where the priest used to enter. By the door are some deep scratches called the griffes du diable. A more mundane explanation is that the gritty stone was used to sharpen knives.

Enjoying a rest in Donzy

Enjoying a rest in Donzy

A good time was had by all. Hot and exhausted we trooped back to the foyer rural in Cortambert where we were treated to hot chestnuts, cake, apple juice and vin nouveau. Many thanks to all who organised the most enjoyable and interesting afternoon.

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