Our Life in Burgundy

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The Blog: Our life in Burgundy

April 8, 2018

Spring has sprung

Filed under: Events,People,Places,Weather — Tags: , — Mary @ 15:29

After an interminable winter spring seems to be tentatively making an appearance. For the first time it is warmer outside than in. People are cutting the grass and the bats are flitting about. The cattle are out at pasture and new lambs are leaping around in the sunshine.

It’s the beginning of the school holidays so no classes for us during the next fortnight. It was nice to finish the spring term of line dancing with a ball at Charnay les Mâcon. These things go on so late, we hadn’t even got through half of the playlist by the time we left after midnight. But the company was good and we enjoyed some rather challenging dancing. Must do some revision during the holidays!

Our group from Country Dreams Cluny


Chris found a new friend

With the weather being better we’ve tried to get out on bikes every day this week. Lucky we had put in some practice as Denis took us out for a ride this morning.

Chris, Frédéric, Denis & Sophie

This jaunt took us along the voie verte past Cormatin, turning off to Malay and Ougy, and back via Lys.

View of the church at Malay from the voie verte

It was an easy and traffic free 37km. Hopefully this will be a regular second Sunday of the month event. Meanwhile let’s have a bit more warmth and sunshine. At least there won’t be a drought this summer.

May 14, 2015

The Cycle Club of Cortambert Rides Out

Filed under: Events,Places — Tags: , , , — Mary @ 21:08


We’ve been in training the last couple of weeks for today’s event, a 45km cycle ride. It was perfect weather for cycling, quite cool and not too sunny.

We set off from the foyer rural in Cortambert and went north through Toury, Lys, Chapaize and Champagny sous Uxelles.  Then on to Bresse sur Grosne, Santilly and Etiveau before joining the voie verte for a gentle ride to Cormatin.


We had the occasional stop for repairs


and to let everyone catch up.

In Cormatin we stopped for a picnic by the river at the Plan d’Eau.


We enjoyed the sunshine and had a leisurely lunch.

I sometimes think events in Cortambert are just an excuse to have a party!



Time to go back so we rejoined the voie verte and cycled back to Massilly thence back up the hill to Cortambert. (Some decided that Merzé to Varanges to Cortambert was the way to go and arrived back at the foyer much later, completely exhausted)



From Cormatin I would thoroughly recommend this easy circuit through the villages of  Lys, Chapaize and Champagny sous Uxelles and Bresse sur Grosne, to return on the voie verte. It takes you through pretty villages, past chateaux and along the river. It is fairly flat all the way and you will rarely meet any traffic. For us, having to climb back up to Cortambert is a disadvantage of living in the hills, a disadvantage far outweighed by our wonderful views over the Grosne valley.



April 21, 2014

The Voie Verte –Chalon to Mâcon by bike

Filed under: Places — Tags: , , , , , — Mary @ 10:48


In this part of France we enjoy some excellent cycling thanks to the efforts of the Conseil Régional to link old railway tracks and canal towpaths to make an almost seamless cycle track which runs for 800 km around Burgundy.

The cycle track round Burgundy


Our part of this grand scheme is the 70km voie verte that runs from Chalon to Mâcon. The old railway has been tarmacked to make a smooth and fairly flat track. Former railway stations provide tourist information, bicycle hire and places to stop for a picnic.

Our section of voie verte running from Chalon to Mâcon

Mile after mile of easy cycling would be rather monotonous except for the boucles, little signposted tours off the voie verte, which direct you round nearby villages, chateaux and points of interest.

From La Maison du Curé in Cormatin we often cycled south to Cluny or north to Buxy. But recently we thought it would be good to cover all of the voie verte. This we did in several sections, driving to a different starting point each time. I liked to park at the northern end as it is easier to start off downhill!

You start off in the outskirts of Chalon in the vineyards of Côte Chalonnaise, an area famous for its AOC wines. The first port of call is Givry, an enclosed town with two round towers. Its town hall is housed inside a monumental gatehouse dated 1771 which looks a bit like the Arc de Triomph. The pinot noirs of Givry were the favourite wines of Henry IV (reigned 1589-1610).

The gate leading to the mairie at Givry

I would say that this part of the voie verte is the prettiest, lined with banks of irises and bluebells when we were there in early April. We had a detour to look at this medieval church, now incorporated into a farm.

Medieval chapel near Givry

Next comes Buxy which is worth visiting for its interesting wine cellar housed in a tower.

The cave at Buxy

This co-operative also has a cave in St Gengoux. Visitors are welcome to taste the wines but remember you have to get back on that bike.


Chris by the station in Buxy

Saint Gengoux is fascinating with its 12th century church and winding medieval streets. After Saint Gengoux you go to Cormatin, passing round the back of the Chateau.

The station at Cormatin - how it used to be

You skirt the hill at Taizé before arriving at Cluny station. Cluny marks the end of the really easy cycling. It’s a bit steep getting down to the Bois Clair tunnel but easier than going over the top of the hill which you have to do in winter when the tunnel is shut to let the bats hibernate.  The tunnel is 1,600m long, the longest voie verte tunnel in Europe. That pinpoint of light in the distance never seems to get nearer however long you pedal.



You emerge from the tunnel to see the fairytale castle of Berzé-le-Châtel on your left. You are in the Lamartine valley where you can take a boucle to visit Milly, Saint Point and Pierreclos, chateaux of the famous poet Lamartine. Cycling on towards the Saône you can’t fail to be impressed by views of the Roche de Vergisson and the famous Roche de Solutré.

Mâconnais vineyards with Vergisson and Solutré

You are in the Mâconnais wine country passing La Roche Vineuse and Prissé.

The end of the railway track is at Charnay-les-Mâcon which is renowned for its production of appellation Macon-Villages and Crémant de Bourgogne. As with Givry, its wines appealed to royalty as in the 1660s they became the favourite of Louis XIV (reigned 1643-1715) .

So if you like cycling, or wine,  you would enjoy a holiday at La Maison du Curé in Cormatin, with easy access to the mid point of the voie verte. You get to know the area so much better if you go by bike.




October 5, 2011

An autumn holiday in the sunshine…….

Filed under: Places,Weather — Tags: , , , , — Mary @ 10:11

The grandchildren came to stay last week and it was perfect weather for them with blue skies and warm sunshine. It was better than when they came in August as at the end of September there is little risk of sunburn and children tend to sleep better on cooler nights.

Maggie and Jo at the playpark at St Point

Maggie and Jo at the playpark at St Point

It was easy to keep the kids amused. They love going swimming and we tried out the lake at St Point.  Perhaps it’s not so suitable for very little children as there is no beach and the water becomes deep quite quickly. But there is plenty of shade and a great playpark by the campsite.

The lake at St Point

The lake at St Point

We also returned to Lac de Laives where the little ones could dig in the sand and paddle. Hardly anyone else was there which surprised me seeing the weather was so good.

The beach at Lac de Laives

The beach at Lac de Laives

Cycling is a new craze for Maggie and we spent a couple of mornings on the voie verte at Massilly.

Maggie on the voie verte

Maggie on the voie verte

 The voie verte is a safe place for learning to cycle or simply going for a walk.

Chris and Jo going for a walk

Chris and Jo set off for Cluny

The children like going into the old railway station with its colourful mural. There are tables and chairs inside for people to have lunch if the weather isn’t too good.


Maggie is also keen on horses and our kind neighbour let her ride Duchesse round the field.

Riding Duchesse

Riding Duchesse

 And of course there was a visit to Gwendy every day. Gwendy is very gentle and is careful not to munch on little fingers.

Maggie feeding Gwendy

Maggie feeding Gwendy

This Indian summer is due to end on Friday but we can’t complain after such a wonderful September.

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