Our Life in Burgundy

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September 22, 2013

Autumn Walks

Filed under: Places,Village Life,Weather — Tags: , — Mary @ 22:18


It was perfect weather today for our monthly randonnée around and about Cortambert. Chris led us on a route through the vineyards to Toury with a loop back to Cortambert again.

On the third Sunday of next month we will arrange a walk to set off from Berzé-le-Châpel. More  information nearer the time.

Meanwhile don’t forget the treasure hunt on 13th October arranged by the Amis Donzyrons.  It’s a treasure hunt with a botanic theme and will start in Donzy at 2pm.

Thanks to all for making this morning’s walk so enjoyable.

July 22, 2013

The Cortambert Rando-Picnic

Filed under: Events,Places,Village Life,Weather — Tags: , , — Mary @ 12:59


View from the picnic spot

View from the picnic spot

In temperatures of over 30° a willing group of randonneurs set off from Cortambert to celebrate the last of this summer’s walks with a picnic. We walked 5km along the grassy tracks through the vineyards to a spot above Bray where we could eat in the shade of the pine trees and enjoy the lovely view.



In usual Burgundian style there was copious amounts of wine and lots of delicious homecooked food. It always surprises me that even in a picnic the French prefer to separate the courses, starting with aperos and then the savoury, cheese and sweet dishes, followed by coffee. Our picnic proved to be very high class as we had a satin tablecloth, silver cutlery and even a silver candleabra.


Enjoying the picnic


Denis joined us after a morning’s mountain biking -

Our own Tour de France

I opted out of the return walk, volunteering to take the van loaded with the coolboxes back to Cortambert. Chris said that despite the shade of the path along the Faitral everybody was hot and thirsty and adjourned to Sophie’s for drinks before returning home.

Thanks to everyone for a very pleasant day. Walks from Cortambert will start again in September, if possible on the third Sunday of every month.


May 19, 2013

Balade Botanique

Filed under: Village Life,Weather — Tags: , , — Mary @ 18:04


Once upon a time when we first came to France it was sunny all day long with not a cloud in the sky. Is this all a dream?

This year we are still waiting for summer to start.  With the recent weeks of cool weather and copious rain the grass is lush, the cows are hidden amongst the buttercups and the wildflowers are prolific.

The meadows above Cortambert

The meadows above Cortambert


This morning we went for a walk up to Notre Dame des Roches and along the faitral, the path through the woods above Cortambert. Some deer were walking just ahead of us, their hoofprints fresh in the mud.

Setting out

Setting out


Claire is our expert in botany and along the way we kept stopping to examine the wildflowers and discuss their culinery and medicinal properties. I was prompted to look up further information when I got home. For example I had known sticky willy (cleavers) only as a nuisance in the garden. It makes your hands sore and sticks to your clothes. But like many wild plants you can eat it or make a tisane. It will act as a sedative. You can roast the berries as a coffee substitute. As a poultice it will help burns or stings. The Greeks used it to strain milk and it’s good to stuff mattresses as it doesn’t go too saggy. The roots will make a red dye. You can’t get more versatile than that.


Stopping to examine the wild plants

Stopping to examine the wild plants

Without Claire I wouldn’t have seen the Herb-Robert, a sort of wild geranium, or the early purple orchid and the honeysuckle. Or learned how to identify wild flowers according to their arrangement of leaves. Or the ones to eat in salads. Or discover the white flowers people used to dry to use in scented sachets like lavender.

Wild garlic

Wild garlic

 The wild garlic was plentiful, like a white carpet under the trees. And we didn’t need to be told about the wild asparagus. We picked enough to make an entrée for tonight’s dinner!

October 16, 2012

The 2nd Rallaye Pédestre – Cortambert & Donzy

Filed under: Events,People,Places,Village Life,Weather — Tags: , , — Mary @ 11:44

It was a sort of treasure hunt. We all set off together from Cortambert, up the hill and along the faîtral, the path along the ridge that separates the two valleys, to Donzy and down through Varanges and back to Cortambert.



There were magnificent views from the ridge, especially of Blanot to the west.

We were given eight questions, the clues to be found along the way. Either a simple ‘play on words’ puzzle, or what is this article used for, and what is it called in patois? Patois! We have trouble enough with ordinary French! The theme was goats and goats’ cheese. We identified all sorts of things from goats’ droppings and those triangular things to stop them getting out of fields and the utensils used in cheese production.

A question to answer in Donzy

A question to answer in Donzy

When we started off the weather wasn’t too bad, but then we were caught up in heavy rain. We ended up very soggy, my paper was like a piece of papier maché, and we were glad to get back to the warmth of the foyer rural in Cortambert. We were greeted by tables decorated with strands of autumn leaves and berries, and boards to set out our jigsaws.

Back in the foyer rural

Back in the foyer rural

 At each station we had picked up a piece of jigsaw, and the last pieces were to be collected in the hall. The picture, of course, was of goats!

Pascale, Annie and Laurent amongst the goats

Pascale, Annie and Laurent amongst the goats

After the walk in the rain we were ready for the refreshments provided by Pascale and Claire. Various local goats’ cheeses, cheese on toast, hot chestnuts, and maltesers (aka goats’ poo). And lots of vin nouveau from this year’s vendange. Very refreshing and not in the least alcoholic………

A great event. Many thanks to Pascale, Laurent and Annie who organised the walk. We are already looking forward to next year, with better weather we hope.

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