Saturday, 28 February 2015

Extra, extra, read all about it!

Since a couple of weeks Cormatin boasts a bio-market.

The market in Bois-dernier
Hence those who thought one week-market in Saint-Gengoux (Saturday) and one in Chapaize (Sunday) was not enough, can go shopping in Cormatin now for their bio-bread, bio-wine, bio-vegetables, bio-paté, bio-honey, etc. etc. on a Friday, between 17h00 and 19h00. The market is held in Bois-Dernier (just outside Cormatin direction Cluny) in the building of the former Musée du Vélo, Musée du Poilu and Aux Forges d’Antan.

Bio-vegetables, on the first day of the market
On the first day, Friday 13 February, the place was heaving!

The link to the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle can be found here.

Saturday, 14 February 2015


Recently I stumbled upon a picture of a sarcophagus next to a church, in another blog about the Aveyron.

Alyscamps - Arles (13)
Obviously those sort of things are not so common in that part of the world, since the writer was asking her readers what this thing was. In Burgundy sarcophagi are not that rare, There are a number of Merovingian burial grounds around here, of which the most interesting coffins have been moved to museums, but often there are still a number of sarcophagi to be seen. The Merovingians ruled over parts of France, Germany and the Netherlands from the 5th century onwards, and were still in power well into the 8th century.

Carrière de la Lys - La Roche Vineuse
A famous location (although far from Burgundy) where still sarcophagi from the Roman, Gallo-Roman and mediaeval periods can be admired is the Alyscamps in Arles (13). Van Gogh as well as Gauguin painted the Alyscamps more than once.
Closer to home there is a quarry, the Carrières de la Lys near La Roche Vineuse, which has been used through centuries for the “manufacturing” of sarcophagi. According to the information panels there the Gallo-Roman coffins had flat covers, whilst Merovingian ones had a modest roof profile.

Also quite near, in the village of Curtil-sous-Burnand, there is a Merovingian grave yard. As said earlier, the most interesting finds were moved to museums, a number of damaged coffins are on display, and the rest has been reburied.
During excavations in the Saint-Clément church (not longer in use as such) in Mâcon remains of an old church were found, and a big number of coffins from different periods. The church can be visited on request.

Saint-Clément - Mâcon
A beautiful example is on display in the Palais de Pape Gélase (part of the former abbey) in Cluny. It is a sarcophagus from the Merovingian period, and if I remember correctly it was reused for the remains of a relative of one of the Abbots of Cluny.
Finally I have sometimes also stumbled, in the vicinity of a church, upon a solitary sarcophagus. Almost always without a lid, and most likely something found during the clearing of an old cemetery.

Palais de Pape Gélase - Cluny
However, in the course of time I have seen so many churches that I cannot remember, not even with the best will in the world, which churches had these coffins on display (except inside the church of Anost, and outside those of Changy and Saint-Romain-sous-Gourdon)!

The link to the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle can be found here.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Saint-Vincent Tournante 2015

Saint-Vincent is the patron saint of wine growers, and not, strangely enough, of painters and plastic surgeons.

Folding flowers - Saint-Vincent 2013 Cortevaix
And since Burgundy appointed itself as the world’s most important wine region, the name day of this Saint, 22 January, is celebrated with gusto throughout the region.
The word “Tournante” indicates that the place of action changes every year. The emphasis is normally on places in the more prestigious wine areas such as the Côte d’Or (21), but also places in department 71 like Mâcon (2009) and Mercurey (2018) did or will host this big event in the past or in the future. However, on a smaller scale there are also Saint-Vincent Tournantes. In the South-Châlonnais for example, this festival is celebrated at the end of January.

Decorations - Saint Vincent 2011 Saint-Ythaire
Each year a different village stages the Festival, and the sequence of events is identical every year. This year it was Savigny-sur-Grosne’s turn. Months in advance the villagers, assisted by inhabitants of other wine villages in the area, keep themselves occupied with preparing the decorations of their village. After Christmas the Christmas trees are not burnt, but they are decorated with paper flowers to line the streets of the village at the end of January. Mannequins are dressed up in farmers clothing depicting the wine grower’s activities, in a word, at the end of the month the village has changed beyond recognition.

Parade - Saint-Vincent 2014 Malay
On the day itself the statues of Saint-Vincent are carried to the church by members of the various brotherhoods, where a church service takes place, inaugurated by the incomprehensible noise produced by the local hunter’s guild on their horns. After the service a wreath is laid at the war monument and a glass of wine is served as a token of appreciation for those who braved the cold, the horn blowing session and the service.

Church service - Saint-Vincent 2011 Saint-Ythaire
The highlight of the day however is the lunch where everybody (at a price) can take part in. the lunch is served in the Salle Polyvalente in Saint-Gengoux-le-National. This lunch is not your average Christmas lunch; it is really something special, ad big scale as well. A caterer from Montceau-les-Mines prepares an excellent 6-course meal for several hundreds, the local wine farmers provide different wines with each course and in between those who made themselves useful in the wine trade are honoured and / or admitted to the overall brotherhood of wine makers. The meal starts at 14h30, and coffee is served at around 18h30.

Decorations - Saint-Vincent 2012 Bissy-sous-Uxelles
What happens afterwards is too painful to describe. The band that provides the dance “music” is even worse than the horn blowers. And ever since we managed to sit out 15 minutes of this racket during our first Saint-Vincent, at following occasions we did not take the risk anymore; we flee the premises immediately after we have downed our coffee. At home we then put on some music that deserves that name.

Lunch - Saint-Vincent 2015 Savigny-sur-Grosne
However, despite this painful ending of the day each year again we are looking out for the next Saint-Vincent Tournante.

The link to the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle can be found here.