Saturday, 31 October 2015

Les Grandes Heures de Cluny

As mentioned in a previous blog Cluny hosts during the summer, as part of a wine festival which has venues throughout the whole of Burgundy (Festival Musical des Grand Crus de Bourgogne), a concert series under the name of Les Grandes Heures de Cluny.
The various concerts take place in the cloister, the garden and the granary of the former abbey and in the church Saint-Marcel.

Farinier - interior
The granary or farinier is one of the former buildings of the abbey that hosts eight columns with beautifully carved capitals, placed around a marble altar, all originating from the old abbey church.
We had ordered tickets for Edgar Moreau, cello player and winner of the Victoire de la Musique (as promising soloist in 2013 and as soloist of the year in 2015), who was going to give a recital of the third and sixth suite by Bach and a sonata by Ligeti.

Our seats
On arrival we bumped again into the President of the festival and his wife, and again two seats had been reserved for us, on the third row this time.
About the concert itself we had conflicting opinions. My better half thought that he played Bach as if he had to catch the TGV to Paris, and she thought the changes in tempo within several parts of a suite too free, actually too jazzy.

Edgar Moreau
On the other hand, I enjoyed the concert, and I was not really bothered by the higher tempi (certainly compared to the CD I have of Fournier). This was most likely the last concert of the 2015 season we were going to attend; we are already looking out to the programs of the various concert halls in the vicinity for 1915-1916 and of the festivals for 2016.

Edgar Moreau
Click here for the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Looking for...

One of the walks around Dracy
On one of our quests in search of Romanesque churches we started to look for the former church of Dracy-lès-Couches (near Couches), or the remains there of. This is what we knew:
Dracy-lès-Couches : vieux-cimetière (East side): pans de mur, tombes. Church has been demolished and was replaced by a new one elsewhere; do not bother to go to the new church.
After having done some research we found that one of the signposted walks around Dracy was passing by this ex-church; we found the walk on the internet and we had even spotted some reference on a map to "Ruines Eglise". One would think that after this information the church should not be difficult to find….

The signpost
Based on the above we went to Dracy in July 2014, and lo and behold, we found a signpost saying "Ruines Eglise 300 m". We slithered down the path (it had been continuously raining for the last few weeks, turning the paths into mud covered tracks) and at approx. 300 m we stopped at a gate, with another very muddy path leading to the left and an overgrown bit of woods on the right. Since the paths were so impassable we decided to stop there, again trying to locate an old cemetery left or right from the path we walked down to go back to the car. No need to say that this did not reveal anything; we decided to wait for the dry season and go back again one day.

The signpost disappeared!
That day came, almost spot on, one year later. Our department had suffered from a severe heat wave for a number of weeks by then, without one drop of rain, hence the paths should be no problem this time. However, the pole where we had seen the sign "Ruines Eglise 300 m" was still there, but the sign had disappeared. Only the fixing clips were still there. The paths were no problem this time, and at what we thought to be roughly the 300 m point we took the path to the right for another 300 m, went back, then went down a dry ditch for 200 m, an turned back again.

The path is on the left, the shrubs with the church and graveyard are on the right
On the point where we had turned off to the left however, there was a heap of old stones on the right hand side, at the bottom of the slightly higher wooded area. I thought that this might well be the "remains" of the church, took a picture of it and was about to walk back to the car. My better half however is blessed with a bit more patience than I can muster, and she had disappeared in between the trees behind "my" heap of stones. After a few minutes she shouted "I found it!".

When I climbed the low hill I saw her stooped over some gravestones, hence she had found the cemetery. From "my" heap of stones we then found the foundation of a wall running east-west, and following the foundation we indeed found some heavily overgrown small remains of what must have been the wall of the church. So we had finally found that church! One would say: and, was it worth it? That is debatable, but the picnic we had afterwards certainly was worth the trip!

Part of the church wall
Click here for the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Sortie Culturelle : Beajolais

Once a year the Touris Office of Saint-Gengoux-le-National organises a cultural outing.

This year we were going to visit the Beaujolais, with on the program the Musée Claude Bernard in Saint-Julien-en-Beaujolais, the Château du Sou and its chappel in Lacenas, Oingt for a guided tour and for lunch, and finally the inevitable wine tasting at Domaine Boulon in Corcelles-en-Beaujolais.

Château du Sou
About the museum I can be brief; that was as far as I was concerned hardly worth getting off the bus for. The fact that the tour guides completely had forgotten about us after the first part of the visit did not really help.
The Château du Sou turned out to be a very charming building, and the owner, a British lady, gave us an interesting and animated tour around the premises.

Notre-Dame de Lacenas
To my big surprise we could visit, after we had seen the château and its chapel, the former church Notre-Dame. The building hosts a nice collection of frescoes, and despite the "No photographing" signs all over the place one could take pictures as long as the flash was disabled.

Les Pierres Dorées - Oingt
Oingt is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France, and it lived up to its name. The houses built of gold-coloured sandstone justify the name of the "pays des pierres dorées"". The lunch we had for € 25 per head at "La Table du Donjon" was worth every penny of it.

La Table du Donjon - Oingt
Even though the Beaujolais is mainly known for its Beaujolais Primeur or Nouveau, it also produces good and affordable wines. We found the "Moulin à Vent" at slightly over € 6 a bottle an excellent wine.
And because the Beaujolais is actually just around the corner, we can warmly recommend a daytrip to this beautiful area!

Domaine Boulon - Corcelles-en-Beaujolais
Click here for the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle.