Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Staff announcement

I will have to disappoint those who follow this blog and have the idea to come here one day and stay on our campsite:
Since May 1st 2017, at the beginning of our season, we have decided to close the campsite permanently.
The reason is, that having family and friends pitching a tent in our back garden is one thing; however having strangers occupying the same space is something different, reason why we have decided to give our own privacy a slightly higer priority.

Once upon a time
The campsite should have disappeared from our own website as well as from websites we have been advertising on, and even on Google Maps Camping à la Ferme La Tuilerie ceased to exist.

Our gîtes
However, there is some good news as well: we still open our doors for guests of our two gîtes. We are still very happy to welcome those who would like to stay in one of our gîtes for one or more weeks, preferably from Saturday to Saturday.

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Two down, three to go

Last weekend the first two concerts in the series "Guitares en Cormatinois" took place in the small Romanesque church of Chazelle.
The program of the first concert was entitled "Brazil Brazil…" and it was performed by singer Aurélie and guitar player Verioca.

Aurélia & Verioca
As the name of the program suggested the repertoire consisted of Brazilian music or of songs based on Brazilian rhythms: hence lots of sambas and bossa novas. Even though I am personally not so keen on this sort of dance music both French ladies provided a very pleasant evening. And this is what our local fake-press had to say about the concert.


Duo Iberia
The theme of the second concert was "Viva España" featuring Duo Iberia, consisiting of the French guitarist Romuald Ballet-Baz and the Georgian singer Mariam Gueguetchkori. The chosen repertoire consisted of pieces by amongst others Purcell, Schubert, Albeniz, Granados and de Falla. It was an excellent concert; voice and guitar matched each other very well and the few pieces for solo guitar were performed impeccably. In one word, this evening was possibly going to be one of the highlights of the series.

The "real"star of the evening
The one who stole everybody's heart however, was not one of the performers, but the three and a half year's old son of the musicians. He sat at the first row, attentively listening to his parents, applauding as enthusiastically as the rest of the audience at the end of each piece. When he was invited by his mother to join them on stage, and he actually managed to sing along with the music they played he was warmly applauded by everyone. As an encore the couple played the famous aria "L'amour est un oiseau rebelle" from Bizet's Carmen, which was greeted with recognition and enthusiasm by the audience. And this is what our local fake-press had to say about the concert.


"Trio" Iberia
Tomorrow will see the performance of the Emmanuel Rossfelder Guitar Quartet. I am very curious to see whether our group of volunteers will have to listen to the concert from outside the church sitting in the cemetery, or whether we will be given places inside the church (e.g. behind the altar)….

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Guitares en Cormatinois 2017

As was to be expected, 2017 will see another edition of the festival "Guitares en Cormatinois". This year there are quite a few new faces, however, most of them have earned there spurs elsewhere, and not only on a national level.
Below a short overview, where possible with an indication of what can be expected.
All concerts take place in Chazelle's church, and the entrance fee is € 20 per person per concert. Reservations can be made by telephone (03 85 50 19 06 or 06 88 40 91 73) or we can arrange a reservation for you. Just e-mail (cormatin71@gmail.com) or phone us (03 85 50 19 55).

The church of Chazelle
Saturday 8 July, 20h00
Aurélie & Verioca (vocals, guitar) with a program based on mainly Brazilian music.

Sunday 9 July, 17h30
Due Iberia (vocals, guitar) with a program of predominantly Spanish classical music. Their repertoire however covers a long time span with also non-Spanish composers, ranging from Purcell to Piazzola.

Rossfelder Guitar Quartet
Sunday 16 July, 17h30
Rossfelder Guitar Quartet (4 classical guitar players). Rossfelder is a well-known guest on our festival, and a crowd puller. They have a varied repertoire of compositions for classical guitar. Those who want to be sure of a seat better make a reservation.

Saturday 22 July, 20h00
Vassilena Serafimova & Stela Dinkova (marimba, guitar). Lat year we had the privilege to hear Serafimova in Cluny accompanied by a piano player. Even if she plays in Chazelle only half as good as she did in Cluny, this promises to be a very interesting concert.

Serafimova in Cluny 2016
Sunday 23 July, 17h30
Trio Tzigani (3 musicians, violin, double bass, guitar and cimbalon) with, as the name suggests music with a gipsy background. However, they do not play Hot Club de France-style music; their music is rooted in the Balkans, albeit with quite some Hungarian music as well.

The concert series 2017
For our own website click here.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

L’exactitude est la politesse des rois

Rully, a village approx. 50 km north of us is renowned for its wines (mainly white Chardonays) and for its château.

Rully - Château
Around this château each year a "marche gourmande" is organised, about which I wrote a blog some time ago. Rully boasts 23 AOC vineyards producing Premiers Crus.

As soon as one enters Rully along the D981 one cannot miss, on the crossing of this road and the roads leading to the centre of the village and the SNCF station, a sculpture in stainless steel entitled "Le vigneron de Rully" van Alain Loget, a huge statue of a grape picker. However, these are not the reasons why we every so often drive to Rully.

Le vigneron de Rully
Le Creusot is the home base of the 241P17 (The Mistral), a beautiful compound steam locomotive built by André Chapelon. This locomotive is used for a number of trips from Le Creusot, among others to Aix-les-Bains, Les Dombes, the Loire Valley and Switzerland. Some of these trips are passing through Chagny station and continue direction Chalon-sur-Saône. At Rully, between Chagny and Chalon, the train runs on a straight track and underpasses a road.

Mistral - 2013
After having studied all sort of maps (Michelin, IGN) we came to the conclusion that Rully in the morning was the best place to take pictures of the approaching train. There is ample parking availability, it is quiet traffic wise, the viaduct has a pedestrian pavement, the train has not built up more than the usual delays and the sun, when shining, lights the scene at the right angle.

Mistral - 2016
The only disadvantage is that we have to set the alarm clock to be there in time, around 8h00. One certainly does not want to end up in the situation of the guy who turned up while we were walking back to the car asking us: "Has the train really gone yet?". French people are late by definition (hence the title of this blog, attributed to Louis XVIII), which is no big deal when attending a dinner party. However, trying to catch up along roads with speed limits of 50, 70 and 90 km/h with a steam train running at high speed is a completely different matter!
For our own website, click here.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Café du Centre - Cluny

For quite some time now we have lunch every other week at "Café du Centre" in Cluny. When a few weeks ago we entered the premises we noticed a piece of paper, nailed to the bar, saying that 25 May was going to be the last day of business; that was the day "Café du Centre" was going to change hands.

Café du Centre in better days
We were always very attached to the atmosphere there; according to us it was a typical French, noisy café-restaurant where it was always so busy on Saturdays that those without a reservation were turned down.
We were unpleasantly surprised when we found out that Manu was leaving with all the staff, and that the previous owner was coming back.

Café du Centre - the bar
Not that we did not like the previous owner, but Manu and his staff had really grown on us. The reason for the change is for me as a non-commercially skilled observer a mystery, but there must have been something very fishy going on. Part of the staff had worked under the previous owner, and that they obviously did not want to work for that guy again makes one think. The café was supposed to reopen early June.

Café du Centre
In the meantime June has arrived, and yesterday, the second of June, a van loaded with cardboard boxes stood in front of the place. Inside a number of people were cleaning and reorganising things. The restaurant however is still closed, however It might open tomorrow.
Fortunately we passed by "La Nation" in Cluny's main street, and we decided to have a bite there.

Café du Centre, waiting for better days
However, we were completely flabbergasted when we saw that one of the waitresses of "Café du Centre" we know very well was serving at the tables there. She was only temporary helping out, but it certainly gave a very pleasant déja vu feeling being served by Adeline….
For our own website click here.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

The Bresse savoyarde

The Bresse is an area which traditionally has been split up per region in three different parts; The Bresse bourgignonne (Bourgogne), the Bresse jurassienne (Jura) and the Bresse savoyarde (Ain, which historically was part of Savoy). The flat countryside as well as the typical Bressane architecture characterize the Bresse bourgignonne the Bresse savoyarde.

Typical Bressane farm house with chimney (Courtes)
The Bresse savoyarde, just across the Saône east of Mâcon is well known for its cheminées sarrasines. These are oddly shaped chimneys, adorning the typical old fashioned Bressane farmhouses. Often these chimneys carry a cross on top, sometimes the shape resembles a bell tower, minaret or mausoleum.

Typical Bressane farm house with chimney (St-Cyr-sur-Menthon)
The name however has got nothing to do with the Saracens (an Arab people; the word is often used to describe the Turkish invaders); sarrasin was used in French to indicate something strange or weird. The Bresse houses some open-air museums, like the ones in Courtes and Saint-Cyr-sur-Menthon, where a brochure is available containing a map showing where these chimneys can be found.

The cattle market in St-Denis-lès-Bourg (Sue Nixon)
Bourg-en-Bresse (an hour's drive from here), the capital of the department Ain (01) and the centre of the Bresse boasts the biggest cattle market in France. Because as a child I really liked to roam around the cattle market in my home town I decided for old time's sake to have a go at this (morning) market. The market is located in the outskirts of Bourg, in Saint-Denis-lès-Bourg, and it really lives up to its reputation. The cows, calves and bulls are neatly organized within pens for each sort (hefters, milk cows, cows and bulls for reproduction, etc.).

Monastère Royal de Brou - Bourg-en-Bresse
The sales are bargained upon and settled by handshake between the farmers. The smell, the mooing, the noise of the farmers, it all brought back sweet memories of the weekly cattle market in Delft (the Netherlands). And, strangely enough, the aisles between pens may not have been spotless, they were certainly clean, something I would not expect on a cattle market.
However, one should not leave Bourg without having paid a visit to the Royal Monastery of Brou. The early 16th century monastery was built by Margaret of Austria, in those days governess of the Spanish Netherlands.

Monastère Royal de Brou - Bourg-en-Bresse
The church is a jewel of flamboyant gothic architecture from the hand of the Flemish master builder Loys van Boghem, whilst the mausoleums of Margaret of Bourbon, Margaret of Austria en Philibert II the Handsome of Savoy were designed by another Fleming Jean van Roome. The monastery boasts, apart from the stunning architecture and sculptures, a museum, and has 3 cloisters, which come across as a bit boring compared to the church.

Monastère Royal de Brou - Bourg-en-Bresse
For our own website click here.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Unwanted or unexpected guests

Every so often we find some strange things in the garden or around the house.

Lost and found
Sometimes these are droppings or pellets we cannot determine, or it is a splat of bird poo which is often difficult to scrub off, or we find a piece of snake skin which some snake abandoned somewhere.
Often one finds out only after some time what sort of animal was the culprit, but not always. And since we have no cameras around the house it is more by good luck than good management that one finds out what animal was the guilty one.

Fox
One morning we saw, whilst doing the washing up, a grown up fox wondering around the garden. And before it spotted us and could make a run for it, we managed to take some pictures of the fox.

A cow between the fruit trees
At another occasion we found some cow pats in the garden. It was quite obvious who was or were guilty, however, how one or more cows ended up in the garden stayed a mystery. During a second invasion we found out that there had been, for a while, a broken piece of fencing between meadow and garden, nicely hidden by bramble bushes. The cows just barged in and ended up in our garden.

Stork
When the château in Cormatin had two storks nesting on one of the chimneys (that was before the chatelain chased them away after having put up with them for several years) they often made a pit stop at the pond in our meadow.

Wild boar (stuffed, at the market in Louhans)
Although wild boar lives in the woods around us, we hardly ever see them. Sometimes, late in the evening, we have seen a sow with young piglets wandering along the soft shoulder of the paths through the woods, but a) one does not always have a camera at hand, b) it is often too dark to take a picture and c) I am enough of a scaredy-cat (in itself a protected species) not wanting to disturb a possibly aggressive sow.

Roe deer at the gate
Roe deer are also not uncommon, but they are wise enough to stay put during the hunting season. The only roe we managed to "shoot" we saw eating leaves on the path at our gate on a cold winter morning (within the hunting season, by the way).

Dead badger
There must be quite some badgers around here. Proof are the dead badgers we have seen laying along the roadside, obviously hit by cars during the night whilst crossing the road.

Green whip snake
And the snakeskins? We find them in the weirdest places. This area knows some quite big (about 5 feet long) snakes, non-poisonous, who feed on mice and other small vermin. The species is called the green whip snake. We have never found enough skin to turn it into a purse or handbag, though.

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Classics Illustrated

American edition
When speaking to English people about comic strips, I often smell an air of disdain on this subject. I can't really blame them; if comic strips were only associated with Donald Duck, Superman, Spiderman and the like I would not be very impressed with the idea either. However, on the continent, and certainly in countries like the Netherlands, Belgium and France nowadays comic strips are widely appreciated, by children, grown-ups and intellectuals alike. When I was a kid however, times were slightly different. I sometimes borrowed a comic strip book (like Lucky Luke, "the man who shoots faster than his shadow") from my little friends, and my parents frowned upon it. Even Donald Duck was seen as a danger for my sensitive children's soul…. My parents found a solution, and made me a member of the public library. The problem with the books there was simple: the library decided which books were appropriate for your age group, and I was condemned to the equivalent of the Ladybird books, whilst knowing there were good, thrilling books available about e.g. Cowboys and Indians. Fortunately I had friends whose parents were not as narrow-minded (or as observant) as my parents were, and I managed to borrow decent books for young boys, like the Winnetou and Old Shatterhand series (Westerns) by the German writer Karl May or the translated "Famous Five" books by Enid Blyton. Anyway, that is how I discovered Classics Illustrated.


Dutcch edition
Of course in those days I was unaware of the fact that this was originally an American series with translated books from world literature in small size comic strip form. They were simply great books with juicy stories. My memory fails me, but somehow titles like "Robinson Crusoe" and "Moby Dick" spring to mind. It definitely was my first encounter with great books of great writers, albeit in condensed comic strip format. In later life I caught up reading the originals.
A few weeks ago I entered, unsuspectedly, the Tabac in Cormatin to buy a newspaper, when I noticed on the shelf a comic strip edition of "Around the world in 80 days", in French, published by Le Monde.

French edition
Since I like comic strips as well as Jules Verne, I bought the book and finished it in no time. It appeared, that Le Monde has a series in the making not dissimilar to Classics Illustrated. The 2nd book was "Treasure Island", the 3rd "The hunchback of Notre Dame". At the back there was an overview of the volumes to be published, with titles not dissimilar to those published in my youth. However, these books are printed on proper paper, in colour, and in French standard Comic Book size. If you want to read a book in French, and you have a choice between a Comic Strip in two volumes of 48 pages each (Like "The wretched"), or the original version of over 1200 pages, which is using the passé simple all the time, the choice is not so difficult. The only dilemma I have is this: am I going for the full series of 29 volumes at € 9.00 per volume, or am I going to skip the titles I am not terribly keen on (like "Jungle Book" or "A Christmas carol")? As a habitual collector, which I certainly am, skipping volumes does not sound very professional….

The first three volumes of Le Monde's series
For our own website click here.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

The community of Taizé

The bells of Taizé
I am woken up every morning by the bells of Taizé, the single bell for the monks rings out at 07.45 for about 5 minutes, calling the monks to their morning prayer then the bells start in earnest at 08.15 and ring until 08.30, letting all the pilgrims at Taizé know that the service is about to start. When the bells stop I know I really must get up. The bells ring from 12.15 to 12.30, so I know lunch should be on the table and if dinner is not ready when the evening bells go at 20.15, I know I am very late. And that was what Taizé was to me when I arrived here in 2005.

After Easter in 2006 we went to Taizé to have a look around and we were amazed at the number of young people milling around. We didn’t go to a service as that seemed inappropriate, with all these kids around it seemed like a young person’s thing. I wanted to go to a service, but I didn’t know how it worked, so I didn’t dare go alone. In July some campers (Ans and Simon) arrived, she had been to Taizé for the first time that spring and wanted to camp nearby to take in a few services and tempt her husband to go too. He however wasn’t interested and she didn’t dare go alone. At last my chance to go to a service, so on a Friday evening Ans and I went up the hill to Taizé.

A service in Taizé (Photo © Arnd Waidelich)
The services are made up of singing and silence. The songs are mesmerising. With pilgrims from all over the world the songs need to be simple to enable everyone to sing. There are a mixture of languages, Latin, German and some sort of Slavonic language are the most popular with French, English and Spanish there too. Each song has two lines and these are sung over and over again. The songs are a mixture of four voices, rounds and solo singing with the congregation singing the chorus. It is not to everyone’s taste, but I absolutely love them. In every service there is silence, five minutes of it. Five minutes is a very long time and it is quite amazing that a church full of people can be so quiet for so long. The singing continues after the monks have left and on a Friday and Saturday night this can go on into the early hours of the morning I have been told.


Pottery made by the brothers
The peace that pervades in a service is tangible and I can quite understand why some people come back year after year, just to regain that and to take a little bit of serenity back home with them. It is definitely not just a young person’s thing at all. Everyone is welcome to the services. Many, many of the visitors in our gîtes or on the campsite come for Taizé, to take part in a couple of services while being on holiday and enjoying other things that this area has to offer. Something not to be missed is a look at the stunning pottery the monks make to pay for their upkeep.

Special service - 5 years ago: Frère Roger killed; 70 years ago: he arrived in Taizé (2010)


We get many questions about how to walk or cycle to Taizé from here, so we have made some maps of the various routes and posted them in a photo album. Click here for those routes.

Text Sue Nixon

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Walking along the Balades Vertes

Quite recently Saône-et-Loire, South Burgundy has completed the Balades Vertes which are a large number of signposted walking routes throughout the whole of the département (71). Together with the Voie Verte (check out the article) these routes make this area a Mecca for walkers.

In the capital of our canton, St Gengoux le National, the tourist information office has a little book with details of the walks that are in the area between the rivers Grosne and Guye, rather unsurprising called "Guide les Balades Vertes entre Grosne et Guye". The book contains 26 signposted walks and costs €8.00, a little map and description of each walk can be bought separately and they cost € 2.00 each. All the signposts or markings on trees and fence posts are in yellow and are very clear.

A large number of communes along the Voie Verte have a starting point for their walks. The routes to these starting points are clearly marked with large signposts “Randonnée - Balade Verte” on the main roads. By each start point there is a carpark and a map with an overview of the routes that start and finish at that point and the route reference number, for instance the routes from Cormatin are CO1 and CO2, from Taizé TA1 etc. Click here for an album with some more pictures of the Balades Vertes.

Taking a break along the Balades Vertes
For those who want to be a bit more adventurous and make their own way around here, there are very well detailed maps from IGN in their Série Bleue (1:25000) which you can use to find all the footpaths in the area. One of the Grande Randonnées passes close to Cormatin (GR76) and Cluny is one of the starting points for the road to Santiago de Compostella.

Over and above all this, from early in the spring until late in autumn, there are organised randonnées most weekends. The routes are marked by different coloured spray paint arrows on the road or wooden arrows on temporary posts and the walks usually range from 5 to 30 km. At strategic points on the way there are refreshment stalls where wine, water, French bread, cheese and sausage are distributed. The prices vary by distance and range from €3.00 to €10.00.

We get many questions about how to walk or cycle to Taizé from here, so we have made some maps of the various routes and posted them in a photo album. Click here for those routes.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Cycling down the Voie Verte

The Voie Verte (the Green Pathway) is a walking/cycle path that runs from north to south through Saône-et-Loire (71), South Burgundy. In the nineties, the local governing bodies decided to tarmac the old railway track from Chalon-sur-Saône to Mâcon as a leisure facility. Many of the old stations have been turned into “service stations”. This concept was so successful that the original 80km of cycle path has been extended to cover 320 km and extra circuits (boucles) that go off into the surrounding countryside have been created, giving in total approximately 730 km of marked out cycle routes. La Voie Verte runs not only over the old railway tracks, it now runs over canal tow paths and also specially created cycle paths have been built to link the various sections of Voie Verte together.

A special map on the subject shows the complete Voie Verte Saône-et-Loire (71) and its boucles. The boucles all begin and end on the Voie Verte and are signposted. Each boucle is graded for difficulty from 1 being easy up to 4 which is very hard work.

At some places near Cormatin and at the campsite in Cormatin, you can rent bicycles, by the hour, day or week. Prices in Cormatin are approximately €20 per day or approximately €65 per week. Click here for an album with a few more pictures of the Voie Verte.

The Voie Verte near Chazelle

The whole Voie Verte concept has extended beyond Saône-et-Loire and there are now plans to link all the paths in Burgundy (approximately 600km) and extend them by a further 200km by linking them into the paths in Rhône giving a total of about 800km of cycle paths near here.

La Voie Verte is about 2km from La Tuilerie and boucles 10 and 10bis (the Romanesque church route) almost pass the door (200m).

The Voie Verte between Cormatin and Cluny
You don’t have to just stick to the cycle paths for safe cycling. The secondary roads around here are very quiet and the French really stick to the rules when it comes to giving cyclists plenty of room, they overtake at a safe distance of about 1.5m. When Cees cycles into Cormatin to get the bread and newspaper on the main road, no one will overtake if he cannot be given enough room. It won’t be the first time that he has entered town with a long queue of cars behind him.

At weekends there are regular “randonnées” for VTTs (mountain bikes) where routes are laid out for you to follow. They tend to be from 30 to 50km and cost between €5.00 and €10.00. For that you get regular pit-stops where water, wine, French bread and sausage amongst other goodies are available to fortify you for the rest of the journey.

For those “passive” cyclists, the Tour de France comes to a town near here almost every year. In 2007 it came to Cormatin itself, in 2006 Mâcon saw the finish of an étape, in 2010 Tournus saw the start of an étape as did Mâcon in 2012.


We get many questions about how to walk or cycle to Taizé from here, so we have made some maps of the various routes and posted them in a photo album. Click here for those routes.

Whilst this item is about cycling, we do get asked from time to time if it possible to go horseriding near here. So just because I can't think of a better place to put the information here it is! In Saint-Martin-du-Tartre, at “Le Ranch des Jacinthes” horses can be rented for trekking in the hills.

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

A day out in the Brionnais

Brionnais

The Brionnais is an area in the southwestern corner of Burgundy, more or less enclosed by Charolles and Digoin in the north and Chauffailles and Iguerande in the south. It is an area with rolling hills, forests and meadows with only on the western side the flat plane of the river Loire. We visit the Brionnais regularly, for various reasons.

Saint-Christophe-en-Brionnais - Market
One of our main reasons to organise a day out to the Brionnais is the weekly cattle market (Wednesday all day) in Saint-Christophe-en-Brionnais. Although the old fashioned market, where the farmers trade with each other on a one to one basis, is getting smaller each time we get there, it is still a very lively, very busy market. The amount of cattle that is traded under canopies diminishes in favour of selling in the auction ring, where the cows are entered, their weight and particulars are displayed on a big screen, and where the farmers can bid electronically.

Saint-Christophe-en-Brionnais - Auction
The whole auction strongly resembles a Dutch vegetable or flower auction. On market day all restaurants in the village offer a menu du marché, which consists of a main dish, a cheese platter and a desert at a very reasonable price (approx. € 15 pp). One of the charms is also that one usually is seated at the same table as the farmers, whom for obvious reasons get priority over tourists when food is to be ordered. Even though by now we know the market inside out, we still happily visit the Brionnais on a Wednesday, if only to enjoy a first class steak frites in Saint-Christophe.

Saint-Christophe-en-Brionnais - Lunch
However, it seems a bit daft to travel roughly an hour just for a good lunch. The Brionnais boasts a big number of towns and villages with very interesting Romanesque (=Norman) churches; some have a crypt, others have beautifully carved capitals, and a number of them are decorated with stunning tympanums above the entrance doors.

Anzy-le-Duc - Capital
It is virtually impossible to mention all churches that are worth a visit; below are some highlights.
Those are, amongst others: Paray-le-Monial, Anzy-le-Duc, Semur-en-Brionnais, Montceau-l'Etoile, Varenne-l'Arconce, Saint-Germain-en-Brionnais, Bois-Sainte-Marie, Saint-Laurent-en-Brionnais, Châteauneuf, Iguerande, Charlieu (42) and Neuilly-en-Donjon (03). Those who would like to make a trip past the Romanesque churches can follow the signs "Circuit des églises romanes du Brionnais", a trip which is extensively described on the site "Le site sur l'Art Roman en Bourgogne".

Neuilly-en-Donjon (03) - Tympanum

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

La Rochepot

La Rochepot
The name alone is worth a blog. The Herrschaft or Lordship La Roche de Nolay was in 1403 acquired by Régnier Pot, and his family name was suffixed to the place name. So that is where the name comes from, courtesy of Wikipedia.

La Rochepot
The village of La Rochepot is quite near Beaune, and even though Beaune certainly merits a full day, it is definitely worth to sneak an hour off this day for a visit to the Château de La Rochepot, beautifully set on a rock overlooking the village.

La Rochepot
It was originally an eleventh century castle, rebuilt in the thirteenth century, almost completely demolished in the nineteenth century and again rebuilt in fifteenth century style at the end of the nineteenth beginning of the twentieth century.

La Rochepot
The Château is privately owned, however it is partially open to the public. Not only the interior is worth the visit; the roof covered in coloured glazed Burgundian roof tiles gives the castle certainly an extra touch of distinction. From the castle one has a beautiful view over the surroundings, including a view of the cemetery with its beautiful Romanesque church Notre-Dame (in itself worth a visit as well).

La Rochepot
So those who are traveling to Beaune an cannot resist the temptation of a beautiful castle, should when nearing Nolay follow the signs to La Rochepot.

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Castles in all shapes and sizes

When using the word Château the first association of most French will not be with a Castle like Balmoral Castle, but with a place producing prestigious wine.

Château de Cormatin
Of course those sort of châteaux are galore in Burgundy, however the fortified châteaux or manor houses are certainly not unknown here.
To start near home: the Château de Cormatin is a beautiful 17th century castle with a lovely garden and a beautiful interior. Even though it is partially lived in, quite a big part of the building as well as the gardens can be visited.

Château de Cormatin
The Château de Drée is a bit further away from home, in the Brionnais, and is open to the public with beautiful Jardins à la française. Neither of those castles were ever meant to be fortresses.
For fortresses the French often use the word château fort, because château on its own is a bit ambiguous. A number of these castles have fallen into ruins, and can be seen from the outside, but cannot be entered. A few examples are: Lournand, Sigy-le-Châtel, Bissy-sur-Fley.

Château de Brancion
However, the ruins of Brancion Castle are interesting and open to the public.
Saône-et-Loire boasts also a few castles, complete and in good shape, which can be visited. Two examples of such castles near Mâcon are Berzé-le-Châtel, perched on a hill overlooking the Grosne valley and Pierreclos, which is a château fort as well as a wine castle. The castle itself can be visited, for a wine tasting one has to pay extra.

Berzé-le-Châtel
A castle, where according to legend Margaret of Burgundy died, is located near Couches. The castle is partially open to the public, partially a bed and breakfast place, and it offers wine tastings as well. And then finally there is the château de Germolles near Mellecey, once owned by the duke and duchess of Burgundy, Charles the bald and Margaret of Flanders. Originally it was the fortress of the Lords of Germolles, but Charles and his wife used it in the 15th century as a sort of holiday home.

Château de Couches
Note, that this overview does not pretend to be complete. It is only a very modest indication of what Saône-et-Loire has to offer on this subject.

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