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.

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.

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Our new website (part 2 of 2)

Re-writing the code to allow it to manage phones, tablets and PC's did not turn out to be a sinecure, however, we plodded on and got there at the end. Depending on which hardware is used to display the website, what exactly shows on the screen is quite different. The PC screen seems to be the least different, but the smaller the screen becomes, the more different it looks.

This is what the new site looks like
The concept of the top menu bar with drop-down menus had to disappear, because they work fine on mouse operated screens, but not on touch-screen devices.
And this sees an I-phone 5 user
In short: the PC-screen works until the screen becomes smaller than a tablet screen. The text stays legible because we are now using a fixed fontsize. Reducing the screens further (phone format) gets rid of menus on the right hand side of the text block. Only the most interesting links from the side menus have been transferred to the top menu on the telephones. By definition phones have now less links than PC's and/or tablets. However, the links that are skipped are less relevant: we assumed that phone users will not shed many tears because they cannot approach our personal Blogs from their phone. That seems to be more something for someone behind a PC screen.We also have shortened the Tourist Information for all versions, which gives all web pages a reasonable length without excessively long pages here and there.
However, since we know from experience that those pages were appreciated and used by some of our guests, we have incorporated this "superfluous" information in our existing Blog with Tourist information. It also gave us the opportunity the get rid of the endless stream of external links. There are nowadays search engines galore that will find the required and the most up-to-date information within no time. And with this last change my regular, and very boring checking exercises are a thing of the past.

For our own (completely overhauled) website click here.