Saturday, 25 November 2017

Les Oiseaux Rares 2017

Grande Rue - Cormatin
In the past I already published a blog on the subject of Les Oiseaux Rares, a group of artisans from Cormatin and surroundings. They still have their yearly exhibition which is, even after all these years, still worth a visit.

Contributions of the public
This year, for the first time, the public was invited to participate. Everybody who felt the urge was asked to write or copy a poem, a piece of prose, a drawing, a photograph or a collage on an A4-sheet. The only restriction was, that the contribution should have some relation to the theme "Time".

Time heals all wounds
The first thing that sprang to my mind was a short poem by a Dutch poet/comedian Hans Dorrestijn entitled "Time heals all wounds". No Frenchman will understand the Dutch words, however, our contact within the Oiseaux Rares thought it was a nice idea to have something real foreign amongst all the French contributions. A rough English translation:"Fate is ranting on / For hours, minutes and seconds / Time heals all wounds, however / It causes many more".

Tempus fugit (1)
After another brainstorming session I remembered having taken a picture of a clock with an exposure of 4 seconds; the picture showed clearly that the second hand moved four times with one second interval.

Tempus fugit (2)
And finally I remembered a more recent picture of a sundial on the wall of the cloister in Cluny III. My theme's title was born: "Tempus fugit".
The A4-sheets were quickly made; it took a bit longer to find them amongst the approx. 350 contributions hanging from trees, gates, hedges and window facades throughout Cormatin.

At Pascale Hautefort-Ponsard - Cormatin
And whilst looking for one's own contribution one also wonders into the exhibition space of again another artisan. Which is exactly the object of the exercise, no doubt….
For our own website click here.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

A hill with a view

Panorama - Brancion
Even though our department Saône-et-Loire is not really famous for its viewing points, when one is traveling through the vineyards or along castles, churches etc. there certainly are some places in the vicinity offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
To start near home: Brancion is built on a hill which, when the Tour de France visits the area, is part of the Mountains Classification.

Roche de Vergisson (left) and Solutré (right)
The village has been totally restored recently, the medieval castle ruins can be visited and the Romanesque church also merits a visit. The open area in front of the church offers stunning views of the Grosne Valley.
At the other side of the valley one finds Mont-Saint-Vincent, one of the highest point in the department. It also boasts an interesting Romanesque church, a small museum housing a Merovingian sarcophagus and lovely views over the surrounding landscape.

Roche de Solutré
The Roche de Solutré is a well-known place in the Mâconnais (bordering the Beaujolais area). The rocks towers high above its surroundings, and hosted, when he was still alive, the yearly pilgrimage of François Mitterand and his family. The rock is easy to negotiate via a path to the top, has an archaeological museum and lovely views of the Roche de Vergisson (another plateau in the vicinity) and of the vineyards of the Mâconnais.

Panorama with "Le guetteur" (left) - Suin
The Butte de Suin is located not far from Cluny. The hill has a Madonna towering over the surroundings, the plateau offers ample space for picnics, and the Romanesque church on the plateau is certainly worth a visit. The picnic area is guarded by a metal sculpture, "Le guetteur" (the sentry) van Laure Frankinet, keeping guard over the Butte.

Towards twilight - Beaubery
And finally, direction Brionnais, one can visit Beaubery, where a hill houses a monument for the resistance fighters from the surrounding villages who gave their life fighting the Germans. The monument itself consists of a Cross of Lorraine (a symbol adopted by General de Gaulle) flanked by two cannons. This hill also offers stunning views of its surroundings.

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Steaming up to the Alsace

Every so often, approx. 6 x per year, one can recognise the unmistakable sound of a steam locomotive not so far from where we live. And I am not talking about a small narrow-gauge locomotive, or a shunting locomotive, no, this concerns one of the last great express train locomotives in the series 241P that crossed France until the end of the 60-ies. The train has a power of 4000 hp, and can easily drive at 120 km/h even though the French railways have restricted the speed limit to 100 km/h.

Between Chagny and Beane
The locomotive's home base is Le Creusot (wher she was built as well with the Schneider Company) and makes yearly trips to amongst others Nevers, Aix-les-Bains, Villars-les-Dombes, Lyon and Dijon, the Loire Valley… This year there was a special trip planned. The idea was to travel from Le Creusot to Mulhouse, have a dinner with candle light in the Cité du Train (one of the biggest museums if not the biggest railway museum of Europe), stay in a hotel near the railway station.
The next day there would be a visit to the museum proper and then of course the return trip under steam.

Public in Vesoul
We had watched the train go by standing on a viaduct near Rully, but we had never been on board. Until September.
Because we had something to celebrate we had splashed out financially in order to make the trip with some friends.

A young spectator
The smell of oil, coal and steam, the sound of the cylinders and of the steam whistle, combined with a beautiful late summer's day which allowed us to hang from the windows to take pictures, the stops at various stations on our way to take in water with the help of the local fire brigade, the spectators along the tracks and especially the crowds on the stations of Chagny and Vesoul, all this made the weekend to be an unforgettable one.

Dinner Cité du Train
And not only the trip itself had been perfectly organised (the steam train had to be fit into the SNCF timetable). The lunches we had ordered were of good quality, the dinner in the museum was excellent with local specialities, the hotel was very efficiently organised, the museum which we had visited before was certainly worth another visit, and this is hopefully not the last time we boarded the 241P17.

A sister of our locomotive
For our own website click here.