A Letter From Burgundy

May 19, 2017

Philippe Pot

Birth place of Philippe

Who was he? Chief Adviser to the Dukes of Burgundy, a Burgundian Nobleman, Military Leader, Knight of the Golden Fleece, Crusader, Diplomat……….
He was born in 1428 at Chateau de la Rochepot, educated at the Ducal Court in Dijon and knighted on 11th June 1452 before an important battle against the insurgents of Ghent. Prior to this he had already proved his negotiation skills in London where he successfully negotiated the release of Charles of Orleans who had been taken prisoner at Agincourt and had been a prisoner in England for 25 years.
In December 1456 he was given Chateauneuf -en-Auxois by the Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold, as a gift after arranging his marriage with the French princess Isabelle of Bourbon. Philippe restored and fortified the Chateau and today it is one of the last remaining examples of 14th century Burgundian military architecture.
In 1468, after the death of Isabelle, Philippe negotiated another marriage for Charles the Bold with Margaret of York, the sister of Edward IV – sealing an alliance between England and Burgundy. About this time he was given the Lordship of Lilloise in Flanders.
When Charles the Bold died, Burgundy was divided between his daughter Mary and Louis XI of France. Mary did not like Philippe’s close connections with the French Court and confiscated Lille but Philippe was able to limit the control of Mary to the Burgundian Low Countries which at that time included the Netherlands. In return Louis XI named him First Counsellor, Knight of Saint Michael, Governor of the Dauphin Charles and Grand Seneschal of Burgundy.
He was involved in all major political matters and proved himself to be a skilled negotiator and diplomat on many occasions.

Philippe, Governor of Burgundy, died in 1493 and his tomb can be seen in the Louvre in Paris.

March 16, 2017

Why Burgundy?

The answer to the above question is probably that it has something for everyone, from history, lakeside beaches, beautiful countryside to the world famous wines and cheeses! On top of all of that the way of life is much slower and people have time to stop and talk – quite a contrast to some of the coastal resort areas of France.

This peaceful rural region is now combined with Franche-Comte but if we look at the four departments of Burgundy alone they are all quite different.

The Yonne, the most northerly department of Burgundy, is  famous for its Chablis wine and the charming towns of Auxerre and Avallon.

Cote d’Or, includes the beautiful historic city of Dijon and the capital of wine – Beaune. It seems that nearly every village round here has a name that has found its way on to a wine bottle!

Nievre, to the west, is the most sparsely populated and the most rural of the four departments.

Saone et Loire, or “cow country”  as I have heard it called,  seems to have charolais cows everywhere but also boasts good Maconnais white wines and the famous historic towns of Cluny and Tournus.

The prosperity of this region is based upon wine, gastronomy and tourism. Wine is produced with a passion and deep respect for traditional ways. Try a tour along the “Route des Grands Cru” or the “Route Touristique des Grands Vins”. There are many opportunities for wine tasting along the way or enjoy a wine tour at one of the famous Chateaux such as Pommard or Meursault.

As well as sampling some amazing cheeses, breads and  a wide range of Dijon mustards there are also the dishes that Burgundy is famous for: snails, frogs legs, Boeuf Bourguignon and Coq au Vin. Local fish is also quite plentiful, especially trout. Despite being land locked the region is also extremely well served with seafood. There are many local markets where shopping for fresh seasonal produce is a delight!

There are many historic routes to follow round the region, one taking in many of the chateaux open to the public, or why not try a tour of the many abbeys and cathedrals that this region is so proud of too?

Follow a nature trial, or explore some of the numerous foot paths/cycle paths and of course the Morvan National Parc, considered by many to be a perfect destination for walking, cycling, fishing and sailing.

Burgundy is considered a cultural centre and has a number of museums and Roman settlements that are well worth visiting and many concerts and  festivals throughout the year, particularly in the summer months.

There are also 1,200 kms of canals and rivers with excellent canal paths for walking or cycling.

One of the many joys of touring around is that the roads are much quieter than many of us are used to and the pace of life is leisurely too.

One last thought, there are about seventeen different golf courses across the region as well as a few rock climbing centres!

October 13, 2016

Autumn in Photos

Early Autumn is a beautiful time to visit Burgundy. It always seems to be very popular with cyclists and walkers. This year, the grape harvest was late and the vines themselves are only just starting to turn – we will let the photos speak for themselves…..

017

September 19, 2016

Chateau de Germolles – Journees Europeennes du Patrimoine

Each weekend in September France has a Heritage weekend. Many monuments and sites that are normally closed are open for the weekend and other places which are normally open to the public have reduced fees of entry or are free.

This year we went to Chateau de Germolles near Mellecey. It is the best preserved residence of the Dukes of Burgundy. It was built during the second part of the 14th century although there had been a fortress there since the 13th century. Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, bought the chateau from local feudal Lords and gave it to his wife, Margaret of Flanders. The only remains today of the original fortress are the lower chapel and the wine cellar.

Plaque at the Entrance Gate

Ten years of transformations took place – the Duchess wanted a country estate rather than a fortress and the best architects, sculptors and painters of the time were employed. Large rose gardens were planted and sheep and other animals were farmed.

Goats where sheep once roamed

Former stables?

Former stables?

After Philip and Margaret the Chateau belonged to a further three Dukes of Burgundy – John the Fearless, Philip the Good and Charles the Bold. After the death of Charles the ownership passed to the King of France. After the French Revolution it became the property of the Nation.

Parts of the chateau have been lost over time, mainly due to lack of maintenance but at the end of the 19th century it was purchased by a family who still own it today and repair works have been carried out.

The chateau today still has a large collection of medieval floor tiles which are decorated with motifs that were the symbols of the Dukes – roses, thistles, sheep and fleur – de – lis.

Rare wall paintings can still be seen today which date from the Middle Ages – motifs of “P” and “M”, initials of the Duke and Duchess over the walls along with thistles, the personal emblem of Margaret Flanders.

If you are interested in the history of Burgundy this Chateau is well worth visiting. We were not allowed to take interior photos showing the famous wall paintings as great care is taken with light exposure etc to preserve the paintings for future generations.

September 12, 2016

Lavault

Filed under: Burgundy — Tags: , , — Lesley @ 13:23

Last Saturday it was our local memorial service at Lavault, near Epinac to remember the four young lads who lost their lives there helping the Resistance. This year we had the words with us for the Australian National Anthem and we did a better job at singing and even had applause at the end! It was a very moving service and we would like to thank everyone who made it so special.

Our Gite – Les Volets Verts

Since our last post our bees are doing really well – more about them another time. We have also had two busy seasons with guests staying in our new gite. We have had some great reviews on HomeAway and Airbnb which makes us very happy and makes our new venture seem very worthwhile indeed after a lot of hard work.

Before we could start converting the stable we had to raise the beams to give ourselves enough head height in the gite once the new floor was in.

Beams have been lifted. This picture shows the back wall of the stable where the kitchen will be.

Beams have been lifted. This picture shows the back wall of the stable where the kitchen will be.

The next task was the new floor and then we could really start on the job, with insulation, new walls etc ready to start fitting out.

 

The hole for the new entrance door. Our original stable door has been kept so the appearance of the building on the front elevation is the same. Something we wanted to do and the Planners insisted upon.

New Entrance Door

We wanted to use a combination of old and ultra modern in the gite with a view to making it as comfortable as possible but retaining some of the old charm. We used old reclaimed wooden doors, and spent hours and hours and hours cleaning up old traditional floor tiles known locally as tomettes.

Tomettes waiting to be cleaned

Walls and Doors going in

Kitchen going in - nearly there!

Kitchen going in – nearly there!

 

Last Piece of Furniture

The settee was the last piece of furniture to go in. Some outside painting and tidying up in the garden and we were ready to receive our first guests.

We have put a number of seats in the garden so guests can choose sun or shade throughout the day.

We have put a number of seats in the garden so guests can choose sun or shade throughout the day.

Listening to our guests has been very interesting. We love our gite but the reasons they like it so much too is that besides the gite itself which they find very comfortable, they like its location. Peaceful and quiet , garden with views but close to interesting historical towns, markets and of course the vineyards!

February 3, 2014

The Village of Pommard

Filed under: Burgundy,Holidays,Uncategorized,Wines and vines — Tags: , , — Lesley @ 13:37

Pommard view spring 1

 

Pommard, which took its name for an ancient temple dedicated to Pomona, the goddess of fruits and gardens, is  famous for its Côte de Beaune wine production. Pommard wines have been appreciated by many people for many years including Ronsard, Henri IV, Louis XV and Victor Hugo.  It is situated only a few kilometres to the south of Beaune along the Route des Grands Cru. It is certainly worth visiting and getting to know as it has so much to offer both to locals and tourists alike.

Pommard produces only red wine and is the second biggest area by production after Beaune with 135 hectares of Premier Cru including Les Rugiens and Les Epenots which are perhaps the most notable. The wines, produced from the patchwork of vines surrounding the village with its characteristic square bell tower of the eighteenth century church, have the reputation of being solid, well constructed wines with deep colour that age and travel well. The wines are more robust than wines from nearby Volnay and Beaune.

There are many opportunities to enjoy the produce of the village with over 60 winemakers in the village, with many more in the surrounding villages.  Delphine, at  Les Domaines de Pommard situated in Place de l’Europe, will help you select a Pommard wine to enjoy with your evening meal. There are also ample opportunities to taste wines and buy direct from the producers themselves.

If you feel like a change from Pommard red you could always try a white wine from nearby Meursault which has been producing some of the finest whites in France since 1050.

016

Whilst dining out in one of the good restaurants in Pommard or nearby Beaune why not ask for a recommendation for a Pommard wine to complement  your meal? Local wine can also be enjoyed at the wine bar in Place de l’Europe.

009

Tours are available at the Château de Pommard where the beautiful gardens can be enjoyed along with fine art, fine wine and centuries of history.     http://www.chateaudepommard.com/en/guided-tour

Besides wine Pommard can offer its visitors wonderful walks or cycle rides through beautiful countryside in the surrounding vines, good restaurants, village grocery store, an excellent boulangerie, a butcher who makes an award winning local speciality, jambon persille (ham terrine), cafe and a new chocolate shop which opened last year : http://www.appellation-chocolat.fr/

Pommard Village

 

Why not come and enjoy Pommard and also explore this beautiful region of France?

 

December 19, 2013

2013

Filed under: Burgundy,Holidays,Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Lesley @ 12:58

024

As 2013 comes to a chillier than expected end we look back on the year that has just been.

The holiday rental business never ceases to amaze us and each year we take on board the trends and patterns that at last we think we understand – but like previous years 2013 has been quite different!  Bookings have come in much later and much more last minute. We have friends with a  bed and breakfast business who jokingly said ” If guests book any later they will be booking as they leave.”

We have also noticed that there have been more Australians than we are used to seeing and their tastes are quite different to the the usual Americans and Brits. This has meant that last year’s ‘most booked apartment’ has been replaced at the top of the bookings list by the second most popular. Yet again we have been taught that for a variety of reasons each year is different and we suspect that next year will be no exception.

We make our plans and look forward to finding out what really happens. We already have double the number of bookings for next year compared to this time last year and the general level of enquiries, which for us normally starts late December and January, has already started for the popular wine villages……..

 

As we look towards 2014 we would like to thank you for reading our blog this year and wish you a very enjoyable Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

August 18, 2013

There’s more to Burgundy than Wine

Filed under: Burgundy,Food,Uncategorized,Wines and vines — Tags: , , , — Lesley @ 15:44

IMG_3071

 

Think of Burgundy and most people will automatically think of wine – but there is plenty of food to be enjoyed too. The Charolais beef, the Burgundy snail and of course the Bresse chicken being three of the most famous products, but wander the local markets to find a wealth of  other  local produce to be enjoyed.

 

IMG_3967IMG_3966_1

 

Besides the markets there are many producers who open their doors to visitors including:

The Gaugry family, who have been cheese-makers since 1946, have a gallery where visitors can watch the production of cheeses including Epoisses and l’Ami du Chambertin and enjoy a tasting too.

Details on their website at www.fromageriegaugry.fr     (We love a good steak and chips served with an epoisses sauce and a good Burgundy wine – not to be eaten too often as a little high in calories!)

What about a tour at the home of the world famous Fallot mustard in Beaune? Discover how the mustard is produced and enjoy the tasting area. Departures at fixed times and booking is recommended in holiday times. Prices and further details –                                           www.fallot.com/en/index.php

 

020

 

Then there’s liqueurs and cordials – enter the fascinating world of blackcurrants and cassis with a visit to an interactive museum and a guided tour of the factory at Nuits – Saint – Georges. One of the most enjoyed Burgundy drinks is  “kir”  made from a local white wine – Aligoté and cassis.  www.cassissium.fr

While at Nuits – Saint – Georges there is the opportunity to discover truffles too!  Observe a dog at work searching for truffles and learn about the cultivation of truffles with the opportunity to taste and buy. www.truffedebourgogne.fr

Another local speciality is the pain d’ épices – a type of gingerbread which has been made in a traditional manner for over 200 years. Available in many bakers and food shops it is also possible to find out more and have a tasting in Dijon at Mulot et PetitJean, 13 place Bossuet in Dijon.  (www.mulotpetitjean.fr)

images (3)

Think of aniseed and think of Flavigny. Free tour of the Anis de Flavigny factory is possible and learn all about the history of this famous little sweet – www.anisdeflavigny.com

These are just a few of the goodies available on the vistes gourmandes en Bourgogne. Wherever you go in this region there is always so much to discover…… Enjoy!

February 27, 2013

The Saint Vincent Tournante 2014 comes to Saint – Aubin

 

22412

 

There are about 70 villages in France with the name St Aubin so if you are coming to enjoy the celebrations next year make sure you get the right one! 2014 will be the first time that St Aubin in the Côte de Beaune has hosted this traditional festival.

http://www.route-des-grands-crus-de-bourgogne.com/tourisme/saint-aubin/3.html

As can be seen from the above link the vineyards are mainly located to the west of Chassagne-Montrachet. The AOC Saint-Aubin may be used for white and red wine – production consists of about 75% white wine and 25% red.  The total amount produced corresponds to about 800,000 bottle of white and about 300,000 of red. There are 25 climats (named plots) which are classified as Premier Cru vineyards. It has been announced the vintages of 2009,2010,2011 and 2012 white wines will be tasted and the vintage reds  2009 and 2011.

This year, Châtillon sur Seine hosted The Saint Vincent Tournante and there were 30,000 visitors over two days! The relatively small village of Saint – Aubin  (about 270 inhabitants) may be stretched during the weekend of 25th and 26th January next year! With little extra accommodation in the area you would be well advised to plan your trip early and stay in one of the nearby villages.

Saint Vincent is the patron saint of  wine growers. Not much is known about him and there are many legends about Saint Vincent. It is thought that he could be the saint of wine growers due to his name “vin” and “cent” (wine and one hundred). One of the most famous legends is that Vincent stopped at the edge of a vineyard to talk with the workers and while he was there, his donkey nibbled at the young vine shoots.

When the next harvest came, it was discovered that the vine stock that had been nibbled by the donkey had produced more fruit than all the others. So St Vincent’s donkey had invented the art of vine pruning!

Upon St Vincent’s Day winter begins anew or goes away” –  this used to be the traditional time for winter pruning to begin.

Since 1938 the different wine villages in Burgundy have taken turns to host the famous festival of St Vincent Tournante (revolving Saint Vincent). The selected village welcome all the winegrowers’ brotherhoods. There is a religious service and sermon and then the colourful parade of the brotherhood through the decorated streets.

The cellars are opened up and this gives the visitor an opportunity to discover the village and their vineyards. An entrance fee is charged which “buys” an engraved tasting glass, a carrying pouch for the glass and tokens to exchange at each tasting stand – ” la joie de vivre”.

For a full list of host villages follow this link : www.tastevin-bourgogne.com

 This picture, from bourgogne.france3.fr, shows visitors having a good time at Saint Vincent Tournante 2013.

1851737_19_page_st_vinc_dijo02fp_1

Older Posts »