A Letter From Burgundy

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…..


September 12, 2016

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.


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.


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?


August 18, 2013

There’s more to Burgundy than Wine

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



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.




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




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




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.


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.


November 26, 2012

Out and About

Filed under: Events and markets,Food,Wines and vines — Lesley @ 15:14

After a busy summer and a trip back to the UK for a family wedding in quaint old Whitstable we have had a little more time to be out and about enjoying autumn in Burgundy.

Watching the grape pickers near Volnay

Covering the grapes


We saw this fungi during a walk with the dogs

We visited le Château Couches de la Marguerite de Bourgogne too. (www.chateaudecouches.com) The present owners are reconstructing the history and rediscovering  the architecture of this fortified medieval monument which is perched on a rocky outcrop in a prime position to withstand attack. It has an 11th century main tower, many underground tunnels, 12th century justice tower and a 15th century chapel.  A guided tour enhanced our knowledge of these fine buildings. Wine tasting is available and many activities for children are held during the holidays.

Last weekend we visited Beaune for the 152nd Hospices de Beaune wine sale celebrations. It was a fantastic time to be in this beautiful town. The auction, managed by Christie’s each year is held in the Halles de Beaune and for 2012 was presided over by Carla Bruni-Sarkozy with the proceeds going to various charities. A new cuvèe was offered for the first time by Jean-Luc Bissey – Echèzeaux Grand Cru. The vineyards were planted by his father in 1945 after his return from the war and are located in Les Echèzeaux du Dessus. This is the third Grand Cru de la Côte de Nuits to be offered for sale in the auction.

Despite a poor spring the harvest begun on the 19th September after a month of warm and dry weather and the 2012 vintage is expected to be very good as small bunches of grapes, rich in sugar and flavour were produced. In fact Anthony Hanson, senior consultant at Christie’s, has described 2012 as a splendid vintage for both reds and whites.

44 different wines were for sale – 31 red and 13 whites – a total of 512 barrels.  Prior to the auction tastings and dinners featuring Hospices de Beaune wines were organised in many cities including Singapore, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Palm Beach, New York, Boston, Vienna, Paris and Beaune.

The weekend is called “Les Trois Glorieuses” and is a three day festival devoted to the food and wine of Burgundy.


These people were enjoying frog legs for lunch but there was ample choice including meats from the Morvan, snails, truffles and pancakes. We opted for pancakes at Chapelle Saint-Flocel which opens its doors once a year to help raise funds.

Throughout the day there was French country dancing by a group from Dijon and a number of street bands ranging from formal marching bands to the less formal-

If you get the chance to visit Beaune for the 153rd Week-End de la Vente next year (the auction is on the 3rd Sunday in November) make sure you go!

June 26, 2012

Honey and Wine

Filed under: Bees,Food,Honey,Uncategorized,Wines and vines — Lesley @ 16:14

Nearly the end of June and as ever we are amazed by the rate of growth on the vines. How they can go from gnarled stumps (ceps) or twigs to full blown vines with baby grapes on in just a few weeks never ceases to amaze us.

April Vines


After some more rain and some more sunshine……



Three weeks later after even more rain and some more sunshine……



What does the weather hold in store for us this Summer and will 2012 go down as one of the best years for wine in Burgundy? There is many a viticulteur who would love to know and probably even more who think they know!

As we all know the weather plays its part but the terroir is so significant. A few weeks ago we were tasting in the Cote de Nuits area and there were wines from three different plots all within 100 metres of each other, the same method of production was used but the taste and pricing of the wines was extremely varied, more so than we could possibly have imagined!

We also love honey and buy it from local markets but preferably from Max Westby at nearby Sully:  www.mieldesully.fr

Recently we received a phone call from some friends to say they had a swarm of bees and did we want to come over and watch Roy, who is keen to to get a second hive up and running, try and contain the swarm.

Waiting for the bee keeper

The swarm in the picture above and below Roy getting the bees into a box ready for transporting to their new home.


Also in Pommard, at one of the apartments we manage, there was another swarm of bees but this time it was not very big and they did not wait around for anyone to come and relocate them!



Roy’s bees were successfully relocated after a quiet night in the cave and last week we had a bee party to celebrate the new hive with honey cake, mead and honey bee “butterfly” cakes.


Sometime we would like to venture into the world of bee keeping ourselves but looking at the huge number of dandelions we had in the orchard this Spring I can only wonder what our honey would taste like in comparison with other local honey producers!?