A Letter From Burgundy

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!

January 2, 2017

Happy New Year from Les Volets Verts

035Happy New Year Everyone! We enjoyed some snow before Christmas and some very heavy frosts over the Christmas and New Year holidays which made Morlet and the rest of Burgundy look like Winter wonderland.

033

We have now enjoyed two seasons with guests at our own gite here in Morlet as well as managing a couple of other properties in Burgundy. We have welcomed many different people of many different nationalities and we have enjoyed some return visits to Les Volets Verts from guests who loved the peace and quiet and found there was also more to do here and in the surrounding area than they realised so returned to carry on exploring. We have just said good bye to some Paris guests who stayed here for a week over New Year with their young children to let them enjoy the countryside and fresh air after some recent pollution problems in Paris. The children loved the animals, particularly the donkey next door!

Our bees are settled down now in their top bar hive for the winter months and we are really looking forward to seeing them out and about in the garden in early Spring. We will have a second hive this Summer and hope to share some honey with our guests!

028

 

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.

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 29, 2012

La Rentrée

Filed under: Gardening and weather,Holidays,Uncategorized — Tags: — Lesley @ 22:31

It has been a great summer for us with family from Australia staying for July and August and new properties coming on board for rental next year but with ploughing of the fields and cutting of the hedges going on the work of the farmer reminds us that summer is drawing to a close. We are looking forward to blackberries in the hedgerows and of course the Vendenage which is going to be starting later than usual this year due to the unsettled weather. We are also aware that many vines in the Beaune area have been damaged by a mixture of hail and humidity so not a good time for the Burgundy wine growers. We have very few plums and cherries, no quince but the summer weather has suited our beetroot, beans, tomatoes and courgettes that have all done well. Pumpkins are doing well too – I don’t think they’re meant to be this big in August : Our lovely grand daughters (and their Parents) arrived about hay making time: We have had a lot of fun including being a Princess at Chateau Sully:

It has been a little embarrassing because as far as Emmeline, 31/2 years old, is concerned it has been the summer of “Aladdin” and when French friends and neighbours have asked what her name is and I have replied “Emmeline” she has contradicted me by saying “No it’s not I’m Princess Jasmine.”

Picnics, digging the potatoes up and picking the tomatoes in the garden as well as fishing for tiddlers have been popular too:

 

 

 

They left Burgundy for a few days to stay with friends in the South of France and evidently the tomatoes were not nearly as delicious as the tomatoes that Grandad grows so it’s good to know it’s not just wine that this region is famous for!

After a busy couple of months peace has now resumed but it’s great to know that we will see them again in September before they return to Sydney!