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!

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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?

 

February 27, 2013

The Saint Vincent Tournante 2014 comes to Saint – Aubin

 

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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.

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December 7, 2012

Christmas Markets

Filed under: Burgundy,Christmas Markets,Events and markets,Food — Tags: , , — Lesley @ 14:25

One of the joys of living in France during the festive season is having the chance to visit so many Christmas Markets selling beautiful crafts, fine food, hot wine and lots of pressies.

There is a forthcoming Marche de Noël in Meursault on Saturday15th December from 10 am to 9 pm and on Sunday 16th December from 10 am to 6 pm.

If you are looking for a day out and a market on a much bigger scale try Dijon market which runs from 1st December to 6th January with over 60 stalls and the chance to go ice skating on the rink at Place de la Republique. Copy and paste this link for full details:

http://www.frenchconnections.co.uk/en/guide/miniguidepage/148040-dijon-christmas-market-cote-d-or,-burgundy-1-december-2012—6-january-2013

For an extensive list of markets in southern Burgundy follow this link:  http://www.americansinfrance.net/Attractions/Southern-Burgundy-Christmas-Markets.cfm

Many small towns and villages have decorating the Christmas tree competition for local children. A bank of trees are placed outside a town hall, in a car park or somewhere similar and each child is allocated a tree to decorate and of course the winner receives a gift from Père Noël. The decorations are then taken off and the trees reallocated to the next age group up for their competition.

Wherever you are celebrating Christmas this year we send you Seasons Greetings and best wishes for the New Year. Also, thanks for reading our blog!

March 28, 2012

A Letter From Burgundy

Filed under: Animals,Gardening and weather — Tags: , , , — Lesley @ 13:22

We’ve been talking about doing a blog over the winter months and now with the arrival of Spring comes our first blog. We have been living full time in Burgundy for nearly two years now and it really feels like home. We love the changing seasons and as we are in the middle of a farming community we are probably more aware of the seasons than most. This last weekend we were busy in the garden digging a wild life pond in the orchard where we plan to have a bee hive next year and preparing the vegetable patch for the early potatoes to go in. We were also helping to create a new flower border for a friend on Saturday – so by Sunday night we were a little stiff to say the least! The good weather is continuing into this week and despite a French lesson on Tuesday and a bit of work keeping us on the computers we still seem to be managing to spend a lot of time outside – making the most of the weather just in case it isn’t sunny again tomorrow!
The picture here is of one of our dogs, Scamp, who was 10 years old yesterday. He marked his birthday by having a disagreement with a dustcart. He was having a morning potter down a lane when a dustcart appeared (obviously using the lane as a cut through – there are no houses on this lane) he stood his ground and the lorry drove round him, up on the grass verge and down again. I was too far away to see whether the driver was amused or annoyed which was probably just as well as it could well have been the latter!