|Home | Weather | Search | Maps | Images of Burgundy | About Burgundy | Our Contributors | Press | Contact Us|
|Travel | Accommodation | Restaurants | Gourmet Traveller | Towns | Property | The Grapevine | Mind, Body & Spirit|
pam elson brings you Burgundy Today's roundup of news and events
A few kilometers from Vézelay, beside the D951 road to Clamecy there's a rather tired, hand-painted sign saying Cardoland. 'Such are my prejudices,' says Marilyn Floyde, 'that I've passed it many times on my travels around Burgundy, but not considered it worth exploring - it took a visit from the family to stir us into making the effort.
Cardoland is a whole Jurassic Park-ful of dinosaurs, the result of one extraordinary man's project and passion - begun in the 1980s - now continued by his family. Because there's no screeching music, digital animation, weapons of mass annihilation, or homicidal carnage, it's very peaceful walking amongst these huge concrete beasts; catching sight of a brontosaurus through the trees, or spotting a camouflaged raptor peering at you from behind a hillock. It's pretty realistic yet not quite'.
The trip proved a huge success with the toddlers. As Marilyn says, 'I'm so pleased we did it. Pleased for me - not just on behalf of the kids. The place has its own quiet magic, and loads to stimulate the imagination' Photos: ©William Floyde More...
On the road again
For over 40 years Jane Birkin has had close ties with Japan. After the disasters there - the earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear horror, she decided the best thing she could contribute was to go to Tokyo and do a concert for the people. In four days it was arranged with a group of Japanese musicians and the result was 'Serge Gainsbourg and Jane via Japan'. Since, Jane has toured the States with the same group of players and is now on the road again. On July 5 as part of the Festival Sons d'Une Nuits d'Eté 2013, she will be performing in Nuits St.
Georges. The festival runs from July 2-6.
rich and rich-smelling too
One of Burgundy's famous cheeses is Soumaintrain which is similar to Epoisses. We welcomed Bob Clary's email extolling the virtues of his favourite rich and rich-smelling cheese from the Yonne department and we have added his information to the cheese page. To serve with the cheese, this month's special wine offer would be a perfect accompaniment.
Meanwhile a Canadian fan of the St. Florentin market has asked for information on the cheese vendors there. As it happens, there is short video on YouTube of the market posted by Lara Lunow from Château de Percey to bring back happy memories.
Walter Judson Moore has now made ten trips from Florida and charted his cycling tours in France. He has updated the old friend Bicycle Secret Burgundy, and published Burgundy Explorations which includes the eleven original route maps - they have been redrawn - and four new routes with waypoints for cyclists with GPS. There is a companion publication, Queue Sheets for easy reference on your bike. Also available on Kindle and iPad.
june bOOKLIST - New and forthcoming releases available from Amazon
Burgundy, Art, Architecture, Landscape
Art historian and architect Ulrike Laule and architecture photographer Achim Bednorz have teamed up with editor Rolf Toman to make this rich pictorial reference of Burgundy with emphasis on the many sacred buildings and châteaux. All the classics are featured but also some of the lesser known aristo residences. There's lots of historical background included and photos to inspire.
The Road to Burgundy: The Unlikely Story of an American Making Wine and a New Life in France
Described as 'An intoxicating memoir of an American who discovers a passion for French wine, and gambles everything to chase a dream of owning a vineyard in Burgundy.'
This is the story of Ray Walker who had a secure career in finance until a wine-tasting vacation ignited a passion that he couldn’t stifle. He quit his job and went to Burgundy with little money, a limited command of French, and virtually no winemaking experience. He purchased grapes from La Chambertin and started producing wine. The book is available from July 11.
The Business of Being Social
If you want to get up to speed with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, get this new book by Michelle Carvill and David Taylor. Each of these media giants is discussed at length with tips for business people on using social media to their advantage whether it is for publicity, customer relations or communication. A lot of useful links included for further research. Follow burgundytoday on Facebook to see if the guidelines work.
For details of more books and maps relating to Burgundy see Grapevine
CNBC reports that the sale of 1,200 bottles of wine from the Elysée Palace reached almost one million dollars this week, three times the auctioneer's original estimate. Robert Frank reports:
'The sky-high prices were partly a reflection of the current collectibles boom and strong prices for vintage French wines, especially Burgundy. But more important for this sale was the seller - the French presidential palace.' He continues, 'We can imagine the Chinese wine collectors presenting a bottle of Petrus at a business dinner and proudly proclaiming it was the former property of the French President. Now that is table power.'
Stumped for a special gift?
For a birthday or special anniversary, give a bottle of Burgundy wine of that anniversary vintage year. Bringing Burgundy To You, the online wine shop, will source a bottle of Burgundy to celebrate a special year for a very original gift. Contact email@example.com for more info.
Last weekend 752 walkers took to the paths of the Morvan Natural Park on a 100 km challenge of two days. A record 350.000 euros was raised for Oxfam. Part of the worldwide Trailwalker initiative, 55 million euros has been raised over the last 30 years. If you would like to participate next year in the Morvan, make a diary date, the event will take place on May 17-18 2014.
For something a little less strenuous, a there's a new Topoguide in French 'Tour et traversée du Morvan' published by the Fédération Française de Randonnées at 14.90 euros. More on walking in Burgundy.
one good effect of climate change
We read daily about the adverse effects of climate change. Jancis Robinson has written a piece about the subject, highlighting the beneficial results in the Haute Côtes which are divided into the Hautes-Côtes de Nuits in the north, behind the Côte de Nuits, and the Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, to the west of the wine town of Beaune.
'Until recently most of the wine grown in the Hautes-Côtes was pretty thin stuff but this is changing - partly because summers are getting warmer'. She continues that it is also due to the determination of wine makers such as Olivier Jouan in Arcenant to make a better product. Read more...
Catherine Zivi who runs Teensbox has now published a booklet giving ideas for weekend trips in Burgundy for everyone from seven to seventy-seven years of age. It is in French but it is very well illustrated and so easy for all to understand. Become Robinson Crusoe for a day at the Bec 'Allier, take a cookery course in Rully or visit Le B.O'Club in Beaune, the new night hotspot. For your copy, send a cheque for 5 euros to Le Guide Idées week-end en Bourgogne, 58 Rue de Bourgogne, 21420 Savigny-les-Beaune, France.
This year's exhibition of art at Château de Pommard features a mixed bag of contemporary art. Marc Chagall, Andy Warhol, Matisse and Roy Lichtenstein top the bill with works too by Julien Marinetti, Richard Orlinski and Josepha. The show runs until November 30.
Take time too to taste the wine, see the cellars and surrounding grounds. Open every day from 9.30-18.30, there are guided tours and tasting, no reservation necessary, 21 euros per person.
Cycling is big in Burgundy but if going it alone sounds too much like hard work, help is at hand. Bike Rental France is offering tandems from 39 euros a day in Burgundy - contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Comité Régional du Tourisme de Bourgogne has brought out an excellent new series of themed maps. 'Cycling in Burgundy' highlights the major sights and is clearly illustrated. Available from tourist offices throughout the region, free of charge in a selection of languages. Other themes include the wine and gastronomy routes and inland waterways.
Driving through France with a sat-nav to guide you, be sure to deactivate the speed-camera detection function. If you are pulled over for a police check and you haven't done this, the fine could be as high as 1500 euros. Other driving hints in France.
chateau sojourn: Get away from it all. Château de Villette near Autun has a special offer running for June. A romantic stay for two for two nights and a dinner with wine will cost you 495 euros. If you book for three nights or more, one complimentary dinner for two is offered.
Wine facts: For pub quizzers here's some info about wine. Did you know for example that one ton of grapes will make about 720 bottles of wine? Headwater, the special interest tour specialists has brought
out a fact sheet 'Pour de France'.
Chef Jerome: The popular La Lucarne aux Chouettes in Villeneuve-sur-Yonne was started by actress Leslie Caron of Gigi fame. Recently under new ownership, chef Jérome Fertel from the Sens area will
welcome you for a meal or overnight stop at this charming auberge.
Faience: After ten years in the making, the Nevers Faïence Museum is due to open in June with 15 permanent exhibition rooms and one for temporary exhibits of this decorated tableware and glass. Three rooms will show paintings, sculptures and are objects.
Take time out in June to day dream through the canvases of Michel Tronel. His acrylics are calm and serene, filled with sunlight and a lack of complication. Gardens, particularly those of the Côte d'Azur inspire him, as do the Italian lakes. Tronel lives in Paris and comes to his home near Chablis frequently. An exhibition of his work goes on view at Château d'Ancy-le-Franc from June 15 to September 29, f.o.c. 10.30-12.30 and 14.00-18.00. July and August without lunch break. Closed Mondays.
'Reach the inaccessible. Make the world your own'
Cheap 'n' Cheerful
Hotels in and around Beaune can be very pricey so when we discovered the Lemon Montigny lès Beaune, offering a single, double or triple room for 26 euros a night, it seemed like a tip worth passing on. Montigny lès Beaune is four km from the centre with extensive views over the town. This is a one star rated hotel, very contemporary, offering WiFi and flat-screen TVs and private parking. The downside is that you share a bathroom.
Burgundytoday - Goes Mobile
If you are on the move, get a quick overview of Burgundy with the mobile version of burgundytoday for smartphones and tablets. Based on the towns of Burgundy, the mobile site pin points the gems of the region to head for with useful contacts along the way. You can book hotels online and our recommendations include self-catering accommodation, chambres d'hôtes and restaurants. We shall be adding more shortly so keep an eye open.
Burgundytoday mobile - Connecting you with places and events
It may be 2013 but in the minds of the folk working on Guédelon, the medieval castle under construction, it is only 1244. The building work is impressive and on schedule, and due to popular demand, the site is open now all week until September when closing day will be Wednesday. See the full story.
Spring, traditionally the best time for house hunting and house selling, this week we feature properties for sale right across the price spectrum. Whether you are looking for a project to do up, want a business opportunity, a holiday home or just somewhere fantastic to live with a relaxed way of life, take a look at the options in Burgundy, there's something for everyone.
Project and business opportunity: starting at 87.000 euros there are three cottages for renovation near Châtillon-sur-Seine.
Holiday home: 3 bed, 2 bath renovated farmhouse south of Epinac, ready to rent out when you are away.
A relaxed way of life: close to St. Florentin in the north of Burgundy, fantastic family home with character.
Links and details of these houses
From Burgundy Home and Services
Two traditional style houses: two very desirable houses have just come on the market in the medieval town of Nolay (more below). They have six and seven bedrooms respectively, tall ceilings and elegant windows, original features too with contemporary add-ons. For more information see Impressive Family Home and Six Bedroom House
The medieval town of Nolay has the vines of the Haute Côtes de Beaune on the doorstep but also the woodland and limestone cliffs of the Bout du Monde, a favourite of hikers, so an interesting and diverse area to explore. At the centre of the town is the market place, a 14thC beamed structure which is still in use today. Some of the houses around the square are half-timbered, there's a good cafe scene and antique shops to browse.
Engrossed at present in the latest Tom Clancy novel Threat Vector and the chilling topic of drones and cypber warfare, it comes as a relief to find a friendly drone. Firing a camera rather than a missile, this drone can take aerial shots - stills or video at a fraction of the cost of hiring a helicopter. Used by the production company Bourgogne Live Production, Aurélien Ibanez and François Desperriers specialise in short films for companies and enterprises, photography for magazine articles and aerial shots.
Their most recent work is the 15 minute film for Chateau de
Vougeot entitled Jamais en Vain, Toujours en Vin.
Tracy Thurling of Burgundy by Request has difficulty keeping a secret. An avid social networker, she mentions several restaurants worth visiting, admitting that if you find well priced good quality restaurants it is tempting to keep them to yourself to preserve the charm and atmosphere - but then, she adds, she is in the business of showing people what a lovely place Burgundy is with her tour business. Pierre et Jean in Chagny, the Auberge St. Martin in Bouilland, Le Chapitre in Autun and Le Morgen in Savigny lès Beaune get the thumbs up. For more restaurant tips, see the Wine Spectator article on Beaune restaurants.
'Stop Dreaming and Start Riding'
'Today could be the day you file away 436 emails into colour-coded folders...
...or it could be the day you test-drive a Harley Davidson.' So says the Harley website.
Well now you can make this a reality with a holiday in Chalon-sur-Saône where the tourist office has come up with the exciting idea of renting out these iconic bikes. The uncluttered roads in Burgundy are perfect for the ride... let freedom take you over. Prices start from 120 - 240 euros per full day and from 720 - 1440 euros for a week depending on the model. XL1200C, Dyna Custom, Softail Heritage and Street Glide are all available. For the Harley Experience, contact: email@example.com, tel: 00 33 (0)3 85 48 37 97
learn French by skype
One of our trusted correspondents has been raving about the French lessons she is having via Skype. While you stay in the comfort of your own home, you talk to your native French teacher in Paris or wherever for 50 minutes, and you receive and hour and a half's homework. Being on a one-to-one basis, you learn at your own pace. As a price guide, four lessons cost 40 euros each, with a reduction according to the number you book. Great for pronunciation. More...
going, going, gone...
It is the aspiration of every Burgundy wine lover to go to the Hospices de Beaune wine auction which takes place each year on the third weekend in November. The Ecole des Vins in Beaune together with David and Lynne Hammond of Bringing Burgundy to You are organizing a very exclusive weekend from November 14-17, 2013, with a limited number of guests. Apart from attending the auction, it includes wine tastings, a visit to Domaine Michel Noëllat & Fils in Vosne Romanée, and hosted lunches and dinners. This prestigious event doesn't come cheap, but it will prove to be an unforgettable weekend. Booking closes July 31. For more information see website:
When provenance is King
The origin of food could not be more headline catching. At the Cook's Atelier in Beaune, Majorie Taylor stresses the connection between the farmer and the cook through hands-on cookery classes, market tours, workshops and field trips to local artisan food producers. One such producer is Yan at Ferme du Jointout, a shepherd and cheesemaker who now features in a charming short film made by Marjorie and Tiger in a Jar film makers. In the early morning mist, this pastoral scene in Burgundy unfolds, from herding the sheep and goats to making the cheese and then turning this into a delicious soufflé at the Cook's Atelier. Hopefully, The Producers, will help spread the
word about local farmers and sustainable food, something
Burgundy excels in. More on the cheeses of the region.
The Renaissance Lives on
The 50 hectare park has had a make-over; the restoration of another major room, the Chambre de Diane will be completed this summer; music, art and cookery events are planned from April to October - it's time to catch up at Château d'Ancy-le-Franc.
Purchased by Investir SAS in 1999, Château d'Ancy-le-Franc is one of Burgundy's finest stately homes. Masses of restoration work has been carried out inside and out and this will be ongoing.
The château is particularly famous for its painted murals, rivalling those at Fontainbleu. The richly decorated rooms were adorned in the 16th C and 17th C by Burgundian and Flemish artists, often with grotesque mythological and religious scenes. In the Galerie Pharsale and La Chambre des Arts, the walls, ceilings and furniture are sumptuous and ornate, as are the bedrooms such as the Chambre des Fleurs and the Chambre de Judith. The Renaissance lives on.
The parkland has undergone extensive reconstruction - there is a French garden, an English garden with a folly in the middle of a lake and beautiful trees dating back hundreds of years.
But visit the château also for the monthly concerts, maybe a cookery lesson by two of Burgundy's top chefs, Jean-Luc Barnabet from Auxerre and Cyrille Riandet from Dijon and from June 15, the work of landscape painter Michel Tronel will be on show.
Full details of times and prices from the château website. The house opens on March 30 for the 2013 season.
The Roads to Santiago
Photographer and author Derry Brabbs is best known for his books on English heritage and landscapes. Drawn to Europe a few years back, he set off on the pilgrim road to Santiago de Compostela and photographed the four routes through France to the Camino Frances in Spain. The result, The Roads to Santiago, his beautifully illustrated book, provides inspiration for anyone thinking of undertaking the trip.
On Images of Burgundy, we bring you a small selection of his work showing his journey on the Via Lemovicensis from Vézelay through La Charité-sur-Loire (shown right), on to Bourges and Orthez. Set off with Derry as the honey coloured light in the early morning over Vézelay washes over the ancient buildings, captured on transparency film, 'the best medium for atmosphere', he says.
Do Something different
If the romantic notion of life as a Romany appeals, book this charming caravan at the pony farm Les Roulottes.
Try a yurt, a Mongolian inspired tent at Fontenay-près-Vézelay, kitted out with mod cons.
A tent with a view to the medieval town of Cluny close to excellent hiking trails. WiFi available in public areas.
Wonderful music in an equally impressive setting, the 2013 programme for concerts at Château d'Ancy le Franc arranged by Musicancy is online. Now in its the tenth year, young musicians will be performing, usually on a Sunday afternoon, rounding off a visit to the château or parkland in style. For the first time there will be a musical walk through the park on August 9, and an event at the Noyers-sur-Serein music festival. The choice of music ranges from Renaissance to jazz.
Arsys de Bourgogne, the professional choir, based in Vézelay, has a good new website where you can listen to previous recordings. Their performing schedule for 2013 is available listing the European appearances. In Burgundy, the highlight is their rendition of Vivaldi's Gloria at the Vézelay music festival on August 24. Prior to that they will be in Avallon in the church of St. James on August 22.
The best of Burgundy in one day
For anyone wanting to self-indulge for the day in the best of Burgundian wine and food, the Gourmet Grand Premier Tour offered by Burgundy Discovery is for you. You will taste Premier Cru Appellations and Grand Cru wines at the wineries where they are made (a minute 2% of the wines produced in Burgundy are Grand Cru Appellation and it is often very difficult to taste these on a day-to-day basis). Lunch will be served at the bistro of the Hostellerie Levernois, a Michelin starred restaurant, with a top reputation in the region. Furthermore, you will gain insider information into the wine of the region and the growing and production techniques. This one day tour costs 270 euros per person. See Burgundy Discovery, alternative, less pricey tours also available.
Ryanair from Dole
Starting on April 2, Ryanair, the low cost carrier, will be operating to London Stanstead, Marrakesh and Porto from Dole, just over the border of Burgundy in the Jura. Dole is a 45 minute drive from Dijon.
The new stars in Burgundy
This is the week when the Michelin star ratings were announced. Congratulations go to William Frachot at the Hostellerie du Chapeau Rouge in Dijon who has been awarded a second star for his inventive cuisine. Newcomers in Burgundy with a one star honour are the Clos du Cèdre in Beaune, Meulien, and Quartier Gourmand at Le Rempart in Tournus. List of Michelin starred restaurants.
Ouigo - the low cost TGV
Plans have been unveiled for a low cost TGV service which will launch on April 2. 'Ouigo' will run from Marne-la-Valle Chessy station in the east of Paris (the Disney station) and go to Marseille and Montpellier via Lyon. At present, the trains will not stop in Burgundy.
As with the airlines, this is a no-frills approach - there are no catering facilities, one piece of baggage is allowed free of charge, children accompanied by an adult pay a flat fare of five euros and the cheapest fares are on the early booking system.
Calculations in Le Figaro reckon that the average price for a Friday journey from Paris to Marseille, booked three months in advance costs 72 euros on TGV, 50 euros on Air France, 34.23 euros on Ryanair and 25 euros on Ouigo. More on train travel.
Photography Past and Present
The Yonne department in Burgundy has just put up an interesting archive site. 6500 postcards from 1935 have been put online showing towns and villages. If you are tracing your French ancestors, or are interested in how your adopted village used to be, visit the website.
Château de Bussy Rabutin is opening its doors free of charge on certain Sundays through the year. The first is March 3 from 9.15-12 and 14.00-17.00; then the first Sunday in April, May, November and December. The château has an interesting history, gardens and parkland, a good day out on a fine day.
Holiday Homes Across Burgundy
Renting a cottage or house on a self-catering basis gives great flexibility for all the family. Get up when you like, eat when you like and chill out in your own way. We bring you a selection of 240 properties in Burgundy, direct from the owner, through HomeAway. The quality of accommodation is high, so it really does feel like a home from home. Here's a selection to whet the appetite.
From 380 pounds sterling per week, ref: 72779
Pouilly en Auxois cottage surrounded by lush countryside, sleeps 2 or 6
From 500 euros per week, ref: 599491a
Near Chalon-sur-Saône, Tournus and Cluny, the pretty French cottage sleeps 4
From 500 pounds sterling per week, ref: 1073106
Puligny-Montrachet, an old vigneron's house sleeps 4
From 750 euros per week, ref: 416560
La Roche near Mâcon, family farmhouses, sleep 12,10,6
From 1500 euros per week, ref: 118932d
Near Dijon, a manoir with stunning garden and pool, sleeps 11
From 3500 euros a week, ref: 410587
St. Aubin, stunning property amid the vineyards, sleeps 8
For the full listing, see burgundy holiday homes
For folk with Reduced Mobility
For people with reduced mobility, we are often asked for tips on suitable accommodation and it is far from easy. The bed and breakfast Atelier Bob'Arts in northern Burgundy makes a point of stressing these amenities. From the moment you arrive, there is ease of parking, the gateways, doorways and entrance to the bedrooms are suitably wide for wheelchairs, the bathrooms and WCs have aides and the bedrooms are spacious for manoeuvrability. What's more, you can relax and enjoy delicious homecooked French food from your hostess
Bernadette on the terrace overlooking the charming cottage
Wine Direct from Burgundy - Order Online
Finding quality wine at a reasonable price becomes more of a challenge. At burgundytoday we are pleased to announce our partnership with Bringing Burgundy to You (BBTY), the online wine shop. Listing over 120 wines from independent Burgundy winegrowers, there is a terrific choice, whether you want a table wine or a Grand Cru.
Shipping is available worldwide but if you live in the UK or northern Europe, you might like to meet up with David and Lynne Hammond in northern France, pick up your wine and enjoy a glass or two together. Having taken visitors around the vineyards for over ten years, they are incredibly knowledgeable about the wine and the wine trade. More...
London to Lyon on Eurostar
Eurostar is going to test a new service between London, Lyon, Avignon and Aix-en-Provence from May 4 to June 29 2013. The service will run on Saturday, stopping in Lille en route. Tickets are on sale from Eurostar.
Pam Elson ©burgundytoday.com
Burgundy Today Cryptic Crossword Solutions
1. Nevers, 4. Tenant, 9. Noël, 10. Prodigious, 11. Bateau, 12&23 down Burgundy Today, 13. Kilometer, 15. Père, 16. Acts, 17. Reveillon, 21. Exported, 22. Petite, 24. A Rare Error, 25. Dope, 26. Events, 27. Troyes
1. Neo Nazi, 2. Valse, 3. Rupture, 5. Emigré, 6 .Adieu Nell, 7. Trundle, 8. Double headers, 14. Outsource, 16. Auxerre, 18. Emperor, 19. Octopus, 20. Street. 23. See 12 across