Wednesday, 31 July 2013

On the map

The Office du Tourisme has just started giving away street maps of Cormatin and Saint Gengoux le National – although why anyone would need a map for these villages is a mystery that I won’t delve into.

And guess what?? We are on it !! OK, maybe not quite in the right position, but near enough to be famous.

For the a website showing holiday accommodation that is "on the map" click here.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Steam Day

I love steam engines, they live and breathe, not like something that runs on diesel, petrol or electricity which just chunters away and does it’s job either noisily or smellily or in total silence. Those modern impostors may be as efficient or even more efficient than their steam equivalent, but they are not “real”.

Every year there is a steam day in Digoin, a lovely little town who’s claim to fame is the bridge over the Loire which lets the Canal du Centre continue its path unhindered. That was just the other day and so off we went. We stopped in Salornay sur Guye at the butcher to get some delicious mousse de canard, dried sausage and salads and together with a baguette from La Delice de Cormatin our picnic was ready.

The bench on the canal bridge/aqueduct was just the place to eat our picnic and then we went on to the steam engines and we weren’t disappointed.

The pictures speak for themselves.

Just an aside, we were almost on TV again. This time the cameraman missed his chance to interview us, he possibly found the steam engines more interesting.

La Tuilerie Website

Friday, 19 July 2013

Restaurant Update

La Petite Auberge - Cluny
So much has changed on the restaurant/bar front this winter, I really thought it time I posted on my blog just what’s been going on.

La Petite Auberge and the Bosphore kebab restaurants in Cluny and the restaurant of Les Blés D’Or in Cormatin are all still in the same hands fortunately, so there is at least some stability in our lives ! But Café de la Poste and La Terasse in Cormatin and Café du Centre in Cluny have all changed hands and La Grange Finot in Bray has moved to Cluny under the new name of La Régalade.

La Terrasse - Cormatin
Firstly La Terasse. Sadly the previous owner has become too ill to carry on working and the restaurant/bar/café has been sold to a young local couple who are serving good “simple” French food. We have eaten there once and they were very welcoming, efficient and the food was very good indeed, for a reasonable price. The terrace has been full almost every day since they opened, so let’s hope it continues to be a success for them.

Café de la Poste - Cormatin
Café de la Poste, was always a bit of a mystery to us, was it a bar or a café, did it serve food or not? Well now it is very clear it is a bar/café and serves snack-like food. They have all the usual snacky kind of things, croque monsieur, frites, quiche, sandwiches etc and they even had “fish and chips” and although I can’t really comment (being allergic to fish) it looked pretty much like the real thing to me. The owner is the husband of the lady who runs the newsagent in town and he mans the bar with their numerous children. They are not truly up to speed as yet, they still have a few logistics problems to iron out. Who takes what order, at which counter are food and drinks orders accepted and who gets served first are issues they should address, as well as the general speed of service. But having said that, the food was good and the service very friendly and it is great to have a place where you can eat something that is not a full meal in town.

Café du Centre- Cluny
Café du Centre, Chez Sissis (Cluny) does appear to have changed hands, we noticed the changes just after Christmas and it seems a bit late now to ask the only remaining, original waitress after 7 months under the new regime. So I will go on gut feeling and say, they have new owners and if not new owners, they have changed their way of working and staff enough to give a noticeable new feeling to the place. The food is more restricted, but the quality is just as good. Instead of one plat du jour every day they have 4 per week, which, if you only want to eat there occasionally, gives ample choice. I do however, miss the opportunity to have one of their “tartes” or “salades” whenever I feel like it. The additional menu is restricted to croque monsieur/madame, steak or steak haché and possibly one or two other things, this is over and above the 4 entrées (which include salads) and the four main courses written up on the blackboards. We are getting used to it, but it isn’t quite the “same”.

La Régalade - Cluny
La Grange Finot in Bray, our favourite, special eating-out place closed early this year and we were very disappointed to see them go, although we knew Serge was opening up a restaurant in Cluny. We have eaten at his new restaurant La Régalade and the standard is certainly the same as before, although I get the feeling the choice is more limited. We were told he changes the menu every 10 days or so, so for that “special meal”, you don’t have to worry that you will have to eat the same thing every visit. The restaurant is certainly more cosy than at the old Grange Finot and we will be going there again, but we do miss having it next door.

So that’s the local restaurant gossip for the time being, there has been an "all change" in Chapaize too, but that will have to wait for another time !

For information about the holiday accommodation we have, very close to all these lovely restauarnts click here.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Concerts, concerts and more concerts

The new banner announces our concerts
Summer brings with it a host of music festivals in Burgundy. We are heavily involved in the Guitar en Cormatinois festival which this year is fortunately going back to its roots and each concert will have at least one guitarist in it. The series is nearing its end - there are only two more concerts to go and the season is going very well indeed. Concerts one and three were sold out, leaving us volunteers to enjoy the music from outside the church and concert two only had a few spaces left empty. It is a combination of the venue being fixed in the church in Chazelle – superb acoustics, the start times being nice and early (19.30 for the Saturday concert and 17.30 for the Sunday concert) and of course returning to having guitars in abundance, that has made this season a success. We will have to see if we actually break even or not this year as we have lost a lot of state subsidy, so fingers crossed that this festival can continue for years to come.

Biréli Lagrène in Trivy
The season is well under way as well in Chapaize where we of course enjoyed the annual Roundalay concert - a Dutch a cappella choir. We have seen Biréli Lagrène again this year in the Jazz in Trivy concert series - always a treat and a couple of weekends ago we went to a concert by a swing band in Cluny at Le Potot Gourmand who are on of the venues for the association Jazz etc. The concert was on the pricey side, but the music made up for that. It was all very accessible jazz, nothing too avant garde.

Michel Bonnet Combo in Cluny
But it is not only the professionals that give concerts, the choir of St Ythare gave a couple of concerts, we saw the one in the lovely, if peculiarly shaped, church in Savigny-sur-Guye and they did themselves proud, well done lads and lasses ! At the moment we have campers from the UK who will be performing in St Gengoux church this coming Thursday, they are part of a very new amateur choir from Oxford and from what I’ve heard, it should be worth a visit.

St Ythaire Choir
So you can see that we really are spoilt for choice at the moment and throughout this summer, I rather selfishly think that they should spread the concerts out over the year a bit more, but then I suppose it would only be us residents that would be able to enjoy all this good music.

For information on holiday accommdation in the heart of this musical area click here.
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