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News and events around the Burgundy region, Bourgogne Franche-Comté
On Thursday March 23 at 19.00 at the Moulin des Ruats in Avallon, sample white wines from the Côtes de Beaune - Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet, Pernand-Vergelesses and Les Maranges (the tasting is 45 euros per person). After the tasting, chef Bruno Taurel offers a special wine pairing dinner (35 euros per person). More...
Then on Friday March 24 at 19.00 three wine producers from the Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune and the Mâconnais will talk you through four Grands Crus, four Premier Crus and two Viré Clessé at the luxury hotel L'Abbaye de la Bussière in the Ouche valley. This will be followed by a six course dinner prepared by Guillaume Royer (right). More...
Musee du Vin revitalized
After extensive renovation, the Musée du Vin in Beaune reopened on March 15. In this beautiful building dating back to the glory days of the Dukes of Burgundy, you can gain an overview of the region's most precious commodity, wine. Open from March to May and October to November from 10.00-13.00 and 14.00 to 17.00, closed Monday and Tuesday. From June to September it is open one hour later in the afternoon and only closed on Tuesdays.
save our birds
Set in stone
This, his latest commission stands in Victoria Embankment Gardens and commemorates both duty and service - the bronze medallion shows the military on one side and civilians on the other. The medallion is set between two stone monoliths.
Diary date for the kids at Easter. Get their imagination going with this Lego town coming to Château d'Ancy le Franc in April. Depicting a typical day in the life of.. it shows the Mairie, an electric railway, and even a spaceship from Star Wars. In addition, enshrined in the Guinness Book of Records 2016, there is 12m long ship made up of one million bricks which took 900 hours to construct. Visit the exhibition from April 8 to May 1, entry 10 euros adults, 5 euros for 6-15 yr olds, free for children under 6 yrs. With this entry ticket you can visit the château and the park. Open every day except Mondays (which are not public holidays) from 10h30-12h30, 14h00 – 18h00.
Some of the many pleasures of summer in Burgundy are the top notch classical concerts across the region. Top of the agenda has to be the International Festival of Baroque Opera in Beaune each weekend of July. Booking for this is now open. Then there's the Vézelay Festival at the end of August with a very full and varied programme already online. Just up, the programme for Musicancy concerts at Château d'Ancy le Franc, booking from April 1. In every case the setting is both beautiful and elegant, the atmosphere relaxed, and the music,sublime.
March: (Left) The Beaune International Thriller Film Festival will take place from March 29 to April 2 with this year's President Jean-Paul Rappeneau passing judgement on the entries. First making his name for A Matter of Resistance in 1966, this illustrious film director went on to make The Scoundrel in 1971, Le Sauvage in 1975, and All Fired Up in 1982. He adapted Cyrano de Bergerac in 1990, Bon Voyage in 2003 and more recently, Families 2015. beaunefestivalpolicier.com
May: (Right) Take your old motorcycle onto the famous Dijon Prenois racing circuit at the Coupes Moto Legende weekend, May 27 to 28. This is a great social event for bikers costing just 25 euros entry for the two days. Camping for participants is available at the circuit, for visitors there are camp sites nearby. See James Hewing's article.
The St. Véran appellation in the south of the Mâconnais was created in 1971. Comprising of the villages of Davayé, Prissé and Solutré-Pouilly in the north and Chânes, Chasselas, Leynes, St-Amour and St-Vérand in the south, this is the land of the Chardonnay grape. In 2018, the appellation will host the St. Vincent Festival, centred around Prissé when 40,000 visitors will be expected. Preparation has begun already with their new website, at present in French only.
Low cost bus travel
Centre: On the eastern edge of the Morvan Natural Park, close to Avallon, the Moulin des Ruats hotel and restaurant lies in the beautiful Cousin Valley, a walker's treat.
Here's our pick of where to stay in Burgundy this year. Depending whether you want an action break or a relaxing getaway, there's something for everyone in all price brackets.
Above left: Château de la Resle - bursting with contemporary design ideas, chill out at this boutique bed and breakfast in northern Burgundy and visit Chablis and Vézelay.
A much improved brochure published by the BIVB, the Burgundy wine board, is now available for 2017 listing the wineries, wine areas, wine events and general tourist information associated with it. The area wine maps are particularly good. En route vers les Bourgogne is in French and English and can be found online and at tourist offices.
Cooking up a treat
Impress your friends by cooking a truly Burgundian meal. Next week, the Burgundy on a Plate cooking classes resume in English with a French chef. You will cook a three course meal of modern French cuisine with a Burgundian twist and, after you have eaten the spoils of your labour, Sue Boxell will take you to visit the famous vineyards with a cellar visit and tasting included.
New for this year, pâtisserie and bread making classes with the experts. For full details, email@example.com
value, quality and style
The BIB Gourmand recommendations came out on January 13, ahead of the main, always much awaited, announcement of the starred chefs on February 9. The BIB Gourmand is the Michelin Guide selection of value for money establishments where you can get a menu with starter, main course and dessert for a maximum of 32 euros a head. In Burgundy five new restaurants have been added to the list: Le Chastellux near Avallon; Le Relais de Saulx, Beaune (below right); Le Bistrot des Moines at the Abbaye de la Bussière (below left); L'Auberge des Tilleuls, Messigny-et-Vantoux; Le Soufflot, Irancy.
'Once we left Auxerre' says Katharine Norbury, 'the lock-keepers and fellow barge dwellers were the only people we saw for hours at a time, although we enjoyed the companionship of grebes, mallards, herons, swans, Canada geese, butterflies and dragonflies.' Writing in the February edition of the Lonely Planet Traveller magazine, Katharine cruised down the Canal du Nivernais on the luxury barge, the Randle, run by Edge Charter. 'Days and nights on the canal expanded, slowed down. We swam in the river below the hilltop town of Mailly-le-Château. We traced the constellations. ..I saw school children waiting for a bus, attended by a family of geese.'
For anyone thinking of a trip on the Burgundy canals this summer, this is a charming snapshot of what you can expect. The article includes tips on where to eat along the route from Auxerre to Clamecy and where to visit too. The February edition of the magazine is onsale at newsagents. Also see Barge Hotels
Burgeoning rose bushes at the ends of the rows of vines used to be commonplace in the vineyards. Both roses and vines are susceptible to some of the same fungal diseases. Roses show signs of mildew earlier than vines and so in the old days they indicated to winegrowers an early warning of impending attack. Now of course, there are more sophisticated methods of detection and the roses in vineyards are merely cosmetic, it is all part of the romance of
A still life or a landscape is one thing but painting a portrait from life to get a realistic result is a different matter entirely. Artist and teacher in California, Stacy Kamin, has honed her skills in this discipline and now offers a workshop at La Porte Peinte Centre pour les Arts in Noyers-sur-Serein. She works in oils but says that any paint medium is acceptable.The course will be running from May 13-20 and is open to ten students; the price is 600 euros, materials and accommodation not included. More...
know your Grands Crus
You know your Burgundy wines but would like to become more conversant with the Grands Crus - let's face it, who wouldn't? The Ecole des Vins in Beaune runs a course in English over three days where you can expand your knowledge. They advise that you do need to have wine tasting skills to get the best out of this experience. Time will be spent in the professional tasting room, you will visit wine domaines and study the Grands Crus of Chablis, the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits. Visits to local restaurants with matched wines included. The Saga of the Grands Crus is planned for June 28-July 1, price on request. A gourmet's delight. firstname.lastname@example.org.
wallow in chocolate
It is fair to say that Bernard Dufoux has devoted his life to chocolate. He will be 80 this year but still he is expanding his business (his sixth shop opened last September in Dijon), and continues to pass on his enthusiasm for this passion from his headquarters in La Clayette. One afternoon at the beginning of each month, he or one of his team give a masterclass for four hours in the afternoon. Be prepared to wallow in the silky chocolate to make the mouth watering delights such as orangettes, griottes and ganaches. The class, Atelier Gourmand, is in French, unfortunately probably not, they say,
advisable for non-French speakers, and runs from 14.00-18.00 in La Clayette, price 80 euros. Wednesday February 1 is the first class of the year. More...
Here's a new website for visitors to Burgundy or Beaujolais who would like to visit a cellar for a tasting along the famous wine routes in the region but are not looking for a full blown guided tour. In Burgundy the wine grower may be a one man band or a family affair and as Jancis Robinson points out in her article on visiting Burgundy's wineries, it is not easy to find them in their cellars to pay them a visit, often they are out in the vineyard tending their plants. In Beaune and Chablis the tourist is well provided for with tastings on offer but drive out to Gevrey-Chambertin or Aloxe-Corton and where do you start? Now help is at hand. Rue des Vignerons is a website which tells you of the user-friendly winegrowers offering tastings and cellar visits. There is no fee for their services, book online, preferably ahead of time but a minimum of 30 minutes before you want to go. Some of the tastings are free of charge, and the website gives full details of tours on offer and the prices plus a map and directions. The domaines' wines are often available at a reduced rate too. This certainly simplifies life and assures you of a warm welcome. Above, Domaine Famille Picard, Chassagne-Montrachet.
Internet connection wherever you are
Being connected to the internet seems to be an essential of everyday life, no matter how much we try to resist it. Most hotels now offer a WiFi connection as do some self-catering holiday homes but a far easier option is to rent a mobile hotspot and receive the internet as and when you need it, securely, wherever you are in France or Europe. Take a look at hippocketwifi, a simple system from a young progressive company based in Lyon offering mobile connection. More...
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