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This Week...

News and events around the Burgundy region, Bourgogne Franche-Comté

march 25

Last Minute Treats - this wine weekend

Many wine aficionados will be in Burgundy this weekend for the Hospices de Nuits wine auction in Nuits-St.-Georges, and co-inciding with this, here are two wine tastings with dinner to get you in the mood.

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...
L'Abbaye de l Bussiere wine tasting dinner

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...

Round off the tasting extravaganza on Saturday and Sunday, March 25-26 and head down to Nuits-St.-Georges for the wine event Nuits au Grand Jour from 10.00-17.30. This is not so hard on the wallet - here you can taste and buy local wines for the entry fee of 12 euros.
The Hospices de Nuits wine auction is also taking place so the town will be in full swing.

Musee du Vin revitalized

Musee du Vin Beaune, the building dates back to the Dukes of BurgundyAfter 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

The Messenger, silence des oiseauxThe Musée Buffon near Montbard offers 'a journey through the history of science and nature through the eyes of two important naturalists born in the town: Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707-1788) and Louis Jean-Marie Daubenton (1716-1800)'.
On March 31 the museum is showing a film 'The Messenger, Le silence des oiseaux' by Su Rynard drawing attention to the fact that our birds need protecting from the ravages of man. The film won the Buffon prize last year at the festival of scientific films Pariscience. Screening will be at 18.00, entry f.o.c.

march 17


Italy v France with Burgundy rugby supporters,photo Maggie Crane

Our picture of the week, France on top at the match in Italy last Saturday. We thank reader, and rugby enthusiast Maggie Crane for the image.

Set in stone

Iraq Afghanistan Memorial by Paul DayThis week the memorial was unveiled in London by the Queen to honour the many thousands of UK military and civilians who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gulf. The sculpture was the work of Burgundy resident Paul Day famous for the Battle of Britain monument, which stands nearby on the Embankment, as well as the Meeting Place, the sculpture of an embracing couple in St Pancras station.

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.

Lego Mania

Festibriques, Lego town at Chateau d'Ancy le Franc Burgundy

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. 

Musical Interlude

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 10

big spring events
in burgundy

Spring events in Burgundy France

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

April: (Centre) Fun for all on the track at Magny Cours for the tenth Classic Days meet on April 29 to 30. Already 1250 entries have been received and with the closing date of March 31, there is still time get into gear and enter your classic car for the track events. 25,000 visitors will be expected at the circuit nears Nevers to see the action and exhibition of twelve Renault Formula1 cars, plus much more. www.classic-days.fr

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.

march 3

St Vincent Festival St Veran 2018 BurgundySt Vincent 2018

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.

cycling? a warm shower awaits


Crash hats for under 12s obligatory in FranceThe Warm Showers Community is a free worldwide hospitality exchange for touring cyclists with 38,000 hosts and 83,000 members. Hosts sign up and provide contact information and may occasionally have someone to stay with them and share stories and a drink. All members agree to host others either now or in the future. The hospitality may be a couch, a tent in the garden or a room. Judith Un van de Toorn, is one of five hosts in Chalon-sur-Saône and an avid promoter of all things cycling (she is organising the Tour des Reines in Dijon on March 8). See warmshowers.org for more information on friendly hospitality in Bourgogne Franche-Comté.


On bicycles,crash hats are obligatory for children less than 12 years of age from March 22.

Cycling in Bourgogne Franch-Comté

Ouibus from Paris to Nevers, Chalon sur Saone or DijonLow cost bus travel

Ouibus, the budget coach company already runs routes from Paris to Chalon-sur-Saône and Dijon. In April a third route comes into service from Paris to Montargis, Nevers and on to Clermont-Ferrnand. Flexibus and Isilines are other low cost operators in the region. More on bus travel

february 24

travellers' choice 2

Townscapes

Self catering holidays in Burgundy , Beaune, Dijon and Semur-en-Auxois

Above left:
 La Maison du Couvent in the centre of the town of Beaune, a stylish apartment for holiday rental. Soak up the atmosphere in the wine capital of Burgundy.

Centre:  Stay in an apartment in a traditional town house in the centre of Dijon. There's a lot going on in this buzzing city from history and culture to nightlife

Right:  Step back in time and stay in a romantic medieval town, Semur-en-Auxois at the Maison Secrete, Burgundy Holiday Homes ref 164198vb. A good location for visiting Burgundy's treasures.

keeping fit



Above left: At  the Castel de Très Girard in the Côte des Nuits you are in the vineyards of Morey-St-Denis. Explore the area on foot or by bike, particularly beautiful in summer and early autumn

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.

Right: On the west side of the Morvan, the Logis de la Poste in the village of Vauclaix with its pool will be a welcome break after a day of hiking and exploring.

Travellers' Choice

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.

For Luxury

Chateau de la Resle, L'Abbaye de la Bussiere, Chateau de Villette, Burgundy

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.

Centre: L'Abbaye de la Bussière - once a Cistercian monastery, the setting is now sumptuous, as is the food by the much acclaimed chef, Guillaume Royer. The Route des Grands Crus is closeby.

Right: Château de Villette - surrounded by lush countryside, the accent here is on food and wine. A good touring route takes in the Morvan Forest, Autun, and Bibracte.

For Touring

Marcs d'Or Dijon, Carpe Diem, Chateau de Flee Burgundy

Above left: Marcs d'Or - a well-priced bed and breakfast in Dijon with private parking. Explore the city and the Côte d'Or wine region at your leisure.

Centre: Carpe Diem - a boutique bed and breakfast with a fabulous garden. From here visit the medieval villages of Noyers-sur-Serein and Montréal, Vézelay and Chablis.

Right: Château de Flee - full of interest and character, from this château Semur-en-Auxois, the Abbey of Fontenay, Alésia and more of Burgundy's prizes are within easy reach.

Family Holidays

Desjardins Cottage, Village Toue, Canal Cruising with Canalous and Locaboat Burgundy

Above left: Desjardins Cottage - experience village life in a self-catering cottage. At Escamps St. Germain all home comforts are supplied with a certain French chic. More self-catering ideas

Centre: Village Toue - a wooden houseboat on a lake or a gypsy style caravan, either will be a memorable holiday for the adventurous. This is in a nature reserve in southern Burgundy.

Right: A Canal Cruiser - you don't need a licence to take these self-drive boats on the canals of Burgundy. Stop off en route and walk, cycle, and switch off from your everyday life.

See also: Accommodation for more ideas

february 10

Burn  the calories, enjoy the reward



On the idyllic Canal du Nivernais, Elisabeth and Steve Roberts invite you to stay at their chambres d'hôte, Villa Castel Danynou, on the canal bank. Walking, cycling along the canal and relaxing make this a perfect holiday choice for country lovers. To get to the house at Cercy la Tour, there are fairly frequent train services from Paris via Nevers, ideal if you want a drive-free break. Excursions with a driver can be arranged.

Themed weekends are also suggested from fishing to wine tasting. Cyclists will enjoy the weekend along the Voie Verte and sampling the local cuisine. The route along the canal is mainly flat, suitable for all cycling levels, the bikes are provided (price reduction for bringing your own bike) and there is assistance en route should it be needed. Elisabeth is an accomplished cook, and lunch in the local restaurants and dinner at the villa are included in the price of 550 euros per person.
Mo
re...

star struck

La Montrachet in Puligny-Montrachet was the only casualty in the Michelin Guide stars announced on February 9 when they lost their one star rating. This was the only change across the Bourgogne Franche-Comté region. See full list

february 3

wine tourism


Wine Routes in Burgundy photo: BIVB

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

burgundy on a plate cooking classesImpress 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, sue@burgundyonaplate.com

january 27

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.

january 20

Tracing the Constellations

Luxury barge for four The Randle by Edge Charter '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

the days of vines and Roses

Chateau de Rully, photo BIVB Armelle photographeBurgeoning 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 the vine.
Photo: Château de Rully, BIVB, Armelle Photographe

january 13

La Cloche Spa Hotel in DijonLuxuriate in the Vaults


The keyword is fitness, it's time to get the body in trim for the year ahead. The Grand Hotel La Cloche in the centre of Dijon is the latest establishment to open a spa. Situated in the vaulted cellar of the building, the mood is set for a relaxing few hours of pampering and self-indulgence, good for both the body and the mind.

The other spas in Burgundy can be found at Spa Le Richebourg, Vosne Romanée; Vertigo hotel Dijon; Relais Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu; Le Cep Beaune; Hostellerie du Chapeau Rouge Dijon; Château de Courban; Château de Citeaux, Meursault.





restaurant review

Le Pré aux Clercs is one of the most famous restaurants in Dijon, owned by Jean-Pierre Billoux. He is hanging up his chef's apron and Georges Blanc is set to take over the reins. It is hoped that the restaurant will reopen in June.


New Year, New Skills

You've gone as far as you can with your pastime but to reach the next level, you need some help. Call in the experts - here in Burgundy are our suggestions:

brush strokes

Stacy Kamin oilA 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

Ecole des Vins BeauneYou 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. ecoledesvins@bivb.com.

wallow in chocolate

Bernard Defoux Chocolate Course La ClayetteIt 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...

Tracing the past


The prehistoric site Solutré in southern Burgundy was discovered 150 years ago. To mark the occasion, an important exhibition of finds has been brought together from museums, towns and universities across the region. There are four major sites where traces of the Neanderthals have been found: Arcy-sur-Cure (Yonne), Solutré (Saône-et-Loire), l’aven de Romain-la Roche (Doubs) and La Baume de Gigny (Jura). The exhibition at the Solutré museum runs until October 1, 2017.



User friendly wineries to visit with Rue des Vignerons

Domaine Famille Picard Chassagne-Montrachet BurgundyHere'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

Hippocketwifi, mobile internet connection in France

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...

Crossword Solutions

Burgundy Today Cryptic Crossword Solutions

Across

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

Down

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

.