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The Grape News
Volume VII - Spring 2003 - June 5, 2003

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In this issue:
  • Beaujolais Day Trip
    There is more to the Beaujolais than Beaujolais Nouveau! We give you a few pointers to help you enjoy a day trip from La Maison des Deux Clochers to the nearby Beaujolais wine region.
  • French Favorites
    More books and movies reviews for our French Favorites section, including: Paris in the Fiftes, On rue Tatin, French Farmhouse Cookbook, Amélie, Cyrano de Bergerac, La Grande Vadrouille and Ridicule.
  • Availabilities
    Because of global events this year, most of September and October, our most popular months, are still available to rent. This is a wonderful time of year to travel to Burgundy, and if you’re lucky, you might even be able to be there during the grape harvest!

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Dear All,

The Spring has sprung, the grass has riz, I wonder where the Grape News is? Inspired by the tales of our first few groups of guests of 2003, we decided it was time we celebrated the Spring by sending out a fresh installment of The Grape News.

Unfortunately, we haven’t made it to Burgundy yet in 2003, but we are hoping to get back in the late Fall or Winter. Nevertheless, La Maison des Deux Clochers is never very far away from our hearts or our minds. We’re sure that we are not the only ones who need a little France fix, so in this issue we will venture into the beautiful Beaujolais, highlight a great lunch stop, and add a few new French Favorites to our list.

I. A Trip to the Beaujolais

The Beaujolais is just a short drive from La Maison des Deux Clochers. The wines are very different from those you’ll find in the Côte D’Or; lighter and fruitier, and generally ready to drink immediately. The landscape is beautiful; rolling hills with little stone villages perched on top.

From the La Maison des Deux Clochers you can take the Autoroute A6 in the direction of Lyon – another great place for a day trip that we featured in Grape News #4.

The city of Mâcon is considered to be the gateway to the Beaujolais, and it is around here that you will notice the shift from the flat Northern form of roof tiles on the houses to the concave Southern style.  Mâcon is a great place to finish up your trip – below we will recommend a wonderful place in Mâcon to stop for dinner and to make any last-minute purchases of wine before heading home to La Maison des Deux Clochers.

The first place to get off the autoroute is the city of Belleville which lies South of Mâcon. Starting from here, you can slowly wander Northwards through the renowned and beautiful wine villages such as Beaujeu, Villié Morgon, Julienas, and Saint-Amour.

Below we will review a few places we have found that will serve as a starting point for your day trip. However, this region is just packed full of delightful surprises, so don’t hesitate to stray from the beaten path whenever the spirit moves you!

If you would like to research your trip further, the following website is a great place to start.

Domaines Jean-Charles Pivot
Tel: 33 (0)4 74 04 30 32
Fax: 33 (0)4 74 69 00 70

Laura’s sister Jayne conducting her first snail-tasting at the restaurant Au Raisin Beaujolais.

Laura’s sister Jayne conducting her first snail-tasting at the restaurant Au Raisin Beaujolais.

When we asked our good friends Nicolas & Joelle for some special addresses in the Beaujolais they recommended a visit to the Domaine Jean-Charles Pivot. We visited the winery with them, and had a very nice wine tasting while enjoying a nice saucisson sec Nicolas had cleverly bought for us when we stopped for a coffee in Beaujeu. For fun, the winemaker, Jean-Charles, fished out an old bottle of goutte with a dead snake in it and was rewarded with some lusty screams from the girls. We ended up buying a few cases of Côte-de Brouilly and Beaujolais Village that we have enjoyed to the last drop.

You will find a good introduction to the Beaujolais wine in the Wine Spectator feature "Beaujolais France" by James Molesworth.

Au Raisin Beaujolais
Saint Vincent
69 430 Quincié
Tel: +33 (0)
Fax: +33 (0)

This restaurant was recommended to us by Jean-Charles Pivot, the wine maker we visited in Quincié.

It is a small little restaurant situated by the side of the road, and boasts a fabulous view over the vineyards and a patron with a disarming personality. He amused us all by reciting poetry to us as he took our orders and served us our lunch. It was at this restaurant that we introduced Laura’s younger sister, Jayne to snail tasting. As you can see from the photo, she did very well and found them very tasty.

This restaurant is a wonderful little find that the locals consider “sympa” – a high compliment indeed!

Le Hameau en Beaujolais
La Gare - 71570 Romanèche-Thorins
Tel : +33 (0)
Fax : +33 (0)

Another great place to learn more about Beaujolais and its wines is the Hameau en Beaujolais, the brainchild of marketing genius Georges DuBoeuf – the man responsible for the concept of “Beaujolais Nouveau.”

Rows of barrels in which some of Georges Duboeuf's prodigious output of wine is maturing. This cellar is part of the visit of Le Hameau en Beaujolais.

Rows of barrels in which some of Georges Duboeuf's prodigious output of wine is maturing. This cellar is part of the visit of Le Hameau en Beaujolais.

This gargantuan learning and tasting centre includes a dizzying array of possibilities; fancy a winetasting? –Go to the free tasting bar! Feel like learning more about wine bottling? Go to the section devoted to corks and bottles! Fancy seeing an art exhibit? Go to the Art Section! And so on and so forth….

The Hameau basically provides a fully interactive tour of the Beaujolais while at the same time promoting George DuBoeuf’s wines, which are widely considered to be of good quality. It is well worth a visit, and is conveniently open seven days a week.

Their website is a bit flashier than necessary, but you can go on a tour of all the facilities:

Here’s a link to an article that was published in the Wine Spectator about the museum:,2469,2974,00.html


Wine estate near Villie-Morgon, an area producing one of Beaujolais' 10 major appellations..

Wine estate near Villie-Morgon, an area producing one of Beaujolais' 10 major appellations.

La Maison Mâconnaise des Vins
484, avenue De-Lattre de Tassigny
71000 Mâcon - France
tel: 33 (0)3 85 22 91 11
fax: 33 (0)3 85 22 91 12

This a great place to finish your circuit in the Beaujolais, and serves a double purpose.
Not only can you have a delicious and inexpensive meal here, but this is a great place to buy wine as well.

The restaurant is massive but extremely popular, and teems with people during mealtimes. In the winter, the big fireplace crackles merrily away as people chatter and enjoy a hearty meal.

Regional specialties; omelets, ham, goat’s cheese, etc. are served continuously throughout the day. The food is simple, but delicious and the portions are definitely on the large side.

You can purchase wine by the glass, and this is a great way to taste the wines that are available for purchase at the store. Along with our meal of a Jarret de porc and Salade de Chevre we enjoyed a Saint Amour and a Moulin a Vent, both fruity, smooth, and fairly priced.

After you roll out of the restaurant, toasty warm and fully satiated, you can go next door to the large and spacious wine store and taste any one of their 23 Appellations. La Maison Mâconnaise des Vins has more than fulfilled its original mission to promote the wines of Southern Burgundy, the undisputed cradle of Pinot, Gamay, and Chardonnay. We found that the wines were of admirable quality at a very reasonable price.

To find out more, please go to their website:

II. New additions to the French Favorites section

Below you will find our latest picks for’s “French Favorites” section, where we highlight our favorite French books, music, and movies.

By Stanley Karnow

Quite à propos, as  in chapter 7 Karnow relate an epic wine buying trip to the Beaujolais.  It is worth having a peek at, and luckily the Wine Spectator offer access to it on its web site - see: In Deepest Beaujolais.

Pulitzer prize-winning author Karnow (Vietnam: A History, LJ 10/1/83) vividly chronicles his early years in Paris, where he worked as a young reporter for Time magazine (1950-59). He draws out the dichotomies at the heart of many French people; how they can individualistic yet conformist, and honest yet narrow-minded. His depiction of Paris in the 1950’s draws out interesting comparisons to Paris in the year 2003. Life in this marvelous city has changed, to be sure, but yet in many essential ways such as the social importance of the local café, it has also remained remarkably the same.

By Susan Herrmann Loomis

Following her formal culinary training, Loomis returned to the U.S. and met the man who would become her husband. After the couple's first son turned 2, they moved to France where Loomis was determined to launch her writing career focusing on unique aspects of French farming cuisine. She and her husband eventually purchased an old monastery in Louviers in the Normandy region of France. One of the more humorous and memorable stories she shares concerns the landlord of the small rental that they occupied for a year while her husband remodeled the monastery to livable conditions. During that year, the wife of the landlord believed them to be CIA agents and chose to keep a cold distance from the family. Meanwhile the French police suspected them of dealing drugs.

Franck is currently reading this book, and is thoroughly enjoying it. Along with the story of Susan Loomis' induction into French living, it also contains some truly enticing recipes. Franck has tried two so far, the stuffed tomatoes (tomates farcies), and the yoghurt cake (gateau au yaourt). We tasted them one night along with my mother and my aunt Sharon, and both recipes were unanimously voted absolute winners. Déicieux!

Reading the book, and experiencing with the recipes gave us the idea to add a new category to our French Favorites: Cookbooks and Books about Wine. We will keep adding to this section as we find new and exciting items.

by Susan Herrmann Loomis

The food in the French Farmhouse Cookbook is a reminder of how deeply the soul of French cooking is rooted in the fruits of the land and sea.

For three years, Susan Herrmann Loomis traveled the coasts and visited rural farms in all corners of France. She discovered more than treasured recipes for the quintessentially French dishes that appear in this book. She also met people passionate about the foodstuffs they raise, gather, catch, or produce. Their stories make this book a living tapestry of individuals and the food they cook.

Many dishes, while utterly French, fit well into today's preferences for sensible good eating. Each recipe gives us a short story to where the recipe originated, its location in France, and the family that makes it. In true French style, recommended wines are included with the recipes.

by Jean-Pierre Jeunet

I think this has to be one of the most charming movies I’ve ever seen. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Delicatessen), the film is a visual feast filled to the brim with surreal images and saturated colour. The storyline is simple but magical, and the film possesses an unabashedly romantic heart. Amélie (played to impish perfection by newcomer Audrey Tatou) is a highly imaginative soul who has decided to fill her days by helping the lonely people around her fix their lives, only to come to the realization that it is her own lonely existence that needs fixing. Her quest for her soul-mate; a man who keeps a mysterious album of discarded photo-machine pictures, is a delightful cat and mouse game that is played out through the picturesque streets of Montmartre. If you feel like your life could use a dose of whimsy, treat yourself to this deservedly popular film.

The Amélie soundtrack, created by musician Yann Tiersen, has been a favorite of ours since we purchased the CD a few months ago. It’s music – heavily tinged with accordion and piano, has a gypsy soul. It stands apart from the movie, and is breezy, fresh, and contemporary while at the same time evoking the timeless charm of Montmartre.

by Jean-Paul Rappeneau

Each time Franck and I watch this movie it seems to get even more brilliant. Director Jean-Paul Rappeneau does a wonderful job of bringing this classic French story to screen. Casting Gerard Depardieu, France’s hulking behemoth of acting talent, as the vulnerable Cyrano is a stroke of genius. Depardieu plays the unattractive, large nosed swordsman to perfection. Tears were streaming down my cheeks as I watched Cyrano pour his heart out in impassioned love letters to his beloved Roxanne, only to have her believe they have been written by one of his handsome underlings, Christian. Cyrano ends up teaching us all a lesson in honour and selfless love….not to mention panache.

There is also a strong Burgundy connection to this movie. The duel / city scenes were shot in downtown Dijon, and the last few scenes were shot at the Abbaye de Fontenay in Northern Burgundy, a beautiful old Abbey that is now a classed UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an easy day trip from La Maison des Deux Clochers and a great place to visit while you are in Burgundy - click here to view the abbey web site.  We will be reviewing this wonderful spot in our next edition of the Grape News.

by Gérard Oury

This classic movie held the French cinematic record as the most successful movie for 30 years before finally being knocked off its pedestal by Titanic. The storyline is a simple one. It is 1943 and three Allied parachutists land and turn the lives of Stanislas (Louis de Funès) and Augustin (Bourvil) upside-down. In order to get rid of these unwanted houseguests, Stanislas and Augustin must lead them to the Free Zone. Beaune was right near the border between occupied and unoccupied France, and features frequently in the film –especially in the hilarious scene where our heroes seek refuge with the nuns of the Hospices de Beaune. This movie is a point of reference for the French – a must if you want to bone up on your popular culture à la francaise.

by Patrice Leconte

Admittedly, the opening scene is rather shocking to some sensibilities, but if you can get past this, Patrice Leconte’s film about the battle of the wits in the court of Louis XVI is pure delight. The story centres around the modest nobleman Ponceludon de Malavoy travels to Versailles with an admirable purpose; he hopes that he can plead with the King to help him drain the fever-infested swamps of his homeland. However, once he is there he quickly discovers that in the court of Louis XVI gravitas is frowned upon, rapier wit is celebrated, and if you stay long enough, being the subject of ridicule is inevitable. De Malavoy is tutored in the ways of the Court by a delightfully sentimental and slow-witted Jean Rochefort, who just happens to have a beguiling daughter Mathilde. Fanny Ardant plays Madame de Blayac, the world-weary courtesan whose bedroom leads to the ear of the king. If you liked Dangerous Liaisons, you will love this film.


“Les Vendanges”, or Grape Harvesting, many years ago. This photo was taken from Franck’s family album and shows his predecessors harvesting the family vineyards near Villers-La-Faye. The grapes are on their way to the press, so everyone is celebrating.

III. Availabilities

This has been a strange year travel-wise, and as it happens, Sept 10th through to the end of October is still available for rent in 2003. This is definitely one of the best seasons in Burgundy, what with the warm weather, lack of tourists, and the Grape Harvest (vendanges).

We’ve recently had a few enquiries regarding the fall, but no firm bookings yet. If you are interested, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Laura & Franck Germain
523 Oliver Street
Victoria BC
Canada V8S 4W2

Tel / Fax: 250-598-5682


Have a Merveilleux Summer!

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