Grape News Volume VIII - Winter 2004 - January 30, 2004
In this issue:
Introducing La Maison de la
During our Christmas holiday in France we bought a second house in Burgundy.
Over the next year, we are going to transform it into a second rental property.
Heathrow to Lyon Flight Direct flights between Heathrow and Lyon
have finally been introduced, which makes traveling to La Maison des Deux
Clochers so much easier.
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Let’s start with some very exciting news hot
off the press - during our Christmas holiday in France we bought a second house
in Burgundy that, over the next year, we are going to transform into a new
rental property to be baptized La Maison de la Vieille Vigne (The House of the
I. La Maison de La
We’ve had our eye on this house for many
moons, and have always thought it would make the perfect pied-à-terre in
Burgundy. The house sits on a quiet lane just across from the boulangerie in
the neighbouring village of Villers-la-Faye. Many of you have walked over to
Villers for your daily baguette or pain au chocolat. You know,
down the dip…past the little chapel with the Virgin Mary…then onwards past
Jacky’s café and store…
We estimate that the house probably dates
back to 1650 or thereabouts. It has definite historical meaning to our
immediate family as well. As it turns out, when Franck was born in Dijon, his
grandparents were at a party over at La Maison de La Vieille Vigne. When
another family member ran over to give them the news, the whole household spent
the next few hours toasting his arrival.
The house isn’t big – just perfect for a
couple or a couple with children. However, it has lovely exposed stone walls,
an enclosed, private courtyard, and a fireplace. It’s also steps away from the
forests and vineyards, where you could spend hours walking and enjoying the
peace and quiet. Over the next year, we will be transforming it into a tranquil
retreat perfect for busy travelers, romantic couples, artists, or anyone else
who wants to enjoy a slice of the good life in France. We’ll keep you updated
on our progress in the upcoming editions of The Grape News.
II. Heathrow to Lyon
The Stansted to Dijon flight that we mention
in previous editions of the Grape News has now been cancelled, due to the
purchase of BUZZ airlines by a larger charter company (I could be mistaken, but
I think it was KLM). However, don’t despair, and even better alternative has
For the first time, there are direct flights
between Heathrow and Lyon, which is only 2 hours South of Beaune and La Maison
des Deux Clochers. This means no hair-raising airport transfers through London
traffic, and no risking a cardiac arrest trying to get off the péripherique in Paris. We
routed our flights through Lyon this time (i.e. Vancouver to Heathrow on British
Airways, and then Heathrow to Lyon) and it worked out beautifully in both
As far as I know, the Heathrow (LHR) - Lyon (LYS) flight is offered by British Airways,
Lufthansa, and Air France at this time. As far as British Airways is
concerned, there were three flights a day in each direction during there winter
schedule which lasts until March 27th, 2004. For more up to date
info, check out britishairways.com.
Half-Marathon and 10K Run
For those triple A personalities among us, we
thought we’d provide some real proof that there is more to do in Burgundy than
drink wine, eat cheese, and generally loaf about. Yes indeed, it’s coming up
time again for the annual Nuits-Saint-Georges half -marathon and 10K race.
The races coincide with the annual Wine Sale
to raise money for the Hospital Association of Nuits-Saint-Georges (Vente des
Vins des Hospices de Nuits). As with most things Burgundian, a festive
atmosphere reigns at this event. The route is through the vineyards, and goes
past some of the world’s most expensive wines such as the Domaine de la Romanée
Conti. Costumes are encouraged (note the runner on the second webpage
beguilingly kitted in a yellow tutu and butterfly wings), and, to ensure that
the participants don’t succumb to exhaustion, stations are set up along the
route to give them regular offerings of wine and snacks. And, that is not
all! All participants are given a bottle of wine from the Hospices, and a
T-shirt commemorating the auspicious occasion.
And, if you happen to work up an appetite,
despite the food being offered en route, you can always opt to participate in
the party and dinner at Clos-Vougeot afterwards.
If you are interested, you can access the
race web page via the main site for the Tourism Office of Nuits-Saint-Georges
If you are interested in finding our more
about these races, just contact us and we can act as your intermediary with the
tourist office in Nuits-Saint-Georges.
IV. Les Hospices
When Franck suggested that I include a little
snippet about the famous Hospices of Beaune, I had to actually check back in all
our back issues of the Grape News - I couldn’t believe that I’d never mentioned
it before. It’s sort of like writing about Paris and forgetting to mention the
Eiffel tower: so blatantly obvious that I missed it entirely. However,
the time to rectify that oversight is now!
Beaune is famous for it’s Hospices, and
rightly so. In an act of admirable piety, Nicolas Rolin and his wife Guigone de
Salins founded the hospital in 1443 to care for the sick and destitute. Built by
Jehan Wiscere in the flamboyant Gothic style, the central courtyard (Cour d’
Honneur) is remarkable for its glazed-tiled roof, which, over the years, has
become a symbol of Beaune.
In 1971 the building was converted from a
hospital to a museum, leaving visitors free to admire the lavishly decorated
Pauper’s Ward (Salle des Pauvres), the flamboyant Gothic Chapel, and the
beautifully preserved apothecary room.
A tour of Les Hospices is not to be missed,
and gives fascinating insight into the working of a hospital in the 15th
century. The crowning glory of the visit is Roger van der Weyden’s famous
polyptych of the last judgement, dating back to the 15th Century.
Over the years the hospital was gifted with
many prestigious parcels of vineyards by those perhaps hoping to speed up their
trip through the Pearly Gates. As a result, the Hospices holds the world-famous wine
auction every year on the Third Sunday in November.
When you are in Beaune, you must go and
visit Les Hospices - Now you can’t say we didn’t tell you so!
Ever since we bought La Maison des Deux
Clochers we have been wanting to try out a restaurant in Beaune called “La Ciboulette”. It is often described by locals as a reliable favorite, and we
wanted to find out for ourselves if it truly did indeed merit its excellent
reputation. Happily, we can report that it does, and then some.
Situated just after the Porte Saint Nicholas
(looks like mini arc-de-triomphe) at the entrance to the rue de Lorraine
in Beaune, the unassuming entrance to La Ciboulette hides a fresh and
unpretentious interior. The beamed rooms are decorated in white and
celery green, and the tables are all set beautifully. We were ushered into the
second room, where we felt immediately intrigued by all the delicious-looking
lunches that everyone was eating around us.
We started off with a feuilleté of apples and
Citeaux cheese, accompanied by a salad. It was absolutely scrumptious, and I
have to give a nod to the novel culinary idea - I’ve never seen or heard of that
dish anywhere else. Next I had a pot-au-feu of rabbit, and Franck
had a steak with Époisse. We shared a velvety dish of three kinds of chocolate
mousse (milk, dark, and white) for dessert, and then finished off a perfect meal
with an espresso.
The tab came to $80.00 CAD for the two of us, and that
included a bottle of wine. I felt that the quality of the food and the dining
experience was superb, and now can count myself as one of the people who
consider this restaurant a dependable favorite.
La Ciboulette 69 rue de Lorraine
Closed Monday and Tuesday
additions to the French Favorites section
Below you will find our latest picks for
myburgundy.com’s “French Favorites” section, where we highlight our favorite
French books, music, and movies.
by Carla Bruni
When we were in France this time, Franck and
I fell in love with this CD, which we’d never heard mentioned in North America
(granted, we are not on the forefront of the music scene these days…).
Carla Bruni, an ex-model and, as coincidence would have it, an ex-lover of Mick
Jagger. Yes, I too was initially turned off by the “ex-model” thing, but then I
listened to the album, and was amazed. It’s a little jewel of simplicity. Louis
Bertignac of the group Téléphone accompanies her simple melodies on the acoustic guitar. Bruni’s voice
is soulful and addictive, and her phrasing is truly unique. We play this CD at
least once a day at our house. Trust us, it’s truly worth a listen…
As a matter
of fact, as I’m writing this Franck just put it on.
Although the new house, La Maison de La
won’t be available for booking until around December 2004 or thereabouts, La
Maison des Deux Clochers will be available for rental during our renos of
the new place.
We’ve had bookings so far in the Spring, and there appears to be
a lot of interest and some bookings already for Sept/Oct. Please contact us
either by phone or by email if you’d like any further information, or want to
make a reservation.
Laura & Franck Germain
523 Oliver Street
Canada V8S 4W2