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The Grape News
Volume VIII - Winter 2004 - January 30, 2004

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© Laura Bradbury & Franck Germain - All Rights Reserved

Dear All,

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 Old Vine).

I. La Maison de La Vieille Vigne

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 Flight

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 appeared…

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 directions.

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.

III. Nuits-Saint-Georges 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 at:

http://www.ot-nuits-st-georges.fr

and the page for the website (warning - I could only find one in French) is at:

http://www.ot-nuits-st-georges.fr/francais/index.htm

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 de Beaune

© Laura Bradbury & Franck Germain - All Rights ReservedWhen 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!

Les Hospices de Beaune
Rue de L’Hotel-Dieu
Tel: 03.80.24.45.00
http://www.hospices-de-beaune.com/gb/hospices/historique.php

V. Great Restaurant - La Ciboulette

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
21200 Beaune
Tel: 03.80.24.70.72
Fax: 03.80.22.79.71
Closed Monday and Tuesday

VI. New 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.

QUELQU'UN M'A DIT
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…).

It’s by 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.

III. Availabilities

Although the new house, La Maison de La Vieille Vigne 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
Victoria BC
Canada V8S 4W2

Tel / Fax: 250-598-5682

E-Mail: laura@myburgundy.com
Website: www.myburgundy.com

Bonne Année 2004!

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