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NewsletterMay 2014

American Troops in Burgundy

Burgundy is well known for its wine and food but do you know about Burgundy's WWI American history? The above photo is a mix of a postcard of American soldiers in Allerey-sur-Saône near the end of WWI and recent photo of the same village. At the time the postcard was published, Allerey-sur-Saône, was home to a 10,000 bed American hospital, one of 20 at the end of the war. To the right of the solders is a commemorative plaque. The street is Rue Burton, named after an American soldier killed in 1918.
Once the war ended the camp was turned into an agriculture school. This was part of the agriculture college in nearby Beaune. Yes, the same Beaune famous for its wine. The neighborhood of the once American camp and then agriculture college in Beaune is still called Camp Américain. Three of the structures built for the camp in Beaune are still standing and there's a plan to build a museum.
Anyone looking for events taking place in relation to this year's WWI centennial, there's a web site to help you: Mission Centenaire 14-18. In Burgundy, the once Musée du Poilu is opening again for July and August 2014 in Sivignon.


WWI was the second of three wars France and Germany fought between 1870 and 1945. In the first - Franco-Prussian War, Paris was blockaded for 136 days from September 1870 to January 1871. During this time Parisians used Ballon Monté (mail sent via balloon) to communicate with the outside world. This proved an effective means of communication (be it one way) as most of the 70 balloons reach the French postal system. Here's a letter sent Ballon Monté on January 10th, 1871.


In my Hangouts last month I had the opportunity to talk with Annie-Sargent co-host of the Podcast Join Us in France and Wink Lorch author of Jura Wine.


The Rapeseed fields were in bloom during my last travels in Burgundy. If you ever get the chance to visit France in the spring make it a point to find out where the nearest Rapeseed fields are and go for a visit!

Social Media

Capital in the Twenty-First Century (hardcover & kindle): The surprise best seller of the season. Who would have known that a 600+ page economics book would be so popular? Translated by Arthur Goldhammer, who among other things has a very lively and informative French politics blog -
Promenades Sonores: Visit Marseille with these unique auto walks.
Paris Waiters Can't Wait: See Parisian waiters run in this 1949 race.


La Maison du Curé: Self catering gîte in the popular village of Cormatin in Southern Burgundy. Built in 1823, it use to be the home of the village priest. This cosy holiday cottage is available all year. It has 3 bedrooms sleeping 5/6 people. The sitting room overlooks the enclosed garden with its sunny eating area. We have table tennis and bicycles. Guests have the use of free WiFi and free telephone calls to the US.
Cormatin is renowned for its Louis XIII chateau with original decoration and fabulous gardens. The village caters well to its visitors with a good choice of restaurants and cafés. We are in the region of fine dining and excellent wines from the surrounding Mâconnais, Chalonnais and Beaujolais vineyards.

Chalet Bibendum: A unique holiday home for winter ski & summer holidays in Chamonix. Open year round. Ideally located in the tranquil, picturesque Savoyard hamlet of Les Bois, a 5 minute drive from the center of Chamonix and a short walk to La Flégère lift. La Flégère is well known for skiing and snowboarding in winter or hiking, mountain biking or golf in summer.
The 300-year-old Chalet Bibendum is a tastefully renovated holiday home, where the comfort of a luxury hotel service meets the magic of a bygone time. The spacious chalet enjoys a beautiful sunny exposure and is designed to deliver panoramic breathtaking views - it is like living in a postcard!
Guests have easy access to the other areas and unlimited off-piste skiing within a 10 km radius, including the Grands Montets and the world-famous Vallée Blanche. Cross-country skiers will be in heaven as the ski de fond tracks pass by the chalet. You can start all your walks from the chalet, just walk out the door onto the hiking trail and of course for your kids; Paradis des Praz - a natural playground and beach in the nearby forest.

Hameau BASSINAUD: Relax in the Charente countryside in a family-friendly ambience. Charentaise stone cottages and rooms for rent in our tiny hamlet just outside Juignac. Old world charm with new, modern comforts-swimming pool, wi-fi, kitchenettes, etc. Two cottage apartments (each sleeps 3-4), or 3 B&B-style single/double rooms in our "main house." Patios offer quiet views of the countryside. French-American hospitality, with informal French conversation classes by request.
Enjoy leisurely walks and bike rides, rolling hills and sunflowers. A few minutes by car, shop or stroll in nearbv Montmoreau-St.-Cybard, Chalais, Villebois-Lavalette, or (our favorite) beautiful Aubeterre sur Dronne, the home of a 12th c. subterranean monolith church. Savor fine wines at the source in Cognac, Bordeaux, and St.-Emilion, all within an hour's drive.
We,re 25 minutes south of Angoulême by car. (Get to Angoulême from Paris by TGV in 3 hours.) Bordeaux airport is a 75- minute drive. Driving directions on request.

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