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NewsletterNovember 2011

Burgundy in the Fall

This is looking at the village of Chardonnay from vineyards that surround it. This photo and others I recently took were from an October weekend in Burgundy.
During the weekend I was able to meet four Brits and one American who call Burgundy their home. On Saturday I met Linda and Steve who run a B&B - Les Portails Bleus in the village of Azé. I then drove over to Chardonnay, where I took the above photo and a few more. In Chardonnay I met Nick and Rebecca of Le Chardon, a bar/hotel/restaurant.
On Sunday I met longtime Burgundy resident and American Tom Pikul. Tom kindly showed me around his village - Couches. In what looks to be a sleepy village there is a miniature Stonehenge, forgotten mines and a medieval dragon legend.
The miniature Stonehenge is called Les menhirs d'Époigny and consists of five upright stones that were previously buried but are now on display in a local field. Couches was once known as Couches les Mines. The mines have all but disappeared so the village dropped les Mines. Locals wanted to change the name to Couches en Bourgogne, but that wasn’t possible. There’s an old borne (road marker) as you enter the village from Le Creusot that still lists the village as Couches les Mines. The born is across from a Sequoia. Interestingly enough Couches has three Sequoias. Tom has one in his back yard in front of his Gîte.
The dragon legend, locality known as la Vivre de Couches, is similar to that of the pied piper. Only in this legend children aren’t being led away but a dragon is. The dragon, that legend has, was terrorizing the inhabitants of Couches was led to the local Château de Couches by a magician named Yoata and his flute. The only problem is that once Yoata had the dragon inside the Château, villagers closed the gates trapping Yoata inside with the dragon. The legend ends there but is celebrated every twenty years with a La Vivre à Couches festival. The last one was in 2008.

Field Trip

Here are some photos I took during a field trip with my son’s class to our town’s Centre Technique Municipal, along with seeing things like trucks (a small one of which is electric), crane and tractor. I also discovered my town has a greenhouse and grows its own flowers. Along with seeing equipment and greenhouse there was also a mushroom display. I never knew that so many different types of mushrooms were edible.

Fall Books

Here are some books I’ve read over the years about France.
The Greater Journey by David McCullough: I recently read this and what a treat it was. Short summary: it’s about Americans living in Paris from 1830s to the end of the 19th century, with a fascinating account of the German siege of Paris in1870.
Almost French by Sarah Turnbull: An Australian’s account of life in France. Filled with cultural insight on living an ‘Anglo-Saxon’/French relationship.
Is Paris Burning? by Larry Collins and Dominique La Pierre: Definitive account of the liberation of Paris. Find out how close Paris came to being destroyed.
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century: More about the 14th century than France but still worth a read nevertheless for anyone that enjoys history.
Mademoiselle Benoir by Christine Conrad: Fictionalized account of a true story. An American moves from New York to the French countryside and falls in love with… well it’s a surprise!

From my Mailbox

Cooking in Sens: Rosemary Mullally’s blog of French cuisine.
Richard D. Winters Leadership Project & Documentary: A statue will be dedicated on June 6, 2012 in Normandy. Any Americans living in France who would like to help with this project, in any way, can contact the association.

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