31 July 2020

Cuisery, the Book Village (Saône-et-Loire (71))




In 1999 Cuisery became the fourth Village du Livre in France: the idea was to bring fresh life back to the village and revive the number of shops in the centre which had been closed. The central street is La Grande Rue, which now boasts a number of bookshops, and every first Sunday in the month the village boasts a book fair. Coming in from Tournus, the visitor is greeted by a floral display which enhances the poem written by an anonymous member of the village. At the beginning of La Grande Rue stand two enormous books: Hugo's La Légende des siècles and the imaginary Aux portes de l'an 2000.

Désiré Barodet in Cuisery (Saône-et-Loire (71))


In this building the teacher Désiré Barodet (1823-1906) created the first non-religious school in 1849, and Jules Ferry's laws were inspired by Barodet. He was a free thinker with progressive ideas and became the mayor of Lyon, député in 1873 and sénateur in 1896. He retired first to Cuisery and then the Jura, where he died.

30 July 2020

Oven and Well, La Planche (Saône-et-Loire (71))


Laizé-Blany communal oven (now working) and its well covered, this represents two years work and 2200 hours put in by the 'Laizé-Blany culturelle et patrimoine' association.

Jean Magnon, Tournus (Saône-et-Loire (71))

The (unphotographable at the time) house where the poet Jean Magnon (1620-62), historiographer to the king (1620-62), was born; he was assassinated. As the plaque says, his son René founded the Danish national theate in 1722. Magnon was also a playwright, and his works include Artaxerxe (1645), Josaphat (1647), Sejanus (1647) and Le grand Tamerlan et Bajazet (1648). Gabriel Jeanton wrote Notes sur la vie et l'assassinat de Jean Magnon, de Tournus, poète et historiographe du roi: 1620-1662 (1917).

Le Thé de la Soeur Borel, Tournus (Saône-et-Loire (71))

A brilliant wall advertisement, now restored, shows 'C'est à la racine et non aux branches que frappe le thé de la Soeur Borel': the tree represents illness and merely chopping down the branches and not hitting out at the root will not solve the problem. Le thé la Soeur Borel will sort things out, it was a laxative, a purative agent, etc, and indeed this treatment was sold in chemists' shops for a certain time, although I haven't spotted any specific dates yet.

28 July 2020

Joseph Dufour, Mâcon (Saône-et-Loire (71))

And here's the Rue Joseph Dufour. Dufour set up his business in 1797 in Mâcon, although after the success of his panoramic Les Sauvages de la mer Pacifique at the Produits de l'Industrie française in Paris in 1806, he moved to Paris.

Boîte à Lire, Mâcon (Saône-et-Loire (71))

And yet another Boîte à Lire, which I'd not noticed when we were last here two years ago. I collected Régis Jauffret's Bravo and Rebecca Lighieri's Les Garçons de l'été. I'm sure they're worth reading, but maybe not so much that I'd want to keep them, so they'll go back to some other Boîte à Lire in September I'm sure: that's what the cultural community is all about. Read, then pass on unless you really love a book.

La Maison du bois, Mâcon (Saône-et-Loire (71))

La Maison du bois is probably the oldest house in Mâcon, but certainly the most famous, and dates from between 1490 and 1510. Its facade is entirely in wood and decorated with figures that certainly aren't always as innocent as they initially appear: it wasn't until I processed the shot of the monkey, for instance, that I realised what was happening. I'll have to go back when fewer people are dining so I can have a look at the other side of the house.





27 July 2020

Joseph Dufour, Tramayes (Saône-et-Loire (71))

Joseph Dufour (1754-1847), the painter of panoramic wall paper, is now little known to the general public, although he lives on in this Salle named after him in his birthplace in Tramayes (which he left at the age of four). A street bears his name in Mâcon (where he lived for a time), and the Musée des Ursulines has this: Dufour's Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique:

Boîte à lire, Tramayes (Saône-et-Loire (71))

Yet another open Boîte à lire (here called Grenier aux livres and in Tramayes).

Lavoirs in Pernand-Vergelesses (Côte-d'Or (21))

There are a few lavoirs in Pernand-Vergelesses, although these two particularly struck me, particularly the second, which has been renovated and turned into a lily pond with erotic fish.


Cabotte in Pernand-Vergelesses (Côte-d'Or (21))

This structure (a little miniaturised surely?) is at a roundabout in Pernand-Vergelesses, and is a reconstruction of a cabotte, a small hut for workers in vineyards to take shelter in. This particular cabotte has a small sitting area inside for a very limited number of people.

Jacques Copeau in Pernand-Vergelesses (Côte-d'Or (21))

Jacques Copeau (1879-1949) was born in Paris and died in Beaune. He is a major figure in the French intellectual and cultural world, particularly in the theatre. He was a theatre critic for several Parisian papers, and was one of the founders of La Nouvelle Revue Française in 1908, with André Gide and Jean Schlumberger. He founded Le Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier in 1913, which he directed for several years. Camus said that in the history of French theatre there are two periods: before and after Copeau.

Copeau wanted to establish L'École du Vieux-Colombier in Burgundy, although financial constraints forced him to compromise to some extent. Copeau's troupe (named 'Les Copiaus') ended up in Pernand-Vergelesses, near Beaune, and the troupe even took part in argicultural work (including in he vineyards). From May 1925 Les Copiaus played Molière and plays written for them by Copeau. However, Copeau's control weakened and by June  1929 Les Copiaus had become a new troupe: La Compagnie des Quinze, which returned to Paris and put on Noé by André Obey under the direction of Michel Saint-Denis.

In conflict with the Vichy régime and the Germans, Copeau retired to Pernand-Vergelesses in 1941, where he wrote Le Théâtre populaire (1941), which influenced the ideas of Jean Vilar. Ill since several years, Copeau died in Beaune in 1949


The building where Copeau, from 1924 to 1929, installed himself and worked with his troupe, nicknamed 'Les Copiaus' (here given an 'x' instead of an 's').

Another sign on the building (with the more conventional 's') states that members of the troupe lodged with the locals in Pernand-Vergelesses, and that their names are mentioned on the houses with a logo of two doves.


Michel Saint-Denis (1897-1971), known as 'Jacques Duchesne' in World War II, was an actor and producer. He was Jacques Copeau's nephew and secrétaire général of the theatre, becoming Copeau's right-hand man. He followed Copeau to Pernand-Vergelesses in 1924,  and led La troupe des Copiaus, which in 1929 became La Compagnie des Quinze in Paris. It acquired an international dimension, spreading his uncle's ideas on the renewal of the theatre.

Jacques Copeau is buried in the small cemetery in Pernand-Vergelesses.

At the top of his stone is the symbol of two doves.

26 July 2020

Boîte à lire in Pernand-Vergelesses (Côte-d'Or (21))


This is a superb Boîte à lire in Pernand-Vergelesses, imaginatively constructed out of half barrels. No Covid-19 warning signs here either.

25 July 2020

Boîte à lire, Bussières (Saône-et-Loire (71))

A Boîte à lire tucked away in Bussières! And it's open!  So, Varennes-le-Grand?

Alphonse de Lamartine and François Dumont in Bussières (Saône-et-Loire (71))

L'Église de la Conversion-de-Saint-Paul in Bussières. François Dumont (1767-1832) was curé of Bussières and Milly for forty years and was a friend of Alphonse de Lamartine who was inspired by him and based Joselyn – in one of his most famous poems of the same name – on Dumont.


Lamartine erected this stone by the sepulchre of Dumont at the side of the church in Bussières.

This plaque opposite the chancel very briefly mentions the story of the very long narrative poem Jocelyn, of how a young female aristocrat at the time of the Revolution disguises herself as an adolescent male and disturbs the heart of the priest.


The former rectory where Abbé Dumont was born, lived and died, and whom Lamartine immortalised in Jocelyn.

Château de Pierreclos, which is now a hotel, and has some Lamartinian connections. But I won't go into those now as this post is supposed to be about Bussières.

Finally, I couldn't resist this shot of the Rue des Roses Trémières (hollyhocks) in Bussières. Yes indeed: OK, I have particularly fond memories of hollyhocks.

Nicéphore Niépce in Saint-Loup-de-Varennes (Saône-et-Loire (71))

Joseph 'Nicéphore' Niépce (1765-1833) was born in Chalon-sur-Saône and died in Saint-Loup-de-Varennes. He is known as the inventor of photography, then called 'heliography'. At great risk due to the busy main road, I took my own photo of the huge block of stone erected in his memory. As you might imagine, Niépce is all over Saint-Loup, with signs revealing anecdotes of the great man, plus a museum which was closed due to Covid: by no means unusual around here.

The Maison des Illustres plaque notes that the house below was Niépce's laboratory, where he created the first photograph in history: Le Point de vue de la fenêtre.


And this is that photograph.


Niépce's grave on the left, his wife Antoinette's on the right.

24 July 2020

Boîte à lire, Varennes-le-Grand (Saône-et-Loire (71))

This Boîte à lire is temporarily shut down due to Covid, although this wasn't the case in Épernay almost two weeks ago, nor in Bussy-sur-Fley last Sunday, but obviously these things are left to the whim of the mayor. There is too much confusion and lack of knowledge about indirect contamination.

Gabriel Jeanton in Azé (Saône-et-Loire (71))


A Lebanese cedar tree initially planted in a private garden in 1821, now in the centre of Azé and declared a historic monument in 1938 due to Gabriel Jeanton's efforts. I'd originally gone to Azé to photo Jeanton's medallion in the mairie, but I should have checked opening hours and the mairie was closed until 16:00 on Thursdays.