Tag Archives: Quebec Canada

Burgundy – a saucy French mix of cuisine, culture, and history

a href=”http://globewanderer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Bussy-Rabutin-768-x-576.jpg”img class=”size-medium wp-image-145″ title=”Bussy Rabutin (768 x 576)” src=”http://globewanderer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Bussy-Rabutin-768-x-576-300×225.jpg” alt=”” width=”300″ height=”225″ //a Bussy Rabutin, a chateau of secrets in an era of intrigue

Burgundy is a unique and sophisticated region of France set in rolling countryside. It brims with with abbeys, chateaux, vineyards and chefs.

In the Middle Ages, while run by powerful dukes who remained independent of the French crown, it became the birthplace of two monastic orders, the Clunisians and the Cistercians, and the centre for a wave of construction of religious buildings.

Many have disappeared but several hundred churches, chapels, cathedrals and abbeys all over Burgundy remain to justify the region’s claim to be a treasure trove of Romanesque art and architecture.One of the most famous is Fontenay Abbey, founded in a valley by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, founder of the Cistercian order, in 1118 on land he received from his uncle.

Wrecked by the armies of King Edward III of England during the Hundred Years” War and further damaged during the Wars of Religion, it has survived as a magnificent building due to a stroke of luck.

During the French Revolution it was sold and turned into a paper mill in 1791. Industrial use saved it from further attention from pilferers and dismantlers until moves began to restore it in 1906, work which led to it becoming a World Heritage site taurus horoscope love is very enthusiastic about agriculture, gardening and planting the flowers. in 1981.

A building which is a tourist draw for very different reasons is the  Château de Bussy-Rabutin, completed in 1649 by Roger de Bussy-Rabutin.

It is the story of the man rather than the building which pulls in the visitors. The lewd writings of Bussy-Rabutin scandalised the Court of Louis XIV. He was sent to prison in the Bastille for a year and then forced into exile at the château where he began to surround himself with quaint memorabilia.

The walls of the main rooms display bitchy cartoons and comments about his ex-mistresses and celebrities of the time. In his bedchamber there are portraits of 25.mistresses of French kings, another room has portraits of great warriors including Cromwell.

Apart from the colourful history of Burgundy, there is the wine and the food. Some of the most famous wines of the world are produced here and there are wine roads galore.

The region is world famous for its gastronomy and may even have been the source of inspiration for the hit Hollywood movie Ratatouille.

One of France”s most celebrated chefs Bernard Loiseau committed suicide in 2003 after his flagship restaurant was downgraded in a top restaurant guide.

His restaurant, the Cote d”Or in Saulieu, is still flourishing under the stewardship of his wife Dominique.

The Ratatouille  character of Auguste Gusteau, a recently deceased chef, is said to have been inspired by the Frenchman.


Quebec, French Canada – old world Europe on the banks of the St Lawrence river

a href=”http://globewanderer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/chateau-frontenac-from-lawrence-river2.jpg”img class=”size-medium wp-image-464″ title=”Quebec City Skyline and St. Lawrence River” src=”http://globewanderer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/chateau-frontenac-from-lawrence-river2-300×199.jpg” alt=”Quebec City, Chateau Frontenac” width=”300″ height=”199″ //a Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City

QUEBEC City is worth every minute of the journey to experience a place like no other in the world. It is a 170-mile trip up the road from Montreal, usually the first taste of French Canada for the transatlantic visitor.

Standing on the esplanade of the towering Château Frontenac and gazing out on to the mighty St. Lawrence River, you get a sense of the birth of a nation.

The Frontenac  opened in 1893 – an opulent monument for wealthy travellers built by the Canadian Pacific railroad entrepreneurs who by 1885, in an acclaimed feat of engineering, had founded  a transcontinental railway which  united Canada and Canadians from coast to coast., .

The Frontenac is still a hotel. You can stay there and even enjoy guided tours explaining its history. Along with the equally imposing Banff Springs hotel on the west side of Canada, in Alberta, it is an enduring and unfading reminder of the country’s history.

Another feeling you get while standing on the hotel’s esplanade, which gives a superb view of the St. Lawrence River, is one of awe at the feat of General James Wolfe and his expeditionary force in navigating the then uncharted river and storming steep cliffs on 13 September 13, 1759, to win the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.

This battle with the French left control of Quebec City to the British. It allowed  them to take control of Canada the following year.

As Vieux Quebec is an old walled city you can walk nearly everywhere, including the Plains of Abraham, to soak up its ambience and history.

And despite the military victory of the British it remains French to the core with cobblestone streets, cafes with unscreened windows thrown open to the sidewalk, locals wandering home with fresh baguettes and cheeses.

French is the official language of the city and Quebec Province but that is no problem to the British visitor as so many residents are bi-lingual.

Try and speak phrase book French to a shop assistant and you will probably get swiftly drenched in English as he or she proves who is the boss.  Better to just sit in a coffee bar and marvel at the way the locals slip in and out of both languages in conversation as they enjoy a get together.

Winter or summer, Quebec City is a fabulous place for a family holiday. In the winter an ice rink is set up right in the centre of the Old Town and cross-country skiing can be enjoyed on The Plains of Abraham..

It is the jewel in the crown of Quebec province but other parts of the province are also well worth a visit.

Montreal, of course, virtually an underground city in the severe cold of winter, has much to offer but if you want a more relaxed look at French Canada, the small university city of Sherbrooke is also well worth a visit.

It started life as a spot chosen by a farmer for a flour mill in 1802 but, due to its fortunate location, just grew and grew as its museum illustrates.

Useful websites:

a href=”http://www.quebecregion.com” rel=”nofollow”www.quebecregion.com/a

a href=”http://www.canada.travel/” rel=”nofollow”www.canada.travel//a