Category Archives: Burgundy and France Travel Info.

What To Do About Eyjafjallajoekull?

In case you haven’t been watching or reading the news, yes that last word in my post title is truly a REAL WORD. In Icelandic, anyway.

It is the name of the spewing volcano that is causing unprecedented flight cancellations, travel stoppages, and accommodation cancellations.

Yes, that last one strikes directly into the heart of Grape Rentals.

We experienced a slightly slower season as a result of the aftermath of September 11th, but planes actually began flying again very quickly after the initial stoppage. People essentially had a choice – were they going to continue on with their vacations as planned before September 11th, or were they going to stay at home for fear of further attacks from Al Quaeda?

Our guests – an independent-minded, feisty bunch as a rule – almost unanimously decided that their best response to Bin Laden was not to drop their dreams and plans.

The current situation is entirely different; travellers have no choice. Eyjafjallajoekull’s eruption is a quintessential First Testament “Act of God”. You almost expect to see Moses lurking around in the ash in search of his Staff.

As the airline losses ratchet up by the hour, fingers of blame are being pointed at various European government officials but the reality is that no-one, besides God, is to blame for this one. And good luck trying to get monetary compensation from Him.

There are industry officials who say that the ash really isn’t that dangerous and that the airlines should giving flying through it a shot. I don’t know about you, but being a aeronautical Guinea Pig does not appeal to me in the slightest. So…where does that leave everybody?


I’m still mulling over who should pay for this Act of God.

The EC definitely won’t be compensating Grape Rentals and the hundreds of thousands of little European operators like ourselves for bookings that our guests couldn’t follow through on because their flights were grounded. I can’t in all good conscience charge my guests for a booking that they cannot, through no fault of their own, use…let me know if you have any brilliant insights.

In the meantime I’m keeping close tabs of the indigestion of Eyjafjallajoekull, and am keeping my fingers crossed for Lisa K. who is staying at La Maison des Chaumes and is hoping her Mom will be able to make it over on a much anticipated visit to Burgundy.

My toes will also be crossed for Sue Short and her husband Roger who had a fabulous trip to Burgundy planned with a stay at La Maison des Deux Clochers and a chapter of the Chevaliers du Tastevin at Clos Vourgeot.

One tidbit of information that I was able to glean for those people travelling on Air Canada is that once flights get up and running they will be honouring actual reservations first and THEN dealing with he passengers who are stranded. So say flights get up again Tuesday morning and you have a reservation for Tuesday night – theoretically you will be able to fly.

At least I’ve found a silver lining to this huge plume of troublesome volcanic ash; the SNCF strike in France didn’t have nearly the impact that the SNCF union leaders (who don’t give a fig for inconveniencing their passengers) hoped for. Bien fait pour eux

Open House Alert!!!

I received an email today from one of my very favorite Burgundian winemakers – Claire Naudin of Domaine Naudin Ferrand in MagnylesVillers – about one of my very favorite Burgundian events – their annual Open House.

If your French is good, you can read all about it on their website here.

Otherwise, you can read about it on my blog here and here .

Here are the details for the 2010 edition: It happens on the weekend of May 8th at the Domaine NaudinFerrand in MangnylesVillers (you won’t be able to miss the signs) and the hours are:

Saturday – 10:00am to 10:00pm (the nighttime festivities are very fun)
Sunday – 10:00am to 5:00pm

Let me put it this way – if I was still in Burgundy I would be pitching a tent there for the weekend!

10 K The World Over

Lisa recently allowed John to do a “guest post” on her fabulous blog “Village Vignettes” which is recounting the tales of her family’s sojourn at La Maison des Chaumes in Villers-la-Faye.

He had just completed the fabled Nuits-Saint-Georges 10k race past some of the world’s most valued vineyards and through chateaux that Franck and I did last year. AND he has his bottle of wine to prove it. Bravo John!

Franck and I both wish someone would hurry up and invent that cool transporter thingy like they have on the Starship Enterprise so that we could have atomized over to Burgundy to do it with him (and enjoy a big celebratory dinner afterwards). But until we are able to do that, we have signed up for Victoria’s Times-Colonist 10k on April 24th.

Granted, I don’t have the wine to motivate me this year (or the little pâté on baguette thingies they were handing out in Vosne Romanée last year) but I DO have a two year old who I found sucking on a razor this morning.

All that adrenaline has to go somewhere.

Vin Sensation = Sensational Blog

I’ve talked about Sensation Vin before in my blog. In my opinion, it is a fabulous place to go if you want a fun, low-key and inexpensive crash course on Burgundy wines from people who really know what they’re doing.

It is located just by Notre-Dame in the heart of medieval Beaune, and you can simply drop in and take one of their “essentials” classes which can take as little as an hour.

And now Sensation Vin has started a sensational blog. So far it is only in French, but for those of you who already have some basic knowledge of the language and want to brush up on your oenological vocabulaire, this is the perfect place.

In Vino Veritas!

Favorite Cafe in Beaune Gets a Makeover!

In her ever-fabulous blog which documents their time at La Maison des Chaumes while her husband John is on sabbatical, Lisa K. from Lethbridge just posted a photo (above) of her favorite cafe in Beaune, where her and her husband John have taken to having breakfast (our guests are smart people…).

I’m not sure if Lisa knows this, but the “Brasserie Le Carnot” is also the favorite cafe of Franck and I in Beaune, and in my humble opinion the very best place for people watching.

As you can see it recently underwent a paint job and has now transformed from red to a cool green. They’ve also apprently invested in some cool new chairs.

If you are in Beaune I urge you to stop and enjoy an espresso, a breakfast, a meal or a glass of wine here. You can’t get much more French, or Beaunois, than this.