à la Bourgogne

off now in search of some countryside that may be less dramatic than the Alps...

...but hopefully may be a little less mobbed. À la Bourgogne, and with a freshly purchased copy of “Bourgogne - Le Guide du Routard - 2010” to supplement (supplant?) the Rough Guide.

Interestingly, the Routard seems to confirm and to develop Jim’s long-held but never well-substantiated notion that France splits in two, climatically, across a line that passes about 50 miles south of Paris: with a Mediterranean climate to the south and a broadly British type of weather to the North thereof. Not only confirms what Jim thought he’d seen, but further amplifies the significance of the line, while relocating it to a point more like 150 miles south of Paris. The chapter on the Saône-et-Loire Département begins thus:

“Si vous avez pris l'autoroute pour rejoindre Mâcon depuis Dijon ou Beaune, l'apparition dans le lointain de villages aux toits de tuiles douces et rondes à la romaine, accompagnée dans l'air d'un changement de climat et d'atmosphère, d'une lumière soudain plus gaie, est un signe qui ne trompe pas : il vous indique, mieux qu'un panneau frontalier, le passage irrémédiable du <> au <>, non seulement de la Bourgogne, mais aussi de la France. Frontière architecturale d'abord : au niveau de Tournus, les toits très inclinés recouverts d'ardoises ou de tuiles plates s'évasent, s'étalent, prennent de la couleur, se couvrent de tuiles rondes å la romaine ou provençales. Frontière linguistique : c'est au nord du Maconnais aussi qui passe la limite entre le << franco-provençal >> et la langue d'oil. Par ici, par exemple, le << mas >>. mot méridional pour l'habitation rurale, est remplacé par << meix >>, sa forme nordique.” (Bourgogne : Le Guide de Routard, Hachette, Paris, 2010, p.155)

Roughly translated, with the help (and despite the hindrance) of Google’s translator:

If you take the highway out of Dijon or Beaune towards Mâcon, you may notice the appearance in the distance of villages with roofs of smooth and rounded Romanesque tiles; a “change in the air” of climate and atmosphere, and a light that is all at once more cheerful. These signs do not deceive. They indicate, more clearly than any frontier marker, the ineluctable passage from the North to the South, not only of Burgundy, but also of France.
“This frontier is architectural at first: at Tournus, steep roofs covered with slates or tiles flare flat, and spread out. They take on the colour of, and are covered with, the rounded tiles of Roman Provence.
“Then we cross a language frontier : in the north of the Mâconnais a line bounds the Franco-Provençal “langue d’oc” from the “langue d’oil” of the north. Thus for example, “mas”, the Southern word for rural housing, is replaced by “meix”, its Northern form.

And today we two pass through Mâcon, pausing only to fill the tank in the baking midday heat of a deserted but automated supermarket forecourt. But we will be in Burgundy now for as far as we can really foresee, as this is Wednesday and on Saturday we have to be at Falvigny-sur-Ozerain, where our gîte will await and where we will stay for seven nights.

From Mâcon, our wanderings take us to Cluny, where we arrive just before the thunder, and grab a bed in a Logis. Full board - it doesn’t look like the rain will stop tonight. Strange encounter in the dining room that evening: pressed to order an aperitif, Jim plumped for a Campari soda. The waitress brought a glass of Campari and a bottle of Schweppes tonic water. When Jim questioned this, she informed him they had no soda, and anyway Campari with tonic is “meilleur”. Be warned, dear reader, it’s not! Jim drank what little he could, and it didn’t show up on the bill. So that was a’igh’n’e’end.