La Maison du Chateau, Burgundy, France September 2013

La Maison du Chateau

The beauties of Burgundy are many and varied and the region is steeped in history; Philip the Bold and John the Fearless, to name but two of its many rulers over the centuries. La Maison du Chateau at Cry sur Armancon, set in a medieval village and surrounded by lush green meadows washed by the river running through and the Canal de Bourgogne alongside, remains undisturbed by the passing of time. 

So it was with mounting excitement that I returned to this oasis of tranquillity for a few days of bridge, fine food and wine and good company. The delights of my first visit eighteen months earlier remained with me and I couldn't wait to get back for a September visit when summer still has some life and the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is way beyond the corner.
I arrived in late afternoon to find a serious game of croquet taking place on the lawn and others in the drawing room beside a log fire (somewhat ominous) enjoying Delphine's lightest of light lemon sponges. It was a different group from before and although they had arrived a couple of days earlier, mostly knowing few if any of the other guests, it was clear that lasting friendships and bridge partnerships were being forged.
The pattern (but not obligatory!) of instructive bridge tuition in the morning, afternoons to explore, and very friendly bridge both before and after dinner provided exactly the right mix of improvement, fun and relaxation. This time two trips were arranged: one to Beaune, covering a guided tour of the Hospice, wine-tasting in the surrounding famous vineyards and a traditional meal, was truly a day to remember; the second to the nearby 16th century Renaissance Chateau at Ancy-le-France, a real gem. Elegant outside with its garden and courtyard and sumptuously decorated within, it is certainly one of Burgundy's less known treasures. This was followed by a visit to the weekly market and lunch in the local cafe, where we were welcomed with open arms by Valerie and her freshly cooked (and caught?!) plat du jour of rabbit….delicious.
The highlight, as before, and if possible, even better than before was the cooking of Delphine. Lunches were a veritable feast, restraint being the near impossibility, dinners were beautifully presented and served and if anyone was hungry at any time, the fridge was always available to raid…….and the wine flowed.
Summer had disappeared for the week, but it was of no consequence: we had a new wood-burning stove in the bridge room for complete comfort, and although less sun that we could have expected, two afternoons of golf, long walks and bike rides were some of the extra-mural activities.
A week of pure enjoyment and those whose bridge at the beginning was a little hesitant and uncertain, by the end had become Bold and Fearless!  A la prochaine.
Dinah Stocken  
September 2013


We are still glowing from the fun of last week

I really enjoyed myself and learnt a huge amount. I will definitely become a constant 'returner'

You have really worked hard to make sure that we have all had a good time

Thank you so much for a brilliant week, with top marks for organisation and bridge tuition

We had a great time as usual; thanks for everything

A wonderful holiday, thank you!