17 December 2013

Échappées Belles : la Sologne

About a month ago, I posted a couple of blog topics about the Romorantin grape and the wines made from it in the area called the Sologne, just to the north of Saint-Aignan. I mentioned that at the same time we had, coincidentally, come across an episode of the French television show called Échappées Belles that focused on the same region.

I hadn't recorded the show, and I was sorry about that. But I noticed that a lot of other Échappées Belles [ay-shah-pay-BELL] episodes were available on YouTube.com. I hoped the Sologne show might appear there one day soon. I've been checking every few days, but until now it wasn't there. A couple of blog readers (Judy, Evelyn) expressed an interest in watching the show.

La Sologne is a forested area roughly south of Orléans and Blois, east of Amboise and Montrichard, and north of Saint-Aignan and Vierzon. Paris is just an hour north of Orléans.

A couple of weeks ago Walt noticed that the show was being re-broadcast on French TV, and we hurried to set up the recorder. Then last week I recorded the show from our satellite decoder box PVR onto one of my computers. I set about researching and experimenting with the process of uploading the Échappées Belles : Sologne episode to YouTube myself.

First I had to convert the video files from DVD format (.VOB) to a format that can be run on YouTube — in this case, .MP4. That took forever, and I had to convert the files several times because I wasn't satisfied with the quality. Once I had the quality I wanted, I started experimenting with the upload process. That took forever too.

I would set everything up and it would take as long as two hours to upload a single file. That pretty much disabled our Internet connection for the amount of time the upload was running. And then the first few times, after waiting two hours, twiddling my thumbs, I'd get a error message back from YouTube saying the file was too big to post. I had to break it down into four segments. Then I had to fiddle with the settings again to get the clear video and the 16:9 aspect ratio the show required.

On this satellite view, you can see that La Sologne is a large forested area spanning three French départements: le Loiret (Orléans), le Loir-et-Cher (Blois), and le Cher (Vierzon).

You get the idea. It has been a challenge, but yesterday I finally succeeded. The Échappées Belles : Sologne files are now available. The show is of course in French, with no subtitles. Here are four links to the four segments, which contain reports about, for example, the Château de Cheverny and the Château de Chambord; the Beauval zoo in Saint-Aignan; and the Domaine de Montcy wine property where Romantin white wines of the Cour-Cheverny appellation are produced.

I hope all these links work for you, wherever you live. If you want to see posts that I've done in the past about different villages and areas of the Sologne region, here's a link to a Sologne search page on this blog.


  1. Thank you for going through all that work. I'm a great fan of Echapées Belles. If you want to recommend a show immediately after it has been broadcast, try Pluzz. Here's the link for Echapées Belles: http://pluzz.francetv.fr/videos/echappees_belles.html

  2. Hi Ellen, I know about Pluzz and I recommended it in my initial blog post about this show, but readers in the U.S. told me they couldn't access it.

  3. Ken, WOW! Thanks so, so much for going to all of that trouble. What a great Christmas gift :)

    Can't wait! (And, I did click, and it is viewable even over here!)


  4. Another thank you, Ken. Did a test
    run, and it works perfectly for me. Much to look forward to.

  5. looking forward to seeing these, thx Ken......although with my slow dsl, it may take awhile

  6. Wow, thanks Ken. I will watch, dictionary in hand!

  7. Thank you so much Ken for the links! I will watch them during the holidays, when we have 2 weeks hiatus. I have never seen "Echapees belles" but I am a fan of "Thalassa" and "Racines et des ailes" . I really love all the nature documentaries from any country but France really has some nice ones.

  8. Success! This show is wonderful and like Judith said a Christmas gift for us all! Merci, mercy!

  9. Having visited this area recently, I was anxious to see these videos. I have watched the first two and shared them with friends. They are wonderful to watch. I put them on full screen, sat back with a nice mocha-cap, and no sound and projected myself into the scenes. Thank you so much for all the work you did to enable us US viewers to watch these.
    I look forward to watching the rest this evening.

  10. Hope there's no copyright comeback!

    BTW, how do you get programmes off the PVR and on to your computer?

  11. Autolycus, I have this gadget that lets me transfer files from the PVR to the computer via a USB port.

  12. Ken, thanks for all the effort you made to get this to work. It's something we'll watch one of these evenings.

    I just read that une longère percheronne is one of the entries on La maison préférée des Français. I'd love to see that program--that's not a hint, honestly!

  13. Hi Carolyn, I see several episodes of La Maison préférée des Français on YouTube, but not the one about the longère percheronne. If I find it on TV, I'll record it. How old it is is the question.

  14. Oh great, thanks for that tip.

    This was local news today or yesterday, on le-perche.fr. Pictures here, if you want (I see it does say 2014 season):



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