16 April 2018

Beaujolais, à bientôt peut-être

I'm finishing the Beaujolais series today. As I said in a comment, I'm very happy that the weather cooperated and that we drove over there from the Bourbonnais, despite the four-hour round trip, with truck traffic and winding country roads. It was a good use of our time.

On past trips, I had visited Burgundy. Lyon. Grenoble and the Alps. The Cantal in Auvergne. Provence. Nîmes. Marseille. Nice. Even nearby Mâcon. But somehow I had managed to travel all around it without ever setting foot, or car tires, in Beaujolais. I don't know how that happened.

I'll go back if I can. It was one of those places where I started thinking: Maybe it would be nice to live here. It seemed so dry, airy, and scenic, with snow-covered mountains in the distance and magnificent views of the Beaujolais landscape and vineyards because of the hills and valleys.

From that point of view, the Cantal area of Auvergne was comparable. We went there and spent a few days in 2009. It was mountainous, but green, lush... and damp. There were great views — except when it was rainy and foggy. In Auvergne, I loved walking through a pasture and watching the Salers cows being milked. I loved visiting a dairy farm and seeing how Cantal cheese is made. I never thought I would want to live there though. It was too remote and isolated, and I could imagine how cold the winters there would be.

Beaujolais was definitely rural, but it didn't seem remote. It's like the Touraine, where we've lived now for 15 years, in that way. Big cities are not so far away — Paris from Touraine, Lyon from Beaujolais. There are nearby autoroutes and high-speed rail lines for TGV service. It felt more like Provence than Auvergne, which seemed somehow lost in time. Beaujolais felt open and spacious in contrast. And that wine...


  1. Foudre is one of those French words having a different meaning whether they are masculine or feminine. One of the best known is livre which is a book when masculine and a pound when feminine.

    1. Thanks for that lesson about foudre, chm! I did not know it had two meanings.

      Ken, I suppose the post office doesn't go by PTT anymore? of does it?


    2. The telephone part split off from the PTT a long time ago, I think. It became France Télécom and then Orange (telephone and internet, including TV via internet). And Telegraphe, well, what ever happened to telegrams? So nowadays it's just La Poste.

      Okay, so what other words are like livre and foudre, with the meaning depending on the gender? I'm not coming up with any spontaneously.

    3. I just found a site that helps:

      une tour vs. un tour

      une moule vs. un moule

      la voile vs. le voile

      la mode vs. le mode

      une manche vs. un manche

    4. Bonjour Ken
      Un bon lien pour vous

    5. Bonjour Cousine,

      Merci du lien.

      Les mots qui ont un sens différent suivant le genre sont homographes et homophones, c'est-à-dire qu'ils s'écrivent et se prononcent de la même façon au masculin et au féminin. Figurent deux étrangers dans la liste, moral et morale, mots qui ne sont pas homographes, mais seulement homophones. Ce sont donc deux mots différents, l'un avec une graphie masculine, l'autre avec une graphie féminine. Il y a aussi cal [médecine] et cale, d'avion ou de navire.

      Un exemple de mots homographes, mais non homophones sont couvent et et président. Les fils du président président à la cérémonie!

    6. P.S. J'aurais dû (du et dû!) ajouter, Les poules du couvent couvent!
      En anglais, minute sont deux mots homographes, mais non homophones.

    7. Those same technical, jargon terms are used in English. Homophones and homographs. Both are kinds of homonyms (used in everyday language). I'm not sure people will realize that the noun couvent (convent) is two syllables, and the verb couvent (of a hen, to sit on eggs or to brood) is one syllable as if it were written couve. So in elle couve and elles couvent, couve and couvent are homophones. That's true of thousands of French verbs. Elle parle et elles parlent, for example. Il préside and ils président are pronounced identically, the verb having two syllables [pré-zeed] either way. The noun président has three syllables [pré-zee-dã].

  2. So glad you made it to Beaujolais enfin. I've been nearby also. It is a lovely place for sure. I love looking back at our cow time in the Auvergne- so much fun, but quite rural.

  3. I like your impression of the Cantal, which is similar to how I felt when we stayed there for a week many years ago. We had a beautiful view of the hills from our gite, with the cows trouping through the field. And then it would start raining, often when we were about to sit outside for a meal or a drink. And the power would go out during the fierce storms they often had.

  4. I'm wondering what the word scrolling down the side of the building in the last photo means: "recoltaut"...I coulnd't find any translations of it. Perhaps a family name?

    I've enjoyed your journey through Beaujolias!

  5. The next to last letter is an "n", rather than a "u," so it's recoltant. I think that translates as a harvester/grape grower.

  6. Thanks for that Bob!

    1. In the wine world, I think designating a farmer as a récoltant (a grape-grower who harvests his own crop) differentiates that kind of wine-maker from a négociant, who buys grapes from different growers and makes and sells wine.


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