mon coeur de campagne

living a simpler, rural French life

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La Brame de Cerf


La brame de cerf.  Photo credit: S.Guillerault


Le premier jour d’automne, the first day of autumn and it’s sunny and glorious.  The days are getting shorter and as twilight falls,  a guttural, roaring can be heard from the heart of the forest.  It is the cerf, the stag, the “King of the Forest” challenging his rivals.

If you are lucky you might hear la brame du cerf as you drive along in the twilight near Forest Bertranges, near Moulins Engilbert .  Look out for groups of people huddled along the side of the road waiting and then suddenly someone gets a tip off and everyone jumps into their cars to get nearer the sound.

Or wrap up warm, take a torch and join a guided tour into the woods where you will be sure to hear la brame du cerf and enjoy an apero too.

It is an unforgettable experience to hear the primeval sounds of this magnificent beast.

Click here for tour details:









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Portes Ouvertes

Art and history – my bliss!  This weekend the privately owned 15th century, Chateau de Thard opened it’s doors as part of Les Journèes Europeènes du Patrimoine. The heritage weekend tak…

Source: Portes Ouvertes

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Portes Ouvertes


Art and history – my bliss!  This weekend the privately owned 15th century, Chateau de Thard opened it’s doors as part of Les Journèes Europeènes du Patrimoine.

The heritage weekend takes place the third weekend of September across France.  Each year there is a theme and this year’s was Patrimoine et citoyennetè.   Public offices, monuments, historical sites, churches and chateaux open their doors to the public for a visit behind the scenes.

Chateau de Thard, a joli petit manoir, near Onlay proved to be a hidden treasure.  We drove up a long drive hidden in the woods, which opened out to amazing views high above Onlay.

The Chateau was also a perfect backdrop for an art exhibition featuring a variety of pottery, sculpture, oils, watercolours, prints and collages.


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Endings and Beginnings

September and la rentrèe. Time for back to school, back to uni, back to work and a welcome return to routine. Except that hasn’t been the case for us this year. There was no taking son and daughter back to UK after the summer holiday – they are both staying with us in France. Brexit has come early!

This September feels even more like a new start for me than New Year!

Jack is waiting to hear news about his dream career and is staying with us in the meantime. Charlotte has been let down by the care system in the UK and is happier, healthier and safer living with us. 

As the summer days sped to a close with plenty of endings, sad and happy, we are all looking forward to the new season bringing hope for new beginnings, goals and challenges.

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PianO du Lac



Playing a piano on water, floating under the stars with nature providing a breath-taking backdrop, le piano du lac is a transhumance flottante across France.

3 months and 60 concerts from July to October, the piano, pianists, singers and musicians – one wearing a bespoke dinner jacket styled from a wetsuit playing the tuba underwater – are performing a mesmerising spectacle from the Alps to Paris and the south of France.

We watched the concert at the Lac de Panneciere in Le Morvan, Bourgogne-Franche-Comte enjoying a picnic and listening to the magical sounds of the piano drifting across the water.

It was a very hot day and we needed a swim before the concert. We changed on the beach and my glamorous friend Stef, donned dangly earrings and a long dress  – you would never have guessed we had come straight from the beach.

We found a nice spot and set up the picnic, a feast of local ham, olives, salad, baguette and Brie, washed down with a chilled Crement de  Bourgogne.

When the concert finished, the audience were invited up to play.  We listened to a fabulous mix of classic music, rock n roll and pop as the night enveloped us and the stars twinkled in the sky.

It was an unforgettable way to spend a summer’s evening.