I am back at work after my version of the typical 3-week French vacation in July and August. I say typical in terms of length (though very often it is 4 weeks) and some of what I did. I was in the office last week and there was no more than 30% of the people in my group, as the 3-4 weeks is taken by virtually everyone over the last weeks of July through August. Many businesses, especially small shops are closed during this period. My vacation was also typical because I spent time in the countryside. I am extremely lucky to own a French country house. From there we took other side trips as I explain in more detail below.
This is the view from the deck during my morning coffee.
Between the Medieval and the Romantic
Handling Mr. Hyde
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Our house is located in southern Burgundy, between the towns of Cluny and Mâcon. Cluny was the location of the great Medieval Benedictine Abbey of Cluny, truly one of the great cultural achievements of Christendom. The physical structures fell victim to the Jacobin “Taliban” of the French Revolution. As Wikipedia explains, “Seen as an example of the excesses of the Ancien Régime, the monastic buildings and most of the church were destroyed in the French Revolution. Its extensive library and archives were burned in 1793 and the church was given up to plundering. The abbey’s estate was sold in 1798 for 2,140,000 francs. Over the next twenty years the Abbey’s immense walls were quarried for stone that was used in rebuilding the town.” Today it is a lovely and lively country town with a university and an equestrian center. The influence of the abbey was important through most of western Europe, but…