Breathing in the countryside air among the Bourges marshes, learning ceramics in the little potters’ village of La Borne, walking on the Jacques Cœur’s trail from castle to castle : berry is full of plenty nice spots to discover !
A stylish province
Situated right in the center of France 2 hours south of Paris, Berry straddles 2 different French departments : Cher and Indre. This territory is full of emblematic spots printed with a rich historical and cultural past. Bourges, its main town was also the royal capital of King Charles VII.
Charles VII, the « tiny king of Bourges »
In the XVth century, under a reign tinged with the English occupation, the so-called king found refuge at Mehun-sur-Yèvre fleeing from Paris which was split up by a civil war. The capital was then under control of the Bourgogne (Burgundy) and Armagnac families led by Jean « sans peur » (fearless John). They were obsessed by one idea : taking hold of the king and come to power. Later on, thanks to Joan of Arc’s intervention, Charles VII defeated the English army at Orléans and the 100 years war will be put to an end. He will also redress the balance of the kingdom with the help of Jacques Cœur his finance councellor.
Throughout the old province of Berry one can come upon a lot of renaissance high gothic beautiful castles, St Etienne‘s cathedral at Bourges which has been registered as part of the UNESCO world heritage, roman churches and colourful little villages in which you can still feel the presence of Jacques Cœur, Alain Fournier or Georges Sand.
The local Berry dialect
« S’tantôt, je tazonne » means : this afternoon I’m lazying around. Watch out : you are still in France but you are in Berry. The local language would come to nothing without its famous « tazon » because here in Berry one has no need to hurry…
Our dear old dialect here in Berry is very vivid and gets its charm from the way we pronounce the « R » with a husky but soft rolling, the way we extend the vowels and with its idiomatic expressions that you can hardly translate into standard French.
Here is a short glossary to learn or to be able to understand a few typical expressions
- Tazonner : to take time
- Un agat d’iau : a downpour
- Il berouasse : it is drizzling
- S’abernaudir : the weather is changing for the worse
- Bourrique (faire tourner en bourrique) : to drive somebody crazy
- Un pochon : a bag
- Ca va-t-y ? : How are you ?
A landscapes patchwork
The Loire river borders the territory on the east where the view from the Sancerre vineyards is splendid. The « Pays Fort » is sheltered on the west by the Sologne legendary forests and ponds ; Berry is a real patchwork of various landscapes and plentiful nature. It is a real refuge for wildlife and allows the practise of many open-air activities.
The Berry fauna is not very different from that of other parts of France but it holds some examples of local domesticated animals. Nowadays some of them have become real symbols of the place such as the « tall black donkey » or the black Berry hen.
Good life, genuine and homely land are the keywords of this country where people enjoy going back to their roots, so why not come soon and join us here to « tazonner » ?