Saint-Désert, Petite Charm of Burgundy

Handsome stone buildings and plentiful flowers of the village

Communes dot the landscape of France, offering petite surprises around every curve in the road.  One memorable place was Mosnes, a short distance from Amboise.  We stayed in a vacation rental in this small hamlet, where communal gardens lay in neat rows down to the Loire.  Early in the morning, we would walk a short block to purchase fresh croissants from the sole patisserie.

Saint-Désert is much the same, a village of Burgundy in the department of Saône-et-Loire.  The community includes key shops – a bakery, coffee shop, hairdresser, plasterer, bricklayer and little post office.  One company tends to shutters and verandas; another handles plumbing and heating.

There is an endearing charm to a community that can readily tick off their tradesmen and shops.  While those are necessary support groups, Saint Désire is primarily a wine village. Fully 20% of the village land is devoted to lush vineyards, nearly all of them owned by townspeople who share the responsibilities of planting, pruning, picking and bottling the wine.  Then, off they go to be sold in one of the Co-op Cave de Vins.  Buy your wine there, and you directly support the locals.

Lush vineyards of Burgundy

Named for a Désiré monk , the village has 900 or so residents called Holy Désiréens.  They live in typical rural homes with lots of stone, tiled roofs and vivid gardens.   Nearby, Saint Isidore Church watches over the farmers, and an old windmill lies in ruins, a quaint symbol, perhaps, of antiquated ways.

There is even a small inn along this part of the wine route – Domaine de Nesvres – where you can stay a night or two to enjoy the owners’ hospitality in the middle of Burgundy vineyards and explore the area by bicycle.

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