Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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La Cloche - Dijon

It's amazing what one can find in auctions and recently I picked up, not quite for a song, this luggage label with its intriguing emblem.

Dijon, one of the well-known cities of France with a population of some quarter of a million, capital of the ancient kingdom of Burgundy and home to the Dukes of Burgundy before the unification of France, is famous for its wines and mustard. It lies within one of the great gastronomic areas of France, with top vineyards within striking distance; and Beaune itself not far away. In 1742 Antoine Maille created his internationally renowned Dijon Mustard, still made today.

La Cloche hotel, now part of the Sofitel Group, is near the city centre in Place Darcy, near the Cathédral St Bénigue, with the Ducal Palace and lots of museums and other churches in the area. So what is the reason for which it took its name? It must have been significant - a curfew bell, and bourdon bell, a carillon? Perhaps a case for our Roving Reporter. Of course I suppose an email to the hotel would supply the answer, but what better excuse for a gastronomic weekend, to soak up the atmosphere and the wine - and report back if it sounds as well as it implies?

Peter Richardson, Halford.

Well, Peter, this is an enticing invitation to find the answer to the question you pose, particularly as the area produces one of my favourite wines (Nuits St George; a glorious gutsy red, that makes you glow before letting you sink slowly and gently into happy oblivion . . . The problem is affording sufficient to reach oblivion.). Should the Guild or interested readers wish to cover the cost of the trip, I am willing to depart at a moment's notice; and I'm very willing indeed to accept the offer of 'a case for our Roving Reporter' (12x NStG, please), Ed