Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Le moulin à vent

That's French for "windmill." This one stands on a hilltop overlooking the vineyards of Beaujolais and gives its name to one of the special crus of Beaujolais. We stopped here and walked Tasha up the short walkway to the foot of the windmill and took in the views.

Le moulin à vent.

Unfortunately, we were too early for the cave to be open -- they were still closed for lunch. But it's probably for the best. We already had some wine in the trunk and we had several more villages to visit on our way north. Beaujolais is more expensive than our local Touraine gamay so we didn't need to go overboard. By the way, un caveau is une petite cave (a little wine cellar). Clear? Not.

The wine cooperative at the foot of the windmill, closed for lunch.

But it was nice to see the windmill. I had always assumed that Moulin-à-vent was a town, but it's not. It's just the windmill, which is classified as a historical monument, and the name of the wine made in the neighboring vineyards.

Nearby buildings and surrounding vineyards.

A grammar note: when moulin à vent is written without hyphens, it refers to a windmill, any windmill. When the three words are hyphenated, Moulin-à-vent, it's a proper noun that refers to the wine appellation. At least that's my understanding.

12 comments:

  1. Beautiful windmill and I also love that roofline (and the tile). The first time I was in Southern France, I was surprised to see a number of old (and beautiful) windmills.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are absolutely right and thank you for the very important grammar note. The use of the hyphen in French is completely misunderstood by most English speaking people and that tendency is creeping up in France where I notice an alarmingly strong shortage of hyphens. I might add, in the case of the wine Moulin-à-vent, and in addition to the hyphens, the M should capitalized as opposed to the structure moulin à vent. The same applies to saint Aignan, the person with no capital S, and Saint-Aignan, the town.

    The sign in the second photo is totally confusing. What does it refer to? The wine or the structure?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A black sign with white lettering usual gives the name of a lieu-dit.

      Delete
    2. According to Wikipedia, the wine Moulin-à-Vent got its name in 1936 and was known previously as Romanèche-Thorins. There doesn't seem to be a lieu-dit or anything else called Le Moulin à Vent other that a Château, the structure proper or the wine. Back to square one!

      Delete
    3. Where do you find the names of all the lieux-dits in France? There are at least 5 lieux-dits between here and the center of our village. I saw all the signs with names this morning and not one of them has hyphens in it. Les Sables, Au-Dessus de l'Ile, La Rouère de l'Aulne, etc. All the signs are black with white lettering.

      Delete
    4. It seems that the term lieu-dit ("place name") in Beaujolais has a specific meaning. Vineyard parcels are distinguised by lieu-dit. And one of them is Le Moulin à Vent. It's on this map, along with the other lieux-dits of the Moulin-à-Vent AOP or cru area. The difference between a lieu-dit and a hameau ("hamlet) is that a hamlet has people or at least houses on its territory. A lieu-dit can be a field or a plot of woods — or a parcel of grapevines — where nobody lives or perhaps has ever lived.

      Delete
    5. You're probably right since I found at least 3 different Moulins à Vent (no hyphens) in the list of lieux-dits in Saône-et-Loire. But, if this is the case, to be grammatically correct there should be hyphens since the sign does not refer to a structure but to a terroir. As, I said there is a terrible scarcity of hyphens in France nowadays. Too much work!

      Delete
    6. I'm not sure hyphens have much to do with grammar. They have to do with spelling conventions — and that's another kettle of fish entirely. Did you notice the sign in my recent photo of our local bridge and castle? T annonces that you are arriving in Saint Aignan sur Cher.

      Delete
    7. Je viens de trouver cette définition de grammaire: La grammaire est composée des règles régissant l’usage, oral ou écrit, de la langue. Avec le rait d'union, à mon sens, il s'agit de l'usage écrit de la langue, donc il fait partie de la grammaire, comme l'orthographe.

      Delete
    8. Pourquoi faire simple quand on peut faire compliqué, n'est-ce pas? One of my French neighbors, who speaks some German and some English, told me years ago: l'anglais, c'est simple, parce qu'il n'y a pas de grammaire! So what does "grammaire" mean? Complications, I guess, as with French (gender and agreements) and German (cases AND three genders!). In all three languages, verbs and tenses and moods like the subjunctive are already complicated enough. And spelling. I remember that our editor colleague used to get very frustrated with writers who over-used hyphens. She had a name for it — hyphenitis.

      Delete
    9. I was referring to Helen R.

      Delete
  3. Thanks to chm for the lesson. I understood about the hyphens or not in the name of the windmill or wine, but I never would have thought to apply that to a saint's name and a town's. I will pay more attention henceforth.

    ReplyDelete

Pour your heart out! I'm listening.