The Stag's Song
The French word Brame, is untranslatable, the dictionary says, “howl, wail, or bell”. I would simply say The Stag’s Song. But brame is so much more poetic than our rutting season that I continue to use it.And the 'Brame' is a magical moment in forests all over the world but none more so than in Sologne. Sologne, the forested region located in the heart of France welcomes the Brame with open arms every autumn.
While the most prestigious Brame watch is at Chambord where you have a choice of a tour with one of their 4x4s, or quietly watching from one of their tree stands; my preferred rendez vous is at the Maison du Cerf (Stag's House).
Situated in a charming Solognot village, Villeny, The Maison du Cerf gives you a choice of either an evening or morning outing. A guide will lead the group into the forest where hopefully everyone will enjoy the sights and sounds of the stags. Unfortunately the actual sighting of a stag cannot be guaranteed as it is nature that is in charge not us. But even in the event of a « no show » what is guaranteed is the magical moment in the forest. The sights and sounds of a Solognot forest are unforgettable. After the guided tour it is back to the museum to enjoy a visit to this delightful museum devoted to the stag, savour a delicious buffet and compare experiences. A truly memorable evening. And, just for 25€!
But the « Brame » encompasses far more than just the physical mating of deer. It is also the bellowing of a stag to win the right to mate. It is also the sight, sound and smell of the forest at this special time of year. It recalls sitting by the fireside, collecting and cooking mushrooms, drinking hot wine. I could continue on and on as it is, without rival, my favorite season of the year. The exact time of the Brame only Nature knows but it is usually mid-September to mid-October.
It is also a moment to learn about the age-old art of falconry. The art of hunting with hawks dates from around 2000 BC. In more recent history, falconry has enjoyed a more widespread popularity as a sport of kings, Francois Premier being our local Royal Example. Today falconry is still used as a means of hunting but also for scaring away pesky pigeons (effarouchement in French) and, above all, for the astonishing aviary at Beauval Zoo among many others. Francis and Brigitte are impassioned by their art and, after spending time with them you will be too! The Faucon Solognot give full and half day falconry classes for all levels. With more than 65 birds of prey it is more than just a class it is a spectacle!