Following the wine trail
17.12.2011 - 17.12.2011 3 °C
The weather was clearing as we left the gîte to drive towards the Burgundy wine growing areas and the historic town of Beaune. The geography changes significantly as you drive down into a long river valley almost completely under vines. Having picked out a couple of chateaux to visit, we followed the awful French pronunciation of "Karen, the GPS voice" to head in their general direction but didn't have a lot of luck. The first one was beautiful but was a restaurant and degustation place rather than the historical site that we were after. A man there recommended another one nearby which was what we were after but on arrival it was clear that it was shut for the winter. It looked impressive from the outside, though.
We gave up on the chateau idea and went on to Beaune where, after circumnavigating the centre area a few times and driving through the middle of the markets (... the truffle sellers looked very nervous) and almost up the stairs into the church, we checked into a hotel built in part of an ancient monastery structure. Beaune proved to be a magnificent place and we enjoyed visiting the famous Hôtel Dieu, former convent and other ancient buildings. We also saw a number of building facades having spectacular animations projected onto them. The dining experiences and general ambience of the town centre were both great. These people also know how to do some seriously good things with pinot noir grapes.
In the evening, we sampled the famous escargot and a couple of other traditional Burgundian dishes accompanied by a bottle of fine wine.