Saturday, July 5, 2014

Driving through the French Country Side

Photos here: French Country Side


I’m not a big fan of France per se, but I am a big fan of wine.  Originally, I had some days to “kill” and thought about doing a trip to Tuscany Italy, but couldn’t make the travel ticketing work efficiently.  I considered going to the Bordeaux France region, but the lodging prices were ridiculous during this peak season.  Hence, I opted to rent a car and drive through the country side of the Burgundy and Loire Valley areas, just seeing the sites and sampling wines along the way.

I headed first to Fountainbleu, the second most popular palace in France after Versailles.   I then headed to Auxerre, with its historic churches, and to Vezelay, where the Cathedral supposedly holds the relics and remains of Mary Magdalene.  I made it to Dijon to catch their Music Festival.  It was a riotous good time, but the entire country might have been celebrating a Music Festival that day; I saw signs for festivals on that date in the other towns I visited as well.  I also had one of the best meals of my France stay in Dijon.

I made my west along the river, seeing “important” castles and cathedrals, and sampling a lot of wine along the way.  About half way through the trip, I decided to make many of my meals “picnics”, where I would buy from a grocery store a baguette, cheese, some meat, maybe a side salad, and of course, a bottle of wine.  This was an excellent decision.  Perfection may be defined as just sitting in a park bench, a hill top, a river bank or just some greenery next to a vineyard, and enjoying the tasty sandwich and some delicious wine.

One vineyard owner directed me to a nearby hilltop in the “most beautiful village in France.”  I couldn’t find it on the map, but figured it out.  She had commented that the village was where the two rivers connect.  I just had to climb the hill from the local church.  Later, I discovered a sign at the village entrance that translated to “one of the most beautiful villages in France”.  Was that the actual name of the village? If not, who decides that standard?  Either way, it struck me as typical French.

I had a lot of fun driving through the country side.  Thank heavens for Google maps, though, because I would have been hopefully lost otherwise even with the car GPS.  Next time, perhaps I will make it to Bordeaux and bicycle through the area.


Photos here: French Country Side

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