Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A glimpse of Beaujolais Country

May has been filled with adventures because the girl has a total of 9 school days this month between a late Easter vacation and state and church holidays. On Thursday, we ventured into Beaujolais country - first, to a brocante where the pickings were slim but the girl found a copy of “Cheaper by the Dozen” in French - the 1940s book not the Steve Martin movie.

From there we went to find a series of geocaches which toured through the different regions of Beaujolais.

The highlight of the afternoon was seeing this parcel of vineyard - the only one with trees and the only one with wild roses planted at the end of the rows. In the vineyards here, an entire field is not necessarily owned by one viticulteur but the ownership can be row by row. This is especially important at harvest time since they must be careful not to harvest somebody else's grapes.

And here is a close-up of the star of the show! It is too bad I don't know which wine this is because they take as much care with the wine as they do the vineyard, it must be pretty good wine. We had a great day out and finished the caches just before the rain started - and this was just day one of a four day weekend.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

An Interesting Chateau

When we moved to France, people said: 'you must visit some chateaus'. So, when our friends came to visit us, we thought we had better visit a castle. I am just not sure that any of us were expecting this!

Savigny-les-Beaune, just west of Beaune, is in an area well-known for its wine but what we found at the Chateau had little to do with wine, except that it does have a vineyard.

Built originally in the 1340s, destroyed in 1478 by Louis XI, the chateau was reconstructed in the 1600s. The property is beautiful with some formal gardens and other areas of wildflowers.  

Initially, the furnishings are typical but I thought the lovely library in the turret could have used a few more books.

Yes, you are seeing correctly those are motorcycles and the shelves are filled with bits of engines, oil tanks and cans and other mechanical bits and pieces. And that was not all. A long reception room is filled with more motorcycles, bicycles, model planes and more.

One building was dedicated to the Abarth and various other brand advertising. Another was filled with farm and some viticulture machinery.

Outside, there were planes and more planes and just when you thought you had seen it all there were bits of planes and then some firetrucks.

While it wasn't quite what we expected from a 17th century chateau - it certainly was interesting. And with the company, well, it was a pretty perfect day!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Back to Auvergne

Unlike many expats, we are spoiled by having a crowd of friends already in France and more returning each year. Unfortunately, they are about three hours away - too far for just a day trip and, with swim practice, kayaking and volleyball, it is hard to make a weekend of it. But last July (2013) we were able to go for a weekend to discover some of the sights of the countryside near Clermont-Ferrand. Our friends have an amazing house, with wonderful views and cows as neighbours, who could ask for anything more? Well, they also have great hiking all around including Puy de Sancy. It was a long steady climb but with five children under the age of 12, I was amazed how little complaining we heard - no "my legs are tired" from any of them. I not sure if it was the company or the landscape - probably a bit of both plus the reward of cable car trip down! 

It was a wonderful day and a fantastic weekend since we also got to see some of our other (ex) expat friends. 

It might have been July but there were still little piles of snow in protected areas.

View from the cable car on the way down.