This summer has been a whirlwind of back-to-back visitors vacationing from CA. Although the month of July was hectic, time spent with friends is always priceless. We were so happy to host our guests, to share our new Provençal world with them and to catch up on life over many meals and needless to say, rosé. Such a joy! After spending a week at our home in Provence, I departed with my Laguna friend, Rachiel, for a mini-vacation heading north to Bourgogne, a part of France known as Burgundy in English. My first France girl’s trip visiting an area famous for its wine… what more could a girl ask for?!
We left on a Saturday morning, threw a few belongings into the red Fiat and hit the road… along with thousands of other French. One of the mass exodus dates commencing summer holiday in France, what should have taken 5 hours maximum unfortunately took closer to 7 hours. Despite all the traffic, seeing the country as we made our way north was still enchanting. We arrived to Noyers Sur Serein, a tiny village located in the department of Yonne, a friend awaiting our arrival with a cold bottle of bubbles produced locally, known as Crémant de Bourgogne. We shared an evening of wine, food and conversation to wash away the stress of the drive and to commence our week of exploring Bourgogne.
Bourgogne is beautiful. Rolling green hills for days, beautiful cream-colored cows dotting the landscape; this is farm country, wine country. Although France has numerous areas recognized for wine, I would venture to say this is probably one of the most well known after Bordeaux. There are vast and vast fields of vines, as far as the eye can see, producing numerous wines to choose from such as Pinot Noir, Chablis and Beaujolais to name a few. This region is also world famous for mustard, Dijon, named after its capital city, not to mention two classic French dishes, coq au vin and beef bourguignon.
Rural Bourgogne is spectacular. Aside from the rolling green landscape and open air, it is filled with many charming medieval villages, castles and abbeys. A land rich in history, bridging current day to the past, which can be witnessed in the various sites that remain throughout the region. Our week was full, including wine tasting whites in Chablis and reds in Beaune. We sipped vintages set in a magical cave amid ancient tombs (albeit touristy but nonetheless fun), toured the Hôtel-Dieu of Beaune, the Château de Bussy-Rabutin and the Abbey of Vézelay. Each beautiful and unique, sharing their interesting place in history.
We drove through the majestic countryside soaking up the openness, the haystacks and cows, admiring the picturesque villages, visiting Irancy and Flavigny along with the village of Noyers where we called home for the week. Driving through Bourgogne, I realize how my idea of happiness has changed with age. Now it's the little things in life that bring such joy like spending time with a friend, beautiful haystacks in a field or hay scented breezes as we explore unknown areas.
Despite the sweltering heat and sweating in places I didn’t know possible, I had such a wonderful week! Not only spending quality time with a friend who is truly missed, but also learning about the heritage of this region, experiencing its natural beauty and tasting its amazing wine. I hope to return with Eric at some point… a different visit with different sights, hopefully when it is a bit cooler, but without a doubt we will still walk in the footsteps of French history...