Friday, April 27, 2012
We ate breakfast at the Brasserie across the street this morning and then took the back roads northwest from Bueane for our exploration day with Jim driving and Terry working with Daisy for the directions. Unfortunately the weather is still full of rain and clouds but we forged ahead with our plans.
Our first stop at 10:00 am was at the hilltop village of Chateauneuf-en-Auxois; dating back to the twelfth century and still in the process of restoration of the Chateau. We walked across a drawbridge that spanned a moat to enter; one of the buildings is finished and offer visions of life centuries ago. Another building is still a shell…just like it was years ago on a previous visit. But, it’s slowly coming alive for the tourists. Some of you may remember our trip over ten years ago when we stayed on the Lady A…a stationary canal boat made into a small hotel…and had a wonderful lunch in the little restaurant in this village. It was a very cold day and we sat next to the fireplace. Unfortunately the restaurant was closed but still there! We explored the town and then drove past the fields of grazing white cattle…Charolais…very expensive beef…to where the Lady A is still moored today.
We were very disappointed to see that it has been totally neglected and is in a terrible state of deterioration. However, it appeared that someone was working on the inside and is in the process of restoring it to its former glory. If it hadn’t been raining we’d have stopped and chatted with the fellow who was working inside…but we didn’t.
We continued on the country roads to the village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain; one of France’s beautiful villages that was used to film the film “Chocolat” with Johnny Depp in 2000. Still raining, we parked at the edge of the little village that is also known for the Abbaye Saint Joseph De Clairval and the Anis candy that they produce and walked to the town square that was made famous in the movie.
We stopped at the little store, purchase our anis flavored candy, a bottle of wine and some bread. Then we asked about the movie…no…she was not in it but her children were. She proudly brought out the book of photos about the making of the movie, showing us her children and in broken English/French…she told us some information about the making of the movie. One of the big things was the fact that there is no statute in front of the church! They made one for the movie! It was fun visiting the little village again…even in the rain.
Then we drove to d’Alesia to see the huge statute of Vercingetorix erected by Napoleon to commemorate the battle with Julius Caesar in the Gaul/Roman wars. We sat in the car….still very wet outside and enjoyed the rest of our cheese from Veselay with our new bread and wine that we purchased this morning. We’re getting very good at having picnics in the car.
Down the road we continued until we arrived at the Abbaye de Fontenay; another twelfth century Abbaye that went to ruins, it was used as a foundry at one time…the forge was important in the creation of iron tools and implements for the houses of the area. There was a large water mill that generated the energy for the plant. The paddle wheel has recently been restored. Then later it was used as a paper mill before being restored to an Abbey.
The forge of Fontenay was erected around 1220 as a part of the Abbey de Fontenay. It was the first metallurgical factory in Europe and is the place of the invention of the hydraulic hammer for pounding metal into useable shape. The hammer was powered by the water wheel.
Soon we were back on the road…the auto route for a fast ride back to Beaune. Jim and I walked around town for a while checking menus to select a place for dinner. We ended up at the La Belena Brasserie across from the hotel where we had breakfast this morning. We all enjoyed our meal…not as fancy as last night, but an excellent chef and beautiful presentation.
We walked to the church after dinner and took some great photos of the stain glass windows from the outside with the lights on inside of the church before heading back to the hotel and calling it a night. Tomorrow we head south for a new hotel.