Dijon to Saulieu, and then Vezelay
It is well worth getting early to drive from Dijon to Saulieu through the majectic scenery of Massif du Morvan.
It is a "haut-lieu" of the French Resistance and one President Mitterand claims to have been part of.
It is quite a wild place, crisscrossed by many small rivers, populated with wild boars and many other animals and birds. So take your time and enjoy the scenery. It is only 80 kms to Saulieu where you can stop for a lazy lunch at La Cote d'Or, the first restaurant of Bernard Loiseau's empire we discussed in a previous post. You will have plenty time to arrive in Vezelay for the night and a chance to repent (if you are so incined...) at the famous Vezelay basilica! This is one of the most famous Benedictine Abbeys. One of the reasons is because shortly after its foundation in the 9th century, the monks acquired the relics of St Mary Magdalene and since then it has been an important place of pilgrimage. Its magnificent location on a hill heped protecting it from bandits and warmongers alike. It is now listed by the UNESCO as a World Heritage site. Even if you are not a believer, you will be moved by the good vibrations and the scale of the place. There is also a very nice garden behind.
Coulanges La Vineuse, Auxerre and the Canal de Bourgogne
Coulanges-la-Vineuse, the well named village of a thousand souls, is famous for its wine - bien sur - which was almost wiped out by the philloxera in the 19th century, but also for having sheltered Jeanne d'Arc in a house which still exists and bears her name.
Auxerre will charm you with its town centre still very traditional, full of typical Burgundy architecture, with the Cathedral a background in every photo opportunity. The river is obviously another attraction and is the base for renting a barge to go and explore the Canal de Bourgogne - the Burgundy Canal. travelling on the canal is a leisurely and enjoyable way to spend a week travelling in style through the French countryside!
Chablis - one of my favourite Chardonnays
The village of Chablis, like Camembert has a much bigger reputation than its size would warrant, and the name rings around the world when it comes to Chardonnay! My wife in her youth used to go and pick grapes chez Laroche and it is a tradition that I buy a bottle of this amazing wine each year for her birthday!
There are many vineyards which produce this unbaked, steely chardonnay, 149 are listed here, but only 43 are actually in Chablis itself - enough to get drunk not even leaving the village!
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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