Monday, September 11, 2006

I love Burgundy (and not just the wine)

So, we had a nice trip to La Bourgogne, as it's known here in France, taking advantage of a rare Saturday off work combined with beautiful weather. Because the trip was so short, we stayed to the Yonne region but still ran out of time to do everything we wanted. We stayed at a really nice chambre d’hôte (B & B) near Avallon -- Domaine des Roches ( -- that we are happy to recommend in case you're ever in the area. I love these so much more than hotels, and they tend to be less expensive. The area as a whole is beautiful, especially Morvan National Park. The forests around here are nice but clearly managed, and lots of Morvan N.P. seems like the wilderness I grew up with and hence love and adore. I feel so relaxed there.

I thought I'd finally get off my butt and share a few photos (if I can get Blogger to cooperate)...

On Saturday, we spent some time in Vézelay, which is supposed to be one of the most beautiful towns in France. It's a stop on the St. Jacques pilgrimage and has a beautiful abbey sitting at the top of a hill overlooking some beautiful countryside. Inside the crypt are the relics of Mary Magdalene, which, in case you are wondering appear to be finger bones or some such item. As we were walking back to the car, we saw this cat having a nap on a windowsill. He must be a sucker for attention.

On our way back to Avallon for dinner, we stopped at a random lake to sit back and relax. I have to admit this wonderful idea was completely my husband's -- he saw it on the map and felt inspired to check it out. We sat under an oak tree and threw acorns into the water to watch them float.

On Sunday we stopped by Guédelon on our way home. A while back an architect had the brilliant idea of building a medieval castle using only medieval means. It's scheduled to take approximately 25 years to complete and was started in 1997 (so yay! our children will be able to enjoy this as well!). More information can be found here: This is really an amazing idea, I think, and I hope to go back over time to see how things have progressed. The idea is to go and see how these huge castles were constructed without cranes and bulldozers and such.

I do have to warn you that although it's billed as a theme park, don't expect to see much in the way of rides or pony shows. It's a medieval construction site, so that is mainly what you will see. The chateau itself is in the center of the park, with artisans working in a ring around it. They are happy to explain what they are doing if you ask, but they are being paid to help build this thing and aren't necessarily talkative. They were just working. For example, in this picture you will notice the first lady blacksmith that I've ever seen making nails. It amazes me that I can apparently stand for long periods of time watching someone make nails, but it was really interesting.


guffie said...

Glad to see you are back!

I love that kitty photo!

I would like to check out that castle. The first summer I was here I saw some tiny village featured on a brief show about the Gard that was in ruins from the middle ages, but was being restored by one guy. I am sure it will take forever. I thought the village started with a J, and we have tried to notice any villages with a J on our travels, but have not found it. I am a history nerd, and I love this kind of stuff. I could watch them make nails for a while too! Lady blacksmith, that has to be pretty rare here, for sure.

Anonymous said...

Glad you enjoyed the trip. The pics were neat and hope someday to see the castle being restored and stay at a B&B maybe our trip this time would be good? Have a great week and have fun.

Doc said...

you were just this <----> close to me! maybe next time?