We had to make significant change of plan due to lack of transportation. We had to stick to walking distance attractions for this part of the trip, so much for the charming burgundy village on the canal, Abbey Fontenay…
Luckily, Beaune is a beautiful city with a lot to offer in walking distance.
On the way from Loire valley to the Dordogne River, we made a stop at Oradour. it is one of the most powerful sights in France. More than 600 residents in this village were massacred by machine gun and fire by Nazi troops on 6/10/1944, in a revenge by the Nazi for the killing of one of them by French Resistance fighters in a neighboring village.
If you are as old as we are . You could remember the French movie 虎口脱险La Grande Vadrouille. you will see two of the locations .
the town was set on fire after the massacre with its victims buried under a blanket of ashes. today, the village, left untouched as they were 60 years ago, serves as a reminder: war is not a disease of one person’s mind but of a system.
Hotel Dieu, AKA Hospice de Beaune, this medieval charity hospital was built in 1443 by the rich chancellor of Burgundy, Nicholas Rolin, to help his people. poor town residents received dignified health care, most at the end of their life.
surprisingly, we came across a lot of German visitors there.
In the movie the English pilots stole nun’s truck and the nun took them here.
the stained glass at the chapel with which the ward is connected to, showing Rolin and his wife.
notice this characteristic colorful roof of Burgundy. it is made by tiles burned three times, first to harden, second for color, third for glaze. very expensive roof, only reserved for the most important buildings in this region.
The home base we chose for this area is in a small hilltop town, Domme, located 10 minutes
away from Sarlat.
vnsc5858威尼斯城官网，We entered the enchanting town through its impressive gate at the end of a long rugged uphill climb from the river. The town overlooking the Dordogne is a busy tourist attraction during the day, but in the evening it quiets down nicely.
good food was an important part of medical care, this is the kitchen of the Hospice.
Close to the Hospice, is the best restaurant we went to on this trip. Le Jardine des Rempart is a Michelin starred restaurant in an old mansion.
Every evening, my eyes were glued to these views.
Lunch menu at 28 and 42 euro, a very good deal as you will see:
Amuse Bouche: escargot, cheese puff, ham terrine and mustard sorbet
morning views from our window, cloud-shrouded Dodogne valley at our feet, pictures taken by half awaken Francis
then came a vegetable soup.
the hotel has a Michelin rated restaurant, we had our arrival dinner there, elegant but expensive. we soon found much better alternatives.
then first courses we each ordered:
Sole en croute confit duck en croquet
boulliabasse (creative, with sashimi in the soup)
Soufflé glace au noix, walnut ice-cream in English, but sounds so much more special in French: a local favorite served everywhere, I couldn’t have enough of this. there are walnut groves everywhere in this region.
The town people are very warm and friendly. Francis really enjoyed interacting with them in his broken French. one morning, the Boulanger’s delivery truck broke down,` Francis offered to take a look at it, wasn’t able to fix it after all, but the grateful Boulanger lady insisted to treat us to a hearty breakfast from her shop.
Mullet with herb crust
Every 6/21, French celebrate the first day of summer with concert and bonfire in every town and village. The Foie gras shop lady invited us to the village concert. Francis was going to play flute with the local band, but couldn’t find a flute at the last minute, so instead he sang the only French song he knew, La Mer, and became a local celebrity, they don’t see a lot of Asians in this part of world.
the best part is yet to come:
first came two complimentary sweets from chef we all had
bonfire at the party
Red currant jelly and crème Brule
The jelly is truly an avant garde creation, you have to take it in as whole, as you sink your teeth into it, it ruptures to give you the refreshing sweet and sour juice with distint red currant flavor.
cake with orange flowers
after tourists left, evening strolls in the quiet town of Domme is enchanting
then desserts, we each ordered
The biggest draw to this region are the caves with prehistoric paintings, dating back to 17,000 years ago.
we visited Lascaux II first. Lascaux was discovered in 1940’s by two school boys trying to rescue their trapped dog who fell into a hole. This lead to discovery of the best preserved prehistoric paintings in history. Carbon dating of the torches found in the cave left by these prehistoric artists puts it to 17000 years ago. Due to the fact that the cave was sealed from outside by collapsed rocks until discovery and also there is a layer of water-tight clay between rocks in that area, the colorful paintings from that long ago were so well preserved. Due to the large volume of visitors ever since its discovery causing damage mainly in the form of calcium deposits on the cave paintings, they had to close the cave to visitors in 1960’s and made a copy next to it, and that is the Lascaux II we visited.
Despite of knowing this to be a copy, the experience was still very shaking, because the paintings are truly incredible.
Strawberry with red wine
bulls, horses, stag deers are main characters in Lascaux paintings. amazingly the reindeers which were the main food source to these people weren’t seen at all among the paintings. There is one painting, rather abstract kind, of a human and a bird in the deepest part of the cave.
If you are less gullible than us, there is the real one, the last that still remains open to public among all the Magdalenian polychrome cave painting sites, Font du Gaume.
From the center of Beaune, 15 minutes walk through a park got us out to the most famous vineyards of the Burgundy, really pleasant walk in the vineyards despite of the showers during which we had to take shelter under an apple tree.
It is less known than Lascaux, since the paintings are less well preserved(the cave wasn’t sealed like Lascaux for the preceding 10000 years, and also, they really don’t want publicity since every day only 100 people can be admitted to visit to protect the paintings. I had to make our reservation for English tour months in advance.
you really have to see these with your own eyes to be moved.
Adeline’s masterpiece in the park
Bisons are the main characters in this cave. the cave is just a long mural of bisons, most of them fading away
Cote d’Or(Golden Slope) includes the Cote de Beaune which is what we are in and Cote de Nuits which is north of us. Cote de Beaune has most of the white (chardonnay) Grand Cru plots, and Cote de Nuits has most of the red(pinot noir) Grand Cru plots. Burgundy has only three kinds, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and smaller production of Gamay.
Etrance of the Font du Gaume
without our own transportation, we hired local wine expert François with his 4×4 rover taking us on a private off-road tour of the beautiful wine towns of Cote de Beaune: Pommard(church with the flat top), Volnay, Monthelier, Mersault(the other 虎口脱险 location), Puligny-Montrachet(the most famous village for Chardonnay with the most of Grand-Cru plots).
Along the Dordogne river, there are charming villages, like La Roque, Castelnaud, Baynac, most of them with castles. we visited La Roque-Gageac, a picture perfect town sculpted out of the rocks between the river and cliffs.
cote de Beaune wine towns and vineyards
German commander office
it’s only after François pointed out when I recognized that it is in front of this mansion where, in the movie, the English pilot punctured the tire of their own car when trying to escape from the Germans.
this movie is still being played every year around Christmas time in Burgundy.
We went for a private tasting at his friend’s cellar in Pommard. his friend Jean-Luis owns the Moissenet-Bonnard with several premier cru plots in Pommard and Auxey-Duresses for pinot noir and chardonnay. most of the wine we tasted are relatively young, 2008, 2007. before each wine, he told us about the plot it came from(slope, bottom/mid/top, rockiness, etc.) and weather of the year(sun adds fruitiness to wine)
at the end, we can definitely taste the complexities and differences of wines from different plots and years. the concept of “Terroir” that sets different wines apart in taste, quality and ultimately price. his wines are available in California, so we will be looking for them back home.
we kept going back to the Auberge des Platanes in La Roque for the local peasant dishes cassouletc confit duck
The very knowledgeable and English-fluent François grew up in this region, and owns a few plots himself one of which premier cru in Corton of Cote de Nuits, he rents the plots out these days. not only he passed on a lot of wine info, but also the local cultures such as having the hyphenated name of wine villages(for example Puligny-Montrachet, Montrachet is famous for its chardonnays, by putting its name together with Puligny, it lifted its neighbor’s status tremendously, the wine country neighbors helping neighbors act) and also the ongoing vineyard owners fight for changing to grand cru status for their premier plots. one of the premier cru lots Jean-Luis has in Pommard is in such process right now. Decades ago, when the appellation control determined the grade levels of each plot, some of the plot owners didn’t feel motivated to have grand cru status, since the labels of the grand cru wine will have their owner’s names in small letters. They thought as long as their wine is grand cru quality, it doesn’t matter, people will pay good price for them. but little did they know that over the years, price gap between wines from grand cru and premier cru plots really widened. so they want to change the grade now which turns out to be a very difficult task.
It was a very informative and fun tour, and a grand finale to our two weeks journey through French countryside.
Everywhere we go, sunflowers are blooming, I just love these gorgeous and happy flowers.
we went to the market in Cenac one morning, found the best strawberries we ever had. we finished the whole basket before I even got a chance to wash them. Luckily, no one had diarrhea. not only they are sweet as the ones you can get in U.S. farmers market, they also have an extra flavor/aroma only found before in those Japanese Strawberry candies.
Perigord region is known for their foie gras even more so than their excellent strawberries, walnuts and sweet wine Monbillizac. we went to visit a goose farm, Elevage du Bouyssou. the owner Denis Mazet spent 5 hours a day feeding his geese. Nathalie, his wife, speaks good English, lead us on a tour of the farm which culminated in the goose feed demo by Denis. Once the geese reach 4 months old, they can be started on force feed, 3times a day with one kg of feed a day for 25 days, they will produce a fat laden liver weighing between 800-1600 gram at the end. pretty gross, Adeline has decided not to touch the foie gras from this point.
Canoeing down the Dordogne was another fun activity, along the river we passed many beautiful villages, castles.
Sunday in Montignac, streets are decorated with poppies.
We had dinner twice in Auburge de la Rode, a local restaurant in Domme. Its very down to earth, very tasty food demonstrates that French cuisine started out as peasant food, elevated to an art by presentation.
foie gras salad cuttlefish salad
beef Borgignon walnut icecream
Ballooning is another way to see the river and valley.
It gets dark very late this time of the year. one evening, Francis and I decided to take a drive down the hill to take some nighttime pictures.
编辑：集团团建 本文来源：France in ther Summer. Burgundy