We have welcomed the visit of Chris’s parents as a chance to faire le touriste for a week or so. This morning we took them round the Beaujolais wine region. This is surprisingly close as it starts at Mâcon. If you go west from the Mâcon-Loché railway station you soon come upon a panoramic view of Fuissé with the Roche de Solutré beyond.
The view over Fuissé
At Fuissé we stopped to visit the neo-gothic church, more like a cathedral, set amongst the vines. It looks very ancient but at 1872 it is considerably newer than La Maison du Curé.
The next stop was at Fleurie with a cave by an impressive trompe d’oeil .
The trompe d'oeil at Fleurie
Fun with a painted wall!
We stopped to compare the 2009 vintage, which we had enjoyed before, to the 2010 version. We decided on the fruitier 2009, a good year for the gamay wines.
The Beaujolais wine route is 23km long with caves producing nine grands crus. Within a short distance are Chénas, Chiroubles, Fleurie, Juliénas, Morgon, Moulin à Vent, Régnié and St-Amour.
There is a wonderful restaurant called La Terrasse near Chiroubles. It set on a hillside with a view of the whole of Beaujolais. We intended to stop here for coffee but unfortunately it is closed for renovation. Another time!
Progressing clockwise around the wine route brings you back past the lake at St Point and the Chateau de Lamartine, the famous poet. This is open to the public and you can visit the chapel where he is buried.
I would thoroughly recommend a tour round Beaujolais for the magnificent scenery, romanesque churches and ancient wine villages. And a spot of wine tasting of course.
One of the reasons we decided to live in southern Burgundy was that it is so easy to access Switzerland and Italy. Our envisaged camping trips didn’t happen, partly because we were always involved in some project on the house and partly because we were so content in our little corner of France that we didn’t see the need to venture far.
However this weekend we had a trip to Switzerland to visit some long lost relatives in Lausanne. It really isn’t that far, three hours by car crossing the plains of the Bresse region then the mountains of the Jura before descending to Lake Geneva. We had lunch with the family at the Hôtel Fleur du Lac on the edge of the lake. We could see across to Evian-les-Bains and the Savoy Alps. Mont Blanc towered above the other snow-capped mountains.
I didn’t expect to see vineyards in Switzerland but Lausanne is an important wine-growing area. We were given some wine from the family’s own vineyards to bring back to Burgundy. Is that taking coals to Newcastle?
The Randonnée is an organised walk that many villages hold once a year. The routes vary in distance to cater for both families and the more serious walker.
This year Chris was given the task of planning the routes for our randonnée which will be on 5th June. He devised three circuits of 7, 15 and 25km. They all start off the same way from Cortambert but after a few km they diverge (conveniently by the café and public toilets in Blanot). There will be refreshment buvettes along the route, one for the medium walk and two for the longer one. There is no excuse for flagging with wine, sandwiches and cake to keep you going.
Foyer rural members meet for the randonnée
On the day of the randonneée the foyer rural committee will be too busy organising and catering to do the walk themselves so we went off this morning to try out the shortest route. It was quite a hard trek over the hill to Blanot and back through the woods, but there were wonderful views over the valley at every turn. At the top we were reminded of alpine meadows with the wildflowers and grazing cattle.
Lovely views in the hills
It was a very hot day and back at the the foyer rural we put tables and chairs underneath the chestnut tree and enjoyed a picnic Burgundy style. More like a banquet!
Hot and tired and ready for lunch
In case the talk of drought has made our part of Burgundy sound like a dust bowl I’ll show you a photo of this morning’s pony trek through the countryside. We passed through lush fields of young maize, wheat and sunflowers.
Trekking through the fields
We took the small ponies out as the horses were involved in a two-day concours at Laizé. Each horse has to take part in dressage and jumping, and finally tackle a cross-country course. You have to admire the bravery of the riders. The horses had no problem tackling the huge jumps – the one shown below was on a steep hill. But some just would not go through the easy watersplash at the end and were eliminated.
Laizé's best riders compete in the cross-country event