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FRANCE part 8 #206272
10/09/2019 09:28 PM
10/09/2019 09:28 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 2,947
VIRGINIA
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BEERMAN Offline OP
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BEERMAN  Offline OP
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FRANCE part 8, August 2019



Woke up to a gorgeous morning in Beaune. Walked the sleepy town and watched it come alive during breakfast at a street side cafe, we really enjoyed the slow pace and fresh food in all of France. We had done very little Beaune research, so off to the visitor's center. They recommended a tour of the Hospices de Beaune, a very prominent 15th century gothic hospital that is well connected to the local vineyards, actually has a world renowned auction every year to sell rare and prestigious regional wines. We told the friendly visitor's staff that we were more interested in a bike ride in the countryside, so they directed us to a convenient bike rental company at the edge of town. As we walked back through town passing the beautiful Hospice we noticed a long line had formed early, happy with our decision to venture out.

It was probably 11am when we arrived at De Velo's Bike Rentals and all of the E-bikes (power assisted) were already taken, so a standard 20 speed would be our mode of transportation. They required no deposit, drivers license or credit card to rent, just a promise to return sometime before closing, refreshing! The La Voie des Vignes "The Way of the Vines" or more simply the vineyard trail is where we pedaled off to. I believe the trail from Beaune to Santenay is about 30km?, but we only traveled through Pommard, Volnay, Meursault and part way to Puligny-Montrachet. Within 2 minutes of pedaling we immediately entered the fertile fields of grape vines lined by centuries of stone walls.



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We didn't immediately rush into the Domaine's that we saw along the rolling landscape, instead just enjoyed casually rolling into and around each town we came to. The small towns had very few locals about. The bike trail, which is also used by farm equipment to access the vineyards, had very few tourists as well, we liked that. We pedaled until we felt hungry and a small cafe at a split in the road in Volnay caught our eye, so we parked, ordered a light lunch and would you believe a beer in the heart of Burgundy Country!!



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Passing the occasional backpacker, tractor or groups of bikers kept us from falling into a deep trance in this beautiful landscape. It was so quiet and peaceful. We would pass many structures from the 15th century and my only regret might be that we started out too late to explore the inside of some amazing churches. We were really expecting to see many signs directing us to different vineyards, but this trail really requires a bit of research, which we failed to do. We rode into a few Domaine's courtyards that had small overhead signs that read so and so Domaine Overt (Open), but they were so sleepy with maybe one car and we just kept cycling along.



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I'll assume all of the medieval towns of Cote-d'Or are about the same age? but Meursault seemed a tad brighter even though it sits on a prehistoric settlement site. Many beautiful buildings and estates around this once again "sleepy town"! We pedaled beyond Meursault maybe a mile or so downhill and decided if we were going to drink some wine we best turn around or regret the ride back, so we made a u-turn!



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We kept passing Domaine Overt signs but nothing caught our eye really and we were covering some ground back to Beaune, would we actually drink some wine??? Then, while zig zadding around Pommard, we saw Domaine Coste-Caumartin with a cool entrance way. We pedaled through the shadows of the inviting arched entrance and parked our bikes in the sun filled courtyard and wondered where is everybody? The owner appeared, we asked in our best Virginia accent....ya'll open?! He smiled and said yes, of course! He opened the door to the "cave" and down we went. I was not overly intimidated because we were having fun, but my knowledge of wine is relatively poor, so I simply told him that this was our first visit to the region and any information is appreciated! He was great, the Domaine has been around for centuries and instead of talking about the varieties of grape in length, which I believe is only pinot and chardonnay here?...he loved describing how each region and actually each Domaine within had its own distinct characteristics. The levels of clay, granite or limestone etc. differs from acre to acre basically and he described how each wine takes on different characteristics based on the soil. He did mention that many of their grape vines were in a perfect age range around 30-45 years old if I remember correctly. I don't know the square acreage, but they produce 65,000 bottles each year!! The tasting was wonderful and the cool, moldy, dimly lit vaulted wine cellar was exactly what you would expect from a 17th century structure! We bought 2 bottles of the Pommard "Vielle Vigne" (Old Vines) and the owner opened one for us to enjoy in the peace and quiet of his 17th century courtyard, doesn't get any better than this!!



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It was after 5pm and the bikes needed to be back by 6pm, so off we went. Along the way I could tell that fulfilling Donnas 2nd trip "must do" was accomplished in the absolute perfect place on earth, she was happy.



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Now I should end the story there really...but there was still dinner to be had outside under a full moon in the center of Beaune. Restaurant De Beaune Agure served up great escargot and the best Coq au Vin. We continued enjoying the local wines, this time on the recommendation of the owner/waiter a bottle of Cave Bissey's Mercurey. Mercurey is just south of where we biked this day....not quite the Pommard, but very good in its own right!!!



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To be continued..........

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Re: FRANCE part 8 [Re: BEERMAN] #206273
10/09/2019 09:54 PM
10/09/2019 09:54 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 2,782
Virginia wishing STJ
TomB Offline
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TomB  Offline
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Virginia wishing STJ
So jealous of your wine adventure! I so hope to follow your pedaling adventure one day... hopefully soon!
White Burgundy is one our favorites and of course the reds are in league of their own.


Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Re: FRANCE part 8 [Re: TomB] #206282
10/10/2019 04:18 AM
10/10/2019 04:18 AM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 3,528
Worcester, U.K. and Spain
Jeannius Offline
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Jeannius  Offline
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Worcester, U.K. and Spain
Originally Posted by TomB
So jealous of your wine adventure! I so hope to follow your pedaling adventure one day... hopefully soon!
White Burgundy is one our favorites and of course the reds are in league of their own.
If you end up going to Beaune then just to the north there is Aloxe Corton. A great red and also home to Corton Charlemagne white. I bought a case many years ago while on honeymoon so thought I'd check prices today... even at the online discounters nothing is under the $100 mark and most much more than that. Hate to think what the restaurant price would be! I don't remember it being very expensive at the Chateau but of course it may be much more popular now than back then.

Think I'll have to go there next year on my annual car trip down to Spain.

Re: FRANCE part 8 [Re: BEERMAN] #206283
10/10/2019 06:26 AM
10/10/2019 06:26 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 2,782
Virginia wishing STJ
TomB Offline
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TomB  Offline
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Virginia wishing STJ
Jeannius - Very familiar. I only have one bottle of Corton Charlemagne in my cellar and it was well above what found online.

Not to hijack Beerman's thread, but for a wine junkie their pedal adventure is dream come true. I have read this post multiple times and I am in awe of the pics.


Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Re: FRANCE part 8 [Re: TomB] #206309
10/10/2019 04:22 PM
10/10/2019 04:22 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
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VIRGINIA
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BEERMAN Offline OP
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BEERMAN  Offline OP
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Thanks Tom! Hijacking is quite alright...World Wide Travel doesn't spark much banter here!!

I'm glad we chose Beaune for our bike excursion and watching Donna have so much fun was a plus! It's a relatively easy ride and the E-Bikes would make it possible to cover so much more ground. As is said "so many places to visit, so little time", but this region is a must return I believe. But so are so many places right?!

I'll hijack my own thread and ask... where is your must return spot(s)? I know we will sail in the BVI's again, St John is certainly a must at some point, but Europe with its history has our serious attention right now. Good luck with your wine presentation!! Cheers!!

Re: FRANCE part 8 [Re: BEERMAN] #206323
10/10/2019 07:04 PM
10/10/2019 07:04 PM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 934
Middle Tennessee
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TravelHat Offline
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This was my favorite segment so far. Truly a bucket list trip for me. Many moons ago my first serious wine collection was any 1976 Burgundy I could get my hands on. Long gone but not forgotten. Really enjoying this trip. Thanks for sharing.

Re: FRANCE part 8 [Re: BEERMAN] #206325
10/10/2019 08:04 PM
10/10/2019 08:04 PM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 289
Lake Norman, NC
EllenS Online content
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EllenS  Online Content
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Lake Norman, NC
One of my must return is Cinque Terre. Hopefully going next fall.

Another one I’d like to experience again is a wine parade. We were visiting family friends in Konigsfeld Germany. In the fall all the small towns have wine festivals. Hiking through the vineyards to the town. You bring you own glass. Stand by the side of the road as all the floats go by and hold out your glass. It just getting refilled. It was such a local experience and a lot of fun. That area of Germany is very friendly and scenic as well.

So much to see. Glad a few others want to share their European adventures.

Ellen

Re: FRANCE part 8 [Re: EllenS] #206331
10/10/2019 10:22 PM
10/10/2019 10:22 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 2,947
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BEERMAN Offline OP
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TravelHat, this report was also my favorite and was tough because I had so many photos I wanted to use. There are just some days where you know EVERYTHING is perfect, and Beaune or any town in this region on that day, on a bike, would have been perfect. The photo limit on TTOL is 20 and I think that is perfect because it keeps my long winded reports from becoming "windy'er" ha!! We have of course had wine over the years, but we are starting to appreciate it more as we travel around....fyi I'm drinking a beer as I type this ;-)!

Ellen, Cinque Terre is one of our all time favorite spots, I have a trip report out there that describes our experience hiking the vineyards and olive groves from village to village, we also hope to return! The "local experience" is what we look for also, nothing better !

Re: FRANCE part 8 [Re: BEERMAN] #206337
10/11/2019 05:47 AM
10/11/2019 05:47 AM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 3,528
Worcester, U.K. and Spain
Jeannius Offline
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Jeannius  Offline
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Worcester, U.K. and Spain
Originally Posted by BEERMAN


I'll hijack my own thread and ask... where is your must return spot(s)? I know we will sail in the BVI's again, St John is certainly a must at some point, but Europe with its history has our serious attention right now. Good luck with your wine presentation!! Cheers!!

In Europe, one of the places we keep returning to is Lake Como. On a couple of occasions we've stayed in apartments straight across the lake from George Clooney's place. In fact, we get a better view than George since we get to look at his magnificent house whereas he gets to look at the concrete monstrosity that we stay in tonguea

Last edited by Jeannius; 10/11/2019 05:48 AM.
Re: FRANCE part 8 [Re: Jeannius] #206386
10/11/2019 07:11 PM
10/11/2019 07:11 PM
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VIRGINIA
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BEERMAN Offline OP
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Good to be George though, I guess?! We have skirted Como several times, but never stopped. Lugano was a wonderful experience and Gandria was amazing to walk through. When you stay on Lake Como where is a good location for a home base? I have a feeling our daughter who studied abroad in Lugano will certainly have us return to the region!

Re: FRANCE part 8 [Re: BEERMAN] #206395
10/12/2019 03:27 AM
10/12/2019 03:27 AM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 3,528
Worcester, U.K. and Spain
Jeannius Offline
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Jeannius  Offline
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Worcester, U.K. and Spain
Como itself for the best choice of restaurants and bars with everything within walking distance. If you want somewhere a bit smaller and quieter then Bellagio on the east coast about half way up the lake is beautiful.


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