A Weekend in Burgundy & Port Lesney
Our first weekend of work and play, sans kids. Final destination was to spend a day with an old friend of DH who was turning 50: a 2-star Michelin chef, super cool, headband-cum-leather-pants-sporting dude who shoots with the conventional film loaded on his 21-year-old Nikon. He does not own an email address, does not work a computer, runs one of THE best restaurants in Nice which does not accept credit cards, does not have a phone, does not take reservations. No menu, you eat what he finds in the market each morning. Epitome of simplifying life. Cool, right?
But before we reach the final destination, a quaint and beautiful chateau in Port Lesney, we take the opportunity to visit Burgundy. But of course! Vineyards, wine-tasting, picturesque scenes. Home-cooked Escargot and Beef Coq au Vin for dinner, ending with a taste of their local cheese. Yumm begins.
While in the area, we visited the Hospices de Beaune, also known as the “Palace for the Poor.” Founded in 1440 by Nicolas Rolin, to house the poor and the needy. A spectacular showcase of French architecture in the 15th Century!
Then, we finish off the 425 kilometer drive at our destination: Chateau de Germigney, Port Lesney. We join the birthday celebrant and his 20 some guests at a typical bistro just “down the road.” An even yumm-ier lunch: Frog Legs and Oysters to start, a huge beautifully-stuffed fowl, and the most mouth-watering dessert I have yet tasted: a Paris-Brest. A nice light pastry with whipped cream, with subtle hints of crunchy caramel and almonds.
The afternoon was then spent visiting another historical place — a castle built in the 1500’s, where a “village” was formed within its walls to produce salt. The architecture of the building looked almost “modern” — a sign of a creator born way before his time. The “village” was contained in a semi-circle lay out, with the Director’s house smack in the center. Imagine living in a structure like so:
Dinner was the clincher: a 7-course meal that necessitated 4 cigarette breaks, and 4 hours of emptying each plate of exquisite dishes prepared with such care and love. Did I mention the matching wines as well? Truly an evening of fine taste. (I must add that those ciggie breaks had to be taken in the adjacent terrace, amidst the winds of winter, with frozen fingers, a cocktail dress, and only a pashmina to throw around my shoulders.)
Oh… it was a tough weekend indeed. Especially when we had to eventually retire in a room that looked like this.
Life is certainly beginning to brighten up on this side of the world (despite the temperatures at -5 degrees)!
Weekend Rating: 9.5 out of 10. (Also because I managed to find my way home! DH had to continue driving down to Cannes for business, so I had to take the TGV from Dijon to Paris. I alight at Gare de Lyon, armed with my “metro instructions” all memorized, only to find out that Line Number 1 was “out of order.” Panic… NOT! Because I never leave home without my Metro map! I figured a reroute and skipped all the way home, proud to be slowly developing into a more learned Anglophone. Yay for me!)
One last P.S.
Can’t leave this post without a picture of the loo. I mean… how bloody cool is that? How much french-ier can a french loo be?