November 17, 2019 Gron FR

Today was cleaning and packing day.  On Sundays what little that is open is open between 9am to Noon, so we headed out early to the grocery.  I asked to head to Leclerc because I wanted to try to get some LP gas so we could be toasty tonight.  Unfortunately the LP gas pumps were closed for Sunday, so I will cross my fingers that it does not get too cold tonight and I will set the thermostat a little lower than I wanted.  Bad planning on my part as I thought we would be fine for the rest of the trip.

At Leclerc we did find a very nice carwash that was better than the one we had used in the past.  So I spent a half hour pressure washing François while Ton worked on cleaning the interior.  The next stop was Auchan to buy some food for dinner, and to give Ton a last walk thru a grocery on this trip.  When we got there Ton told me to get lost for an hour so she could pack and I would just be in the way.

As we were leaving Auchan we saw the major traffic circle on the main road had been taken over by the Yellow Vests.  Today was the first anniversary of the Yellow Vest movement in France.  It has been covered lightly in the US.  It is a protest movement against some of the rationalization of the French economy that has been proposed by their President Macron.  The folks come out every Saturday and sit in the middle of the traffic circles that are all around France. They occasionally enter the circles and slow down traffic.  Unfortunately the protests today became violent in Paris, though the one we saw in Sens seemed very peaceful and was mostly people standing around a bonfire keeping warm.  On the way back to the aire we came across another group occupying a different traffic circle who were motorcyclists, we were not sure what they were protesting but one of the signs seemed to say that there were too many photo radars.  While we were waiting to get thru the circle one lady came barreling around the cars in line and tried to force her way thru the circle while shouting and getting shouted at by the motorcyclists.

The Yellow Vests in Sens.

The rest of the day was uneventful.

November 16, 2019 Gron FR

We woke up early with only two things in mind for the day.  Head over to the Valrhona Chocolate company, and then jump in François and do a marathon drive on the Autoroute to Sens.

Both missions were accomplished, when we went out for our walk to the chocolate company we were surprised to see two river cruise ships tied up to the docks right next to the campground.  The fog was dense and you could barely see them but they loomed in the dark.  We think all of the passengers had already taken off for their day trips as the crew of one of the ships were engaged in a vigorous snow ball fight on the top deck, which is usually used for the passengers to enjoy the sun and the views.

The pedestrian bridge across the Rhone shrouded in fog.

We arrived at the factory and Ton did some sampling and shopping while I sampled and tried to figure out why our internet was out of order.  Ton was much more successful than I was.  After much sampling and comparison we departed Valrhona with a kilo of chocolate to take home to Oregon.

François sitting in the fog and snow 30 yards from the Rhone River which is the source of the fog bank.

We quickly packed up and headed to the autoroute.  At the entrance I was distracted going up to the gate where you get the ticket to enter.  In France they have a Telepass system where you put a transponder in the car and do not need to stop at the toll gates.  As I drove up to one of the two entrance gates I was not paying attention, so when I pulled up to the machine that usually dispenses the ticket you need, nothing happened, and then after a few seconds a recording began lecturing me in French about the fact that I had entered the Telepass gate, after about 20 seconds of being scolded in French, and having a picture taken of our plate (there was a flash at the rear of François which I presume was a camera going off), the machine dispensed the ticket we needed, the barrier went up and we were on our way.  I fear there may be a fine in our future.

A windshield shot of a castle along the A6 autoroute.

The rest of the day consisted of us navigating the 430 km’s on the autoroute, and paying a huge toll at the end.  Before heading back to the aire in Gron which is our normal beginning and end of trip stop, we also filled up a thirsty François to the tune of €120.  The days when we see the least are often the most expensive.

Fall colors on the A6 autoroute in Burgundy.

October 4, 2019 Gron FR

Today we moved about 5km’s to our favorite aire at Gron.  Jet lag won the day and neither one of us were moving around until about 11:30 so we decided to take care of a couple of more things around our base in Sens before hitting the road tomorrow.

The biggest thing was to fill up the LP and top off the fuel in François.  It looks like we will have some cool nights so the heater is going to be running.  They have been having a drought around here so of course we show up and bring them three days of rain and cool weather.

One small adventure happened today.  E. Leclerc is one of our favorite grocery chains in France and the one in Sens has propane and relatively cheap fuel so we decided to head over there.  It is not pay at the pump so we had to circle thru the pay station twice to take care of our two different fuel needs.  

When we finished the fuel merry go round we headed over to the parking lot for the store, and they had installed height barriers restricting the parking lot to 2.3 meters (François is 2.9 meters).  We have shopped here on every trip so I thought they must have at least one part of their large parking lot open to Campers, and as we drove around the lot the last entrance had the height barriers open so we pulled in and parked.  After we finished our shopping we came out and while we were in the store they had closed the height barrier trapping us inside.  

An example of the height barrier used to keep RV’s like François out.

As I was trying to sort out how we were going to escape another Camper pulled up.  We had a short conversation in sign language and Franglish where he told me (and I am paraphrasing greatly) that his camper was 2.8m and he fit under the sign.  Meanwhile a couple of cars had pulled up behind us and were watching us figure this out, then a third car came up and began blowing his horn where upon we both gave him a big Gallic shrug, like what do you want.  The guy in the shorter camper went under the bar without hitting, and then got out to guide me thru.  Taking it slow we escaped under the barrier, and with a shake and a bon journey we were on our way to the aire to finish our day.

October 3, 2019 Sens FR

Started the day by going over to retrieve François from storage at Eurocamping Cars.  The next stop was Garage Alary to get some new tires installed on François.  The designated English speaker Abdelsem did a good job of making us feel welcome.  Two hours later we have new tires and were on our way to Sens for some grocery shopping.

I misread the gauge on the control panel and thought the battery was down on François so instead of going to the free aire in Gron we usually stay in we went to the pay aire in Sens as it provides electricity.  As it turns out we had electricity, not water.  So instead of staying in Gron for free with free water, the pay aire in Sens charges an extra 2 euro for 10 minutes of water.  My first mistake of the trip on the first day.  I tried to convince Ton it is better here because their is a Lidl across the street to shop in, but she knows better.

François parked in the aire in Sens.

We finished the day up with a short trip to Lidl and an early supper.  Tonight will be an early one as we are both quite jet lagged.

October 2, 2019 Sens FR

We made it back to France.  This time the trip was on Delta Airlines and unlike our previous flight on Icelandic they provided plenty of food for free.  Another bonus is that they are flying 767’s on the route from Seattle to Paris which comes with 2-3-2 seating so Ton and I had our two seats to ourselves which is another bonus.  

We were impressed the first time we arrived at Charles DeGaulle airport as there was no wait at all for immigration.  This time was absolutely the opposite, their were easily a couple of thousand people in the arrival hall and the crowd had spilled outside the roped off area into a hallway where people fed in from three different directions so getting a line of any type formed out there was going to take some effort on someone’s part, unfortunately the people working there chose not to be the ones to make the effort, so the passengers did their best to organize things. it took nearly two hours to clear immigration.

The rest of the trip worked as planned with our normal train ride from the airport to downtown, a short trip on the metro to Gare DeBercy and a train to Sens.  Overall from leaving our house to arriving at the hotel in Sens was a 28 hour trip.  

June 23, 2019 Sens FR

Today was our last day with François so our priority was to get to Sens in time to make a quick run thru Auchan to pick up some last minute snack food, as we came to the realization a couple of days ago that Icelandic Airlines will not provide us food on our 11 hours in the air coming home.  We picked them primarily because they had a flight into Portland from Reykjavik and we were thinking about using them in the future as the connections are clean.  It never occurred to us that an airline would put you on an 11.5 hour flight and expect you to buy food.  Plus the fare was not particularly a bargain, live and learn.

Now that we are back in France and trying to avoid tolls Greta picked a route that while inexpensive turned out to involve quite a few country roads that had our speed down, so the trip took about 40 minutes longer than we planned, but all ended well as we arrived at Auchan with an hour to spare before their 1230 Sunday closing time.  

The country side in France is really magnificent.  Several times per day you come across a view like this.

We had also planned to give François a good bath today, but a few minutes into the wash, the car wash broke down. We quickly took advantage of the water that we had to give him a quick wipe down, and he ended up presentable.

Ton spent the afternoon packing and cleaning the interior while I tried to stay out of the way, but remain available when heavy things needed lifting.

April 29, 2019 Sens FR

Today we slept in until a little after 9am, and then headed over to Veron.  Our first linguistic adventure of the day was with the front desk clerk.  Her English was very good and she had spent a year in the US as an exchange student.  We asked her for a taxi and she asked where we wanted to go I replied Veron, she did not understand, so I tried again and she did not understand, so I wrote it down and she giggled and said oh the village next to hers.  I was pronouncing it Ve-RON, and it  should have been VER-on.

We picked up François and settled up our storage bill for the winter.  Next stop was Auchan where we picked up a few groceries to get us started, with a promise from me to Ton to return tomorrow to finish up.  We moved over to the aire in Gron which is conveniently located to all of the shopping and Ton spent the afternoon setting up the van with minimal help from me, I mostly tried to stay out of the way.

François settling in with our American and French neighbors.

We were in the middle of our meal when a van similar to ours pulled in to the spot next to ours.  As they were backing in I heard the directions being given with a distinctive American accent so we stuck our heads out to say hello.  Thom and Karen Metcalf had picked up their new to them Knaus a few days earlier and were getting some last minute things taken care of.  We had a nice conversation with them and enjoyed their stories of traveling the world.  They had a cool portable washing machine that Ton is interested in hearing how well it works as finding places to wash clothes is her pet peeve.

April 28, 2019 Sens FR

The flights today were courtesy of Alaska and American Airlines.  Both flights were quite full, and the American flight had the tightest seats we have seen in quite a while.  Ton managed to get a little sleep while I was up the whole flight.  

To get from the airport in Paris to Sens is a fairly straightforward.  You catch a subway into Paris for about 40 minutes, you then transfer to another subway that takes you to the train station.  From Paris to Sens is about a one hour train ride, unfortunately it is not one of the cool high speed trains but just a little local.  The most difficult thing about the trip is lugging the suitcases thru the subway and on and off the trains.

We arrived in Sens about 2pm, checked into the hotel and slept for a couple of hours until supper.  We had a Chinese Buffet as it was the only option near the hotel besides McDonalds.  The Chinese was interesting as in every country the food is adapted to local tastes. In this case this means in addition to the usual suspects of fried rice, and noodles, fish, and calamari, there were “Chinese” frog legs, and snails.  The frog legs were quite good actually.

November 4, 2018 Gron FR

The weather is definitely going towards winter.  No frost this morning but very dense fog.  Over night we were joined by 4 other RV’s so it was not the quiet night we had expected.  

We had two main chores to accomplish today, wash our clothes and particularly the sheets and towels, and give François a bath inside and out.

Of the two chores the most dicey looked to be getting the laundry done.  We normally do our laundry at campgrounds as they usually have washers and dryers, but as the camping season is done, none of the campgrounds are open.  Last night we googled laundromats in Sens and only got one response and it is right in the middle of the old city.  We decided to head in there early to see if it did exist and if we could find a place to park reasonably close to the laundromat.  It did exist and after a small adventure down one way roads we found a place to park only 10 minutes away.  The first chore done, we headed over to Auchan and gave François a bath.  The next trip Ron is going to have to lay on some proper vehicle washing supplies.

Today is Sunday so by the time we finished those two chores everything was closed.  We headed back to Gron, and spent the afternoon cleaning up François’ interior and packing.  

Gron, the small village where we are spending the night.

In the evening we took a quick stroll around the park next to the aire.  The village has planted some apple trees in the park.  Each tree is a different variety, and they all still have fruit on them.  We were poking around looking at the apples when a couple from the village began encouraging us to eat them.  They were all delicious much to our surprise and you could really tell the differences in the varieties.

This fellow really encouraged us to take all we could.  Note the different varieties on the ground.
Ton’s favorite variety based on a taste test of the different apples.

November 3, 2018 Gron FR

We woke up to frost, another sign that it is time to probably be going.  In France most churches stop tolling there bells around 6 pm, but for some reason in Noyers they toll them all night, so I heard midnight counted off on the church bell.

The trip is pretty much in the maintenance phase at this point.  Today we headed towards Sens and began getting François ready to be put in the barn for the winter.  (in this case it literally is an old barn.)  After fueling up with diesel and propane our pockets were considerably lighter, due to a combination of expensive French diesel, and Ron letting the fuel gauge get into the red.  We stopped at Auchan to do some last minute gift shopping.  Ton had done an inventory of food and planned our last cooked meals, they are going to be large in order to get rid of all of the perishables.  

A village in Burgundy, one of many beautiful little villages tucked away in fields.

We have settled in in an aire in Gron and Ton is packing one of the suit cases.  This aire has this super high tech toilet unlike anything we have ever seen.  It is self cleaning, has a push button locking system, and dispenses soap, water, and air to dry out of a large fixture in the center.  Everyone who approaches it spends a few minutes studying how to operate the thing.

November 2, 2018 Noyers FR

As the trip is winding down we are less focused on seeing things and more focused on moving in the right direction.  Now we are not googling good places to visit, but where are laundromats, and car washes in Sens.  

Today though we decided to make a couple of stops, the first was Vezeley and the second was Noyers.  We miscalculated the time it would take to cover the 200km’s as the GPS after behaving itself for the whole trip decided to send us on a 80km adventure along one and one and a half lane D roads which slowed us down considerably.  Having said that the leaves are turning here and we did see some really beautiful countryside. 

One of the roads the GPS sent us down, luckily we did not run into anyone.

When we arrived at Vezaley we pulled up in the parking lot and both of us realized we had stopped here in the spring.  It is a beautiful place but it was getting late, so we decided to head to Noyers.  It was a good decision.

Fall colors.

We arrived in Noyers about 4pm and it made a good first impression.  We quickly got our warm clothes on as it is quite cold and spitting rain on and off.   The town is one of the best collections of half-timbered buildings we have seen in France, and has an air of pride and history that made us like it quite a lot. Ton saw a patissiery and decided she wanted an eclair, but after we bought it we realized it was something else, but never the less delicious.

A courtyard of half timbered buildings in various states of restoration.
Two more examples of half timbered buildings.
A nice window surrounded by vines.

We ended the day in the gothic church at sunset and the stained glass windows were perfectly illuminated by the setting sun.  We are really looking forward to a walk in the morning, and the sun is supposed to be out then.  Right now the church bells are pealing and it is drizzling on the roof of François.  Tonight we are going to give François’ heating system a test as it is supposed to get down to freezing here.  

Stained glass at sunset.

September 20, 2018 Sens FR

Today the jet lag won, so we slept in very late.  After we were finally going we had a nice lunch.  As we were getting ready to head into town to see the sights in Sens, we met our neighbors who were a nice Australian couple Peter and Robyn who had rented a RV from French Motor Home Hire.  After some introductions we realized that they were on the last day of their motorhome trip, and were trying to get rid of some stuff before they turned their RV in.  As a result we received some things to stock our vehicle with.  Their agenda for the day matched ours so we decided to walk into town together.

We visited the cathedral in Sens which adds to our list of magnificent cathedrals in France.  The size and the intricacy of the construction is really awe inspiring.  The special thing about the cathedral in Sens is the stained glass windows.  They have examples from the 12th century thru to the 18th century.  Sens cathedral is also where Thomas Beckett from England spent his years in exile, before returning to England to be executed  by King Henry II.

The exterior of the cathedral in Sens.
And the interior.

After spending some time in the cathedral we decided to try to find a store to get a French mobile phone.  After some issues we decided that it would be good to get a local phone.  There was supposed to be an Orange store in downtown Sens, but when we got there it was out of business.  We also decided to make a final stock run to Auchan and Lidl for more food.  Now our refrigerator is really stuffed.

We had separated from Peter and Robyn to take care of the phone, but when we returned we ended up joining them for a beer and to exchange stories and information about places to go.  One beer led to a couple, and we ended up at a Pizza place across from the aire.  It was a great night and we hope we run into them again in the future in our travels.

September 19, 2018 Sens FR

Today we picked up François the motorhome at France Motorhome Hire.  Sally and Simon did a great job walking us thru the paperwork and showing us around the motorhome.  It was a pretty easy to learn how to operate as we bought the same motorhome that we had rented in the spring. 

When we bought the motorhome we did add three things; one is an inverter so we can have access to the power points when we are not plugged in, we also added a solar panel and a second battery to give us the power to stay off the grid for a few days if necessary.  In addition we added a safe for obvious reasons.  The last thing we added was a propane system that allows us to fill the tanks at LPG gas pumps in gas stations. This should allow us to avoid the issue of incompatible bottles and regulators from country to country in Europe.  

Our first stop after unpacking was to head over to fill the LP system.  Ron was a little worried as Propane dispensing in the US is not something that is done self-service, but when all was said and done it went pretty smoothly.  Since the gas filling station was next to a grocery we made our first stop for groceries.  After that we headed to the Aire (For those of you who did not follow us on our rental adventure in France an Aire is an overnight spot for RV parking that is not a campground, usually a parking lot designated for overnight stays, very common in France.)  The Aire here is quite nice as it used to be the municipal campground.  It is conveniently located next to a Lidl grocery, and is walking distance to downtown.

Our new to us RV François in the Aire at Sens.

September 17-18, 2018 Sens FR

Another easy travel day with everything working as it should courtesy of United Airlines.  Both of our flights actually departed a little early, and with an early departure we arrived in Paris an hour early.

As we had 4 bags this time between our clothes and stuff to equip François the motorhome, we decided to hire a car for the drive to Sens.  This was a little pricey but we have no regrets given the logistics, and we certainly saved more in bringing the two bags worth of stuff over from the US than we spent hiring the car.

We arrived at the Ibis hotel in Sens before 1pm on Tuesday with no problems or adventures, we took a nap.  After the nap we headed over to the Auchan Grocery near our hotel to do a little shopping.  That done we headed back to the hotel and went to bed.

April 29, 2018 St. Julien de Sault FR

All things must end.  Last night there was a heck of a storm that woke us both up.  For the second time we had a thunderstorm in France with a pretty healthy dumping of rain, even possibly some hail.  We spent the morning packing up and cleaning François so that we can have a quick and easy turn around tomorrow before heading to Paris.

We left Merry around 11 am with about 80km’s to cover to the Aire we spent our first night in.  The GPS finally decided to cooperate and kept us on good 2 lane D roads, and even decided to by-pass a couple of towns rather than send us thru the middle of them.  As a result we made really good time getting to St. Julien.  

The wine has been fantastic in France so I thought we would include a picture of the plant that has added a lot of fun to the trip for us.

We needed to fill up the fuel, and after that we had some time to kill.  As it is Sunday nearly everything but restaurants are closed.  Across from the gas station was a McDonalds, and we thought why not?  This was the most high tech McDonalds I have ever seen.  You ordered your food at a 4 foot touch screen.  One interesting thing is that we had heard that we might run into trouble with our American credit cards here, and for the entire trip we had never had a problem paying with our credit cards until today at McDonalds. The giant screen rejected all three of our chip cards, so we had to take our little slip up to the one cashier on duty and pay for our 2 coffees and fries with cash!

April 28, 2018 Merry-sur-Yonne FR

Our night in the car park at Flavigny was uneventful, except after the warm nights in Provence it was quite chilly back in Burgundy.  When we woke up and got going Ton decided that the candy tins at the factory here in Flavigny would be great gifts so we needed to kill time until it opened at 930.  

Ton remembered there were some spectacular canola fields as we came into town.  We decided to take a short walk up to get a closer look.  It was a nice walk and we enjoyed being out in the quiet French countryside. 

Ton in front of a huge field of Canola.  This is the last canola photo, we promise.

After completing our purchase at the candy factory we headed over to the town of Vezelay.  It is another one of the most beautiful villages in France.  We were back on D roads of Burgundy.  The countryside in Burgundy is definitely much quieter than the countryside in Provence, so the drives are a lot more enjoyable and the scenery is terrific.  

A town in Burgundy.  The roads in Burgundy are much quieter than in Provence.

Several people we had met on the trip said that Vezalay was a town not to miss.  It is another of the most beautiful villages in France, and as you drive towards the town it is quite striking.  The weather has taken a turn for the worst with temperatures in the 50’s and on again, off again rain.  But we caught a gap while we walked up the hill to Vezelay’s Cathedral.  The town was interesting and pretty but once again felt touristy, especially compared to Flavigny.  While we were in the cathedral a mass started with about 15 nuns coming out to join the mass.  

The Cathedral in Vezelay.  It is a very striking white color, and interesting because it has less art in place than other Cathedral’s we have visited.

The last stop of the day was at Merry-Sur-Yonne which has a nice ring to it.  The campground here is first class, and the bridge into the small village over the river Yonne is quite pretty.  Ton has declared it the nicest campground she has been in, though we both did grumble a little about paying €19 after several nights of free or nearly free camping.  However, the warm reception from the British owner, warm unlimited showers and the electricity have reduced the grumbling.  At the end of the day we walked down to the Yonne River and had a quiet end to our day.

The bridge over the Yonne River near our campground.

April 27, 2018 Flavigny-sur-Ozerin FR

Today we had to bite the bullet and do some freeway travel.  We needed to get north so we can be in position to turn François in on Monday.  So we put 300km’s under our belt in one long leap.  We choose the town of Flavigny-Sur-Ozerain as it was the site where one of Ton’s favorite movies was filmed, Chocolat with Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche.  It is also on the list of one of the most beautiful villages in France.  

A street scene from Flavigny, one of the most beautiful villages in France.

The trip north on the Autoroute was uneventful even though the GPS insisted on routing us right thru the heart of Lyon (France’s second biggest city) instead of taking the bypass that all of the trucks did.  However, traffic was not too bad so Ron forgave her and we did get to see Lyon at 70kph.

Since we last left Burgundy the canola has really grown.

We arrived in Flavigny around 2pm and found it quite peaceful.  Our first stop was a candy factory in an old Abby that has been producing Anis based candies since 1591.  After some sampling of the wares again we purchased some tins of the candy.    

A cool Renault RV with the logo of the candy factory we visited today.

All of the other most beautiful villages felt a little commercial, Flavigny most definitely did not.  We spent about 20 minutes looking for the tourist information office when we realized we had walked past it twice before noticing the sign in the window saying it was closed until July.  We wanted the tourist information office to see if it would be all right to spend the night in their parking lot. After walking around the town for a couple of hours and enjoying an afternoon coffee and beer,   we finally decided on our own that it was ok to park as there was no police in the town to ask.  Right now we have finished our dinner and are enjoying some wine in a very peaceful and serene parking lot, with birds chirping in the background.  

Ron at one of the medieval gates to the city of Flavigny.

April 11, 2018 Cluny FR

Last night we decided to head south for the trip.  It took us up to now to finalize our plans, though we are going to make daily plans so how far we move each day is up to debate.  The problem is we keep finding things to do so we are not covering much distance.  In fact after 6 days we are sill in Burgundy and are only 175 miles from our starting point.  

Today we had two stops in mind, a cheese factory outside Dijon and the Cluny Abbey.  The first stop was a factory that specializes in soft cheese manufacture.  We did the self guided tour.  This involved peering thru windows at workers who tried to look unimpressed and watching videos of the process.  It was interesting if a little impersonal.  The fun began at the end where we were given five cheeses to taste and of course some bread and wine to go with them.  Ton really liked the cheeses as she likes softer cheeses.  Ron is a cheddar fan which makes him pretty much a charlatan, at least in Burgundy.

Some of the workers in the plant performing one of the three cleanings each cheese gets.

Our long drive of about 60 miles began after that.  On the way to Cluny we came to the town of Cormatin it was pretty well developed and we where trying to figure out why, when we saw an interesting Chateau on the river.  We were already by it when we decided to go back and check it out.  The signs said open, but the door to the ticket office was locked and the tourist office was also closed for lunch.  So we had to settle for some photos over the fence in the parking lot before moving on to Cluny.

Looks like it would have been an interesting walk but we could not find anyone to take our 6 Euros.

Our destination for today was the Abby of Cluny.  At one time the largest building in Christendom before the building of St. Peters in Rome.  On arrival in town we were looking for the town aire.  After much circling around including one trip into the heart of the town down narrow one way streets we found a parking lot kind of in the right part of town.  It had four or five RV’s parked up so we decided why not join them.

The original church went from the point of this photo to the spire below.  That spire is one of the three that were in place in the church.

We headed into town to take the Abby tour.  The Abby is now mostly in ruins with only 10% of the original buildings still standing.  What is there is really impressive and it does not take much imagination to see the beauty of the remainder.  The rest was lost because the order that originally built it ran out of money to maintain it and they ended up selling it to the town.  The town then dismantled the church and sold the stone locally and in Paris.  If it was standing today in it’s finished state it would surely be one of the biggest attractions in Burgundy if not France.

A view of the town of Cluny from the tower of Fromagges next to the Abby.

When we returned to our parking lot there were only two other RV’s left so Ron came to the conclusion that this was not the aire.  After some googling he got a map to the aire.  When we arrived it was clearly an aire.  The problem was that instead of being free as advertised it cost 10 Euro, and you had to call the town police to pay up, and failure to call in a timely manner increased the cost to 22 Euro.  Eventually we found a nice lady who made the call for us.  So tonight we are watching a parade of horses go by to the local stables in the town Hippodrome next door.

April 10, 2018 Dijon FR

Today we planned on spending the day exploring Dijon.  The jet lag is finally wearing off and we woke up at a pretty normal time after sleeping thru the night.  

Yesterday we had purchased a walking guide of Dijon from the Tourist Office.  It is called The Owls Trail.  On the main church in Dijon sometime in the 16th century someone (no one is sure who) added an owl on one of the side walls.  The legend is that if you touch it with your left hand (the one closest to your heart) and make a wish it will come true.

The lucky owl on the side of the Church of Notre Dame.  Notice how worn it is from all of the people looking for good luck.

They have embedded little owl plaques in the sidewalks thru out downtown and all you have to do is follow them in a loop to see most of the main sites in town.  It really is a nice system and a fun way to make your way around town.  

A sample of the cute owl embedded in the sidewalk.

Because today was market day we decided to start our Owls Tour at the market.  The market building is a cast iron building built in 1875.  The market was primarily meat and cheese, with the cheese places having the longest lines of locals.  We did not end up buying anything but enjoyed window shopping.  

Chickens prepared for cooking.

Following the owl around town we were overwhelmed with churches, old mansions, old shops, and palaces.  To see so much first rate medieval and renaissance architecture in such a small area was impressive to Ron as it is his first visit to continental Europe.  

Ron liked this building a lot.  

Having spent a couple of hours wandering around Dijon we decided it was time for a break and some lunch.  We went to a restaurant the winery had recommended yesterday and each had the Plat du Jour.  The main course was a stuffed chicken with sauce and noodles.  The desert was small plates including a pudding, a creme brulee, and an espresso.  It was a good deal at 14 euro’s.  

We did some window shopping in some of the modern stores, and a department store before deciding to head back to François (Ton decided that the RV was too classy for a name like Frenchy).  Ron missed the turn heading out of town despite having done the exact same roundtrip yesterday, and led Ton on a 1/2 hour wander thru Dijon before finally getting back on track.

At the end of the day including Ron’s wandering around lost we posted over 10 miles on the Fitbit.  Not bad for a couple of old people.  

April 9, 2018 Dijon FR

The jet lag is starting to wear off a bit and we were both up and moving around a little earlier.  We were undecided about the day as it is supposed to rain this afternoon, and it was spitting a little this morning to give us a taste.

We did want to visit a winery and after much research Ton decided on Bernard Rion Sarl in the village of Vosnee Romanee.  It was a great choice.  We were met by the owners wife as we pulled up in front.  She assigned us to Bastien who gave us a personal tour of the winery and poured about 8 or 9 wines for us to taste.  During the pouring the wife came down and offered us some truffles and bread to go with the tasting from their kitchen.  A little later the owner Bernard came in and said hello, and offered us some tips on where to find good beer in the area.  We decided to buy only two bottles as we do not have a lot of room.  Ron was very tempted by the Grand Cru but at 90 Euro a bottle it seemed a little extravagant for anything we could whip up in the RV.  We instead settled for a couple of lessor wines that were still very good, and one we will save for a special night before we leave.

Ron pretending he is a tasting room worker in France.

As we are learning the system here we needed some more supplies so we popped in to another grocery store for some more stuff.  After tasting some great wine, Ton was fascinated with the wine selection in the grocery and decided to buy a 1.99 Euro bottle to compare with what we had just tasted. We are drinking it as we write this and it is quite enjoyable, though not up to the standard of Bernard Rion Sarl.

Bird along the Canal De Bourgogne.  Not a species we are familiar with.

When we arrived at Dijon the weather was not very threatening so we decided to head into town. It was about a mile and half walk mostly along the river to the old part of town.  Tomorrow we are going to explore the town seriously, but today we visited the Musee Del Bel Artes in the old Duke of Bourgogne’s palace.  It was a very impressive museum with great medieval art and armaments. The palace itself is massive and reflects the power the Duchy of Bourgogne had during the early Renaissance period.  It was under construction so there will be more to see in the future.  

The square outside the Duke of Bourgogne’s palace.

We decided to head back a little early as the sky was starting to threaten rain.  We made it back just in time before a really large thunderstorm moved thru the area complete with lightning and a real gully washer of rain that would have competed with any thunderstorm in the mid-west.