August 8- Beaune's Vineyards and Museums

This morning, the weather forecast on our itouch predicted rain for the day so after a nice breakfast of cereal, yogurt, fruit, and croissants, we headed out with umbrellas in hand prepared to enjoy a variety of indoor and outdoor activities. Our first stop was the colorful and lively Beaune Saturday Market. Here you can feast your eyes on a wide array of organic fruits and vegetables including ripe juicy strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, tomatoes so freshly picked the vines are still attached, and honey so right out of the hive that even the bees were seeking it out. Inside the market were crusty loves of bread, 15 kinds of olives all displayed in wooden bowls, cheeses, and roast chickens. Children lingered longingly over a huge buffet of candies sold by the pound and the aroma of fresh flowers and spices filled the air making it a very pleasant place to visit.

Right across from the market is Hotel Dieu. Built in 1443, this former hospital with a multi colored tiled roof, houses some 5,000 items. In the largest room is what looks like an elegant hospital inside the sanctuary of a church where all patients can view Mass, but it was actually a hospice. A river runs under the town and we could see it through a glassed in area on the floor where the nurses once used it as a disposal. Large cases in another room displayed antique syringes. The masterpiece of the complex is a magnificent alter piece showing the Last Judgement. It is kept in a dimly lit room where visitors are advised to whisper only. As you look at the painting, a huge magnifying glass moves about it highlighting each section which made the people look so real you felt you could reach out and touch them.

To save euro, we always try to eat at least one picnic lunch per day and it really pays off. All around us in the park were other families doing the same thing. We then took the Visiotrain for a one hour tour through Beaune and out into the vineyards. The information given in English is sparse, but it's a nice overview to give you a taste of the town. Once back in town, we visited the Alain Hesse Fromagerie where over 60 different types of cheeses are stored in a cave. We learned that in the French tradition, cheese should be enjoyed with red wine and bread, not crackers.

After a delicious dinner at the same restaurant as last night, we went to an interesting festival: Cine-Retro featured three silent films from the 1920s with a live pianist. We were treated to Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, and to a funny Max Linder French film. The movies were shown on a reel to reel projector which made it feel very authentic. Inbetween each movie, a female singer sang French love songs which was an unusual contrast to the films. On the way back to our hotel, the moon was shining high above, hopefully signally a good day for tomorrow when we will journey to Chamonix.


CoachSparky said…
The Beaune Saturday Market sounds incredible and your descriptions made me hungry:) Did you try any of the cheese from the Alain Hesse Fromagerie? If so, which was your favorite? That does sound like an interesting festival. Were there movies being shown on multiple nights? Any other aspects to the festival?
Anonymous said…
how are you?

Thanks for writing this blog, loved reading it

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