I had to do some serious detective and memory work on this short trip to Burgundy, as I didn’t keep a journal.
Here is an extract from an e-mail from “Auntie Janet” at Ultimate Travel:
I think you are best to fly to Lyon, which is about 2 hours/86 miles from the hotel.
The flights are as follows:
01 Sept. BA 360 Depart Heathrow 08.40 Arrive Lyon 11.15
05 Sept. BA 363 Depart Lyon 19.25 Arrive Heathrow 20.00
…small automatic hire car, Citroen C3 or similar…will be on request if you want to go ahead and they can be quite scarce.
Darn right about scarcity – we ended up needing to reacquaint ourselves with a stick shift for that trip.
We ended up booking this hotel, Moulin d’Hauterive. It boasted a pool and a tennis court. The tennis court was an interesting wreck, I remember, variable bounce, varying between “in yer face” and non-existent, like playing real tennis except without walls, galleries and roofs. I have written a short aside on the tennis – here.
Tony and Phillie were going to be on a driving all the way to South of France holiday late August. The idea was for us to join them in a nice spot mid-France as they wended their way back to Blighty. Once we’d booked, I wrote:
We fly in to Lyon late morning on the Tuesday, so should arrive at the hotel some time mid afternoon if all goes to plan. Suspect we might get there before you unless you leave early and put your foot down.
The hotel restaurant does not open on Wednesdays and the nearest alternative is some 15 kms away from the hotel. We might want to try that alternative place or we might want to arrange a picnic for the Wednesday! We can decide all that when we are there, but thought you ought to know this vital fact.
We did indeed arrive some time before them on the Tuesday, 1 September. Janie got busy making sure that we (and Tony/Phillie) had the best available rooms, which got us off to an interesting start with the son of the proprietor, whose name escapes me and is absent from the website. Sonny took pains to tell us that he had worked in advertising in Paris for many years, before reluctantly agreeing to retreat and help run the family business when it got a bit harder for his parents. The parents were noticeably absent throughout our stay.
I recall that we did indeed eat in the hotel with Tony and Phillie on the Tuesday and the Thursday evening. The food was very good there. The wine pricey but that’s Burgundy for you. I also recall us going into Beaune on the Wednesday evening and having a very pleasant meal in the town. Tony decided to drive in the end, after we toyed with the idea of getting taxis too and fro.
We mostly just all relaxed together for two-and-a-half to three days. Tony and Phillie set off for home Friday morning; we’d booked the extra night.
Tony and Phillie both looked at us quizzically before they headed off when the answer to their question, “what are you going to do after we leave today?” was, “we’re going to the Bresse service station for lunch”. Our culinary service station quest was largely a result of reading this article by aptronym extraordinaire Heston Blumenthal.
We did also want to see Beaune…
…and Bourg-en-Bresse, but the most important bit was to eat lunch at the Bresse service station, where they serve poulet-de-Bresse and yes indeed it was wonderful food.
After lunch, we strolled around and found a nice music shop (I think in Bourg, not Beaune) where I bought some very good CDs, not least Jean-Guihen Queyras’s Complete Bach Cello Suites (we have subsequently seen him perform at the Wigmore Hall – click here). We also bought some well-cool Paris Jazz CDs, which Janie still plays when she is feeling in a suitably continental mood.
When we got back, the weather had perked up, so we played tennis and relaxed around the pool. I was reading Life Beyond the Airing Cupboard by John Barclay – a seriously good book btw.
We didn’t take many photos on that trip; indeed I think none until after Tony and Phillie had gone. In truth, Phillie was not very well by then (it turned out to be Phillie’s last holiday) and I don’t think she much fancied being photographed. The few pictures we did take are of Beaune and of me and Janie relaxing when we got back from our poulet-de-Bresse quest – on this small album going forward from the starting point.