European Travel

Friday, May 18, 2012

France Again? To Burgundy and Beyond

Our wonderfully charming Gite challenged our GPS and Joe's patience, but once we found it, we were so happy to share a lovely bottle of Burgundy wine together.  The woman that runs/owns this little hide away farm, lead us up and up and up to our room amongst the rafters.  The spiral staircase was, not exaggerating, 33 steps, with one GIANT one at the top.  We always remark how this "would never be allowed in the US".  But part of the fun and adventure of traveling, if you have a good sense of humor, is trying something different. 
Delicious wine, asking a farmer directions and wee bit of all those stairs!

Our dinner began at 8:00, with typical French flair -- the boys ate Escargot and (WOW) and  Ham in Parsley Aspic (see below)
And as if you might still need further encouragement to visit the region of Burgundy, there's THE wine!

 The city of Beaune, famous for it's grapes on the Cote de Beaune are some of the finest Burgundy Wines in the World.  We sampled a few lovelies with plans to return without the kids another time :)

Also located in Beaune, is the Hotel Dieu a medieval hospital for the poor.  The Hospices de Beaune received the first patient on 1 January 1452. Elderly, disabled and sick people, with orphans, women about to give birth and the destitute have all been uninterruptedly welcomed for treatment and refuge, from the Middle Ages until today.  Over the centuries, the hospital radiated outwards, grouping with similar establishments in the surrounding villages of Pommard, Nolay, Meursault. Many donations - farms, property, woods, works of art and of course vineyards - were made to it, by grateful families and generous benefactors. The institution is one of the best and oldest example of historical, philanthropic, and wine-producing heritage, and has become linked with the economic and cultural life of Burgundy.  (wikipedia)
notice the surgical instruments - YIKES!
outside colorful tiles and gargoyles

The colorful tiles have an interesting story to share.  Apparently, the local craftsmen would leave the tiles to dry in the nearby fields where animals would happen chance to leave behind an autograph.

Now for a "little" art.... as we view
The Last Judgment Polyptych in Beaune, 1446-52 by Rogier van der WEYDEN

The altarpiece was intended for the chapel that stood at the end of the 72-meter-long hospital ward. The patients were to be able to see it across a partition, and its considerable dimensions and composition, clearly distributed over the entire surface of the picture and easily surveyed even from some way off, helped it to meet that requirement. Opened out, the retable shows the Last Judgment, a clear admonition to the sick to remember their own mortality and turn their minds to God. This is easily understandable, since the spiritual care of the sick was as important as their bodily care, and in the thinking of the time only those in a state of spiritual grace could be restored to health.
(courtesy of  I don't know if I would find this very comforting!!

We always research an area a bit before we go and Rick Steve (aka Rickyboy) is our favorite!

Hope you enjoyed this little tour of a awesome "corner" of France.

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