Edit Blog Post
Published: November 1st 2017
After a long drive to Guedelon on Monday, I was feeling like having a couple of easier days to finish my stay in Beaune. I only had one “must do” thing left, and that was to visit nearby Autun, so I chose to do that on Tuesday.
After the Roman conquest, the capital of the Aedui moved from Bibracte to Autun (known as Augustodunum) because it was a better site for a Roman provincial capital. I don’t think it was that the Romans don’t like hills (Rome was founded on seven hills), so I assume it was related to water, which is even more reluctant to go uphill than the laziest Roman.
While Autun has some Roman ruins, I figured it wouldn’t take a huge amount of time so I didn’t rush there early, having a relaxing morning instead. I arrived in Autun at lunchtime, so the tourist information centre was closed. I decided to walk around and have a look to kill some time.
It wasn’t just the tourist information centre that was closed, it felt like the whole town was closed. It was very empty and there was hardly anybody about. I headed to the main
square and found some cafes that were open and that’s where everyone seemed to be. One was a creperie and I thought that would be good for lunch. Unfortunately, the waiter told me they were not open for customers. Which was weird, because it certainly looked like it was half-full of customers. So I took my business elsewhere and had a nice lunch washed down with a pinot as I wasn’t planning to drive for a bit.
With the tourist information centre open, I got a map and discovered that the Roman sites were on the edge of town in four different directions. As they are open at all times, I decided to leave them to last. Instead, I walked up the hill to the old town to have a look around and check out the local museum.
Said museum was closed though, because it was a Tuesday. I had thought it was Mondays that museums were closed in France, but it apparently it isn’t uniform (on a sidenote, I’ve discovered that my plan to visit the Louvre finally on my third visit to Paris has been thwarted because my one day in Paris will be a Tuesday!).
So I had a look at the cathedral and then had a walk beside the ramparts. I had assumed the ramparts were medieval, but a sign told me they are the original Roman ramparts, although the upper parts have been rebuilt multiple times in the middle and modern ages.
I then returned to the car and drove out to the first Roman site, the so-called Temple of Janus. Apparently it was misnamed, but it was certainly a Roman temple of some kind. Only two walls remain, and there’s signs warning not to get too close because of falling rocks (I guessed that’s what the sign said and used a translator app to confirm). I didn’t see any rocks falling, but was not interested in tempting fate. The photos were better from a distance anyway.
Next two stops were two of the remaining gates to the old Roman town, Porte d’Arroux and Porte Saint-Andre. Porte d’Arroux has the road going underneath so I was able to drive beneath a Roman gate. Twice, actually, because I had to go back into town to get to Porte Sainte-Andre. I found Porte Saint-Andre a bit amusing because I had driven past it
twice on the way to and from Bibracte and hadn’t noticed it… and it’s not small!
The final stop was the Roman theatre. I had a choice of two roads to approach it and chose one because it should have been easier to head back to Beaune from. Unfortunately, it was a bad time to choose that road. As I saw the crowds of people heading to the cemetery next door, I remembered Alexis telling me that the Wednesday was a French public holiday and it was something to do with visiting the dead. Apparently this is done on the evening before because that’s what everyone in Autun was doing. I managed to find a park a few hundred metres away and walked back to take some photos of the spectacular theatre. Probably not the biggest I’ve seen, but it’s up there and was bigger than I expected after everything else I’d seen in Autun.
That left me with not much to do on Thursday. I had originally been thinking of visiting Avallon and Vezelay because they are supposed to be very pretty towns. However, they are nearly as far away as Guedelon, and I didn’t feel like
doing that drive again just for a couple of photos. So instead I decided to have a “day off” and stay in Beaune.
Again I had a lazy morning, before taking the camera out and walking around the town, as I haven’t actually taken any photos in Beaune itself yet. Walking around the outside of the city centre took less than an hour, but I got a couple of nice shots, particularly of the ramparts. I headed into the centre for lunch, before picking up some postcards and heading back to the hotel. There wasn’t much else to do anyway, as most things seemed to be closed for the public holiday.
With enough postcards now, I spent the rest of the afternoon writing them up. I then headed to the hotel bar to spend a couple of hours writing, something I have been doing very little of on the holiday so far. And that was pretty much it for Beaune. Tomorrow I have a big drive across to Bordeaux for some more wine tourism, which should be good.
Tot: 2.335s; Tpl: 0.098s; cc: 13; qc: 25; dbt: 0.0426s; 2; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb