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Published: October 26th 2019
We woke to a dull, wet morning. The manager of the apartment was to meet us at 10 AM to return our 200E security deposit. As I mentioned before, it was very difficult communicating with her as she spoke next to no English and we next to no French. She did not appear by 10 and we were getting worried because we had to travel by Metro to the train station to travel to Beaune. After a bumbling phone call, which we hoped she understood that we were waiting for her,she arrived. She was all hunched over wearing a scarf around her head. She looked very different than the woman we had met on Friday. She handed us the money and we tried to find out what had happened to her. We discerned from gestures and a few words that she had been hit by a motorcycle! A common occurrence, we assumed, on the busy streets of Paris!!!!
We made a hasty retreat from the apartment and headed to the Gare du Montparnasse to take the Metro to Gare de Lyon. The Metro is quite easy to navigate and costs 1.50E per trip. We got off the Metro at Bercy
Sure doesn't look like Huron County soil!
station and had a ten minute walk to the train station. The train stations are beautiful for the most part and fairly easy to navigate as long as you are not rushed! Our ticket to Beaune was a reserved seat so we had to find the correct carriage and then the seat. The biggest problem is to get the suitcases on as the three steps are quite high. Luckily for me, there always seemed to be a strong male- some young, some older, who took pity on me and gave me a helping hand. The train trip was very comfortable and relaxing and we arrived in Dijon in about 2 hours. We had a 40 minute layover there-just time to grab a bite and use the washroom before boarding a Regional train to Beaune, about 25 minutes away.
We arrived at Beaune station around 2:15. Our landlord was to meet us and take us to the apartment. There was a light rain falling as we emerged from the station looking left and right to spot someone who looked like they were looking for us. A friendly looking gentleman started toward us and asked "Barbara??? " and so we met
Jacques. He lead us to his car, where he loaded our luggage, and we headed off to the apartment. Beaune is a beautiful little town with a population of about 20,000. It is the wine capitol of Burgundy and the town is surrounded by acres and acres of vineyards. Our apartment is in a modern four storey building and we are on the 4th floor with NO ELEVATOR!!! Our dear landlord took hold of both our suitcases and started the climb. Needless to say by the time we got to the top we were ALL out of breath!!! Jacques showed up how everything worked, especially the TV since we had never figured out the TV in Paris. He had not completed the cleaning from the previous occupants so he gave us the keys and told us he would be done in a couple of hours. By now the sun was shining so we headed out to explore the town on foot as we had some time to kill as we weren't to pick up our car until 5 PM.
By mid afternoon we are ready for our "sit down" so we found a lovely outdoor café beside the main
square and ordered escargot!!! We both enjoyed them along with a basket of wonderful bread and a glass of burgundy wine. In this area they produce Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wine. By now we need to start walking to pick up the car. After a half hour walk in a light rain we found Europe Car. Paperwork was completed quickly, and our almost brand new VW I-Trac was delivered to us. After explaining the pertinent features to us, we gingerly pulled out onto the road. Luckily Bonnie's first experience driving in France was in a fairly quiet town so we made it to the grocery store, got our supplies and got back to the apartment with only one time being honked at! The biggest worry is the roundabouts which are at almost every corner.
After a good nights sleep and a leisurely morning enjoying our perked coffee and watching English CNN and BBC, we headed out for a drive south of Beaune. Field after field of grapevines all tended perfectly. Because this area is so perfect for growing grapes- elevation, cool evenings and mineral-rich soil- a tenth of an acre can sell for as much as a million dollars.
There are approximately 4000 winegrowers in this rather small area of around 69,000 acres. We stopped in several small towns but wound our way back to Beaune, found another café to enjoy a little lunch and bask in the the warm sunshine. On Thursday morning, October 3, our mission was to rent a bike and cycle through the vineyards north of Beaune. It was a beautiful day and we had a wonderful time (hard work at times) touring along the bike paths and some roadways to several towns about 12 miles from Beaune.
Beaune is a beautiful little town and we really enjoyed our stay here both exploring the countryside and our very comfortable apartment. On Friday morning, October 4, we packed up and headed southeast to Annecy- the "Venice of the Alps"
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