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Published: June 10th 2015
First glimpse of the hilltop town
Monday 8 June 2015
What a blissful sleep. All our neighbours had departed the day before so we had our part of the camp to ourselves for the last night of our stay in the Loire. After four years of planning and really looking forward to this part of the trip we were not disappointed. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and have left just a little more to see during our next trip.
The Camp Commandant came to inspect our chateau at exactly 9:00 am (the appointed time) and we passed with flying colours. The 250€ deposit was released and we left as happy travellers. Today was going to be a long drive to Dijon and Burgundy country. We drove through rolling countryside similar to South Canterbury with grain crops waving in the breeze as far as the eye could see. This seemed to be the granary of France.
All the travel guides recommended a visit to Vezelay, an historic hill top town. This town was on our way so why not stop for a visit. As we approached there it was, sitting proudly on the top of a nearby hill. It reminded us of the hill towns of
Walking up to the Basilica
Tuscany in Italy. We stopped and walked to the top of the town, quite a steep climb. It was hot. The locals must be quite fit, especially if they visit the church regularly. Inside the church was pleasantly cool. The church is the Romanesque Basilica St Magdalene that is suppose to contain Mary Magdalene's relics. Strategically placed ice cream stalls on the way down were too good to pass by. We stopped and indulged.
Abbaye Fontenay was sort of on our way so we took the opportunity to detour and pay it a visit. It was a worrying sign when the distance Polly had calculated was 8 kilometres less than the road signs. Who are we to argue. Our route took us up a zig zag road, through a tiny village (we thought was someone's driveway), then up a hill following a very narrow one way road, before joining a much wider road. Eight kilometres shorter but probably fifteen minutes longer.
Arriving at the Abbaye we were welcomed by a wonderful sight of this historic building in a majestic setting. The drive was well worth taking. We entered the ticket office only to be told it closes at
Basilica St Magdalene
6:00 pm and we would only have 15 minutes before we would need to leave. Sorry but come back tomorrow. Looks like our next trip has had another attraction added to it.
The rest of the drive was straight forward, entering Dijon towards the end of rush hour. Our hotel was south of the city so the journey was slow going. Finally with 800 metres to drive we approached the last roundabout for the day. I have been challenged to drive the famous Paris roundabout, the Arc de Triumph. As we approached this last roundabout it was obviously going to be a challenge. There were no lanes marked, about three lanes of traffic whizzing around and Polly just wouldn't keep quiet ("Take the third exit, take the third exit, take the third exit".) So take a deep breath, find a tiny gap and go! Oh no, someone on our outside driving at great speed wanted the second exit and we were going to lose the bonnet. So with the skill of Lewis Hamilton we avoided causing a world headline crash and made it to the third exit. You could hear Polly sigh with relief and we arrived at our
Inside the Basilica
destination in one piece. Bring on Paris.
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