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Published: September 27th 2011
Note: All events mentioned in this entry occurred back in October 2006. For more updated entries and trips, please refer back to this blog at a later date. Entries that take place in the present day will NOT include a note like this. Thank you and enjoy!
I had already been to Besancon during my, at this point my first three of 9 months ahead of me (I first mention it in my blog entry entitled "First Trip to Paris," for more details). However, I only spent 5 hours and missed out on a lot of very important sites, so I decided to come back for a second visit.
I take the train as usual to Besancon, and make my way towards the Musee des Beaux Arts (Museum of Fine Arts). However on my way I come across the huge market that just stretched throughout Besancon's centre ville. Apparently this market is held during the last weekend in October (check the Tourist office in Besancon for more details because unfortunately I forget the date). You can find everything on sale, from cheese and deli meats, to carpets, clothing, accessories really if its an object you can buy they had it. I end up buying some local cheese and sausages after sampling and learning about them from a local vender, who just happened to be a British expat. Apparently the Franche Compte region, in which Besancon is the capital of, is also well known for its cheeses and its unique tradition with making dried sausages using horse meat, however there is also a tradition of making them from pork as well. the cheeses were nice, hard and sharp (actual unusual since most French cheeses are very soft, runny and meant to be eaten with bread.) I ended up buying like 500 g of compte and like three sausages. I then headed to the square where the Musee des Beaux Arts is located. This museum is definitely worth your visit because it has a lot of art from not only the Franche compte region but from all over France and Europe, as well from around the world because there is an Egyptian exhibit, but also has a fantastic museum containing artifacts and building replicas of the history of Besancon. The museum details the earliest years of the Celtic period when it was a settlement, to the Roman occupation to the Middle Ages and then the present day. the most memorable were the artifacts from the Celtic period, which included wonderful pieces of jewelry, armor and tools as well as pottery, tiles and other impressive artifacts from the Roman occupation, as well as a reconstruction of a typical Roman mansion that you would have found there during the period.
I then went to a small cafe off the square near the museum, where I ate a lovely two course dinner of steak with pomme dauphinoise (patatoes au gratin actually) and green beans, and then a dessert which was a layered cake with black and blueberries as well as raseberries in it. I have with it a nice glass of cote du rhone, which is a nice red wine from the Rhone Alpine region. While there I begin talking to my waitress, who actually lived in New York City for a while. I also begin talking to a couple sitting in the table next to me who have also traveled to the US and spoke good English. I told them my story about why I was in France; I told them I was studying in Dijon. They told me that Besancon had a great music school that I would be interested in and apparently the local university was very good and had foreigners like myself.
I then bid them good bye and begin to head towards a cathedral, which I look at briefly since I want to see the Musee du Temps or Museum of Time. This museum is important because Besancon is famous for its watch and clock making. It is also located in a 15th century mansion, that is still in good shape. The museum is interesting because it contains a very complete collection of clocks and watches as well as in depth descriptions behind the development and science of them as they evolved from the earliest in like the Middle Ages, Renaissance i think to the present day. You also learn about the aesthetic, artistic evolution of clocks and watches and their significance in society. I thoroughly enjoyed this museum, enough to where I bought a book on the history of clocks and watches.
After my tour of this museum, I head back to the train station, and back home to Dijon and my dorm.
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