June 19 Côte d’Or

We had thought of taking a day off to relax at camp but the thought of listening to our neighbours shout at each other all day convinced to move on. We had explored the uplands of Burgundy two days ago, now it was time to see the fabled Côte d'Or (hills of gold). We again drove through the fields and forests of the upland, through quaint but living villages as we descended to Vignobles de Burgogne and the renowned wine châteaux. We began at Gevrey-Chambertain in the Côte d'Or with its pine clad hills and vine covered bottom-lands. I expected to see an idyllic valley side, the landscape of wine labels: grand towered châteaux surrounded by green vineyards cascading down the slopes roses planted at the end of each row of vines, white crushed marble drives protected by ornate pillars and gates winding their way through the vines to the château's entrance at the base of the hills, small quaint villages dominated by a church and steeple, centred by a cobblestone square and fountain, perhaps a restaurant or two. To be sure we found some of these, but we also found a valley of modern commercial agriculture. High clearance, small wheeled tractors buzzed up and down the road, spray arms folded to their sides, or scuttled through the vines, clouds of white mist pouring from their outstretched arms. The villages and towns were not as picturesque as the “Plus Beaux Villages” we had visited, most of the châteaux small, and mostly rather pedestrian. Gone were the cobblestone streets (if ever there were), smooth paved roads now lead through and between the villages, the villages are dominated by Caves de Degustation (tasting rooms, no longer free) and many estates and caves offered free camping to "camper cars" (mobile homes). True vinophiles would, I am sure, be in paradise on earth, but after exploring the Duoro in Portugal, and the vineyards of the Dordogne, the Côte d'Or was a little disappointing. While our expectations the Côte d'Or may have been disappointed, the town of Beaune was an unexpected surprise. Beaune is the wine centre of Burgundy and surrounded by some of the most famous wine villages in France. A centre of cattle and viticulture in Roman times, it was a major centre of wine production by the 13th  century. While it attracts its share of tourists, Beaune primarily services all aspects of the wine industry and this reflects well on the atmosphere of the town. Originally a fortified city, much of the original wall survives but perhaps its most interesting architectural feature is the Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune (Hospices of Beaune), founded by Duke Phillip the Good in 1443. The Hospice is an excellent  example of 15th century French architecture and of the polychrome glazed tile roofs that have been characteristic of Burgundian architecture since the 13th century. The “old town” felt relaxed, was  architecturally interesting, and well provided with both local and tourist friendly services. We drove back into the hills, to the village of Orches where vineyards meet forest and pasture. Here we found the small quaint villages I had expected and further along yet the magnificent and imposing Château de Rochepot perched on a  hill above the quaint village of La Rochepot.  Missing from my vision were the cascading vineyards, replaced by dense forest cloaking the slopes below the château. We ended our day with a long drive from La Rochepot to Dole where we spent our last night in France before heading to Switzerland to explore Sheila’s great great great grandfathers ancestral home.
A Sense of Place:  Travel, Photography, and Photo-art
by David E. Moon
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved
Slideshow Slideshow Route Map Route Map
View across the Tarn from camp. View across the Tarn from camp. View across the Tarn from camp. View across the Tarn from camp. View across the Tarn from camp.

June 19 Côte d’Or

We had thought of taking a day off to relax at camp but the thought of listening to our neigh- bours shout at each other all day convinced to move on. We had explored the uplands of Bur- gundy two days ago, now it was time to see the fabled Côte d'Or (hills of gold). We again drove through the fields and forests of the upland, through quaint but living villages as we descended to Vignobles de Burgogne and the renowned wine châteaux. We began at Gevrey-Chambertain in the Côte d'Or with its pine clad hills and vine covered bottom-lands. I expected to see an idyllic valley side, the landscape of wine labels: grand towered châteaux surrounded by green vine- yards cascading down the slopes roses planted at the end of each row of vines, white crushed marble drives protected by ornate pillars and gates winding their way through the vines to the château's entrance at the base of the hills, small quaint villages dominated by a church and steeple, centred by a cobblestone square and fountain, perhaps a restaurant or two. To be sure we found some of these, but we also found a valley of modern commer- cial agriculture. High clearance, small wheeled tractors buzzed up and down the road, spray arms folded to their sides, or scuttled through the vines, clouds of white mist pouring from their out- stretched arms. The villages and towns were not as picturesque as the “Plus Beaux Vil- lages” we had visited, most of the châteaux small, and mostly rather pedestrian. Gone were the cobblestone streets (if ever there were), smooth paved roads now lead through and between the villages, the villages are domin- ated by Caves de Degustation (tasting rooms, no longer free) and many estates and caves offered free camping to "camper cars" (mobile homes). True vinophiles would, I am sure, be in paradise on earth, but after exploring the Duoro in Portugal, and the vineyards of the Dordogne, the Côte d'Or was a little disap- pointing. While our expectations the Côte d'Or may have been disappoin- ted, the town of Beaune was an unexpected sur- prise. Beaune is the wine centre of Burgundy and surrounded by some of the most famous wine vil- lages in France. A centre of cattle and viticulture in Roman times, it was a major centre of wine production by the 13th century. While it attracts its share of tourists, Beaune primarily services all aspects of the wine industry and this reflects well on the atmosphere of the town. Originally a fortified city, much of the original wall survives but perhaps its most interesting architectural feature is the Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune (Hospices of Beaune), founded by Duke Phillip the Good in 1443. The Hospice is an excellent  example of 15th century French architecture and of the polychrome glazed tile roofs that have been characteristic of Burgun- dian architecture since the 13th century. The “old town” felt relaxed, was  architecturally interesting, and well provided with both local and tourist friendly services. We drove back into the hills, to the village of Orches where vineyards meet forest and pas- ture. Here we found the small quaint villages I had expected and further along yet the magni- ficent and imposing Château de Rochepot perched on a  hill above the quaint village of La Rochepot.  Missing from my vision were the cascading vineyards, replaced by dense forest cloaking the slopes below the château. We ended our day with a long drive from La Rochepot to Dole where we spent our last night in France before heading to Switzerland to explore Sheila’s great great great grandfath- ers ancestral home.
A Sense of Place:  Travel, Photography, and Photo-art
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved
Route Map Route Map Slideshow Slideshow
View across the Tarn from camp. View across the Tarn from camp. View across the Tarn from camp. View across the Tarn from camp. View across the Tarn from camp.