June 18, Dijon

We had a leisurely breakfast of apple pancakes and maple syrup before driving into Dijon. As usual, the first parking we tried was restricted to 1.9m height which just excludes Brunhilda and as usual, we found free parking not much further away, this time under lovely big plane trees which shaded the van all day. Once a Roman town on the road from Lyon to Paris, Dijon became, under the Dukes of Burgundy (11th to 15th centuries), a place of wealth and power, and a major centre of learning of the arts and sciences in Europe. Spared destruction in major wars, it has retained architectural examples from the 11th century onwards including Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical and the historical city centre is a World Heritage Site. Our only real plan was to have coffee, visit the Gallery des Beaux Arts (housed in the Palais des Ducs where the rooms were described as works of art in themselves), have lunch, and wander. The sun was bright, too bright for good photography, and warm, and we soon shed our vests as we walked towards the old town centre. We found a nice little shop selling coffee and pastries where the owner instructed me that all over France it was not necessary to order café noir, a simple café would do the trick, or if we wanted milk, café au lait and that his toilette was ok only for pee pee. He also convinced us to order 4 small pain au chocolat and two raisin pastries for the price of two pain au chocolat. Fortified, and with a slight buzz on, we wandered into the town square, a mix of old half- timbered and stone buildings, ornate ornamental façades and dormers in steep pitched black slate roofs, cylindrical towers with conical roofs, cathedral spires, yellow, brown, green, and blue tiled patterned roofs, fountains, squares, street side restaurants, specialty stores, tourist shops, carousels, and of course sett- paved streets and squares. The streets were alive but not crowded, the carousel at Place de François Rude carried a few children, the outdoor seating mostly empty with the few patrons drinking coffee and reading the morning paper or chatting.  The pace slow and relaxed, the people seemed to be mostly locals and while in no hurry did not seem to be loitering. Sheila bought some small gifts at "Plaisirs de France" a small shop specializing in local products. The Museum of Fine arts was housed in the imposing assemblage of 17th and 18th century, buildings of the Palace of the Dukes and Estates of Burgundy. It took us a number of false start before we finally found the entrance to the gallery. Just outside, sitting on the marble staircase beneath a bronze statue, a southeast Asian looking gentleman in shorts and sandals sang Italian opera acapella, the acoustics of the courtyard amplifying his rather good voice and providing an unexpected but delightful welcome. Inside we found a superb collection of paintings and sculpture chronicling Burgundian, French, and European art from antiquity to the present. The salons themselves were wonderful examples of both period and modern design but unfortunately the lighting was poor with so much glare on the protective glass that it was difficult to really see the paintings. We went looking for lunch, something tasty, light, and inexpensive. At the Little Italy restaurant just north of the gallery we found superb pizza, a fresh herbed tomato sauce base, mozarella with paper thin sliced Serrano ham, red onions, fresh cherry tomatoes, and parmesan shavings on a thin, delicate, flaky, crisp, crust. We accompanied it with an excellent salad of mixed greens, lettuce, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and parmesan shavings, and a glass of the house red wine. Even sharing the pizza and salad, it was about $50, so we got two out of three. After a morning of walking the streets, exploring the Musée des Beaux Arts, lunch, and mostly after the wine, we were in need of a nap and returned to the van, thankful for the magnificent plane trees shading the parking area. On waking, we no longer felt like sight- seeing and decided to do some necessary shopping and return to camp to relax. Unfortunately, two C-class RVs travelling together were parked next to our pitch. There is something especially irritating about people shouting at each other even when sitting within a metres distance. I am in danger of becoming an ‘ist and it is difficult to know if I have come to dislike this particular nationality because they are the majority of campers we see and therefore the majority of the jerks we meet, or if they are, as a group, truly jerks.
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 18, Dijon

We had a leisurely breakfast of apple pancakes and maple syrup before driving into Dijon. As usual, the first parking we tried was restricted to 1.9m height which just excludes Brunhilda and as usual, we found free parking not much further away, this time under lovely big plane trees which shaded the van all day. Once a Roman town on the road from Lyon to Paris, Dijon became, under the Dukes of Bur- gundy (11th to 15th centuries), a place of wealth and power, and a major centre of learn- ing of the arts and sciences in Europe. Spared destruction in major wars, it has retained architectural examples from the 11th century onwards including Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical and the his- torical city centre is a World Heritage Site. Our only real plan was to have coffee, visit the Gallery des Beaux Arts (housed in the Palais des Ducs where the rooms were described as works of art in themselves), have lunch, and wander. The sun was bright, too bright for good photography, and warm, and we soon shed our vests as we walked towards the old town centre. We found a nice little shop selling coffee and pastries where the owner instructed me that all over France it was not necessary to order café noir, a simple café would do the trick, or if we wanted milk, café au lait and that his toilette was ok only for pee pee. He also convinced us to order 4 small pain au chocolat and two raisin pastries for the price of two pain au chocolat. Fortified, and with a slight buzz on, we wandered into the town square, a mix of old half-timbered and stone buildings, ornate orna- mental façades and dormers in steep pitched black slate roofs, cylindrical towers with con- ical roofs, cathedral spires, yellow, brown, green, and blue tiled patterned roofs, fountains, squares, street side restaurants, specialty stores, tourist shops, carousels, and of course sett-paved streets and squares. The streets were alive but not crowded, the carousel at Place de François Rude carried a few children, the outdoor seating mostly empty with the few patrons drinking coffee and reading the morning paper or chatting.  The pace slow and relaxed, the people seemed to be mostly locals and while in no hurry did not seem to be loitering. Sheila bought some small gifts at "Plaisirs de France" a small shop spe- cializing in local products. The Museum of Fine arts was housed in the imposing assemblage of 17th and 18th century, buildings of the Palace of the Dukes and Estates of Burgundy. It took us a number of false start before we finally found the entrance to the gallery. Just outside, sitting on the marble staircase beneath a bronze statue, a southeast Asian looking gentleman in shorts and sandals sang Italian opera acapella, the acoustics of the courtyard ampli- fying his rather good voice and providing an unexpected but delightful wel- come. Inside we found a superb collection of paintings and sculpture chron- icling Burgun- dian, French, and European art from antiquity to the present. The salons themselves were wonderful examples of both period and modern design but unfortunately the lighting was poor with so much glare on the protective glass that it was difficult to really see the paintings. We went looking for lunch, something tasty, light, and inexpensive. At the Little Italy res- taurant just north of the gallery we found superb pizza, a fresh herbed tomato sauce base, mozarella with paper thin sliced Serrano ham, red onions, fresh cherry tomatoes, and parmesan shavings on a thin, delicate, flaky, crisp, crust. We accompanied it with an excellent salad of mixed greens, lettuce, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and parmesan shavings, and a glass of the house red wine. Even sharing the pizza and salad, it was about $50, so we got two out of three. After a morning of walking the streets, explor- ing the Musée des Beaux Arts, lunch, and mostly after the wine, we were in need of a nap and returned to the van, thankful for the magnificent plane trees shading the parking area. On waking, we no longer felt like sight- seeing and decided to do some necessary shopping and return to camp to relax. Unfortu- nately, two C-class RVs travelling together were parked next to our pitch. There is some- thing especially irritating about people shout- ing at each other even when sitting within a metres distance. I am in danger of becoming an ‘ist and it is difficult to know if I have come to dislike this particular nationality because they are the majority of campers we see and there- fore the majority of the jerks we meet, or if they are, as a group, truly jerks.
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.