Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dijon for a Week

We took a quick goodbye look around Auxerre before moving on. We had three stops along the way. First was to find the Auxerre Velodrome. For those who know my passion for cycling would understand this fetish of mine to search out Velodromes of France. I have a program on Google Earth that pin-points Velodromes of France and on occasion I might not tell Sue where we are heading - Ooops how did that happen Sue - another Velodrome, fancy that!
This one was outward bound on the banks of the River Yonne.

Sue took this for my cycling mates back home with the Auxerre velodrome in the background.
Like many of the velodromes in France, they seemed to have seen better days.

The drive out of Auxerre is a most picturesque experience as the road snakes its way beside the river Yonne before we turned off to our first stop at Chablis. We thought it would be a pleasant coffee stop but turned out to be a wine tasting stop. Chablis is not large with a small population of maybe 2500 but it has a really nice relaxed feeling about it. Well, it did when we floated into town. It was a crisp spring morning with very few people around. The village nestles into the valley of the River Serein and as you drive in or out of Chablis, the slopes of the valley are planted with the vines of the Chardonnay grape.
As I write this, I'm sipping on a Chardonnay from our Mornington Peninsula region, a little further around the bay from us. In the past we could purchase local Chablis wine until the French spat the dummy and said we couldn't use their wine names any longer so we use the name of the grape variety. No more Chablis, Hermitage or Burgundy in Australia.
We had a small wine tasting after coffee just a little up from the Cafe on the river that runs through Chablis.
Our host behind the counter was most anxious for us to learn more about the wines of Chablis and offered us the three levels of Petite Chablis, Chablis and Premier Cru but not the Grand Cru unfortunately.
We did however purchase some Petite Chablis being poor travellers.

Leaving Chablis after experiencing Chablis in Chablis.

Leaving Chablis we were looking for a lunch time stop that took us to Tonnerre. I'd read about Tonnerre in our DK eyewitness travel guide book and had it in mind to see the Fosse Dionne, a natural water source that is reputed to have a flow of 200 litres per second. The Romans settled the area 2000 years ago using the spring as their water source. Later in the 18th century the locals used it as their Lavoir in a circular construction which has this enchanting amphitheatre atmosphere. Buildings surround you and I can imagine in years gone by the women would come down from their homes with washing and socialise around Fosse Dionne.

Tonnerre, just near the medieval hospital, one of the largest in France for its time.
Tonnerre was another town to have le Tour travel through in 2009.
The reason for our stop in Tonnerre was this natural spring discovered by the Romans 2000 years ago.

Looking abandoned, this building was actually an Ice Cream  parlour in a former life.
Like most villages, some of the most interesting thing are in the back streets.
If you look very closely at the stone carved ribbon to the right of the balcony, you can see the origins of the building.
Cafe des Glaces.

We decided to lunch at Tonnerre and our selection was in the main street at a local cafe. Not great but friendly - think we just had a pizza and a glass of wine. It was so relaxing and the woman who served us was on for a chat but with Dijon a further 120 odd kms down the road, it was time to get moving.
It was back into the car and off to our one week stay in Dijon. Our apartment was smack in the middle with everything in walking distance - shopping, markets, museums and the apartment was superb as was our host. More about that next Wednesday.


  1. Another fascinating tour, looking forward to you arriving in Dijon next week.

  2. LLM,
    Dijon brought some great experiences both in the city and in the surrounding country. We enjoyed our week in Dijon very much.

  3. I like the fact you have all the velodromes on Google earth LOL. Love these little areas and the ice cream shop. Looking forward to your day in Dijon. We had a one day trip around there, I felt ill and I forgot to take my camera when we did go out!!! I will tour it with you instead :) Diane

    1. Diane - hold on to your hat coz you will enjoy a whole week of Wednesdays in Dijon and the surrounding districts - hope you will enjoy travelling in the back seat with us.

  4. Wonderful Lacey ironwork on that balcony .... that's what the French are all about ... attention to detail.
    Looking forward to Dijon & lots of mustard.


Love to get feedback so no reason to be shy - have your say.