One of life’s truths is that almost every country in the world will have nicer bread and tomatoes than the UK. That’s why it was nice to be able to pop over to visit our friends Muriel and Lionel in France, a country that know how to eat well.
We were making our way to Beaune in mid-eastern France which made it a slightly tricky place to get to. After much talk of driving and eurostars we settled on flying to Lyon and then the train. Traveling can be difficult and stressful enough, but taking a one year old too (who loves to run around) made it all slightly trickier. Suffice to say that it all went to plan, but was a bit of a trial.
As part of the trip we found ourselves with the best part of an afternoon in Lyon, the third largest city in France. I’d failed to do much research before we left but was delighted to learn that it’s centre (an island between the Rhone and Saone rivers) was a lovely old town. As well as lots of shops there were some lovely cafe’s and we stopped for a delightful lunch on the Place Bellcour.
After our meal (and wine) we made our way up to the fourvier and it’s wonderful basilica and fine views of Lyon. We sadly didn’t have too much time to hang around and had to make our way back to the station for our train to Beaune. I think Lyon deserves at least a good day to look round and enjoy – maybe next time.
Arrival in Beaune
It had been a hot, humid and muggy day which finally led to rain as we got to Beaune. Luckily for us Lionel was there to pick us up in the car and so we didn’t have to get too wet.
The next day while our hosts went to work, we were able to have a look round the lovely and picturesque town of Beaune. The centre is still shaped from the original medieval walls, many of which still stand.
The main cultural highlight of the town is the wonderful Hospices de Beaune (or Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune). This was a medieval hospital, mainly for the poor and funded by extensive vineyards given by wealthy patrons. Amazingly it was still being used as a medical establishment until the 1970s. Even now part of the complex is still used as a retirement home.
The roof of the building is clearly it’s most obvious stand-out feature and it is something to behold. Apparently this style was copied for many of the great houses in burgundy.
Inside is a wonderfully restored museum, giving an excellent idea of what things would have been like in medieval times. I did think the main hall where the beds were looked as if it would be really cold in winter though.
A really excellent visit and well worth a look if your in the area.
Now look out for part deux of the trip….