Filling the Final Day in Burgundy

The final day in Burgundy wasn’t exactly how it was supposed to be.  The cold weather and rain did not ease up and our plan to bicycle around the canal needed to be scrapped.  But the day was still filled with new adventures, thanks to our friends, Anna from the French Tourist Board and Veronique from Burgundy Tourism.

Our first stop of the day was at the castle of Ancy le Franc.  Honestly, my initial response was, “another castle?”  but I have to admit that every one we have seen has had a personality of its own.  This one in Ancy le Franc was beautiful and was set up more like a museum than a castle, with endless artwork and detail to the architecture.  It had its own private chapel and royal apartments. 

Despite the fact that this castle is very much in France, its influence is very Italian.  It was first built in the 16th century and received some additional renovations – like a new library and a dining room with Italian marble walls – in the 19th century.  The grounds, however, were maintained to 21st century standards and were just perfectly cropped.

After the castle of Ancy le Franc we stayed in the town of Noyers sur Surein for our final long, leisurely lunch in France.  Les Millesimes was added to the list of restaurants we sat and enjoyed French cooking, which often includes tender beef and always includes great wine and cheese.  We walked around the town a bit after we ate.   There wasn’t a lot open since spring and summer are really the seasons for activity here, but I enjoyed my final walk on the cobblestone streets of a picturesque village.

Our afternoon was at the Abbey de Fontenay, one of the oldest abbeys in Europe, dating back to the 12th century.  A member of the family who presently owns the land took us through the brightly landscaped buildings.  His great grandfather bought and restored it after the previous owner had turned it into a factory.  It is now the only privately owned World Heritage Monument in France.  Despite the fact that the buildings have all been kept up, it is only used for services once a year, on the abbey’s anniversary.

On our way to the Bernard Louiseau in Bourgogne, we saw one of the most memorable sites of the trip.  It was two full, rainbows that appeared to follow us for miles.  We finally stopped the car to photograph it.  I had never seen even one rainbow so bold and beautiful and certainly have never seen a rainbow over a castle. It seemed to last even after we were gone and was truly a proper goodbye to our sightseeing days in France.

Bernard Loiseau was a brilliant chef and owner of the hotel and restaurant that bear his name.  His tragic death in 2003 left his wife in charge and she has helped the hotel to thrive.  It has earned a five star rating and the restaurant, under the guidance of Chef Patrick Bertron, has earned three stars from Michelin.  The rooms here are wonderful, I especially appreciated the special touches, like fireplaces in the rooms and large patios outside them. 

The meal couldn’t have been any better, filled with foie gras, clay-cooked beef and a terrain of mushrooms, perfectly paired with wine, including one of my favorites of the trip, a 2008 Albert Bichot Savigny-les-Beaune, a light and fruity chardonnay.  The evening was topped off with, of course, a well-crafted and delicious chocolate dessert and then it was off to a few hours of sleep for the final time in Burgundy.


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