Saturday, April 7, 2012

And then we drove around France...dun dun dun.

This post shall be subtitled "Mon Dieu!" Thursday morning began the road trip portion of our adventure. And "adventure" is putting it lightly, for sure! I'm actually going to combine Thursday and Friday in this post, since we've spent a good portion of our time in the car. Sometimes it has been beyond frustrating- but we have also seen some of the most beautiful countryside. And the little villages that we've driven though are straight out of fairy tales- like nothing I could have even imagined.

We saw these trees everywhere, and they drive mom crazy

We left Paris (whew, talk about stressful driving! I don't know how there are not massive amounts of fatalities there everyday) and drove west to Épernay, one of the small towns in the Champagne region of France. We grabbed a juice lunch when we got there, and then visited the house of Champagne de Castellane. We had a tour guide all to ourselves and we got to see both the cool underground caves plus the modern factory where the champagne is bottled. Although I was really just looking forward to the tasting, the tour was really interesting and I feel like I'm much better acquainted with my favorite adult beverage.

Kissing Dom Perignon's feet

Giant vat of champagne!!! No bubbles yet though, eewww.
Workin' for the weekend
The best part!

Then we were off to Dijon to spend the night, and we decided to let our gps guide us. Well, it turns out our gps was pre-programmed to avoid any sort of road that cars usually travel on- but it was a blessing in disguise! I still have NO idea how we made it to Dijon, and it might have taken a tiny bit longer, but it was absolutely the coolest drive I've ever experienced. We drove through tiny town after tiny town- and when I say tiny, I'm talking 20-30 houses, and no telling how old these little villages were. Some seemed to be deserted and we drove along for miles and miles without seeing another single person or car. We were doubtful the first few times that we were directed down what seemed to be a dirt road, but pretty soon we were just enjoying the heck out of the ride!

Just a beautiful village that we drove right through the middle can't even begin to show how cute they were.

We made it to Dijon in time for (another) late dinner, and since we were finally in Bourgogne (the Burgundy region), we followed the direction of our charming hotel owner and went to a restaurant specializing in beef bourguignon. It was absolutely amazing. I actually ordered the beef tartare, which I wanted to try in France for the first time, and despite what it looks like, it was delicious as well. I think I can say that it was one of our best meals so far, and even though much of Dijon is under construction and we didn't stay long, it was a very charming little town.

And now it's Friday. Oh, Friday. It has been mostly a day of driving, getting lost and traffic, so I can't say it's been one of my favorite days. We did start out the day by driving part of the Route de Grand Cru, which is a lovely scenic route filled with wineries. One of the highlights of our day today was stopping in the little town of Nuit St. Georges, which is where we had lunch and wandered around a bit to get a break from the car.

The majority of our drive was surrounded by fields of these beaauuutiful yellow flowers.

The adorable Nuits St. Georges

Because we underestimated our travel time (getting lost takes up way more time than you'd think!), we just stopped at one winery, just south of Beaune, called Chateau de Meursault. We took a pretty cool self guided tour of their caves, and then got to taste many of their white and red wines. It was a beautiful chateau, and I'm glad we got to stop in and see what goes on underneath all the fields of growing grapes!

Tried to stop here but they were closed....womp womp.

Beautiful chateau that we toured and tasted their wines

In the cellars

We are pretty far behind schedule today thanks to traffic, rain, and the utter determination that our gps has to take us through the middle of every town we pass by (seriously, we think she is possessed). But tonight we will be laying our heads in an adorable bed and breakfast in Saint-Rémy de Provence, and tomorrow we get to wake up and explore the Provence region of France!


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