Friday, September 17, 2010

Beaune Remparts, etc.

Because our apartment is in the town of Beaune proper, we decided to take advantage of that by parking the car in a nearby lot and exploring Beaune on foot for the few days we're here.  It's not that big, easily traversable on foot.  The weather could have been better as it was overcast and cool, but it didn't rain so we spent the day outside.

Beaune was around in the middle ages and there are some remnants of that time, including the old ramparts (remparts en francais) that still exist around about two-thirds of the town.  They've been paved over and are about as wide as a single lane.  Houses and apartments now line them, along with a few towers and bastions used for defense in the old days, but they are public ways and we thought it would be nice to walk them. 

Here are a few snaps:
Remnants of one of the chateau's two original towers
Archer's window
Entryway into a bastion

We also took a peek at the main church in town, the Collegiale-Basilique de Notre Dame, first built in 1120 and added to over the next four hundred years.  It's a classic medieval cathedral spanning multiple architectural styles, with nave, aisles, transepts, side chapels, altar, a massive organ, stained glass, gothic arches, buttresses and whatever else they thought to throw into the pot.

Nave of the basilica
Gargoyle on exterior
While out and about, we did a bit of shopping - we needed a shower mitt, and a working corkscrew as the one in the apartment was a piece of junk.  We're also considering what, if any, souvenirs we might want.  We aren't junky souvenir buyers, unless the thing has some function to it.  There are candle holders made here which were used by the Burgundian wine merchants (rat-de-cave in French, cellar rat in English) which we like and might buy, and perhaps a wine coaster.  And of course our shopping included our regular market visit to get fresh bread and local wine for lunch.

And finally we had dinner at La Ciboulette, a restaurant recommended to us.  Thursday was the only night this week they had availability and we had an early spot (for the French) at 7:15.  So early that the staff were still enjoying their dinner in the small main dining room and looked at us like we were from Mars when we walked in.  I told them we had a reservation and the maitresse d' leapt up like I'd poked her and was all apologies, and she was nicely attentive to us during the evening.  That's one way to get good service, I guess.  Anyway, here's tonight's menu:
  • Foie gras and beef compote (warm) on salad (Craig), and escargot in a parsley/almond broth (Valyn)
  • For both, filet of Charolais (a breed of cattle in Burgundy) perfectly cooked with lots of vegetables in an au jus (Gevrey Chambertin along with the first two courses)
  • Cheese plate with brie, reblochon and epoisses (a truly stinky cheese) with a nice glass of Nuits St George 1st cru Rouge
  • A dessert 'sampler' for both, including a tiny creme brulee, a small pot of chocolate, a scoop of cassis sorbet and shortbread with strawberries. 
All in all, a very nice dinner, and day!

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