Sunday, September 12, 2010

A beautiful house, a disappointing first dinner

We're cobbling together three vacation rental places to stay for this trip, and our first stop is in the village of Villers-La-Fey, France, just north of Beaune in Burgundy.  We've never been to this part of France and wanted a couple of things:
  • An apartment or house.  We like to make our own tea, our own breakfast, not be answerable to daily housekeepers or the front desk.  Of course, one needs to be fairly self-sufficient because there's no concierge on duty to answer questions or translate!
  • To be in the heart of Burgundy, close to the vinyards and Beaune.
All our research has paid off in our first accommodation, a beautiful house in this small village about 10 kilometres from Beaune.

La Maison des Chaumes, Villers-La-Faye

Front patio, with views of local vineyards
View into town from side patio
Bright, open dining area

Now about that disappointing dinner.  We had a hard time sleeping in our coach seats on Air France during the red-eye we took from Boston.

Bye-bye, Boston
Hello, Paris!

Plus we connected through Paris to Geneva, cutting into our sleep time (although Valyn might have gone to sleep standing up in the immigration and security lines at Charles de Gaulle).

Then we had a three-hour drive from Geneva to Villers-La-Fey.  The roads up and over the mountains on the Swiss/French border were fun to drive, with great views of Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc beyond.  Finding the house was straightforward, given the great directions from the owners,  our excellent maps, and a little help from TomTom, the little GPS that has traveled the world with us.

After opening the house, unpacking, showering, and reading the local information provided by the owners, we were hungry, and pretty strung out.  Valyn usually has great restaurant intuition, no matter where we are.  We tried a couple of places the house owners recommended in small villages nearby, but they were all full (it was a Saturday evening) so we decided to just wing it, parking on a side street in Beaune and walking until we found something that her intuition told her would be worthwhile.

Seems her intuition doesn't work very well when she's sleep-deprived.  We had an awful dinner at Le Galion in Beaune.  In her defense, it was a lovely evening, cool and clear, and Beaune's pale stone buildings glowed in the evening light.  Le Galion had a pretty terrace and everyone looked happy, but perhaps they had all had their tastebuds surgically removed.  We might have been sleep-deprived but we know cold, gristly steak(?) and au poivre sauce from a jar when we taste it.  The confit duck-and-mashed Valyn had was only (barely) equal to the sum of its parts; this place has obviously never heard of salt or herbs. 

Still, the wine was good (we are in Burgundy after all) and because we were strung out, we didn't really care too much.  So we went with it, then came home and collapsed into bed.  Today we're planning the rest of our dinners out for the week, and making reservations, thank you very much.

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