In just a couple of weeks, we’ll be meeting our tour group in Lyon and spending several days exploring this fascinating city and its twenty centuries of history. Julius Caesar made it his base in 43 BC, while he conquered Gaul and there’s still plenty of evidence of Roman settlement – walls, baths, an amphitheatre, a forum, a temple and a circus, among other features. But that was just the beginning – Lyon later became a cultural and commercial centre, famous for silk weaving, arts, science, engineering and trade. Something for everyone, in a glorious setting around the confluence of the Rhone and the Saone rivers.
Then we’re off to Beaune, in the heart of the Cote d’Or wine region of Burgundy, for a week. There’s lots to see and sample here too, including the magnificently medieval Hotel Dieu (above). Founded in 1443 as a hospital by Chancellor Nicolas Rolin, and still working as a general hospital till the 1970s, it is one of the best preserved medieval buildings in France. We’ll be sampling the local wines at several of the many vineyards around Beaune, and enjoying a cooking class and lunch at one of our favourite restaurants with the chef, owner and old friend Didier Denis. During the week we’ll also visit Dijon, former capital of the Duchy of Burgundy, and the following day we’ll head east to the rugged Jura region, and taste its unique wines.
After some more free time in Beaune and a visit to a local truffiere for a truffle hunt and lunch, our tour will finish with several nights in Auxerre, another Burgundy jewel, and a mecca for boaties, beside the Yonne river and at the start of the Nivernais canal. The view of the town from the river is dominated by the mighty Gothic cathedral of St Etienne and Abbey of St Germain. We’re looking forward to seeing it again, it’s been a while.
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Cordialement, Barbara & Robert