Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Delightful Dijon

The land of Burgundy wine and Mustard was our destination for this past weekend. We packed up our car (thank you Bain!) and happily drove off to Dijon, France.

Our 3.5 hour drive took us around the Southern part of the Black Forest, through Basel and into the Burgundy region of France.
We found our sweet little hotel, centrally located and perfectly French. It was a small, family hotel, with plain accomodations, but provided parking, a small breakfast, a stone well, and a cobblestone courtyard with grape vines lining the walls.

First item on the agenda was to get some lunch- we were starving. We wandered up the street and found Marco Polo. The first thing I spotted on the menu was Escargo- and we ordered it! You can't go to France and not eat snails- right!? Um, they were salty, good, too rich, and very salty. Can't say I would order them again, but glad we tried them.


We spent the rest of Saturday wandering around the city, admiring the churches and the architecture. In our search for the tourist office, we stumbled upon the main shopping street, which was lined with flags creating a festive strolling atmosphere.

While we stopped in the tourist office, it started to rain, and naturally we were caught without our rain gear (left it in the hotel!) We seized the opportunity and snuck into a cafe/bar across the street and had ourselves a tasty beverage.  I had read that when in Dijon, you have to drink Kir. It's a cocktail invented by a 65 yr old priest, Canon Kir, who invented the drink and was a secret member of the Resistance during WWII when he thought up the drink. After the war Kir was elected mayor of Dijon for 4 consecutive 6 year terms and was the only Catholic priest in the National Legislature, it's a mix of white wine and black current cassis.  It was a very sweet cocktail, but I loved it. It would make for a perfect after dinner drink. John tried a local beer, though it was ok, but not worth having a second.

We spent the remainder of the afternoon and evening wandering the streets enjoying the city life and beautiful buildings. Dijon is pretty small, so we were able to quickly learn the layout of the city and navigate easily. After a lot of wandering near dinner time, we stumbled upon a creperie that could not have been more perfect. It was a very small restaurant with no more than 10 tables, and a friendly staff to help us through the menu.

John tried taking a picture of me during dinner with my crepe, but I was too hungry for such games...

 However, Ella thought that game was hilarious and insisted she take a picture like Mommy!

The crepes were fantastic - John choose a simple ham and fancy cheese for his crepe, and I opted for chevre, basil and tomato- it was melt in your mouth delicious. I can't go to a creperie and not order dessert, John selected something that had chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate with banana ice cream on top- yummy! Definitely worthy of a pic....

We rolled ourselves back to the hotel, and decided that we weren't quite ready for bed, which led us to the plaza across from our hotel for an after dinner drink while Ella played in the square.
The next morning we experienced our first European style 'continental breakfast' - a basket of bread and some coffee. We then walked up the street and got a baguette from the pasterie and the local cheese shop was open, so we picked up some fresh cheese and we were set with our lunch for the drive home.
We had a couple hours before we needed to be back on the road, so we drove south through wine country and stopped at a local winery for a self guided tour and a walk through the caves. Sadly we didn't have time for the tasting, but the drive through the vineyards was good enough for a Sunday morning.

One thing we noticed that was much different from the vineyards in the states. The houses and communities are interlaced wtih the vineyards, the people live and work among their grapes in small little towns dotting the hillside.


We then drove the 3.5 hours home and stopped at our friends house to end the evening with a Swiss Dish- Raclette! It's our new favorite dish here- grill the food at the dinner table, melt the cheese under the table grill, put it all together, and you have your own platter of Raclette - oh so good! We are bringing this back home with us!!! Overall, a great weekend traveling with the family! We loved Dijon and will definitely be returning later this year!

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