From Lyon into the Vine Country

Lyon didn’t touch me, but i am glad I got to see it. The city has a rich history and has interesting urban spots to show for that. And several marionette shops to boot, which is dear to my heart.
After leaving the city, we headed into the heart of the wine country – Burgundy.
The first stop was to be the small medieval town of Perouges but on the way there, we noticed a huge gathering of people at a local flea market. So we parked our car and delved in.
A lot of Americans think of the entire French nation as sophisticated, urbane, and intellectual. Well, this flea market in Saint-Andre de Corsy would burst their bubble. Why Goodwill offerings would look like Neiman Marcus next to the merchandise displayed for sale here! Faded frumpy clothes, dirty stuffed animals, shabby furniture, broken household items – the stuff of a third world country, not the suave and uppity France! And the people! Oh the people there, matching the merchandise.
I wasn’t sure if I was in Albania or in a small Armenian town.
Strange place, strange people – is this what the real France is all about?
Off we went to Perouges – a nicely preserved and touristy medieval town, an interesting but not an awfully charming place, stone structures galore notwithstanding.
As we drove deeper into Burgundy, the scenery changed. We were in the wine country and the landscape was movie-setting perfect.
Our next stop was Tournus. This terribly dilapidated town was a charmer. Its decaying beauty was perfectly imperfect – modern art with no symmetry. Decades of aging turned house walls into abstract paintings. At the head of the town, sits an imposing abbey smack in the middle of a lively square filled with flowers and art shops. And there is a perfectly preserved former hospital for the poor (Hotel Dieu)- with tidy beds along the walls, tucked with red coverlets, and medical devices reminiscent of torture instruments displayed in glass cases. Especially impressive was an enema contraption. It was at least a foot long and made of some ominous dark-grey metal with twisty accouterments sticking from one end. Out of a horror movie this thing was, if you ask me. But at the end of the hall,to my delight, we found a wonderfully well preserved old pharmacy!
But our day was coming to an end as we arrived at our destination, the tiny village Montagny, where we were staying for the night at a b&b. The village of 220 inhabitants was the stuff of fairytales – a quintessential French village of quaint tidy stone houses set on a hill overlooking verdant vineyards.
The b&b, run by a couple of Parisian expats who bought and renovated this 18th century stone house and turned it into a gorgeous little retreat complete with stunning views of the valley below, charming quest rooms, and modern bathrooms. They also served exceptionally good breakfast – local cheeses, homemade financiers, fresh breads, salami, fruit and eggs – all local, fresh, and delicious. Unfortunately, it was already too cold to eat on the patio, but the dining room was warm and cozy.
I didn’t want to leave!


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