Beaune and Bernard Loiseau

We spent most of the day in Beaune – a lovely if a bit too touristy town on the wine trail. There, we visited another former hospital, strangely, almost identical to the one in Tournus on the inside, but topped with a stunningly elaborate tiled roof on the outside, which made this hotel dieu a major tourist attraction.
You can definitely detect wealth in this region- the towns are tidy, the countryside is picture-perfect, the houses are well kept.
From Beaune, we headed to our next overnight stop at the 5* Bernard Loiseau where we had a cooking demonstration followed by dinner at its 3 Michelin star restaurant, and the following morning – breakfast, which was nice but didn’t meet my expectation of a 5-star hotel, 3 Michelin star restaurant. Attentive service, but nothing special served. Although, I must say, the soft-boiled egg was cooked to perfection!
The next day was our last day in Burgundy, and we set off for Paris stopping at some towns to break the way.
The first town was Semur-en-Auxois, a small and charming place not yet discovered by hordes of tourists. The view of the town at the approach was as stunning as they come! A postcard of a medieval hill town behind a wall, surrounded by a river with an ancient bridge leading to the main gate.
Behind the gate, it was compact but full of historic buildings and crooked cobblestone streets. The houses were hued in muted warm tones, sepia, all shades of off-whites, beige, and cream. The lovely courthouse had a sign that it was last restored in 1602, but it looked great still! There was a smattering of grand renaissance mansions they call “townhouses” and a promenade with a panoramic view of the valley bellow. We spent several delightful hours following the walking tour marked on the pavement with brass plates.
From Semur, we drove to a village known as one of the most charming villages in France. Perhaps the person who named it as such was heavily inebriated on the local wine or mostly blind. The village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain was sad -looking hamlet of nondescript buildings. What exacerbated the feeling of doom and gloom was that there were no people on the streets. It appeared that the inhabitants abandoned the village in a hurry and let it decay. It was getting eerie walking around the empty gloomy village, but then we came into the main square and heard voices coming out of a barn. We looked in and discovered that this was not a barn but an eatery (can’t really call it a restaurant) full of people sitting on benches at long wooden tables and eating the same food piled up high on their plates. The food, actually, looked very good and totally homemade. Apparently, despite the comprehensive menu on the wall, the only thing the restaurant served that day was this plat du jour of chicken and potatoes. It looked and smelled really delicious but we opted for the only other dish they served that day – quiche made with one of those exquisite French cheeses that sell in the US for a small fortune.
The quiche was outstanding and perfectly gourmet! The way the chicken was disappearing from the people’s plates, it must have been delicious too. The homemade pies also looked amazing but unfortunately, we had no room left in our stomachs.
Whaddyya know! Even in this god-forsaken village in a restaurant looking more like a barn you can eat really well here in France!

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