Frolicking in France

Last Friday, a group of our friends headed to France for birthday celebrating/wine tasting/bike riding/French food feasting. The 7:50 am train out of London came early, but before we knew it, we were popping bottles at Sacré-Coeur during our layover in Paris before continuing on to Beaune.
025 030 029 027 024 037Prosecco eased our back pains as we loaded up our luggage and hiked to Jeanne B where Barlow blew out his first 30th birthday candle. The chocolate mousse with salted caramel was one of the weekend favorites- it was our first of too many mouth-watering French feasts. 040 058 049Snapping back to reality from our food coma, we piled into an Uber van and headed for Gare de Lyon to catch the train to Beaune- the adventure was only beginning! A slight hiccup had us nervous about the time, but after waiting for a few minutes, the construction worker not-so-urgently removed the sink from the middle of the street.3c9d1f9dc37a42b48e99b6e37bfda45fOnce in Beaune, our coordination of navigating 11 people from the train station to the hotel on single body-wide streets was like an elegant dance. IMG_1855Thrilled to drop our bags, we all felt weightless (despite the three course lunch) as we floated through the town to Ma Cuisine where Barlow’s birthday bash continued. Plates of escargot, duck pâté and foie gras made their way around the table that grew to 13 friends. Ready to hit the town after dinner, we took over a local wine bar and had a blast with the raging saxophonist to cap off the night.3f13ff99c5074d819a08ce4845533109Wine o’clock came early the next morning and our tour guides, Rob and Joy, arrived just as we were finishing our croissants. A full day of learning, exploring vineyards and age-old wine cellars, and of course tasting was on the agenda. We’d be making our way from the northern part of Côte de Beaune to Côte de Nuits. The spectacular views and informative overview of  La Bourgogne (the Burgundy region) was a great way to wake up.

Happy campers (Photo courtesy of Parker)

Happy campers (Photo courtesy of Parker)

We soaked in as much information and snapped as many photos as possible before the tasting bonanza began. Domaine Henri De Villamont was picturesque with its sprawling vineyards. I loved learning that each owner marks the end of their rows differently; my favorite distinction were the beautiful flowers. 101 112129 113 118 120 125131 134The second stop was a much smaller cellar run by husband and wife Nadine and Remi Marcillet – Domaine Marcillet. One wall was finished entirely with wine bottles so I knew I was going to like it! The hubs and I bought a two cases, including Aligota and Cassis for making proper Kirs (Mom- I know that makes it hard to resist a visit in the fall…). 150 157Lunch at Au Petit Bonheur kept upping the ante with another spectacular meal. The garden overflowing with blossoming flowers behind the restaurant was like out of a painting.Photo courtesy of Parker

The simple jambon dish turned out to be the group favorite (view from the hubs' perspective)

The simple jambon dish turned out to be the group favorite (view from the hubs’ perspective)

Last but not least, we visited Domaine Rene & Francois Leclerc where the highlight was most certainly trying a bottle of 1984 Gevrey Chambertin.

Amongst the wine that was generally older than us (Photo courtesy of Parker)

Amongst the wine that was generally older than us (Photo courtesy of Parker)

160 162On our way back, the scenery was stop-the-car-and-get-out-for-a-photo good.
179 182Later that evening, the group met for dinner at Caves Madeleine for another plate sharing, wine drinking, wonderful dinner.

Wishing we had a bottle of the 1984, but enjoying nonetheless (Photos courtesy of Parker)

Wishing we had a bottle of the 1984, but enjoying nonetheless (Photos courtesy of Parker)

Afterwards at a wine bar, continuing with the musical performances, a woman at the table next to us broke out into an unexpected opera solo that momentarily silenced the room.

Parker again on the fantastic photo capture as we all listen in awe

Parker again on the fantastic photo capture as we all listen in awe

Sunday morning, we had had our fill of three-course meals and were ready to work it off. Parker and I miraculously motivated each other out for a morning run around the town. Having to stop and take a photo ever quarter-mile made the workout a little more bearable.

Morning iPhone snaps

Morning iPhone snaps

Two hours later, it was time for workout part deux. We packed up a picnic and divided amongst our bikes, some hauling and looking more French than others.192 196While the bike path through the southern part of Côte de Beaune was mostly a leisurely and seemingly endless ride through heaven, we did have to power up a hill before finding the perfect spot for a charcuterie-style lunch.

203 205 208To kick off Mary Stuart’s birthday, we adorned her with Twix while her husband toasted her French style- bread, apricot and wine in hand.210 218A few hours of frolicking later, we had finished our attempt to capture the most scenic picnic spot imaginable and nearly finished our cornucopia of market fresh food. We biked on a bit further to Puligny Montrachet before heading back to Beaune. 225 243 250 252 256 263 265 277 280 281 283

A huge outside table for all 13 of us at Double Sens was Mary Stuart’s excellent choice for her birthday dinner. We played high-low, where everyone around the table recalled their highest and lowest point of the trip to ceremoniously end the weekend. Notably, biking through the vineyards was quite preferable to schlepping our bags through Paris and the tiny town of Beaune.

The hubs on the sparkle capture

The hubs on the sparkle capture

Monday morning provided just enough time for a quick tour of the town…298 301 303 310 313And a little antique shopping…315 316

All too soon, we were schlepping more bags back to a very rainy and dreary London. Nothing a Kir can’t fix!

One response to “Frolicking in France

  1. Pingback: That Time We Skied Chamonix | We're Not In Canton Anymore·

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