11:51PM | Beaune | France
We started the morning on the road, driving due north out of Provence, past Lyon, and into Burgundy. The terrain flattens out and the hills become greener; the sun today is clear and very warm.
We make it to Beaune by noon, grab some provisions in the market, and head south to Volnay. On a bench in the town square, in the shadow of the Volnay church spire, we spread out picnic between us and enjoy a lunch overlooking the sprawling Côte d’Or. Fresh warm bread, cheeses, sanglier saussicon, strawberries, and chocolate.
After checking into our hotel, we tour the Hospices to Beaune, a hospital for the poor founded in 1443. The Hospice is a remarkably well preserved landmark in the center of Beaune, known today as much for its annual wine auction as anything else. It’s not often the professions of wine and medicine overlap, but the tour brings smiles of recognition to both our faces today.
For dinner, we join three members of the Gros family at a new restaurant a few blocks from our hotel on the Place Carnot. The meal is outstanding — slow poached egg with morel mushrooms and asparagus, crusted duck with turnip and rosemary, and rhubarb compote with concentrated vanilla ice cream. Chassange and castles tomorrow, then the Abbey for dinner.