Day 25 — July 25, 1996 (Thursday)
25.07.1996 - 26.07.1996
Checked out around 8:30 this morning. It didn’t rain last night, but the tent was still pretty wet. We rolled it up and stuffed it in the trunk.
Had no trouble finding the N508 toward Bourg-en-Bresse and switched to A40 somewhere around Nantua. We zipped along through pretty spectacular country (including some road construction) and some very long tunnels. Near Mâcon we changed effortlessly to A6 toward Dijon. The countryside changed from mountainous to rolling hills; the chalets were replaced by more typical (to us) French country houses. We spotted the occasional small castle, but the A routes are pretty well insulated from French reality.
After bypassing Tournus and Chalon, we arrived at Beaune, exited the A and began our campground search. Oddly enough, we drove right to it. Since it is a Municipal campground, there were signs everywhere. Camping Municipal “Les Cent Vignes” is a gated, shaded campground with a store, restaurant and snack bar. There are tall shrubs and large trees defining very large campsites. We had a reservation and M. was waiting for us. He returned our reservation check and will take MasterCard when we leave. He speaks no English but gave us a camp map and seemed to understand our French. The site is great; the facilities are clean — wow! If only we had two chairs!
We went to the camp snack bar and managed to convey that we wanted a couple sandwiches. Ed discovered the difference between saucisse (hot dog) and saucisson (sausage). The young lady was surprised he wanted mustard with it . . . and this so close to Dijon!
After lunch, we walked to the old town and started to explore. Beaune is a beautiful little town. They have a weekend music festival, but concerts start at 9:00 P.M. and our campground closes at 10 so we didn’t get tickets. Spotted a horse and carriage so we joined two vacationing French couples for a ride around town. The driver, with beret and pony tail, carefully explained everything in French and we cheerfully waved at people sitting in roadside cafés and didn’t understand 85% of the commentary, but had a great time.
We set out on foot again after our carriage ride and walked all over town. Finally bought some water at Casino (the price doubles if it’s chilled) and found a park bench at Place Monge. Rested and refreshed, we set off in search of a free “Cave.” In Napa and Sonoma at home, the wine tastings are nearly all free. Here it is the opposite! We found the cave and started to look through the shop . . . . très cher. Knowing we wouldn’t pay those prices for wine, we decided to skip the tour and left. [Note in 2017, the tastings in Napa and Sonoma are no longer free. You have to go further east to the Amador wine country near Sacramento for free tastings.] La Maison du Colombier web site
Walked back to camp, bought some soap and Ed is having fun washing clothes while I write.
Later — Got the 68F menu at our campground. I ordered paté and it was good, but liver is not my favorite. We both ordered the escalope of turkey which was excellent, but came with a huge serving of french fries (frites) that we couldn’t begin (or want) to finish. This was followed by cheese and we both ordered cheese du pays and were both sorry. The softer cheese was pretty edible, but the hard cheese tasted like manure smells — not good. We got flan for dessert and that was fine. [We have since developed a real fondness for smelly French cheeses.]
Ed met a fellow from the Netherlands in the laundry and he and his family were also at dinner. We had a pretty French two-plus hour dinner.