Monday can be a slow day in Burgundy. Most of the chateaux and museums are closed, many shops take the morning off, and small towns can seem empty. We headed over to Avallon, just 20 minutes away. We last visited here on our honeymoon 16 years ago. Memory is a funny thing--I perfectly remember our hotel, the church, the restaurant where we ate--and Larry might as well have never been there.
We walked around town, which as expected, was fairly closed up. It's a lovely place, full of ancient buildings, of half-timber and stone. Up on the ramparts, a pretty view down to the river Cousin. We stopped into the tourist office for a bunch of brochures on events in the area. There was a large show of the work of artists and craftspeople of the neighboring Morvan. Some really beautiful pieces, especially pottery and paintings.
We took the road heading up to Auxerre, getting off when we could to travel the smaller roads running alongside the river and through "blink-and-you-miss-them" towns. We took a road across to the west, to where another road follows the Cure. Ancy-sur-Cure was particularly beautiful, with what looked like thousands of flowers in pots and baskets in front of the stone houses. There's a tiny chateau in town, which according to the Blue Guide, is chiefly known for the obsessiveness of the guide in detailed explanation of a doorway carving. We passed.
A detour toward Joux-la-Ville led through an area of cherry trees and vineyards on one side of the slope. Back on the main road, we stopped at a sign for "Cerises" and bought small bags of three different types. So dark they're almost black, and wonderfully sweet-tart.
We made lunch reservations at a restaurant along the river, and I'll describe our rather odd experience there in my next entry. Short story--food and setting wonderful, service dreadful.
We continued up to Auxerre, another town we had visited before. It's much larger than Avallon, and the old part of town rises from the wide Yonne riverbank. This time we both remembered the place. Another visit to the tourist office for bathrooms, brochures, and maps. We got a nice walking tour map, where you follow a trail through town (somewhat like the Freedom Trail in Boston). We did most of the trail over two hours, skipping some buildings after a while as our feet began to complain and our eyes glazed. Many beautiful large hotels (grand 16-17th century houses), interesting timbered houses in the old "Quartier de la Marine." Auxerre was waking up from the Monday nap, and many people were walking around, sitting in cafes, and in stores for the last of the summer sales. Lively, pretty place that looks like an appealing larger town to live in.
Headed for home, stopping for some water and wine in Iancy. Dinner was cheese and figs, cherries, and apricots.