baguettes, terrine, and turrets: exploring the city of Beaune.

Waking up early, we carefully stepped through the cobblestone streets to the Saturday market in Beaune. The city itself still contains remnants of the original medieval walls that contained it’s residents, with towers overlooking the historic center.

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As we made our way to the square, various specialty stores began to emerge: chocolatiers, boulangeries, lingeries, and caves du vin. Through glass windows we could see the delicate layers of sugar, chantilly, and icings that have made France so famous for their desserts.

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My mouth already started to water with anticipation of our market findings. As we turned through small adjoining streets, the hum of the townspeople began to grow louder. Tables of duck, pork and beef sausages lined the sidewalks; hard cheeses in red wax and rinds graced stands; bress chickens warmed in rotisseries; and citizens queued to buy produce directly from farmers.

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We gorged our souvenir dollars on Dijon mustards and honey, then bought a baguette, some Bourgogne terrine, and walked to the city park.

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Feasting on fresh sandwiches and the sweetest strawberries ever tasted, we looked on at vineyards, listened to quacking ducks, and enjoyed the peaceful silence of the country.

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Strolling back to the center of the city after the closing of the market, a few Flemish inspired homes appeared on a hidden rue de village. Unique in turrets and bright roofs, these gems brightened the country cream stones that made up local architecture.

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In the center of town, lies Hotel-Dieu, an early hospice, the epitomizing reflection of this bright roofed trend. It was built in 1443 by the Duke of Burgundy, and is the city’s largest historical attraction… besides wine, of course.

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As the afternoon began to fade away, the sommelier and I met with up and coming local wine makers, tasted Champagne, Bourgogne, Saumer Blanc, and so many others that I lost track quickly. I began to realize that I know absolutely nothing about wine… except what I like to drink…. but I will save that for another post.

Sante.

from urban to country life: making our way to Burgundy.

Paris has a busy vibe, flooded with swarms of fast walkers, motorbikes, and pint sized cars. You can begin to feel lost in the everyday traffic, meandering through sidewalks, crowds, and cafés. As a tourist, it can be especially overwhelming, as time becomes extinct and schedules go off course. The sommelier and I had our fun few days seeing relics, museums, and architecture, but with blistered feet and sore legs, we were ready to make our way to the countryside.

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We boarded a regional train from Gare de Lyon in the late morning, and arrived in Dijon just after noon. The landscape started zipping by, and was dotted with patchwork grasses, hills, and trees. Small villages with tall steeples stood out against the rolling earth.

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The sommelier opted for a taxi from Dijon to Beaune, more so I could see the vineyards… and even more so that the sommelier could explain to me the different varietals along the way. We drove through Gevrey-Chambertin, Vosne-Romanee, and Nuits-Saint-Georges, which unbeknownst to me is famous for their pink marble quarries. Of course all the vineyards looked delicate and delicious, with bright spring vines budding from the dark branches.

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We were greeted in Beaune by a beautiful archway, a Cote d’Or that overseas the village. Luckily, our flat is located inside the city center, just on the opposite of the grand entrance.

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Since we took our time traveling, we immediately decided to take a stroll, sit outside a bar du vins, and take in an early dinner. The town of Beaune is fairly small, but contains a lot of history and is well known for their hospice. The French spoken here is tighter, more refined; there is a definitive distinction between the people here, a respect for the terroir, food, and wine I had not seen yet in France. They are proud of their heritage, as they should be.

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Walking the streets you can feel your mind relax, you can hear birds, ducks, and roosters, and know that you can finally live in the moment.

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As the sun sets later in France, time tends to slip away, especially when partaking in the vins du terroir. Ahhhh… this is the life.

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More to come tomorrow… Sante.