The Retirees go Abroad – On the road to Beaune

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We all arose early and packed. Breakfast was an enjoyable basket of croissants and baguettes with a hot chocolate. Our plan was to visit the House of Taittinger Champagne which was on our way to Beaune. After arriving a little too early for the opening of the cave we strolled through the gardens until the visitors door opened. But we were to be denied. The tour was in French only with the English tour starting an hour later. That meant we would arrive in Beaune too late to do anything there so we politely suggested that we would visit another time and got on the road again.

As it turns out we did not arrive in Beaune until after 1.00pm. After parking the car we found a delightful café for lunch then searched out the tourist information bureau. The town is very old and much of it appears to be unchanged from centuries past. Parts of the old defensive walls remain around the town and it has many caves peddling the wines of Burgundy. But this day we were in search of the Hotel Dieu. The Hospices de Beaune or Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune is a former charitable almshouse in Beaune, France. It was founded in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, chancellor of Burgundy, as a hospital for the poor. The original hospital building, the Hôtel-Dieu, one of the finest examples of French fifteenth-century architecture, is now a museum.

The Hospices de Beaune consists of a pair of two-storied buildings arranged around a stone courtyard. The building are well-preserved and they contain half-timber galleries and ornate rooftops with dormer windows. The Hospices de Beaune received the first patient on 1 January 1452. Over the centuries, the hospital has radiated outwards, thanks to many donations – farms, property, woods, works of art and of course vineyards – were made to it, by grateful families and generous benefactors.

Kerry rushed off to meet our hosts and collect the keys for our 2nd floor apartment. When we caught up again unloading of the car and transporting the luggage into a very old building proved a challenge. The spiral stairs to the second floor were uneven in some places and difficult to climb with our suitcases. Inside the living space was delightful but the sleeping spaces were again challenging. Our bedroom was on the 3rd level up an even narrower set of stairs. This was a loft extension and the ceiling of the walkway to our bedroom was angled so that if I stood upright I would hit my shoulder as I walked along it. I have included a photo of our accommodation.

Unpacked and settled in we visited our local Carrefour Supermarket and in our ignorance bought a bottle of local cremant to have with our hamburgers for dinner.

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