France 2018 – to the Auvergne (maybe) – days 4 & 5

13th September (Day 4)
Where are we going? What are we doing? What is life all about?

Decision time – no, not about our life, just about the next day or two. That’s what traveling in Hilma does – relaxes us, disengages us from the real world and we enter this world of not wanting to make a decision because that’s what we do in the real world. This is the first time that I haven’t planned a holiday to the nth degree. Quite liberating and if you are an anal retentive person about wanting to know what’s happening next, quite scary. So here we go, a little planning just to keep me happy.
We have decided to visit Chateau Pierrefonds – those of you that followed the ‘Merlin’ TV series will recognise the splendour of the building. Originally built in the 14th Century it became ruined but restored in the 19th Century – it has a faux feel about it as a fortified castle. Fascinating stonemason work and huge – a good 2hours spent wandering and wondering about medieval life in France. It dwarfs the town and must have been an impressive site during those early years (and may I add is still an impressive site).

Chateau Pierrefonds – Entrance, Courtyard & Grand Hall

Pierrefonds – Sculptures & Carvings


Onward to our second Passion France stay – the Champagne producer Mme Leguillette. A very warm welcome from the owner and in no time at all we were parked alongside some of the vines that had already been harvested for this year. We were told we could wander through the vineyards at our leisure – 8 Hectares of them – so we did.

Walking through the vineyards – courtesy of Mme Leguillette


14th September (Day 5)
It’s all about the bubbles!

In the morning we decide to seek out the owner and purchase some Champagne and Ratafia – a particular type of fortified wine like a sherry. Mme, we were told by Bridget, was on a ‘rendezvous’ (sounds cheeky) so we asked Bridget to sell us some. Before we bought we were treated to a tour of the cellars and production areas of the vineyard. Fantastic – in our broken French and her very good English we managed to find out about the different processes and timescale involved with making the Champagne. We reckon their must have been about 20,000 bottles at various different stage – and that’s a small producer (too many to sample).

Fermentation vats, 2nd stage fermenting in the bottles and a sealed bottle for the experts to taste and award their verdict.

The France Passion is really an eye opener for us – you can stay at some wonderful places and this is only our second visit to one of the listings.
Next stop Gurgy on the River Yonne – an aire next to the river that had a great write up in the ‘All the Aires North’ book. We were not disappointed – a beautiful spot. Straight away we decided to stay 2 nights and put our feet up – treat ourselves to a Restaurant meal and chill. At €7 a night we didn’t mind paying for a bit of paradise.
Some unusual sculptures were hung over the stream going through the village – I must admit to rather liking them. A definite talking point with people pointing, talking, shaking heads and generally confused – just what art should be all about!

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