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  • Shelley Dark

9. Nous sommes perdus

Yes, that's French for 'we're lost'. And yes we were.

We were on our way to guide John's kind wine-tasting offer, at his wife's family's vineyard. Walking into Puligny along the tops of the vineyards, arriving there mid-morning. At 11.10am we were still way up in the hills above the valley, looking down at the vineyards, re-reading the directions, quite lost. With admirable restraint, we kept our heads and a soupçon of cool. No swearing. We worked out roughly where we were, but unfortunately it was far from Puligny, pronounced pew-knee. Guide John had business to do in Beaune soon after midday, so we regretfully agreed by text that we'd cancel the wine-tasting.

We were sad, but we couldn't stay that way for long. It was a beautiful day again - blue sky with a bit of cloud, at least fifteen degrees, no wind. Perfect.

The vineyard area was an absolute frenzy of activity this morning. When our children were little they had Richard Scarry's book of Cars and Trucks and Things that Go. I think he wrote it after visiting Burgundy.

There were cars and vans parked everywhere in vineyards, on roads. Tractors were either spraying or whizzing at great speed between jobs. Some were in closed cabs, some in open air with space age costumes to protect them. When they met on the tiny lanes, one had to back up and wait for the other to pass. If we saw one coming we stood up on the low stone walls beside the road or in the long grass verge. Cars and trucks were racing along highways. Walkers were striding out! There was a real sense of urgency, even in the tourists.

Wouldn't these workers have loved those electric tricycles we saw the other day. Can you imagine more back-breaking work than this? Yet they smiled and waved.

We met a group of walkers going from Beaune to Cluny. Eighty kilometres. They had just the backpacks they were wearing.

Another group of vineyard workers pondered over our directions. Which were of course in English and they only spoke French. They all pointed in a different direction.

We decided just to meander. Which was after all what we'd been doing all the morning! We eventually arrived back in Meursault. Succès!

I must tell you about the Château. It’s fairly much in its original condition except for the renovated bedrooms. I had seen photos of it online before we came and loved the look of it.

Reception is on the first floor, up this imposing flight of stairs. It sets up a real anticipation of arrival. Almost an anticlimax to reach the top to see a checkin desk!

On the stone balustrading, the letter B for Bernard, the surname of the man who built the château. There are many monograms throughout the château, B by itself and JB, Jules Bernard.

In the four corners of the dining room ceiling

On the marble fireplace in the salon

And we say that people taking selfies are narcissistic!

Our room is quite small, with a balcony with table and 2 chairs, white walls and bedcovers, and blonde wood furniture. And a coffee machine. I'm always so glad to see one, because the coffee in the dining rooms always tastes stewed.

The bedrooms are quite modern in appearance with an updated version of a balloon back chair and a modern painting behind the bed.

The parquetry floors however, which must have been beyond redemption, have been replaced with a cheap imitation of light ash floor boards. I can’t quite get beyond it. No photo of that!

The bathroom has pale taupe tiles and modern fixtures.

I like the luggage rack which has a taupe webbing. John couldn't believe that I'd even care...

The château is featuring work by Christophe Heymann. It’s in comic book style, and some is for sale. This is the void above the main staircase.

I love the doorhandles in the public areas.

The sitting room has great potential with its rather old parquetry floors and high ceilings. It's just crying out for a makeover.

The breakfast room with its fabric panels off the dining room. And the breakfast cups are a sensible morning coffee size! Real coffee would be the topping on the cake.

Through the huge doors at the end of the room is the pièce de résistance. The dining room. Pale blue and gilt, divine. There's panelling, gilt mirrors, tapestry panels, framed cherubs, and a huge fire place.

An amazing sky ceiling painted with clouds and cherubs.

And a grey marble fireplace. The panels on either side are tapestry.

Can you believe that anyone would put the exit sign just there, instead of 4 inches to the left???? I can see them now, insisting on its placement, EXACTEMENT. What would Jules Bernard think of workplace health and safety?

And cherubs... It's simply wonderful beyond words. A place of total enchantment. We're having dinner there tonight.

A ceiling detail.

Gilt door handles.

Even the door bolts. Aren't they perfect??? The levels I stoop to for you!

We're having a dinner there tonight so I thought I'd write this post this afternoon. Which means I can have a wine or two tonight! If I started writing after dinner you might just get computer scribble!

I'll tell you all about it tomorrow when I post from Dijon tomorrow, travelling buddies. We've thoroughly enjoyed the vineyards, but we're looking forward to a change of scenery aren't you? Until then, I wish you bonsoir.

shelley dark, writer 

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