A Weekend Away in Bourgogne

September 22, 2016

10 college students, 3 French women, and 1 chauffeur spent the weekend in a bus touring Bourgogne, a region of France just southeast of Paris known for its wine and its mustard and charming countryside. We ate delicious food, toured a vineyard, wandered around some lovely little towns, explored Dijon, and ate some more delicious food. What more could you want from a weekend?

On Friday, we started off with lunch in a village before our tour of the Abbay of Fontenay, one of the oldest Cistercian abbeys and a UNESCO world heritage site. Not long after, we continued to Dijon to settle into our hotel and have our first walking tour. Bourgogne is known for its colorful and patterned rooftop style made with glazed tiles.Rooftops like this could be spotted in Dijon, but the next day we drove to Beaune to see the “Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune,” one of the most amazing examples of this motif. It was Saturday, so Beaune had a large open market — we feasted. Not long after lunch we headed to wine country, passing fields upon fields of vines. We had a quick introduction to wine making in Bourgogne and then had a “degustation.” Amazing.

On our way back to Paris on Sunday, we spent some time in Vézelay. Vézelay is a medieval town located on the top of a hill, and on a clear day one can see the landscape all around. It was pretty dreary weather for the weekend, and as we were in Vézelay, a really thick fog descended. Stunning, but in a totally different way. After eating an incredible three course lunch, we walked up the hill with the helpful information of our guide Caroline. She stopped us at some gold shells embedded in the road. A gold shell is the sign of St. Jacques and, as Caroline informed us, Vézelay is one of the main starting points for pilgrims who embark on the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James). This is an ancient and legendary pilgrimage dating back to the 11th century that goes all the way through the Pyrenees to Northwest Spain. It’s amazing to think about all the journeys that started in this small, hilltop village.

We returned to Paris Sunday night with much tighter pants and ready to dive into class Monday morning. The semester is officially in full swing!

PS: Special thanks to our APA Directors and our super fun chauffeur Bernard for a great weekend! Ya’ll rock.

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