Adventures In France: Dijon & Annecy
On Monday I documented our travels in Paris and today’s post picks up where that left off on our way to Dijon. We arrived in the late afternoon to a wonderful B&B not far from the Dijon town center. It was the summer solstice and thus the Fête de la Musique all around France (and many other countries), a nationwide music festival taking place on any street corner imaginable. We drove into the town center and enjoyed the scene of bands playing on the steps of 16th century buildings.
We had a great dinner at Le Chabrot in the old part of Dijon close enough to one of the concert stages that we could hear the music but far enough away that we could also hear each other talk. I tried escargot (a first for me, well soaked in garlic and butter) and thoroughly enjoyed beef bourguignon (when in Burgundy…) before calling it a night.
The next day was a Sunday so while most stores and restaurants were closed (see below for a picture of the empty streets) many of the museums we wanted to go to were open. We learned all about (or at least some about) the Dukes of Burgundy at the Palais de Ducs/Musée des Beaux-Arts and wandered through a Sunday market that sold what I think could best be described as curios. Most things were too nice to be called knick-knacks, but not nice or impressive enough to be antiques.
Still though, it was a nice slower day that finished with a great meal at L’Epicerie et Cie. We ordered an unknown chocolate based dessert (weren’t entirely sure about some of the words) and got a bit worried when it hadn’t shown up after 30 minutes. Shortly after it arrived and to our surprise and great enjoyment it was a freshly made chocolate lava cake! In our excitement we forgot to take a picture until the plate was empty, so you’ll have to just take my word for it that it was incredible.
I kept expecting people to pop out of all these windows saying ‘Bonjour’ but it never happened. Overall I really enjoyed our time, however brief, in Dijon. I didn’t know as much about it before we got there but loved walking through the old town area (buildings from the 14th-17th century) and the food was wonderful. On Monday we hopped in the car once more and drove to Annecy, a lake town on the edge of the Alps. We took the scenic route (is there an un-scenic route in France?) and drove through vineyards and chateaus, stopping at one for a cellar tour and tasting.
After a fantastically scenic drive from Dijon we arrived in Annecy and navigated through traffic and construction to find our hotel atop a hill in the old part of town. We walked down the hill for dinner where I enjoyed Le Berthoud, a dish made with Abondance cheese (from the Savoie region where we were), white wine, and boiled potatoes.
I was really excited about all the walking/biking/hiking we could do in the area and I certainly got my fill! We started our first full day in Annecy with a lengthy bike ride down the west side of the lake through a few different towns (one of my favorite houses we passed is pictured below). We toured the chateau atop the hill (near our hotel) which had some interesting anthropological/geographical exhibits on the area’s history and development.
The next morning we walked to the other side of the lake to the Mont Veyrier trail head and after 2.5 hours of a steep and rocky climb we stopped for lunch with this incredible view. A few hours later we made our way back to the hotel having spent most of the day on our feet, walking about 14 miles in total.
The next morning with fresh blisters and tired legs we climbed in the car and left behind Annecy to drive south towards Aix-en-Provence. More to come on Monday about our adventures in Orange, Aix, Bonnieux, and Avignon! In the meantime, here are a few pictures I took at a morning market in Annecy. Nougat anyone?