Sunday, August 15, 2010

Visiting Tonnerre, Chateau d'Ancy & dinner in Chablis

On Thursday, we ventured out to visit Tonnerre and the Chateau d'Ancy-le-Franc and then do a little more wine tasting in Chablis.  Tonnerre was suppose to have some interesting things to see.  When we got into Tonnerre, we parked in what we thought was the center of the town and then started following the signs to our first sight...the Fosse Dionne.

On our way, we saw this great old church.

Then we hiked up a trail.

And saw this cool old church.

And this statute (a bear???).  James says a badger.

And this amazing view of Tonnerre.

But we couldn't find the Fosse Dionne, so we kept walking and saw this.  Turns out the path we walked on was over 2000 years old from when the Romans had a settlement above what was to become the Fosse Dionne.

Finally, after deciding to head back to the car, we stumbled upon what we were looking for.

An old Wash House built in the 18th century.  It was really cool, but gross too because the water was filled with lots of green stuff.  The basin is fed from an underground spring, producing 200 liters of water per second and the spring was used as far back as Roman times.  During the rainy season, the basin overflows and cascades water through a beautiful river.  When we saw it, it wasn't the rainy season.  There was no beautiful river, just a dried up, fairly stinky run off area.  

Have I mentioned the ongoing issue we have with the stink???  I don't want to be rude to an entire country, but everywhere we smells like urine.  We have stumbled upon many gentlemen taking leaks on the sides of buildings (buildings everywhere, in the country, in Paris and in Nice)...we think this is the cause of the stink.  Now, maybe all these men are tourists from some uncivilized country where this is considered ok (in fact I hope they are, because it is just too depressing to think that French men think it's ok to pee on the sides of buildings that people will be walking by every day), and we haven't stopped to ask them, so we're not sure.  It just seems a little odd that you're not allowed to walk on the grass in any parks, but it's ok to pee in public!

After finding the Fosse Dionne, we then went in search of the old hospital built in the 13th century (Hotel Dieu).  Unfortunately, Tonnerre was just not our town in terms of navigation.  We walked for quite a while, finally spotted the roof of what we were looking for, and then walked a little longer.  We finally found the old hospital here.

Kerry said it looks like a church.  When we got inside, turns out she was right.  They built a hospital and a church together.  The beds were pushed up against the walls, with the pews in the center.  This way, the sick and dying got to hear mass.

This is the chick (Marguerite de Bourgogne) who had the hospital built...she was very loved in Tonnerre.

The Hotel Dieu was an incredibly cool building, with the church in main portion of the building and a museum above showing old medical supplies and beds, etc. (which we weren't allowed to photograph).

Old bones, kind of creepy.

The church, where they now hold concerts.

Cool statutes.

Almost every church has this type of statute of Christ.

The kitchen...they love copper!!

And so do I!!

After exploring the Hotel Dieu, we discovered that we had been about a 1/2 block from it when we started searching for it...if we had just turned left instead of right.  Oh well!  We then hopped in the cars to look for a picnic spot.  It took a few (like 8) u-turns...but we finally found the perfect spot next to the river.

Thank goodness we had packed a picnic, because we didn't eat lunch until 3 and all the spots to eat were closed!  We then rushed off to the Chateau d'Ancy-le-Franc, whose last tour was at 4:00 pm.  Luckily, we made it in time.  The tour was all in French, but they gave us little guide books in English to follow along. We're pretty sure the guide said a whole lot more than what was in our books, because he talked for over an hour and it took us about 5 minutes to read our books!  The Chateau was very cool and everyone enjoyed seeing it.  It was built between 1544 and 1550 and is a prime example of the introduction of the Italian Renaissance to France.  We weren't allowed to take pictures inside, but these are some from the outside.

The stables...they really loved their horses!!!

A decorative pyramid in the yard.

We then headed into the town of Chablis, hit up two more wineries, and bought more wine.  We then went to a small bar for a drink and then decided it was getting late and we'd better eat dinner.  So we walked across the street and found a terrific restaurant where we could sample terroir cooking, as well as have pizza for those who wanted to.  

Waiting for food!

The kids (except Katey) had this pizza.

The rest of us ordered Le Menu and got three or four courses.

James and Katey got escargot (which all the kids tried and liked).

Don't know why he refuses to smile for photos!

Katey trying her escargot.

Megan was brave too!

Kerry started with the goat cheese salad.

And I finally got to have Oeufs en Meurette (eggs in red wine sauce).

For our entrees:

Kerry had the steak in Roquefort sauce.  It was good, but she was disappointed that it came with frites instead of scalloped potatoes.

James had the jambon chablis...which was delicious and had the scalloped potatoes that Kerry wanted.

And I had the coq au vin...amazingly good!  We just weren't sure why they served spaghetti as a side dish...oh well.

James and I also had the cheese course (yummy, but at this point we are stuffed!) and then desserts, which were a little underwhelming.  We continue to debate how the French stay so thin with these three and four course meals!  Kerry says it's the smoking...I think they must be purging...there's just no way you can eat this much food all the time!  It was great to have a meal where everyone enjoyed their dishes!  By the way...our four course "menus" were 27 euro.  Quite a bargain!


Andrew said...

I know why he's not smiling. Someone just told him he crossed the ocean to eat snails.

I'll make sure to bring Mt. Dew for the Oman/Irey families meetup.

Have fun!

Anonymous said...

Living the life you guys!!!


Michelle said...

Wow...great job girls for trying those snails, pretty adventuresome.