Le Clos de L'Abbaye
We finally get to our B & B in Bourgogne (Burgundy) in St Sernin du Plain. St SdP is located about 30 km from Beaune, France, the center of Bourgogne, and the center of wine making in Bourgogne. The roads in this area are seriously cow and cart paths from back in the day of the 1500s when growing grapes and wine making was being quite perfected in this area. The only way to get here is by car, bike or foot, and the closest train station is about 1/2 hour drive away. This town does not seem to be a high traffic area for the tourists who travel by train. St SdP is a small town is on top of the hill, and offers a really spectacular view of the Beaune, Cote de Beaune, and Haute Cote de Beaune wine region. There isn't much in this town, a post office, some homes, and a seasonal restaurant that was closed during our trip because we were there during the winter.
The buildings in this little town are all hundreds (400+ years old) and made of stone. The stone homes are actually similar to the Southern Ireland stone homes around the Burren. This makes sense because the Burren and Bourgogne are made up of the same rock and earth formation. The whole area from Ireland, England, and France was once all similar in geology thousands of years ago. The water, where the English Channel is now, slowly eroded away the land between England and France, and eroded away rock from England and Northern France, leaving the underlying chalk lime stone in the areas closest to the English Channel, and left the higher rocky areas in Ireland and Bourgogne. In Borgogne, like in Ireland, people tried to cultivate their land, and lots of rocks and stones are in the earth. I am sure they made piles of the stones to use to build their houses, and stone walls. It was quite amazing to be in a building that was ove 400 years old. It was sturdy, comfortable and warm. It sure beats our current bad 1980s cheap construction that we live in here in Nashville.
It is worth mentioning that driving directions in France are a bit different than how we give directions in the USA. In this area of Bougogne, it is important to know what town you are driving towards. There is no reason to know street names or distances, just which town you are heading towards. Every intersection has signs for what the next town is, not street names. Many intersections are actually rotaries (traffic circles) that might have a more than 3-5 streets coming into the circle. Only the major roads seemed to marked well with road numbers. The direction to this B & B and Gite from the north, is this: Take Autoroute A6 to exit 31. Go in the direction of Chagny. See sign for Le Creusot and go that direction. See sign for Mercey and go that direction. See sign for St Sernin du Plain and a small sign for Le Clos de L'Abbaye and go in that direction. Go up and up the hill until it levels off and see the yellow Post Office Building on the left. One door down from the Post Office is a small alley street to the left, take that left and continue left as if making a U-turn, and the Le Clos de L'Abbaye is behind the Post Office.
Our Google map directions had street names, distances, and turn left or right, as if we were traveling in the USA. When faced with 6 street choices without street names, which street is considered "turn left" or "turn right". There was not one street name to be had in this area. We were lost in a 10 km square area for 3 hours and nearly ran out of gas. When in France, on the small surface roads of the countryside, the Google map directions are not going to help you. We did not have a GPS. Perhaps we should have. Oh, and the map that automatically printed with Google directions, was basically useless because it did not print town names, it only printed steet names. sigh.
We got there about 3 hrs after our due time, and Vero was really a gracious B & B hostess. She felt bad for us for being lost without a GPS, so she made us snacks (we were so hungry!) and gave us red wine from the Beaune region. The snacks were French bread slices with tartare cheese, and French bread slices toasted with sausage on top. What a wonderful treat for a long a drive. We sat chatting. Her husband was at the polls counting ballots because it was local election days. I forgot to ask who won the mayor's position. Vero is fluent in English, thank goodness. I tried my little bit of French, but it was a garbled attempt, and we all agreed that English was the way to go.
We finally turned in for the night, and our room had old wood timber supports, hemp and soil plastered walls that had a lovely creamy yellow color that contrasted quite well with our dark burgundy red quilt and drapery. The furniture is all sturdy traditional French country with accents that was surely placed carefully by Vero. It was visually exactly what you would want in a French countryside B & B experience. Our bed was nice and just the perfect firmness, and offered a perfect night sleep.
The plumbing in the room was a modern shower and toilet. The shower has a regulator where you can dial up the temperature you want, and turn on the water with the pressure you want. While sudsing up, the knob is right there on the handle, so you could slow the water down to save water. This mechanism is the same as on cruise ships. I am wondering if the hotwater supply to the shower is a point of service supply rather than an inefficient hot water tank (like what we have in our house). The hot water was rather immediate, so I suspect Vero put in a point of service hot water supply. I am really impressed with the water conservation toilets and showers we have run into all over France. I wish the USA would catch up. Here in the South USA last year, we entered into "water wars" during the drought, and Georgia is still vying for more water by re-drawing the state boundary to include another river that is currently in my state. If we had water saving showers and toilets, we might not have been in water wars.