afternoon ride : Cluny to Beaujolais

after lunch, a change of hotel

here’s the view from our new bedroom window:

Le Patron @ L'Hôtel Saint-Odilon

Then off south, stopping first in the hamlet of Saint Point, with its (inevitable) Église Romaine

L'Église de Saint Point

St Amable, dans l'Église de Saint Point

and the (privately owner-occupied) Château Lamartine, formerly eponymously owned & occupied:

Château Lamartine

nice wee place, and a decent looking campsite nearby, so we may return!

Saint Point : the village (or most of it)

This next bit was a surprise. The posh vineyards of the Côte d’Or that we visited last trip were interesting, but less-opulent Beaujolais is actually far more scenically interesting, with far more dramatic slopes, and with some vineyards every bit as carefully-tended as anything we saw in Meursault or Vosne-Romanée (and some just as scruffy and neglected)

Beaujolais vineyards near Fleurie

Les Vins Sensuels de Fleurie

A nice style in promo here, too. She’s reminiscent of the graphic on the old Gitânes fag-packets you never seem to see in France anymore


down the Moselle, below the vines...

... lies the best kept secret in wine?

See wine writer Tom Canavan on Luxembourg’s wines here

We spent a day rambling down the Moselle valley, with the better-known German Mosel vineyards just across the river from us. In the village of Éinen, the vines come right into the built-up area, and there seems to be little distinction between horticulture and viticulture

Éinen : street scene with vines

The signs of wine-making are everywhere in Éinen

Éinen street scene

And the wine? Well, we tried some Letzeburgesch fizz, and found the stuff from Domaine Bernard-Massard in nearby Grevenmacher particularly agreeable. A fraction of the price of a champagne of comparable quality. Wish we could find it back in the UK. Maybe next time we’ll haul back a case or two...

A mighty river the Moselle! Markers on the wall behind Bamberg’s Hotel show heights reached by flood waters during past inundations of the Moselle (click the pic to enlarge).

Bamberg's, Éinen Flood levels at Éinen

Haven’t been able to find much about this, but the 1947 flood waters reached a depth of 4 metres. An idea of just how widespread the devastation this must have caused would have been can be seen from the shot below of the Moselle valley taken at an altitude of less than one metre above the river’s normal level, from the exact same spot as the picture of the Bamberg’s hotel (above left) was taken. A 4 metre flood would have submerged most of the buildings in this shot, and lapped over Bamberg’s flower-covered balcony.

The Moselle at Éinen

Surprises in store on the ornitho front as well. We’d not expected to run into these critters again

Egyptian Geese

Last ones we saw were in the dam in the Pilanesburg National Park in South Africa, and anyone who got a Christmas card from us last year may recognise these as Egyptian Geese, same as pictured on our card

Egyptian Geese

There are some surprisingly large boats on the Moselle, too. Quite a lot of them, in fact, both barges and cruise ships. Here’s a couple of examples: it really is quite difficult to convey the sheer scale of these - don’t forget to click to enlarge...

Moselle cargo barge

Moselle cruiser at Remich

To Remich, one of the bigger Moselle crossing points, for lunch. Jim looks like he enjoyed it

Jim at lunch in Remich

And finally : not all the geese were Egyptian. We ran into this stonker-honker after lunch

Goose at Remich

...onward down the Route des Vins...

a stork’s nest overlooks the entry to the village of Ribeauvillé

Stork's nest at Ribeauvillé

and just a little further along, at the “Centre de Réintroduction des Cigognes et des Loutres” (Centre for the Reintroduction of Storks and Otters) at Hunawihr, storks patrol the car park (we didn’t go in)

Stork landing

We didn’t spend much time at Riquewihr, either. It may be one of the “Plus Beau Villages de France”, but it’s milking its status to the point of being nigh-unvisitable. Here’s a quite corner...

If only it had all been so calm!


morning in Obernai, then out on the Route des Vins

wake up & it’s an Obernai morning & the first thing that we see, over breakfast, is the geraniums in the Place du Marché

They’re almost everywhere else you look too.

Obernai, Place du Marché

This place is barely French, architecturally...

Obernai, Place du Marché

...but perhaps the more intriguing for that Tuetonic touch...

Obernai, Place de l'Étoile

... it feels like the buildings here look eastwards, directly towards Prague, perhaps.

Years ago, driving back up France towards the Channel, a young friend remarked to Jim that northern France is more “French”, while the south is less French, more Mediterranean. In this trip to eastern France we were to find our attention drawn to a less French, more mittel-Europan architecture and ambiance.

Ideas for future trips rush in... but for today, it’s off to explore Alsace, and after a wrong turn up the forest-engulfed Mont Ste. Odile, we’re away on the Route des Vins, to Itterswiller...

Itterswiller, Alsace

(there’s Ruth checking the menu at the Weinstub - it wasn’t the food, or the prices, but the bus-load of tourists that deterred us from eating here)

and Bergheim...

Street Scene, Bergheim, Alsace

...altogether a lieu plus sympa, and a good place for lunch...

lunch in Bergheim, Alsace