Like walking into a postcard…

(The camping car aire is to the right of the boats. Can you see the château?)

You know when you’re flipping through a magazine or a brochure and you see these pictures of some beautiful place and you think, wow, that’s just gorgeous, I’d really love to go there, then you turn the page and go on to something else. Well, for years I have a picture in my head that I saw in some brochure for the Canal de Bourgogne. It was absolutely magnificent. There wasn’t a particular location given for the picture, probably suggesting that all along the canal might be as magnificent… and it probably is. Anyway, I didn’t bother doing anything about it, either looking up the canal or asking anyone.

(The locals are very friendly)

Then on Wednesday there we were… in the picture in my head. It’s magnificent. Now I have some more pictures to keep in my head and you can have some of them too… At every turn there was something pretty, something reflecting light, something drifting along. In case you ever want to visit, here’s the location details: the village is called Vandenesse-en-Auxois, the château is called Châteauneuf-en-Auxois and the red marker on the map below (thanks to Google maps) marks the spot.

(The colours…)

It was too hot to walk up to the Château on Wednesday when we arrived and since there were no grocery shops in town and our cupboards were bare we went for a French lunch. Fortunately, there was a restaurant.) Might have mentioned before that the French are very precise when it comes to mealtimes. Lunch happens between 12.30pm and 2pm, not before and not after. It’s a four course all-included affair for anywhere from €10 to €15 or more. We arrived at 12.01pm as we were hungry and with all the cars parked outside we were concerned about getting a seat. The place was hopping when we arrived. There was a big group around the bar and a good number dotted around the tables. Monsieur took a moment as they do to welcome us and point to a table. We sat down.

(No cars… )

The table was set and there was a bottle of water. We drank the water and waited. We were wondering when the menu might come but the starter arrived at precisely 12.30 so we didn’t need to wonder anymore – there was no choice. That was actually a relief because every meal we eat in France has been delicious so whatever arrives will be ok with us.

(Can you make out the château in the mist?)

At this point the tables were full, mainly men, possibly coming from work. They looked right at home like maybe they came here everyday. And why wouldn’t they, the meal was lovely. I tried the sweet cheese – even when the Mademoiselle explained you pour sugar into it! I thought we misunderstood but no, one of the locals was doing just that. It tasted like a plain yogurt… with sugar.

Next time I’ll tell you about visiting the château, Mairead.