This weekend was jam-packed with activities (love when that happens).
Friday I went into Dijon with friends for dinner and drinks. We ate at the Imprimerie which is decorated from top to bottom as a newspaper. The menu, the walls, the things hanging from the ceiling. It’s a very cozy and homey atmosphere. Great for a quick chocolate chaud or a nice sit-down dinner.
Saturday I ate dinner at Libbi & Ben Leroux’s home again (Bonfire night). It was such a nice evening of conversation between people from France, England, Italy, Spain and America (that’s me!). So neat to have so many people at one table, sharing a meal and sharing stories. That night–after Skyping Liz (my friend who was the Au Pair for the Leroux family) I went to bed at their house so that we could get up in the morning to go into Beaune.
This weekend in Beaune was the Vente des Vins des Hospices de Beaune. Here is the lowdown (if you read French click this): When old wine makers died and they had no children to take over their vineyards the hospital in Beaune, which was constructed to help the sick poor people, bought the vineyards. The hospices now has 25 hectares of vineyards with which they make their high-quality wine. So during this weekend, this festival, this auction, all the big shots in the wine community come to Beaune and bid on barrels (these barrels must be bottled in Burgundy). This year a record was set: 400,000 € for one barrel!!!!
Although the auction is a closed event, people watch from the surrounding courtyards. The streets are filled all weekend with people celebrating Beaune’s traditions, buying (and drinking) wine and just enjoying the atmosphere which surrounds this fun event. There are many vendors, parades, marching bands, people dressed in medieval costumes, kid fair rides, dégustations (tastings) of food & wine and of course vin chaud (mulled wine).
Most everything goes on all weekend long but specifically on Saturday there was a 1/2 marathon through the vineyards and the grand event: the auction is on Sunday afternoon.
When we got into town Sunday we wandered the streets a bit before chowing down on escargot (my first time and so delicious with a pesto garlic sauce on top) and then des crêpes and du vin. The crêperie was specially set up for the weekend in an old chapel and was run by many generations of one family. Libbi, Ben, the kids (Zack and Lexi), Libbi’s parents, brother Johnny and his girlfriend all sat and chowed down on crêpe after crêpe. We started with meat and cheese filled ones and finished with chocolate ones. After, I met up with two Au Pair’s from Nuits St. George. We had been trying to get together for some time and this was the perfect opportunity. We sipped on mulled wine as we got to know each other. After some shopping and a stop at the kiddie fair to win a goldfish, they were off and I wandered the streets once more.
By this time it was getting dark and cold (winter is officially on its way here in Bourgogne). But people still filled the streets and the action didnt die down. On many corners and through the streets people would perform a traditional dance or song while everyone circled around to watch. Christmas lights lined the cobble-stone streets, everyone was bundled up and steam poured out of the cups of vin chaud that everyone clutched for warmth. For a moment I felt like I was in some 1800s European Christmas card. It was an atmosphere which I loved but also made me miss having friends and family around to share it with–especially when I saw the couples and the families walking hand-in-hand through the streets.
But not to worry, I had my new cozy oversized scarf, a mug of hot wine and I was on my way to end my night on the bumper cars with Libbi and her family. After a few rides I called it a night (even though a lot of Beaune was still moving–the bars didn’t close until 4am for this night) and grabbed a “hamburger royal” (fries inside the burger) from La Caravane. I headed home and jumped into a hot shower….perfection!
Cette weekend était top!