First up is a detour we took - unplanned, just got off the highway and stumbled upon beautiful little village. We wanted to eat lunch but as we were a bit late - it was not to be - no 24 hr service here - life is slower here and I enjoyed it (even if it meant missing lunch). What is not seen in the image below (top one) are many painters with their easels along the stone fence looking onto the village and meadows below painting away. The very last picture below is from one of the wineries we visited. I braved a visit fully prepared to be turned away when they see me pushing a stroller plus other kiddos - but they were very welcoming and spent much time explaining things and showing around. Great hospitality!
Considering that I am traveling by car with kids - I want to clarify 'finding lunch'... What I liked about France is that there are regular services stops along highways with cafeterias with nice choices of hot meals that I never felt I had to scramble or feel anxious about feeding the lot. Our ventures to villages were mostly for atmosphere and other culinary experiences... If it happened that we missed the hour - we also went to Plan B. Having options and not having any timelines or deadlines to adhere to was most important thing for me ensuring that travel was relaxing for kids and adults - no pressures.
What the region has in golden grapes, it lacks in chateaus.. There are a number of them, but they lack in size, grandeur and upkeep as compared to Loire Valley and other areas in France. Not that we needed more chateaus to visit - but it was nice to see the life of the region through the eyes of these glorious mansions. One such chateau is Bussy-Rabutin which has a sad history of its former owner living there in total exile (well there are worse ways to live...).
Other attraction is Abbey of Fontenay, UNESCO World Heritage site:
Bernard of Clairvaux, who restricted decorations, believed that only light should enter the church. Bernard had inherited the Byzantine ideas that light is God, and that the only way to experience God is through light. For a long time it was also believed that perfect proportions can be achieved through music. Thus, when designing the glass windows, numerical ratios corresponding to music were applied. For instance, the seven windows in the west of the interior were distributed according to a musical ratio of 3/4.
And here is how kids enjoy this space (following hundreds of questions they had about inside of the space):
Place that was a real treat for both me and kids was Guedelon - a castle in the making. A team of 50 builders is constructing a castle using the same techniques and materials used in the Middle Ages. Absolutely everything used from tools, clothes they wear, animals on-site is done to replicate the life in the Middle Ages.
Many activities are hands-on and my kids spent hours carving stones, making clay tiles, learning how to make colours, weaving baskets, making ropes, etc.
Other great place for kids to visit is MuseoParc Alesia:
Alesia is where, in 52 BC, the famous confrontation took place between Julius Caesar’s Roman army and the Gallic tribes led by Vercingetorix... The Interpretation Center of the MuséoParc Alésia immerses you completely in History : the conquest of Gaul by the Romans, the siege of Alésia in 52 BC, Caesar and Vercingétorix pitted against one another. Artefacts and facsimiles, diorama, films, models, multimedia terminals and reproductions of war machines plunge you into the thick of the battle.
For these and other trips we stayed in small medieval city Semur-en-Auxois -
- in a beautiful two bedroom townhome.
Our mornings would start with short walk to bakery for fresh bread and wonderful pastries.. beautiful memories..