Monday, September 21, 2009

Viking Cruise: Rhône River From Lyon to Chalon-sur-Saône (May 2007)

As our cruise winds down, we visit Beaune on our last day before docking in Chalon-sur-Saône where we walk to the train station from our ship to catch a TGV to Paris.

Before heading to Beaune, we stopped for a day in Lyon where we docked along the Saône, dividing old from new Lyon. We were fortunate enough to have a dry day, and we elected to take the docent-led tour that took us first to an old cathedral atop the hill overlooking Old Lyon and then into the interior of the old village, as well as through the newer more modern areas of Modern Lyon. We were able to enjoy lunch on our own and shop the many boutiques and silk designers (Lyon is consider the silk capitol) that lined the streets. We were fascinated by the many murals painted as facades to the front of buildings. Some times it was difficult to tell that it was actually a mural, as the subjects were all painted in lifelike character.

We also paid a visit to Georges dos Santos, a sommelier who owns a wine shop called "The Flying Sommelier" in Old Lyon. He's very knowledgeable about wine, especially wines of the Burgundy region. He shared some examples of his favorites with us and we bought a few bottles before leaving the village, thinking to enjoy them in Paris. If you want some delicious premium wines of the southern region of Burgundy, visiting Georges is a must!

After enjoying our day in Lyon, we were delighted to go to Beaune where we not only were taken for a private wine tasting at a cave in the village of Châteauneuf du Pape, but we also enjoyed touring the Hospices de Beaune, an amazing structure built by the Duke of Burgundy to provide medical services to the needy in 1442. The building has been well-preserved and tours are available. The museum houses beautiful period tapestries with intricate religious designs. It's a stop that is definitely worthwhile.

We hope to some day return to the Châteauneuf du Pape village and stay for a few days while we tour the Grand Cru region of Burgundy and the famous vintners who produce some of the tastiest and most complex wines in the world. All it takes is one sip of the delicious wines of the Grand Cru and the wine lover knows that they've hit the Mother Lode of Wine!

We were fortunate enough to be in Beaune on the day of their lively weekly market. We now own a hand carved (from a grapevine) pestle and mortor. I'll always be swept back to that lively Beaune market, when I use it. It was so disappointing to know that we would not be able to buy any of the fresh artisan cheeses, bread and fresh produce since we had no place to store it, but we vowed to visit a fresh air market in Paris and buy until our hearts were content! Because it gets very warm in this region of Provence, cheese, candy, meats and other perishables are kept inside the cool environment of a large air conditioned warehouse. The fragrances that permeate the building are indescribable, as is the buzz of people who are doing their weekly shopping--buying up the many delicious fresh delicacies that are nothing short of tempting the palette.

Lyon is considered the "second Paris" of France and is indeed the second most populated city next to Paris. The Lyonaise believe their city to be better than Paris, with the surrounding Alpes in the backdrop of the City. Indeed, shopping and gastronomy are among the best in France (next to Paris--sorry) and the City is worthy of a stay to explore the many museums and narrow streets loaded with historical significance.

Please enjoy some of the sites, below, that we enjoyed on this wine cruise to the southern Burgundy region.

Beaune Market, Varieties of Olives and Cornichones

The Unending Variety of Cheeses. Beaune Market
Place. Cow, Goat & Sheep Cheese Artisans

The French Waste Nothing, Recycled Grapevines Provide
Useful Household Tools

Fresh Flowers Abound During Saturday
Fresh Air Market (Beaune)

A Patient French Lad Awaits His Bonbon
Beaune Market Place

Selection of Fresh Organic Meats In
Beaune Market Place

Hospices de Beaune, Worth Touring

Duke Phillip The Good's Hôpital-Dieu de Beaune (Hospices de Beaune)
Early 1400's, Built to Care For Poor

Another Peaceful Morning Along The Saone

A Large Bird Soars Above The Morning Fog Of The Countryside
Near Beune As We Awaken To Our Last Day Of The Cruise
To Chalon-Sur-Saone

As I Enjoy A Noisette, I See Locals Searching
For Just The Right Used Book Purchase
At The Adjoining Book Store Sale

My Husband, Doug, Looking Very French As He Stands Long Side
Another Artistic Mural Painted on the Side Of A Building
In Modern Lyon

A View From Old Lyon Looking Back At More Modern Lyon
On the Other side Of The Rhône
A Stunning Private Villa In Lyon

A Visit To "The Flying Sommelier" Produces A Delicious
Free Tasting Of A Rich Burgundy (Our Co-Cruiser, Pictured To Our Right,
Came Along To Be Introduced To Georges (Middle). Our Friend Is An
Amateur Wine Maker Living In New Jersey). Old Lyon Visit.

A Painted Mural Facade On A Lyon Building
Art Flourishes All Over France
Old Lyon, Pedestrian Streets Lined With
Restaurants and Boutiques

Next post: Paris, June 2007


  1. If you like everything French, you may enjoy this house in france. An American schoolteacher owns a wonderful house in Ansouis in the Luberon and two apartments in Paris. They are furnished with all the things we Americans consider necessities (dishwashers, washers and dryers, etc.)and beautifully furnished. The house in Ansouis was featured in Architectural Digest. I dream of staying there for a vacation one day.

  2. Ansouis is a lovely village with a huge chateau and we've stopped in the village for a meal on occasion. Charming with a good boulanger!