Postcard From Burgundy – Part 5 – le Fin (the End)

As I was saying, from a bicycle you see aspects of scenery you might otherwise miss from a Ferrari, and there is something to be said for that. Bicycles also have more head room. That you have to wear one of those dorky helmets seems a small price to pay. What I don’t understand is why I look like a dork and Lance Armstrong looks like a movie star. Don’t answer that.

Poppy Field
Cue Renoir... and of course Carolyne and me with our cameras.

My wingman Carolyne Roehm and I have gone a blistering 30 feet before the group abandons us yet again. They like to GO and we like to stop. How can you not stop for a field of poppies? That is another good thing about biking. You can stop and they can go. Just don’t get lost. Um-hmm.

Wheat Field
Fields and fields of wheat
Burgundy Vineyard
Little house on the vineyard. I have no idea what it's doing there, but it is so picturesque. Aww, and look at the little baby grapevines...
Allee leading to village
Allee leading to village.

The French are very respectful of cyclists (it’s a Tour de France thing), and they do not run over you when you stop in the middle of the road to take a picture, but it is better to pull over to the side, I’m just sayin’. They do not even honk, which is a miracle, considering people in New York honk when you stop to get out of a taxi. What are you supposed to do, jump out while it’s moving? But I digress.

Burgundy Garden
Gardeners at work.

Bonjour Monsieur!” we holler. “Que vous avez des beaux choux!” which means gosh you have beautiful cabbages. At least I hope that’s what it means.

Roadside roses in Burgundy
Roadside roses in Burgundy

It was so pretty here we stopped to peek over the fence.

Garden Shed
Someone's garden shed and sunny spot to sit.
Ferns and moss, so pretty.

No fern or fraise gets by us, no mon-sirree.

Fraise des Bois
Fraise des Bois - wild strawberry. Now if you were flying by in a Ferrari you might have missed this.

About two weeks later that day Carolyne and I arrive to meet the gang in the village where we gather before lunch. We made up a story about stopping at an antiques store, which we totally would have done, but it wasn’t open. Or else we might never have gotten to lunch.

Window and roses in Burgundy
Window and roses in Burgundy

I am always thrilled about lunch, especially today. We are having a picnic up the hill, and what a picnic it is…

Picnic in Burgundy
Rachel and John's most excellent picnic in the hills overlooking Bouilland, in the Ouche Valley.

The view is so beautiful it hurts, overlooking forest, fields and meadows, and the village of Bouilland, which is home to our leader and outfitter Rachel Foulkes. Canadian expat and sharp cookie, Rachel knows how to put on a picnic, here ably assisted by fellow leader John Brooks. We all take a minute to pinch ourselves.

Cassis, a regional Burgundian specialty, at the ready for splashing into white wine for Kirs.

The liqueur Creme de Cassis, made from black currants, is a regional specialty, as is the  Kir, a concoction made from white wine with a splash of cassis. Did you know the whole Kir thing was a marketing ploy trumped up by the clever mayor of Dijon, Felix Kir, to boost the cassis business after the war? Me neither. If you’re interested, here’s the story of Felix Kir and the Kir.

His Grace relaxing in Burgundy
Not a Kir in the world.

After a long, hard day of riding in the van, His Grace relaxes with his Blackberry. Okay I am kidding, sort of. On this day HG actually did bike the whole morning AND carried the cooler to the picnic  for extra credit. But listen he is a cowboy and more of a horseback kind of guy, and that’s all there is to it. He is magnifico on a horse.

You will be glad to hear also that his French has improved steadily. In addition to magnifico; he has belted out, lyrically, mas cafe por favor. Popped right out with it after dinner, he did. The waiter understood him perfectly. (It was late and we were all a little bi-lingual, if you know what I mean.)

Guess what is happening at our hotel L’Abbaye de la Bussiere when we arrive for the night? A Ferrari convention. I could not make that up. Ten of ’em in the parking lot, as we toodle by on our bikes, fraises des bois photos proudly in hand.

Picnic in Burgundy

In case you wanted a second helping. Our spectacular repast of melon and ham, sausages, pate, cheese, olives, salads of celeriac, carrots, avocado, beets. Tomatoes, oranges, cherries. Bread of course. And tarts keeping cool under the table. As in pies.
Roses climbing over rooftop, Burgundy

Grape note: closer to home and just coincidentally, the wonderful Centsational Girl blog the other day posted about grafting pinot noir vines in her family’s small vineyard in northern California . Burgundy is pinot noir as well. If you’re interested in reading about their grafting, go here. It’s quite a process. Cheers.


  1. Frances –
    I always thought a Kir was only made with champagne! Who knew that you could just use white wine. (Well, maybe the rest of the whole world.) It’s only 9 am and now I have to wait until at least 5 to try cassis with white wine. Dang! It’s going to be a long day at ADAC!
    Linda @ A Toile Tale
    PS I’ve been pretending I was with you for the whole trip!

    1. Linda, thank you for your comment! My impression is that the Kir with champagne is a “Kir Royale” and is made with the raspberry liqueur framboise, while the “Kir Vin Blanc” is the basic one with white wine and cassis. There are other Kir variations noted in the Wikipedia link I referenced, all news to me. I also read that previously – before the war – there was a cocktail made with red wine and Cassis, but the Germans had taken most of the red wine, and there was a surplus of white. So Kir’s Kir killed two birds with one stone: promoted Cassis and cut down on the white wine supply. TMI, but there you go! Say hi to my friends at ADAC! Frances

  2. These posts have been the Silver Lining of my day! I looooove the photos…and can only image your coordinating water colors. So glad you had a great time! xx

  3. Fran-too fabulous. Have been “riding bikes” with you amd Pixie etal but today’s entry was the best. I am weak over the photographs…and will try out HG’s “mas cafe por favor” right now for my 11th Cafe barrista. I’ll let you know tonight if i got cafe or something stronger….

  4. Am just droooooling over your picnic and fabulous photos….what a way for us regular guys to be in Burgundy…..many thanks always, Katherine

  5. My favorite photo of your trip- the picnic table! Simple- love the miss-matched cloths, the colorful variety of veggies and fruits…the “bar” is my favorite- upside down veggie box with napkin- VOILA!

  6. Nice to know about the history of Kir. I used to drink kir all the time, but the Piggly Wiggly in Fayetteville doesn’t carry Creme de Cassis. C’est domage!!!

  7. Have been “biking” right alongside you all. What tres belle photographs! And that picnic, ooo, la, la! C’est magnifique!

  8. Frances, thank you for letting us all ‘arm chair” travel with you!! You bring out the best and the funny stories that happen to us all. “Not a Kir in the world”…? Laughed out loud.

  9. Frances, thanks so much for my wonderful trip to Burgandy! Your pictures are magnificent, and I cannot wait to see your paintings. Where are we going next time? I’ll be getting ready!!

  10. Thought our biking travel days were over, but after seeing your photos andreding the comments I am throwing away my wheel chair in favor of the two wheeler and starting to think European roads again. Goodness, it is amazing!It is a feast for the eyes and the mouth is watering just imagining the tastes. Thanks for the enticement. You do it so well.

  11. Frances, my friend sent me your site because she knew that I would love it…and suggested that I do a blog on MY next trip to France. Your photos are beautiful and make my heart yearn for my next trip. A couple of the photos I would love to paint. Are they your personal photos? email me, pleeeze 😀

  12. Dear Frances
    Stumbled upon your wonderful blog in France ! We are regular visitors to Beaune ,never tire of its charm ! In fact we have just returned from a trip across the channel (Londoners) and must have been there around the same time ! Laronze decor is one of my most favourite shops !Did you venture to La Montagne? There is a lovely restaurant Chez Nono Le Bon Accueil up there which is well worth a visit. Very authentic French and not touristy (well apart from us !!)
    I found you by chance whilst googling Laronze decor (looking for some placemats) I just love everything you have posted and will be a follower now !
    Kind regards

    1. Dear Vanessa, How kind of you to write, my goodness you have made my day! Welcome to our little “club,” and I look forward to being in touch. How funny that we went to London after France — and I have yet to get around to writing about it, but I will! Seems we are stalking each other 😉 All good wishes, Frances

  13. Hi Frances
    Look forward to hearing about your travels to London- hope you had your umbrella with you !
    Going back to Beaune , we have very similar shots of market day 2008 although the carrot bundles caught my eye rather than the radishes ! The baskets are just great arent they? Really fancied buying one but not pliable enough even for the car (wine comes first!) I even have a photo of a man on the pavement with 2 dogs but no fishing rod ! Not sure its the same man but the dogs might be !
    That picnic table looks heavenly,simply groaning with goodies.
    Off to work now…. have a good day

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.