Golden Moments in Burgundy, France

field of Sunflowers and Church Steeple in France Tricia Mitchell

It is no wonder why Bourgogne, or Burgundy, is known as the Côte d’Or. During our July sojourn in France’s ‘Golden Hillsides,’ the region’s fields were ablaze with vibrant tournesols (sunflowers), freshly-groomed wheat and vineyards where ever-maturing grapes glistened with dew.

In the villages of Burgundy, sand-colored stone homes were accented with shutters painted in hues of Williamsburg blue, deep ivy green and terracotta. Delicate geraniums overflowed from window boxes, while the tantalizing aromas from lightly toasted baguettes, boeufbourguignon and light, Dijon vinaigrette swirled down the streets.  In cafés and restaurants, blond Chardonnay flooded glasses. The scintillating wine seemed tailor-made for such balmy Burgundian summer evenings.

From the weathered buildings, friendly faces and individuals with lively personalities emerged. Periodically, vintage Citroëns rolled onto the scene, creating circa 1940 vignettes that were quintessentially French. One such classic voiture even ushered in a serendipitous moment that would be one of the highlights of our time in Burgundy.

On a glorious Sunday afternoon, my husband, Shawn, and I turned onto a back road seemingly forgotten. As it was Sunday, most of the village’s homes and shops were shuttered and quiet. A few children kicked about a soccer ball under the protective shade of graceful, old, Sycamore trees. Near a small town square, there was a statue erected to honor France’s sons who were lost during the past century’s world wars. I hopped out of our car to play shutterbug before a rustic home with windows that had been opened wide. A creamy Citroën stood guard.

Out of nowhere appeared Régis, a friendly Frenchman who was happy to share regional travel pointers with us. He mentioned that the subject of my photograph was his ancestral home – a somewhat-dilapidated structure formerly belonging to a vintner. The home was more than 700 years-old. The clumsy old Citroën was also his.

Voulez-vous partager une bouteille du vin de 1982?” he asked.

Mais oui!” we exclaimed. It was difficult to decline such a generous offer to share the wine. And so it was that we were welcomed into the home that Régis and his son dreamed of restoring.

Wishing to reciprocate the hospitality that he’d been extended in past times while traveling through Africa and the United States, the agricultural engineer dusted off the 1982 Cabernet, removed its steadfast cork and unveiled a ruby red stream. As we later inched up chatty wooden stairs and ceramic-tiled hallways with glasses in hand, Régis proceeded to share tales from his life in La Réunion, where he spends most of his days. He showed us a creaky, old, wooden beam that rested precariously on a disintegrating stone in the attic.

“I have nightmares,” he explained, “that someday that rock might crumble.” If it were to do so, the home’s terracotta roof would crash.

As the wine flowed, Régis mischievously led us to a hiding place in the garage’s brick wall, not far from where a dismembered Citroën stood. It was there, he explained, that he found a cartridge of 10 mm bullets. He explained that the home had been taken over by the German military in World War II. Items were broken by the German soldiers, who had also consumed much of the family’s wine. The village’s mayor would later pass on reparations in the form of a check, but the bullets would remain hidden in the wall until Régis uncovered them decades later.

As we meandered through rooms seemingly forgotten for centuries, Régis explained that the wine had been destined for the United States two and a half decades earlier. For whatever reason, it did not make it across the Atlantic to the country France helped achieve its independence.

It only seemed fitting, then, that the 1982 Cabernet would later be shared with two Americans, a day before Independence Day, under the golden Burgundian sun.

Bunch of Grapes in Burgundy, France raisins verts en Bourgogne sunset Burgundian vineyards Bourgogne vignobles couche du soleil rusted sign at wine cellar in Burgundy France Bourgogne 

Green Iron Door with Vines and Grapes - Burgundy, France

Cafe Tables, Wine Bottles and Bistro Chairs in Burgundy, France Lamps on Stone Homes in Burgundy, France black and white photography

Pink Hydrangeas and Downspout Against Stone Wall in Burgundy, France

Burgundian Vineyards in France in July

French Stone House with Blue Shutters, Lamp and a Red-Leafed Tree in Burgundy

 

Decorative Tiled Tower Rooftops in Beaune, France

Dog Asleep Under Rose Bush - Burgundy, France

Shuttered Home with Pink Roses - Burgundy, France

French Street Sign Rue du Chateau - Burgundy, France With Green Ivy

Beaune Streetscape in Black and White at Night - France

Bourgogne Wine Label on Bottle in Cellar - Meursault, Burgundy, France

Wine Bottles Stacked in Winery Cellar - Burgundy, France

Carousel in Beaune, France at Dusk

Balcony of Home in Burgundy with Blue Shutters and Flowers - France

Entrée - Caves - Entrance Sign to Wine Cellar & Tasting - Bourgogne, France

Stone Home Doorway with Pink Petunias - Burgundy France

Wine Tasting Home's Courtyard in Burgundy, France

Traditional Grape Picking Basket in Burgundy, France

Wine Demijohns (Baskets) in Burgundy, France

Route des Grands Crus Street Sign - Burgundy, France

Sun Dial with Wine Theme in Burgundy France

Tournesols in Burgundy, France yellow sunflowers and blue sky

Sunflower in a Field in Burgundy, France

Citroen Parked in Front of Stone Home in Burgundy, France

Windows of Home in Burgundy, France in Black and White

Place du Monument Street Sign in Burgundy France

Iron Gate to Home in Burgundy, France

1982 Cabernet Wine Bottle - Burgundy France

Group Toasting with Wine in Burgundy, France

Vineyard in Burgundy, France Nearing Sunset Photo by Tricia Mitchell

Directing Sunflowers in Burgundy, France

Sunflowers in a Field in Burgundy, France

Where in the World?

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

15 thoughts on “Golden Moments in Burgundy, France

  1. A pleasure to meet Monsieur Regis…Thank you for sharing. BTW, Love your Sunflower Concerto! Mag :)

    1. Gracias, Mag. Regis’ home was reminiscent of ‘Under the Tuscan Sun.’ What a memorable afternoon it was there in his courtyard! Shawn was the photographer extraordinaire as I made that conducting debut later that evening. :) I’m glad he embraced my zeal for those golden fields of happy blooms!

  2. I would love to work for your new travel company. ; -) Let me know when you have any openings… <3
    You should have done this years ago; you never cease to amaze me.
    I adore you. Missing our long talks o the phone. Love you!

    1. I’ll keep you posted, Laura! I also wish I would’ve started sooner – I have many travel journals filled with lots of scribbles from throughout the years, but just hadn’t discovered WordPress. Let’s talk soon! xo, Trish.

  3. Thanks for the share.I could see Europe through your eyes…until I plan a trip to continent… You have informed about the fundamental details through this post and the lively photographs

    1. Melinda, thank you for your kind comment. This stranger’s kindness made our spontaneous 3-day visit to Burgundy special! Next time, I’d like to devote more time to just strolling in the villages and countryside.

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